Eczema, sometimes called atopic dermatitis, has become a catch-all name for dry, itchy, or inflamed skin. Researchers are unsure of the exact cause of eczema but believe it’s likely a combination of inherited and environmental factors.
It’s these environmental factors that Betr Health aims to address. At Betr, we focus on removing the emotional, environmental and physical stress that are seeping into our daily lives. This includes toxic foods that can trigger inflammation of which we are unaware. It may surprise you, but we believe that the best way to heal your skin is to heal your gut through personalized nutrition. In this article, we’ll answer the questions:
- Is eczema linked to gut health?
- How does poor gut health make eczema worse?
- How to cure eczema with a proper gut health diet
- Baby eczema and gut health: how to get an early start on healthy skin
- 3 studies that link gut health to eczema
Our Betr Blog article, The Gut-Skin Axis: Health from the Inside Out, takes a detailed look at the many ways our gut health affects our skin. If you’re not ready for that deep dive, though, start here with the broad strokes on how a good gut can lead to soft skin.
At Betr, we’ve seen the research that links gut health to other parts of our body, including our skin. This relationship between skin and gut health even has a name, the Gut-Skin Axis (GSA). This means that the health of our gut reflects on the condition of our skin.
Our skin and digestive system both interact with the outside world. Skin interacts with the environment, whereas our gut interacts with nearly all of the nutrition, good or bad, that we consume. The gut supports the skin by turning our food into the building blocks necessary for the healthy functioning of our body.
Our gut is like a factory that provides our body with the raw materials it needs to function. Sometimes the factory isn’t getting the suitable initial materials or the machinery isn’t working right, and that’s reflected elsewhere in our body. This becomes especially obvious and irritating when that part of the body is the skin.
How does poor gut health make eczema worse?
Our gut is home to trillions of bacterial cells that have a central role in digesting and processing our food into the necessary elements of nutrition. These bacteria, called our microbiome, also play a significant role in the immune system and regulating other systems in our body.
A healthy microbiome contains trillions of bacteria that produce anti-inflammatory substances called metabolites. These metabolites travel through our bloodstream and support healthy functioning. When the microbiome is out of balance, known as dysbiosis, it can negatively impact our skin.
During dysbiosis, our gut produces harmful metabolites that can cause inflammation. This inflammation causes our gut walls to weaken and allows more unhealthy substances to enter the bloodstream. These unhealthy substances reach the skin and cause inflammation. This inflammation shows as itching, redness, and rash–eczema.
How to cure eczema with a proper gut health diet
One of the main causes of dysbiosis is poor nutrition. Research shows that a healthy gut bacteria is supported by natural, anti-inflammatory, low fat foods. Unfortunately, our Western Diet is almost the complete opposite of a gut-healthy diet. Don’t worry, we have some tips for feeding your microbiome.
1. Betr Health method
The Betr Health method is based on removing toxic elements from your diet and replacing them with healthy, natural nutrition. During the purification phases, many members report a significant improvement of their skin (we like to call it the “Betr Glow”). This is a result of removing dietary toxins and allowing the gut to return to it’s natural, healthy state.
2. Fermented foods that can help with eczema
Fermented foods contain probiotics, which support the bacteria in your gut and stimulate your immune system. A healthy immune system is important in minimizing unhealthy stress, inflammation, and allergic reactions that can contribute to eczema flares.
Some common fermented foods include:
- Soft cheeses
3. Other foods that can help with eczema
There are a few other foods that can help with eczema. Fatty fish contains omega-3 fatty acids, which provide anti-inflammatory benefits.
Fruit and vegetables contain the flavonoid quercetin, which is high in antioxidants and antihistamines. Antihistamines help control eczema through anti-allergenic properties, and antioxidants protect against excess inflammation.
Foods containing quercetin include:
Caring for your skin
Keeping your skin healthy through proper care will help avoid the inflammation and damage that can contribute to eczema symptoms. One step you can take is using high-quality skincare products.
