Natural Remedies for Eczema
A Health Model that Makes Sense:
A natural route, like Functional Medicine is the best way to optimize the integrity of the immune system and naturally treat eczema. The eczema healing model focuses on using Functional Medicine to restore ones body by using diet and supplements.
What is Functional Medicine?
Functional Medicine approaches health problems differently. Instead of masking the problem, it aims at restoring the body’s natural functioning. Identifying and treating the underlying root cause or causes, as Functional Medicine does, has a much better chance to successfully resolve a patient’s health challenge. Today there is a very large number of alternative, allopathic and naturopathic doctors practicing this approach to health. Tens of thousands of people have used this healing model to help themselves with many chronic degenerative conditions, including eczema.
The Functional Medicine approach includes principles that are of great benefit to the treatment of many health challenges. These principals are:
- Better digestion and assimilation of foods through the use of probiotics and enzymes.
- Better nutrition through conscious food choices.
- Supporting of liver function with increased protection against free radical damage (oxidative stress) through whole food antioxidants.
Functional Medicine physicians believe that most chronic degenerative conditions have their origin in the malfunction of the digestive tract and the liver’s detoxification system. In other words, illness can be directly related to problems of the digestive and liver detoxification systems and their related influence on the immune system, the nervous system, and endocrine system functions. Therefore, when the health of the digestive system and liver detoxification systems is addressed, the body is given the opportunity to reverse eczema. With eczema, the GI tract must be normalized, then the liver detoxification system should be supported and strengthened.
There are hundreds of clinical studies and scientific research from Functional Medicine doctors that confirm what many of us have heard so often from folk medicine practitioners: “Stomach problems are the cause of all ills” or “Death begins in the colon.”
Jeffrey Anderson, M.D., wrote an article called “How Problems with Digestion Can Cause Illness Anywhere”, and in this article he explains why you should address the health of the gastrointestinal tract first, no matter what the name of the degenerative condition. He explains that “new information on the dynamics of the body make it clear that conditions in the digestive tract affect the entire system” (Nichols, et al., 1999, p.125). The “…degradation of the gastrointestinal environment is one of the primary points at which health is lost. What we now know is that the same toxins associated with GI dysfunction are frequently absorbed and distributed to other parts of the body including the brain. First they place a burden on the liver and the immune system. If liver overload occurs, there will be spill over, and some of the toxins will be passed on to the rest of the body”. “Often, it’s a weak link in the system that will be hit by the damage – an organ that can be anywhere in the body that is most likely to be vulnerable. The vulnerability may be inherited, caused by physical injury, toxic exposure, or poor diet” (p.125).
Len Saputo, M.D., in his article, ”Harmful Flora”, also believes that if the gastrointestinal tract goes out of balance and the liver detoxification system breaks down, our entire immune system can malfunction in three ways. First, it can be weakened and the result is called an immune suppression disease (i.e., cancer and AIDS). Second, it can overreact and become hyper responsive to normal stimuli; this occurs in asthma, eczema, migraines, food/environmental allergies, and chronic sinusitis. Third, a malfunctioning immune system can cause auto immune reactions, where antibodies target our own tissues, as in MS and Crohn’s (p.60).
Jerry Stine, M.D., in his article, “How Digestion Works”, explains that the gastrointestinal tract is the largest immune organ in our body. 80% of all our protective immune globulins are produced in the digestive tract (p.16). When this large, strategically placed immune system member (the GI tract) isn’t working well, several stresses are set in motion. The first of these is the increased production of toxic byproducts called free radicals. The assault of free radicals, also referred to as oxidative stress, further over-stimulates the liver, causing it to send out signals that can confuse the immune system. These signals may trigger inappropriate reactions in both the immune system and the neurological system, leading to inflammation. Increased stresses on the liver can be caused by minor but frequent GI “complaints”, such as pain, constipation, and constant colds. Oxidative stress from free radicals can also cause problems by depleting essential nutrients. This can short-circuit immune function and the activity of the nervous system. Derrick Lonsdale, M.D., and Raymond Shamberger, Ph.D., found a close correlation between the insufficiencies of vitamin C with immune dysfunctions. When dietary improvements were made to enhance the body’s absorption of vitamin C, inflammation that cause pain, nausea, and constipation, disappeared.
- First you detoxify the GI tract.
- Then get the liver detoxification system working.
- And finally, clean up the downstream consequences, which include the toxins in the tissues and cells of the body.
Functional Medicine doctors believe that you can’t deal with the downstream conditions (symptoms in the body such as chronic indigestion), until you’ve treated the upstream problem(s) in the gut and liver (p.132). When you clean up the upstream issues and the liver, then the downstream consequences tend to go away.
Functional Medicine Solution for Most Degenerative Conditions, The 4 Rs Solution:
- Remove: Abnormal kinds/amounts of intestinal microorganisms (parasites, bacterial pathogens, small intestinal overgrowth such as yeast, and food antigens). This can be done by repairing “leaky” intestinal membranes.
