A healthy gut contains about 80-85% good bacteria, and 15-20% bad bacteria. When this is in balance, you feel great, have great skin, good energy, and life is good! But when this ratio is out of balance, eczema flare ups occur and inflammation is created.
An unhealthy gut contributes to many diseases, including diabetes, obesity, depression and chronic fatigue. To understand more about the role of the gut in improving eczema, let’s take a look at 2 important parts: the gut flora and gut barrier.
Why is the gut flora important in eczema?
Your gut is home to 100,000,000,000,000 (100 trillion) microorganisms! In fact, our gut contains 10 times more bacteria than all the human cells in the entire body, with over 400 known bacterial species.
- Increasing immunity – in fact, 80% of our immune system stems from our gut!
- Providing protection from infection
- Digesting and absorbing food by producing enzymes that help break down proteins, carbohydrates, and fats
- Regulating metabolism (studies show that obese people have a different gut flora than lean people)
- Aiding in the transportation of minerals, vitamins, water, and other nutrients through the gut wall
- Making certain nutrients such as vitamins K2, B1, B2, B3 B6, B12, folic acid, and various amino acids
The bacteria in your system help you digest food, regulate hormones, excrete toxins, and produce vitamins and other healing compounds that keep your gut and your body healthy.
When the gut flora is compromised and not functioning normally, an individual can potentially become malnourished with multiple nutrient deficiencies and food intolerance, which can show up as eczema.
In fact, 95% of serotonin, the happy hormone in your body, is created and located in your gut! Messages constantly travel back and forth between your gut-brain and your head-brain, and when those messages are interfered with in any way, your health may suffer. Changes in your levels and sensitivity to serotonin can change how your bowel works.
A person with an unhealthy digestive system (known as dysbiosis) will have trouble digesting certain foods. The problem with undigested foods is that it stays in the intestines and can become food for bacteria and yeast in our body.
These pathogens can grow and overpower the amount of beneficial bacteria and yeast in our gut. Too many of the wrong bacteria, like parasites and yeasts, or not enough of the good ones, like Lactobacillus or Bifidobacteria, can seriously damage your health. When this happens, the pathogens can give off toxic acidic byproducts which can damage the delicate lining of the intestinal tract and cause symptoms (such as excess mucous, excess gas, diarrhea, constipation, etc).
Many things, including:
- Overuse of medications, steroids, and antibiotics that can damage the gut or block normal digestive function (such as hormones, birth control pills, etc.)
- Diets high in refined carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods (this causes all the wrong bacteria and yeast to grow in our gut)
- Diets low in fermented foods and fiber
- Toxins or dietary toxins (such as mercury, mold, gluten)
- Chronic stress – which can alter the gut nervous system, cause a leaky gut, and change the normal bacteria in the gut
- Chronic infections, yeast overgrowth, or parasites
- Undetected gluten intolerance, celiac disease, or low grade food allergies to foods such as dairy, eggs, or corn.
The key to improving your eczema is to improve your gut.
How do we improve gut flora to improve eczema symptoms?
It’s important to nurture and restore healthy bacteria in our system. To do this, you should:
- Eliminate any factors from the list above that are killing your good gut flora
- Take a high-quality, multi-species probiotic (with at least 10 billion CFU to have an effect)
- Eat fermented foods like kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut, kim chi, kombucha, etc.
- Implement good digestion tips and start chewing your food to help assist in digestion and prevent leaky gut
- Eat plenty of fermentable fibers (starches like sweet potato, yam, yucca, etc.
- Treat any intestinal pathogens (such as parasites or yeast) that may be present
- Take steps to manage your stress
- Stop drinking tap water (since it can contain chlorine, medication, pollutants, etc. that can increase bad bacteria in your gut) and purchase an inexpensive water filter
Some high quality, proven brands are Genestra (HMF Forte), Bio-Kult, and Bio-K (which is a different brand from Bio-Kult).
According to Dr. Mercola on his website, he also states that one serving of fermented vegetables has 100 times more beneficial bacteria than a bottle of high potency probiotic supplement!
Join my group coaching program for more personalized support, learn more about my Conqueror Dry Skin Soothing Balm or visit my eBook links below to learn more about how you can heal your skin:
- The Elimination Diet: A Guide to Conquer Eczema & Food Sensitivities
- Healing Eczema: Why Dieting Is Not Enough
- The Power of Thoughts: How Mindset Shifts Can Help Eliminate Eczema
- My Detailed Eczema Healing Treatment Plan
Click here for more eczema resources or visit my list of recommended products for eczema!
Abby is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist who helps clients achieve optimal health. She is passionate about seeing people use health and nutrition to transform lives. She hopes that her experiences and knowledge can help educate others on natural remedies that will help eczema. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or YouTube for more updates!
Disclaimer: All the information found on this website should be used for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace proper medical advice. Always consult a qualified health care provider before embarking on a health or supplement plan.
Strange how no one else touches upon how important gut health and eczema is! I feel like everyone should know about this…not enough ppl are covering this topic!
If this is the case…we should be investing more in gut health!!
JJ park says
Could you recommend a good multi-species probiotic? I don’t know a thing about pills so I have no idea where to start. I’ve been buying things upon your recommendation (like the Honeywell humidifier) , thanks for the posts!
Hi JJ! Thanks for stopping by my site. Have you found that the humidifier has been helping? Also, yes – I can definitely recommend a multi-species probiotic for you. The type of probiotic that I recommend will depend on where you live though – because each country has different brands. Where do you live?
