It’s itchy. It’s embarrassing. And it affects more than 30 million Americans. It’s eczema. And if you have it, you know the toll it takes on your self-esteem.
It leaves you with dry, red, itchy skin, eventually becoming rough, leathery, or scaly patches that get oozy or crusty because you can’t stop scratching.
The toll of eczema is more than skin profound. If you suffer from this chronic, uncomfortable skin condition, you’re at a greater risk for other serious health problems.
In 2015, researchers found that people with eczema are more likely to have heart problems, which isn’t all that surprising when you consider that people with eczema are more likely to be severely obese, have high blood pressure and high cholesterol, all three of which are major risk factors for heart disease.
Obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol aren’t just risk factors for heart disease; they’re risk factors for stroke. Researchers confirmed that people with eczema are indeed more likely to have a stroke than those without it, which means that itchy eczema patches are more malicious than you think.
A lot of people who suffer from eczema experience their first symptoms as a child. About 75 percent of these people will develop asthma in the months or years after their first eczema rash. Another study found that this happened because the damaged skin secreted a substance that circulated throughout the body and triggered asthmatic symptoms.
People with eczema are 35 percent more likely to have adult-onset diabetes. Once again, the obesity factor seems to tie these two disorders together. In the case of diabetes, it may be the diabetes that leads to the skin issues and not the other way around. Skin rashes are a common symptom of type 2 diabetes, mainly because bacteria and yeast multiply more quickly when blood sugar is high.
Depression and anxiety
There’s an undeniable connection between depression, anxiety, and eczema. Whether this connection is all related to the mental anguish caused by how eczema affects your appearance is hard to say. Either way, there are some noteworthy commonalities. Between the three disorders, like the fact that people with all three disorders are more likely to have low levels of omega-3 fatty acids.
Sadly enough, those are just a few health problems tied to eczema. There are a lot more. Scientists can’t completely explain why eczema is connected to many serious health problems, but they have a reasonable suspicion. They think people with eczema may be dealing with chronic inflammation that’s affecting their whole body, and it just so happens to show itself in their skin, too.
So, if you’re an eczema sufferer looking for some relief, your best bet is to take a whole-body approach to healing your skin, and the first place to start is your diet. You need to eat an anti-inflammatory diet high in omega-3s, like the Mediterranean diet.
These seven inflammation foods and supplements help ease the inflammation that causes eczema.
1. Probiotic – The use of probiotic supplements, in particular, is purported to protect against immune dysfunction and reduce inflammation—two critical factors in the development of eczema. This supplement seems to work well for both adults and children. At Doctor’s Nutrition, we do carry a powder specific for helping the skin and gut in children.
2. Coconut Oil – This oil is an excellent moisturizer with anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties. It can provide relief from the itching while improving the texture of your skin. You can even find coconut lotion bars that are hypoallergenic.
3. Fish Oil – Diets rich in fish oil have been shown to play a part in preventing eczema, so be sure to add it to your daily regimen.
4. Vitamin E – A scientific study showed that taking 400 mg of vitamin E daily improved symptoms and quality of life in patients with atopic dermatitis (or eczema).
5. Vitamin D – Lower sunshine vitamin levels have been linked to worsening skin symptoms, so be sure to get your daily dose of sun or take a good quality D3 supplement.
6. Magnesium Salts – Research shows that bathing with magnesium-rich Dead Sea salts can improve your skin, enhance hydration, and reduce inflammation.
7. Evening primrose oil – The oil comes from the plant’s seeds. Evening primrose oil has an omega-6 fatty acid and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). The oil is available in capsules, which you take by mouth, and helps to soothe skin inflammation, swelling, and bruises caused by eczema.
If you want more information about supplements that may help with eczema, check out the products below or call Doctor’s Nutrition at 1-800-824-0194.