Could gut health hold the answer to your child’s eczema?
If your child has eczema, then you know how powerless you can feel if they’re scratching their skin, in pain, or discomfort. By healing your child’s gut, you may be able to heal their skin problems, says Dr Cris Beer.
Children’s eczema affects around one in five children under the age of two years of age, with a red itchy rash and dry skin giving discomfort and irritation.[i] It can appear anywhere, although is usually present across the face, ears and neck, behind the knees, in the creases of the elbows and across the ankles.[ii]
While eczema usually improves as your child gets older, addressing the health of your child’s gut may be the answer in finding relief now.
The link between the gut and good skin
A recent study published in the journal Nature may provide some insight into how and why keeping the gut in good condition can help soothe eczema symptoms.
Why is the gut so important? It’s the body’s wellbeing machine, which supports our overall health, including our intestine, skin and our immune system. When your gut isn’t in sufficient health, your skin will then reflect this imbalance, with a dull appearance, or skin conditions such as eczema can be exacerbated.
How can you have a happy gut?
Keeping your child’s gut healthy requires some attention to their diet, to get and keep your gut flora balanced. One study[iii] found that children with eczema contained a different make-up of gut flora, compared to those who don’t suffer.
Probiotics contain lactic acid-producing bacteria, which is thought to have a positive effect on gut flora, and help to stimulate healthy bacteria in the digestive tract.[iv] It’s been found that found that children with eczema contained a different make-up of gut flora, compared to those who don’t suffer. [v]
The study – a round-up of 29 studies[vi] of the effects of probiotics on children with eczema - by the World Health Organisation (WHO) found that six to 14 out of 100 fewer children developed eczema by using probiotic dietary supplements.
It’s thought that probiotics which contain the bacteria Lactobacillus rhamnonsus GG and Lactobacillus reuteri, are the most beneficial for those with eczema, particularly if it’s genetic.
Speak to your healthcare practitioner if symptoms persist. Always read the label. Use only as directed. Supplements may only be of assistance if dietary intake is inadequate.
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