Though eczema is a collection of inflammatory skin conditions, Atopic Dermatitis or AD is by far the most common type that is talked about. AD occurs in individuals with a family history of allergies, asthma and hayfever. Chinese Medicine also links skin conditions to the lungs as skin is seen as an extension of them. The majority of food allergies linked to eczema come from egg, wheat, milk and soy proteins, with the remainder of allergens being food additives, or drugs. Exposure to Nickel, Fluoride and other chemicals are also known to cause eczema. In addition, people whom were breast-fed tend to have less of a propensity towards developing eczema later in life, due to the prebiotic or oligosaccharide content in breast milk.
Now for the interventions. As allergenic dietary substances are a large contributing factor to eczema, eliminating them from the diet for 8-12 weeks would be a good place to start. If you aren’t sure how to do this, simply try cooking your way through a paleolithic diet cookbook. The virtue of a ‘paleo’ diet consists in it being predominantly hypoallergenic, and although this takes more than 2 minutes, I will ask for your indulgence in this case.
For things that can be done in 2 minutes, Chinese medicinal cuisine recommends 1 cup of oolong tea after each meal, as the polyphenols in the tea tend to suppress allergic reactions. Fatty acids such as sunflower, safflower and flax seed oils at doses of 2g twice a day for children and 3g twice a day for adults are also beneficial. Zinc/Copper combined supplements 25-30mg Zn/2-3mg Cu, 1 to 3 times per day for 6-12 weeks in addition to Vitamin A (5-10,000IU/day or higher with medical monitoring) have also been shown to relieve itching and lesion size in AD. Finally, when there is poor digestion, a course of 2-4 capsules of pancreatic enzymes before each meal has also been demonstrated to help.
Join us next week when we’ll talk about Vitamin B1.
Be Well and Be Zen
R. Gaby., Eczema., Nutritional Medicine (2011)., ps.687-96., Ch. 179., ISBN13: 978-0-9828850-0-0. Fritz Perlberg Publishing, Concord, NH.
Uehara M, Sugiura H, Sakurai K, A trial of oolong tea in the management of recalcitrant atopic dermatitis., Arch Dermatol, 2001;137:42-43.