Sara E. says
I recently bought probiotics but it says 2 billion on the container. Will this not benefit me?
It depends on a number of factors, but 2 billion is a bit on the lower end. And usually, at least 10 billion is needed to help you see a difference (or some individuals need more – depending on how healthy their gut is).
I am glad to find your page. I have a 4 year old who suffer a pretty aggressive eczema although she keeps away from everything she is allergic or sensitive to.
I am going to buy a probiotic and start giving it to her.
Thank you for this video. I appreciate it.
You are welcome 🙂 Probiotics usually make a big difference – hope it helps!
Jennifer Etienne says
Hi I’m 15 years old and I have severe eczema.my while body looks as if someone burned me really bad. Im waiting on my allergy test to come back but is there a page on the specific tests you took and is Curcumin pills good for inflammation
this email is a test, did you get it? I didn’t hear back from you from my first question ? 🙂
Why is it that I get more itchy after putting anything on my skin? e.g., olive oil, coconut oil etc.
Also, is baking soda good for baths?
Hi Julie, thanks for your comment! There can be a number of reasons why your skin gets itchier after you put something on it. For instance, are you going through TSW? The oils you are using can also be creating “heat” and can be making your skin greasier. Baking soda can be anti-inflammatory as well when added to baths. Hope that helps!
No, I’m not going through TSW. How much baking soda should I use? Can I mix it with salt and oatmeal at the same time?
I have 4 month old baby boy, he has infected eczema since he was 2 month. The Dr gave him 3 episodes of antibiotics which didn’t help. Now his eczema is still infected plus gas problem wouldn’t feed and sleep well, he is breast fed baby. What would you recommend for his skin and for his gut.
Have you tried probiotics? Definitely try it – will help!
Is the probiotic for me or the baby? Can you give me the name of probiotic and where to buy i.e. Amazon.
Probiotics would be for your baby, but if you’re still breastfeeding it would be good for you to try it too. The brands I recommend are listed in my “products I love” page (on the menu bar). There’s a good baby probiotic by Genestra called HMF (not sure if you have it where you are), but it’s a high quality professional brand (and a bit pricier as well).
Thanks for the information.
The probiotic you suggested on products I love is for older children, can recommend one for babies i.e. powder or syrup form.
I hope your sons skin is much better, it breaks my heart to see kids with really bad skin problems. My son also did.. If you want to know what I did with healing the gut pls reply 🙂
hai jade.. what did you do? can you share??
Hi, I have a baby with severe ezcema and lung issues resulting from premature birth, ventilation etc. I have just been discussing gut flora with the doctors here and they simply refuse to accept that there is evidence to link but health with general immunity or ezcema. They will to agree that frequent use of antibiotics could have exacerbated the problem or that his frequent viral infections could also be related. Can you direct me to any medical research I could show them? Many thanks
If you are still having problems with your babies skin I can help by telling you what I did for my son. I noticed no one replied. It breaks my heart to see little ones with severe skin issues. I healed my sons gut health and it completely cleared up. The gut is the answer instead of bandaiding it with creams etc 🙂
Please show or help me how you clear up your baby ezcema. Thank you
I am a mother of 3 girls with food allergies as well as environmental allergies…we continue to struggle with one of them and her severe eczema, we’ve done rounds of steroids, antibiotics, eat all organic non processed foods and sugar…cut down on wheat (which she tested negative to), but whenever she eats wheat she complains her tummy hurts…for the past couple of weeks she has been complaining about a tummy ache and has been having diarrhea ever couple of days…there are times when she eats things and her whole body breaks out in thick brown blotches of dry skin…I’ve able to treat her affected areas with essential oils (has worked better than any steroid) myrrh, jupiner, lavender and jojoba oil than I add a layer of aquaphor. She Has been on treatment with the allergists, dermatologist but it seems like the issue is from the inside out. Our food restrictions are as followed: wheat, dairy, eggs, nuts, soy, so it very hard to find food that will promote good bacteria etc such as cheeses and such…could she have parasites?…
We will be ordering the Ecokleen Laundry ball since she is also sensitive to mostly every body wash, detergent…etc
I had to homeschool her due to her severe be eczema triggered by the environment (almond orchards, harvest season and heat here in central ca)
Thanks for sharing. Yes check parasites and heavy metals too!
Great article! I was wondering if you know if there is a big correlation between hormones and eczema. My eczema flared big time when I went off the birth control pill and during pregnancy. After having my baby for 2 weeks my skin was amazing!! Then it got bad again (and I’m breastfeeding so my hormones are still out of whack!)
Yes it definitely can! Birth control pills can affect the gut as well…so need to clean it out and heal the gut.
Please help, my baby only four month old, she had ezcema on her head face and now spreading to her body, im at my wit end and continue to cry everytime i look at her. Please help. And guide me through to what i should do. Cause she is so young I can’t introduce her food. I don’t know what to do.
Has anyone heard of ATOMY probiotics? It has 30 billions in each sachet & 12 types of probiotics. Can Google it online if it’s available in your country. It’s selling at 9 countries now.
Thank you for posting all this great advice for us eczema prone people. I have had it since I was very young but didn’t realize it was a gut problem. I do have to stay away from breads and cereals that seem to trigger an episode. That’s going to be difficult bc I love them !! 🙁
I forget to say God bless you for the helpful information that you are providing !!