Healing Atopic Dermatitis Through Food

I think it has become fairly evident that I like researching and writing about Atopic Dermatitis (eczema, as it is most commonly known as- refer to my previous post about winter skin to learn more). I was diagnosed with eczema when I was in the 6th grade and since then it has been the scourge of my skin! As an esthetician, nothing frustrates me more as having imperfect, problematic, sensitive skin! In my research over the years, genetics, stress and immune function, and nutrition have all come to the forefront of being primary antagonists or catalysts to eczematous breakouts.

Recently I have experimented with my diet a good bit, trying to identify triggers and soothers to my scaly, itchy patches of skin. Through trial and error, I have found that a diet high in fish, greens, and vegetables along with my regular supplementation of protein powder (I seriously love the Garden of Life Organic Plant Protein in Yerba Mate flavor- it’s the best and tastes great!), and drinking tons of water has been the most helpful in decreasing flareups and healing skin from the inside out.

So what’s the common denominator in a lot of these foods? High vitamin and omega levels increase barrier function.

Vitamin D: The research is still coming along, but there seems to be some evidence that individuals suffering from Atopic Dermatitis also have lower serum Vitamin D levels. In a meta-analysis by Kim  et al. which discussed the efficacy of Vitamin D supplementation in treating atopic dermatitis, there was varying evidence that showed increasing Vitamin D levels improved symptoms of atopic dermatitis in study participants. A limited number of studies have been done on this, therefore a strong relationship remains inconclusive.

Foods to look for: salmon, mushrooms, fortified yogurt, fortified orange juice, eggs

Omegas: Omega-3 fatty acid seems to show promising results in reducing the occurrence of atopic dermatitis. A study by Miles and Calder discusses the efficacy of increasing omega-3 and 6 through supplementation or food sources such as fatty fish, like salmon or tuna, in lowering the occurrence of atopic dermatitis in young children due to maternal consumption of these fatty acids. Study participants who were followed up with later in life showed less likelihood to be treated for asthma as well. While this study suggests the importance of maternal consumption of omega fatty acids, it is just as important for other age groups to consume. Increased consumption of linoleic acid has also shown to be effective in decreasing the occurrence and severity of acne!

Foods to look for: flax seed, walnuts, sardines, salmon, tuna, mackeral, soybeans, enriched tofu