- Replace: Hydrochloric acid, enzymes, and fiber deficiency can be addressed and replaced with friendly bacteria, digestive enzymes and fiber supplements.
- Restore: Symbiotic bacteria and GI bacteria through the use of full spectrum friendly bacteria (L. acidophilus, B. bifidus, L. planetarium, L. salivarius, L. bulgaricus, etc.).
- Repair: Replace or augment with nutrients necessary to support healing of intestinal lining, plus adequacy of calories, and adequacy of fiber. Support the liver detoxification system through the use of whole-food antioxidants and food based nutritional supplements (pp. 181-182).
The 4 R’s are a great process for the treatment of eczema.
The Difference is in the Quality of the Nutritional Supplements:
When looking for a high quality supplement, it’s best to stay away from man-made supplements. These supplements are isolated, single, separated, synthetic and come in a chemically manufactured form. Vitamins and minerals like zinc, copper, vitamins B, C, E and beta carotene shouldn’t be isolated because vitamins are naturally intricate, integrated and united organic nutritive groups. Nature made them as an indistinguishable part of foods for the benefit of human health. Vitamins are inseparable as working nutrients from trace elements, minerals, proteins and other elements.
Chemists have attempted to isolate and identify some of the components of these food complexes, labeling the seemingly “active” elements as vitamins or other nutrients. Yet there is no possible way that even the sum of the parts is equal to the whole. It is only the whole food, intact and unaltered, that works as a nutritional source and therefore is the best treatment for eczema. The isolated parts are not recognized by the body as foods, so the body cannot absorb these isolated “vitamins”. In large amounts, these isolated chemicals function more like drugs, which either stimulate or suppress biochemical functions, instead of providing nourishment for the cells to carry on their vital activities. Natural, food-source vitamins are enzymatically alive. Man-made, synthetic vitamins are dead chemicals. Human health requires “live” biochemicals. It is simply a matter of chemistry versus biochemistry. Whole food supplements are best for the treatment of eczema because it is based on the philosophy that “Food is the Best Medicine.”
Searching for the Ultimate Whole Food Supplements:
There are certainly better alternatives than man-made supplements; i.e. organic whole food supplements. Whole food supplements are far superior in their quality and effectiveness as treatment for eczema because they are produced in their natural and complex configuration. Why whole food products work better is entirely based on the philosophy that the human body is a marvelously designed living organism with the ability to grow, regulate, repair, and defend itself when given natural, high quality, full spectrum nutrients.
There aren’t too many companies out there that produce high quality whole food supplements. However, when I came across a company via my eczema health coach, I was very impressed with their philosophy of high quality, carefully processed, nutrient dense superfood supplements. This company has been in the whole foods supplement business for over 30 years. Their processing is top notch, because they carefully preserve the quality of their whole food supplements from the time the foods are harvested to the time they are introduced to the public as supplements. I’m a firm believer that we can restore & heal our bodies with food, and this companies health model aligned perfectly with my beliefs. I have become a distributor of these products, and I would love to share with you the power that these whole food supplements can have on your body, such as exceptional gut health, clear, radiant skin, mental clarity, increased energy and optimal cardiovascular health as well as many more benefits! It’s not surprising that hundreds of thousands of people have been helped with these products because when it come to healing the body, there is nothing more powerful than supporting the body with whole foods, especially if they are wild-crafted and organically grown. If your goal is to find natural healing for eczema that works, may I recommend that you follow this healing model, which is the same as the Functional Medicine healing model, with the use of whole food supplements instead of man-made supplements:
Support better digestion and assimilation of foods through the use of probiotics and digestive enzyme supplements. Learn more about probiotics, enzymes and eczema.
Nourish the body through food-based supplements (consuming nutrient rich foods such as wheat grass, bee pollen, organic micro algae etc.). Learn more about vitamins and minerals for eczema.
Repair and protect the body against free radical damage (oxidative stress) and nourish with essential fatty acids through the use of whole food antioxidant supplements (wheat sprouts, red algae, wheat grass, etc.) & EFA’s. Learn more about antioxidants and eczema & essential fatty acids and eczema.
With the use of whole food supplements you can improve the GI tract environment, decrease the burden of the toxins and thereby take the stress off the liver. With less toxins, there is less need for a constant high level defense effort, and everything in the body just starts to work better. Dr. Jeffrey Anderson summarizes the whole concept of natural healing so perfectly when he said: “You can’t deal with the downstream problems (symptoms in the body) until you have addressed the upstream problem(s) (i.e., malfunctions in the gut)” (Nichols, p. 132).
**info cred goes to:
Nichols, Trent W., and Faass, Nancy. (1999). Optimal Digestion. New York: Avon Books, Inc.