What is eczema? Eczema is an allergic skin condition which leaves sufferers with patches of red, itchy, scaly skin. Also known as atopic dermatitis, eczema is a common autoimmune disorder which can result from an improperly trained immune system.
What causes eczema?
As discussed in a study by Lynda Schneider, M.D from the National Eczema Association, eczema is caused by an overabundance of antibodies in the system called immunoglobulin (IgE). Imagine that the border patrol soldiers inside your immune system (B lymphocytes) see a harmless dust mite – and they overreact by pulling out an elephant gun!
IgE is the ‘elephant gun’ of the immune system, a heavy-duty tool designed to deal with serious issues like worms or parasites. In first world environments where these items are rarely encountered, the production of IgE is usually an overreaction – the body’s attempt to protect itself, gone wrong. This is why eczema is considered an ‘autoimmune’ condition, which means that the body is basically harming itself.
What are the symptoms of eczema?
Often referred to as ‘the itch that rashes,’ eczema typically begins as patches of dry, itchy skin which worsen and erupt into rash as they are scratched. Eczema sometimes begins, starting with the clinical sign known as ‘cradle cap’ after the first 8-12 weeks of life. The condition may spread to the face and sides of the arms and legs of toddlers, showing extensive oozing and crusting. Adults can also develop skin lesions on the arms, legs, neck, hands, and the face with dry itchy skin.
It is common for eczema patients to have other autoimmune symptoms as well, including allergies, hay fever, IBS, asthma, and anxiety and depression. This progression of symptoms is commonly known as the ‘allergic march.’
How does your gut microbiome affect eczema?
In 2018, scientists from the CRNS definitively established the link between the gut microbiome and the skin, by demonstrating that altering the gut microbiota can cause severe skin allergic reactions. They also found that such modification of the gut microbiota led to greater intestinal permeability, which allowed certain intestinal bacteria to migrate to the spleen and lymph nodes and increased the severity of allergic skin reactions.
How can kefir help eczema?
Recommended as one of the most natural ways to help eczema, kefir contains vitamin A. In a study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, vitamin A has been shown to contribute to the normal function of the immune system, with its regulatory role in producing cellular immune responses (activating important T-cells to bind to infected cells), as well as the maintenance of normal skin.
By improving your microbiome from the inside and out, applying the benefits of kefir to your gut and skin microbiota can be an effective way to manage your autoimmune condition.