Is Eczema Food Related?

May 10, 2012

Allergies manifest themselves in a various number of ways in our bodies; find out if eczema is food related here!

Allergies manifest themselves in a various number of ways in our bodies; whether it’s gastrointestinal problems, fatigue, or skin problems, these reactions can put a damper on everyday life - especially when the culprit is unknown. One of the more distressing reactions, because it is both itchy, sometimes unsightly, and often difficult to treat, is eczema. Eczema is the blanket term used to describe a range of recurring rashes that usually result in itching, redness, and scaling. One of the most severe forms of eczema, atopic dermatitis (AD), is considered a primary sign of allergy during infancy.  Its cause is not fully understood but during the early days of life is said to be due to delayed development of the immune system. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) eczema affects between 10 to 20 percent of all infants, but almost half of all cases will resolve between the ages of five and 15.
Those with eczema often have a personal or family history of allergic conditions such as asthma or hay fever. Environmental irritants or allergens can also worsen symptoms, as can dry skin, exposure to water, temperature changes, stress and some foods. Due to its immune component, it’s no surprise that other allergic conditions usually occur in those with eczema. The AAD comments that, “there is some evidence that avoiding foods to which there is a known sensitivity may reduce the severity and extent of atopic dermatitis...”  Peanuts, wheat, soy, milk, corn, eggs and citrus are the most common offenders.
A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that children with the highest intake of beta-carotene, vitamin E, folic acid, and iron demonstrated the lowest incidence and risk of AD. The researches comment that, “findings suggest that higher antioxidant nutritional status reduces the risk of AD and that such risk-reduction effects depend on nutrient type". Previous research also suggests that dietary antioxidants are able to counteract oxidative stresses and thus inhibit the body’s inflammatory response which ultimately relates to a lesser allergic reaction.
Nutrition research in general, usually focuses on the effects of single nutrients - which is not entirely useful for the realities of daily life- we eat food, not isolated nutrients.  SupermarketGuru encourages you to consider food allergies and sensitivities if you have inflammatory skin reactions. Keep in mind that when you eliminate certain allergic foods, it is essential to plan a varied and balanced diet, something you should discuss with your physician or nutritionist. This will help ensure that you are obtaining all of the essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients to keep your immune system and metabolism strong.