A healthy gut contains about 80-85% good bacteria, and 15-20% bad bacteria. When this is in balance, you feel great, have great skin, good energy, and life is good! But when this ratio is out of balance, eczema flare ups occur and inflammation is created.
An unhealthy gut contributes to many diseases, including diabetes, obesity, depression and chronic fatigue. To understand more about the role of the gut in improving eczema, let’s take a look at 2 important parts: the gut flora and gut barrier.
Why is the gut flora important in eczema?
Your gut is home to 100,000,000,000,000 (100 trillion) microorganisms! In fact, our gut contains 10 times more bacteria than all the human cells in the entire body, with over 400 known bacterial species.
- Increasing immunity – in fact, 80% of our immune system stems from our gut!
- Providing protection from infection
- Digesting and absorbing food by producing enzymes that help break down proteins, carbohydrates, and fats
- Regulating metabolism (studies show that obese people have a different gut flora than lean people)
- Aiding in the transportation of minerals, vitamins, water, and other nutrients through the gut wall
- Making certain nutrients such as vitamins K2, B1, B2, B3 B6, B12, folic acid, and various amino acids
The bacteria in your system help you digest food, regulate hormones, excrete toxins, and produce vitamins and other healing compounds that keep your gut and your body healthy.
When the gut flora is compromised and not functioning normally, an individual can potentially become malnourished with multiple nutrient deficiencies and food intolerance, which can show up as eczema.
In fact, 95% of serotonin, the happy hormone in your body, is created and located in your gut! Messages constantly travel back and forth between your gut-brain and your head-brain, and when those messages are interfered with in any way, your health may suffer. Changes in your levels and sensitivity to serotonin can change how your bowel works.
A person with an unhealthy digestive system (known as dysbiosis) will have trouble digesting certain foods. The problem with undigested foods is that it stays in the intestines and can become food for bacteria and yeast in our body.
These pathogens can grow and overpower the amount of beneficial bacteria and yeast in our gut. Too many of the wrong bacteria, like parasites and yeasts, or not enough of the good ones, like Lactobacillus or Bifidobacteria, can seriously damage your health. When this happens, the pathogens can give off toxic acidic byproducts which can damage the delicate lining of the intestinal tract and cause symptoms (such as excess mucous, excess gas, diarrhea, constipation, etc).
Many things, including:
- Overuse of medications, steroids, and antibiotics that can damage the gut or block normal digestive function (such as hormones, birth control pills, etc.)
- Diets high in refined carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods (this causes all the wrong bacteria and yeast to grow in our gut)
- Diets low in fermented foods and fiber
- Toxins or dietary toxins (such as mercury, mold, gluten)
- Chronic stress – which can alter the gut nervous system, cause a leaky gut, and change the normal bacteria in the gut
- Chronic infections, yeast overgrowth, or parasites
- Undetected gluten intolerance, celiac disease, or low grade food allergies to foods such as dairy, eggs, or corn.
The key to improving your eczema is to improve your gut.
How do we improve gut flora to improve eczema symptoms?
It’s important to nurture and restore healthy bacteria in our system. To do this, you should:
- Eliminate any factors from the list above that are killing your good gut flora
- Take a high-quality, multi-species probiotic (with at least 10 billion CFU to have an effect)
- Eat fermented foods like kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut, kim chi, kombucha, etc.
- Implement good digestion tips and start chewing your food to help assist in digestion and prevent leaky gut
- Eat plenty of fermentable fibers (starches like sweet potato, yam, yucca, etc.
- Treat any intestinal pathogens (such as parasites or yeast) that may be present
- Take steps to manage your stress
- Stop drinking tap water (since it can contain chlorine, medication, pollutants, etc. that can increase bad bacteria in your gut) and purchase an inexpensive water filter
According to Dr. Mercola on his website, he also states that one serving of fermented vegetables has 100 times more beneficial bacteria than a bottle of high potency probiotic supplement!
- The Elimination Diet: A Guide to Conquer Eczema & Food Sensitivities
- Healing Eczema: Why Dieting Is Not Enough
- The Power of Thoughts: How Mindset Shifts Can Help Eliminate Eczema
- My Detailed Eczema Healing Treatment Plan
Abby is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist who helps clients achieve optimal health. She is passionate about seeing people use health and nutrition to transform lives. She hopes that her experiences and knowledge can help educate others on natural remedies that will help eczema. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or YouTube for more updates!
Disclaimer: All the information found on this website should be used for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace proper medical advice. Always consult a qualified health care provider before embarking on a health or supplement plan.