Eczema and diet – how are they related

There’s little debate regarding the fact that eczema can be a factor in causing eczema flare-ups. However, many medical professionals are beginning to assert that food allergies among eczema sufferers are over-diagnosed and that its role in causing flare-ups is over-stated. This article will go over some of the reasons for this discrepancy regarding eczema and diet and then detail some common dietary recommendations for patients who have eczema.

Food Allergies and Eczema

Undeniably, there are many food allergies which can lead to flare-ups. Some of the most commonly listed food allergies that may trigger an eczema flare-up include: wheat, soy, yeast, shellfish, nuts, citrus, milk, plus other dairy products.

But again, it should be noted, that only patients who are allergic to these foods can have flare-ups as a result of eating them.

Are These Food Allergies Over-Diagnosed?

In 2009, a 125 participant study, conducted by National Jewish Medical Center, found that food allergies were often misdiagnosed. The conductors of the study further hypothesized that misdiagnoses of food allergies were particularly common among individuals with eczema.

Testing small-portions of potential allergy-causing foods is generally believed to be the most effective way to diagnose a food allergy. The Jewish National Medical Center asserted that this method is not utilized enough in diagnosing food allergies among eczema patients and that other methods, such as blood tests are relied upon too heavily for diagnostic purposes.

Among the 125 participants, there were over 900 foods that were believed to be potential allergens. The study found that more than half of those foods (508) were ultimately non-allergenic.

Eczema Diet Plan

There have been a number of studies conducted regarding eczema and diets.

Here is an overview of those foods:

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

A German study, conducted upon 44 individuals with eczema, found that omega 3 fatty acids reduced the rate of eczema symptoms by 18%. These patients were given 5.7 gram omega 3 supplements for one month.

There are many foods that are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids. Fish particularly oily fish such as salmon, Tuna , trout and herring are the perhaps the richest source of omega 3 acids, other foods such as nuts also contain significant portions of omega 3’s.

Omega 6 Fatty Acids

Omega 6 fat acids, on the other hand are not typically recommended in a so-called eczema diet as they are known to lead to flare-ups.

Vitamin D for Eczema

A recent study conducted on 28 participants (14 had eczema, 14 didn’t) at the University of San Diego found that vitamin D led to increased levels of catholicity, which is a skin by-product that eczema patients are typically deficient in.

The study used 4,000 IU of Vitamin D, granted the sample-size was small so no conclusive evidence can be found here. That being said it does appear that vitamin D may be a beneficial supplement for eczema patients.

Eczema and Diet – Conclusion

Some in the medical community have asserted that food allergies are over-diagnosed among eczema patients. However many professionals in the field also believe that diet can play a role in the frequency of flare-ups among those with eczema. Omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin D, particularly are believed to have a positive effect on eczema, while omega 6 fatty acids are believed to potentially lead to flare-ups.