Functional Medicine Treatment for Eczema
What is eczema?
Understanding your skin condition
Eczema and dermatitis are interchangeable terms for the same common but non-contagious inflammatory skin condition. Eczema presents as patches of dry, red, raised or scaly skin, which can blister, crack and exude fluid. Because of this, people with atopic dermatitis are prone to skin infections and more susceptible to colonisation by Staphylococcus aureus.
The problem isn’t just skin deep
Want to treat eczema naturally and permanently? Research is beginning to uncover the links between gut and skin health and has also found that dietary factors can exacerbate and even cause dermatitis, making food and nutrition both a potential trigger, and treatment, in the fight against eczema.
This is why our practitioners treat eczema with a holistic whole-of-body approach that offers a more permanent solution to your skin condition while treating its underlying cause.
Our patients are seeing results they’ve been trying to achieve for years through conventional medicine. See the difference our approach to healthcare can make in the before and after photos below.
What causes eczema?
There isn’t one single cause of eczema but a range of potential contributing factors that are unique to each person. These include:
Research has found people with the ‘atopic triad’ have a defective barrier of the skin and upper and lower respiratory tracts.
These genetic alterations cause a loss of function of filaggrin (filament aggregating protein), which is a protein in the skin that normally breaks down to create natural moisturisation and protect the skin from penetration by pathogens and allergens.
Filaggrin mutations are found in approximately 30 percent of people with atopic dermatitis, and also predispose people to asthma, allergic rhinitis (hayfever), keratosis pilaris (dry rough patches and bumps on the skin), and ichthyosis vulgaris (a chronic condition which causes thick, dry, scaly skin.)
If one parent carries this genetic alteration, there is a 50 percent chance their child will develop atopic symptoms. And that risk increases to 80 percent if both parents are affected.
Food allergy and sensitivity
Food hypersensitivity has been found to cause or exacerbate atopic dermatitis in 10-30% of cases, and 90% of these are caused by eggs, milk, peanuts, soy and wheat.
Compromised gut health
The connection between the gut microbiome and skin health is complex, however, research has found the microbiota contributes to the development, persistence, and severity of atopic dermatitis through immunologic, metabolic and neuroendocrine pathways.
Deficiency of Omega-6 essential fatty acids (EFA) has been linked with the increased incidence of atopic dermatitis, along with the inability for the body to efficiently metabolise EFA’s to gamma linoleic acids (GLA) and arachidonic acids (AA).
Studies have also found high maternal stress levels in pregnancy can increase the risk of their child developing atopic dermatitis. Our practitioners can work with you to develop a healthy lifestyle plan, while also supporting hormones with key nutrients and herbs.
Weather and environment
Changing weather conditions can certainly aggravate eczema symptoms, but the triggers are subject to change among individuals.
Hormones also play a role in the course of atopic dermatitis, including the stress hormone cortisol which triggers an inflammatory immune response affecting all organs of the body, including the skin.
Mould exposure and susceptibility to mould can cause Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS), of which dermatitis is a manifestation.
How we Help
Personalised assessment and treatment of what’s causing your eczema
Our practitioners take a highly personalised approach to any health concern, including eczema. This means we use detailed assessments, analysis, and functional testing to determine which of the underlying causes or contributors apply to you. More often than not, our investigations and natural eczema treatments will focus on gut health and may include:
We offer a range of testing options including food sensitivity and allergy tests, intestinal hyperpermeability assessments, and microbiome and hormonal profiles.
Improving gastrointestinal integrity and function
Gastrointestinal symptoms are common among people with eczema, so the functional medicine approach in our clinic focuses on improving digestive function. This can include food, nutrition supplements and herbal protocols.
Restoring the microbiome
We use a mix of prebiotics and probiotics to help restore healthy balance to the flora of the gastrointestinal system.
We take a multifaceted approach to hormonal balancing, combining lifestyle changes with herbs and supplements designed to restore hormonal balance.
One of the most effective ways to reduce inflammation is dietary change, reducing or removing inflammatory foods, as well as potential allergy or intolerance triggers including foods containing salicylates, amines and glutamates, which can cause or exacerbate eczema.
In addition to an anti-inflammatory diet, we may supplement key nutrients that play a role in skin health and reducing inflammation, including Vitamin D for its role in supporting filaggrin production, omega 3 and 6, zinc, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, glutamine, curcumin, and bioflavonoids.
Modulating the immune system
A functional medicine approach can also extend to calming the overactive immune responses seen in eczema with natural immunomodulators like echinacea, astragalus, albizia, baikal skullcap and even therapeutic mushrooms. These herbs are not suitable for everyone and should only be used under the supervision of a trained practitioner.
To find out more about how we can support you, please contact us at 416-604-0000