Nowadays, the internet is filled with articles and blog posts about our gut microbiome.
You’ve probably even seen dozens of articles (including this one) about how probiotics for eczema can help heal your skin.
Is it true?
But before we even begin, we need to talk about our gut microbiome.
Our what? Let me explain.
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1. What is the gut microbiome?
The gut microbiome mainly exists inside our intestines and on our skin.
Most of these microbes are found in a pocket in the large intestine, referred to as the “cecum”.
It is composed of fungi, bacteria, viruses, parasites, and other complicated names that we don’t need to know right now.
Yup, you read that right. All these live inside of us and on us.
Our gut microbiome consists of both healthy and harmful bacteria. In a healthy individual, these bacteria live peacefully with each other.
A healthy gut microbiome contains about 80% healthy bacteria and 20% bad bacteria.
However, whenever there is an imbalance, through infectious diseases, the Standard American Diet, the use of antibiotics for extended periods of time, and certain medications, the body becomes out of balance.
The health of our microbiome is crucial because it plays a key role in regulating our immune system, breaking down toxic food, and processing certain vitamins like Vitamin B.
2. What are probiotics?
Probiotics are live bacteria that are often referred to as “good”, “healthy” or “friendly” bacteria.
Probiotics can be found naturally occurring in foods that you eat or as a supplement.
So probiotics are essentially used to replenish your gut microbiome in the event that you’ve taken antibiotics, taken certain medications, or after dealing with an infectious illness like diarrhea.
Even in times of stress, this alters your gut microbiomes.
If you’ve been eating unhealthy for as long as you can remember, this also affects the balance of your gut microbiome.
Below are the benefits of probiotics according to Dr. Axe:
- Stronger immune system
- Improved digestion
- Increased energy from the production of vitamin B12
- Better breath because probiotics destroy candida
- Healthier skin, since probiotics improve eczema and psoriasis
- Reduced cold and flu
- Healing from leaky gut and inflammatory bowel disease
- Weight management
3. How do probiotics for eczema work?
Eczema is usually a multifactorial issue stemming from nutritional deficiencies, a weak immune system, overgrowth of bacteria, parasites, and genetics.
So when your gut microbiome is unbalanced, this leads to your body not being able to digest and absorb nutrients.
What does that lead to? Nutrient deficiencies.
When your gut microbiome is imbalanced, it cannot protect you against bacteria and parasites.
When your gut microbiome is compromised, your immune system is also weakened.
This results in… flare-ups
So the main goal of probiotics is to help rebalance your gut microbiome so it can strengthen your immune system, properly absorb nutrients from your diet and fight off bacteria, viruses, and parasites.
But what does research have to say about probiotics for eczema?
There have been various studies on this topic but they all contradict each other. Some studies found an improvement in eczema patients while other studies found no difference at all.
A study in 2001 by M Kalliomaki found that a specific strain, Lactobacillus GG was effective in the prevention of early atopic dermatitis in children.
However, in 2008, a study by M V Kopp found that supplementing with probiotics during pregnancy and as an infant neither reduced nor altered the severity of eczema in children.
There are multiple studies like this that go back and forth on the efficacy of probiotics for eczema.
One thing for sure is that we need to take care of our gut microbiome.
We need to adopt a healthier diet and stop destroying it with processed, packaged, nutrient-depleted, and chemical-filled foods.
It’s also a good rule of thumb to go on a course of probiotics right after taking antibiotics.
Foods with Probiotics
So now you want to eat foods with probiotics right? Well, I got you!
Below is a list of the top 17 probiotic foods. Keep in mind that some of them are dairy or soy-based. If you are allergic or intolerant to these, avoid them.
- Coconut Kefir or Yogurt
- Raw Cheese
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Salted gherkin pickles
- Brine-cured olives
- Traditional Buttermilk
- Water Kefir
- Raw Milk
Before you buy probiotics for eczema…
Before you rush out to buy the most expensive probiotics on the market, you need to do two things.
Take a long hard look at your current diet and lifestyle.
No matter what probiotic, supplement, or cream you buy, that one product will not heal your eczema.
I’m sorry to break it to you, but someone has to.
I used to be like you and put my entire healing journey and dreams into a single product.
If you can focus on consistently eating healthy whole foods and find ways to reduce stress through journaling, yoga, therapy, working with a health coach (like me!), and whatever helps you ease your anxiety and worries, there is a place for probiotics.
Changing your lifestyle can feel like an enormous and scary task, but it doesn’t have to be.
Sometimes it even helps to work with a Certified Nutritional Practitioner like me. I’ve been living with eczema for the last 20 years and went through topical steroid withdrawal. I understand what you are going through on a physical, mental, and emotional level.
Sometimes, all you need is a little bit of guidance, coaching, and support.
I created the XZMA Healing Program to guide, coach, and support you.
Check it out!