Betr Health has the same philosophy on skin care as it does on gut health. We believe that you should use healthy, natural, plant-based products to support skin repair and health. That’s why we’ve partnered with OM Botanicals, a natural skincare line designed by molecular biologist and Ayurvedic practitioner Dr Sudhir Shah.
These products take the knowledge of Ayurvedic Medicine, a traditional practice that has proven safe and effective for thousands of years, and apply it to skincare. OM Botanicals contain naturally sourced vitamins, essential oils, and plant based extracts to repair and nourish your skin.
Baby eczema and gut health: how to get an early start on healthy skin
Eczema is an extremely common pediatric disease, affecting 1 in 5 kids under the age of two. Even though most kids grow out of it, the discomfort they experience from itching, rashes, and dry skin can have a major negative impact on their quality of life.
There are many recommendations on how to deal with childhood eczema. Careful skin care and avoiding known triggers, whether food or other environmental irritants, can help reduce symptom flares. In infants without recognized triggers, consider avoiding common allergens such as dairy, wheat, and soy.
One study below discusses the importance of maternal nutrition during pregnancy. Expectant mothers were treated with probiotics before birth and their infants were treated with them afterward. This treatment with probiotics showed a positive impact on the development of eczema.
The research on how gut-health can impact skin health is a fast growing field. Most interestingly (even though we already knew this at Betr) many of the treatment alternatives are directed at improving and maintaining a healthy community of gut bacteria. See what the experts have to say.
This study explores the relationship between healthy skin and a healthy gut. It also reviews how this relationship contributes to several different skin disorders including acne, psoriasis, and eczema (referred to as atopic dermatitis in the study).
Traditionally, allergies, which are a major contributor to eczema, are considered overreactions of the immune system. This article proposes that environmental and nutritional factors combine to alter the gut microbiome. The imbalance of the microbiome causes an increase of inflammatory metabolites that lead to allergic reactions.
This paper reviews studies of expectant mothers and infants. Korean mothers with a significant family history of eczema were treated with probiotics for 4-8 weeks prior to delivery and for the first two months of the infant’s life. The treatment group showed significantly less incidence of eczema than the non-treated group.
The researchers of this study evaluate how skin and gut disorders are often a “two-way street”. The study compares the nature of the gut barrier and the skin barrier, and how dysfunction in one often interferes with the health of the other.
An interesting finding of this study is that individuals with atopic dermatitis are often found to have more species of bacteria that produce inflammatory metabolites.
Additionally, they often have genetic markers that encode for immune system changes related to diet and environmental exposure. This makes them vulnerable to inflammation and allergic reactions.
This paper focuses specifically on eczema and gut health. It outlines several important new findings in research that might provide treatment options for atopic dermatitis. Specifically, they find a relationship between the imbalance of the gut bacteria and incidence of eczema, and the effectiveness of treatments targeting gut health.
Just a few interesting findings include:
- An increased prevalence of eczema in industrialized nations, where excessive hygiene might be contributing to imbalances in individuals gut microbiome.
- The development of the immune system in early childhood might have a significant impact on the occurrences of eczema and other allergy disorders.
- Studies on mice have shown that mice treated with probiotics have exhibited significant improvement in their skin condition.
Hopefully we’ve given you some points to consider about the relationship between healthy skin and a healthy gut. Let’s review some key information that we’ve covered:
- Skin health and gut health are related through the Gut-Skin Axis
- Eczema and other conditions may be caused by an imbalance of the bacteria in your gut
- This bacteria balance can be fixed through proper nutrition
- You can heal your skin by healing your gut.
If you’re sick of eczema itching, scratching, and redness, our stress-free trial can start you on the road to healthy skin, a healthy gut, and an overall healthier YOU. Check out our member testimonial from Joyce who lost weight and improved her skin through the Betr Method.
Already feel like you’ve got the glow you’re looking for? Maybe you just want to reduce the amount of unpronounceable chemicals in your skincare arsenal? Browse our partner OM Botanicals skincare collection to see if there is a plant-based, all natural product for you!