Best Foods to Avoid for Eczema

Best Foods to Avoid for Eczema
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Randomized, double-blind, controlled trials suggest that excluding certain foods, such as eggs and chicken, can significantly improve atopic dermatitis.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, “is a chronic inflammatory skin disease”; in fact, the leading cause of healthy years of life lost due to common skin diseases, because it’s just so common—affecting about a fifth of us. And, it’s not just an itchy rash; it’s associated with other diseases, too. Yes, it can be itchy, exhausting, and embarrassing, but in kids, may increase risk for ADHD—though that may just be from the sleep deprivation. And, in adults, may increase the risk of major depression.

And, it’s on the rise.

There are drugs for it; of course, there are always drugs. Steroids are the first-line therapy, but then there are immunosuppressants as well, with more in the drug pipeline. You know the medical profession is desperate when they’re forced to go back to the basics, and start applying leeches to people.

Previously, I talked about the safety and efficacy of other, more natural treatments. But, what about diet? Our story begins in 1920, a year doctors were realizing how good this oxygen stuff was—though maybe not as good as injecting people with mercury. But, a researcher at Johns Hopkins reported a number of cases in which, “[b]y omitting eggs, meat[s], and milk from the diet, [patients’] eczema improved.” Who’s going to profit off of that, though? No wonder it took 58 years before it was put to the test.

Figuring eggs and milk were the two foods most likely involved in eczema, they excluded them— and chicken and beef, since it may just be chicken and cow proteins more generally—in a randomized, double-blind, controlled trial swapping in soy milk instead. And…70% of the patients improved.

One person got worse on the no-egg, no-chicken, no-milk, no-beef diet, but almost everyone else got better. So, the researchers conclude that for many kids, avoiding those foods may “induce a clinical improvement.” And interestingly, it didn’t seem to depend on whether allergy tests showed that they were allergic to milk and eggs. Either way, they tended to get better, regardless.

You can do randomized, double-blind, food challenges, where you like give kids with eczema various foods in opaque capsules—like one with egg powder, one with wheat powder, etc. And egg was found “by far [to be] the most…offending food.” For example, in this study, where they just cut out the eggs, dramatic improvements were documented for both the amount of skin involvement and the severity of the eczema lesions, after removing eggs from the diet.

But, in about 90% of cases, the mom had no idea that eggs were a problem. Why? Because it wasn’t like they were eating scrambled eggs or something. Almost all the egg exposure was hidden; they were exposed to hidden egg products in like packaged foods. So, they had no idea why their eczema was so bad—until this study, where they removed all eggs and egg products from their diets.

Eggs are evidently “the most frequent cause of food…sensitivity in children.” Out of hundreds of kids with eczema tested, “egg allergy was documented in two thirds” of those with sensitivities. In fact, a child having a blood reaction to egg-white proteins appears to be one of the best laboratory tests for predicting future allergic diseases in general. It appears to be the ovomucoid protein within egg white that seems to be causing most of the mischief.

About 40% of kids with eczema have some form of food allergy. And, the more food allergies they have, the more likely it appears they’re going to suffer from eczema— and, make it worse. Those who react to cow’s milk protein are significantly more likely to suffer severe eczema, showing the important role cow’s milk proteins may play “in the induction and increased severity of eczema in children.”

Often, parents switch from cow’s milk to goat’s milk, in an attempt to improve their children’s eczema. But goat’s milk should never be given to kids with a cow’s milk allergy, because they often cross-react with one another, which has been confirmed with double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenges.

Ass milk, on the other hand, is a different story. Switching kids to donkey milk improved their eczema, and, for that matter, horse’s milk might, as well.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Icons created by Gabriele Masaspina and Nestor Arellano from The Noun Project

Image credit: Kai Schreiber. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, “is a chronic inflammatory skin disease”; in fact, the leading cause of healthy years of life lost due to common skin diseases, because it’s just so common—affecting about a fifth of us. And, it’s not just an itchy rash; it’s associated with other diseases, too. Yes, it can be itchy, exhausting, and embarrassing, but in kids, may increase risk for ADHD—though that may just be from the sleep deprivation. And, in adults, may increase the risk of major depression.

And, it’s on the rise.

There are drugs for it; of course, there are always drugs. Steroids are the first-line therapy, but then there are immunosuppressants as well, with more in the drug pipeline. You know the medical profession is desperate when they’re forced to go back to the basics, and start applying leeches to people.

Previously, I talked about the safety and efficacy of other, more natural treatments. But, what about diet? Our story begins in 1920, a year doctors were realizing how good this oxygen stuff was—though maybe not as good as injecting people with mercury. But, a researcher at Johns Hopkins reported a number of cases in which, “[b]y omitting eggs, meat[s], and milk from the diet, [patients’] eczema improved.” Who’s going to profit off of that, though? No wonder it took 58 years before it was put to the test.

Figuring eggs and milk were the two foods most likely involved in eczema, they excluded them— and chicken and beef, since it may just be chicken and cow proteins more generally—in a randomized, double-blind, controlled trial swapping in soy milk instead. And…70% of the patients improved.

One person got worse on the no-egg, no-chicken, no-milk, no-beef diet, but almost everyone else got better. So, the researchers conclude that for many kids, avoiding those foods may “induce a clinical improvement.” And interestingly, it didn’t seem to depend on whether allergy tests showed that they were allergic to milk and eggs. Either way, they tended to get better, regardless.

You can do randomized, double-blind, food challenges, where you like give kids with eczema various foods in opaque capsules—like one with egg powder, one with wheat powder, etc. And egg was found “by far [to be] the most…offending food.” For example, in this study, where they just cut out the eggs, dramatic improvements were documented for both the amount of skin involvement and the severity of the eczema lesions, after removing eggs from the diet.

But, in about 90% of cases, the mom had no idea that eggs were a problem. Why? Because it wasn’t like they were eating scrambled eggs or something. Almost all the egg exposure was hidden; they were exposed to hidden egg products in like packaged foods. So, they had no idea why their eczema was so bad—until this study, where they removed all eggs and egg products from their diets.

Eggs are evidently “the most frequent cause of food…sensitivity in children.” Out of hundreds of kids with eczema tested, “egg allergy was documented in two thirds” of those with sensitivities. In fact, a child having a blood reaction to egg-white proteins appears to be one of the best laboratory tests for predicting future allergic diseases in general. It appears to be the ovomucoid protein within egg white that seems to be causing most of the mischief.

About 40% of kids with eczema have some form of food allergy. And, the more food allergies they have, the more likely it appears they’re going to suffer from eczema— and, make it worse. Those who react to cow’s milk protein are significantly more likely to suffer severe eczema, showing the important role cow’s milk proteins may play “in the induction and increased severity of eczema in children.”

Often, parents switch from cow’s milk to goat’s milk, in an attempt to improve their children’s eczema. But goat’s milk should never be given to kids with a cow’s milk allergy, because they often cross-react with one another, which has been confirmed with double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenges.

Ass milk, on the other hand, is a different story. Switching kids to donkey milk improved their eczema, and, for that matter, horse’s milk might, as well.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Icons created by Gabriele Masaspina and Nestor Arellano from The Noun Project

Image credit: Kai Schreiber. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

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