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Nutritional and herbal strategies for eczema, psoriasis and other similar skin disorders

Here are some suggestions that may be of some benefit in the relief of several skin disorders.

Food considerations: It is well known that foods can be a primary cause of some skin disorders. There is evidence suggesting that dairy product allergies, wheat (in particular gluten) and eggs can precipitate many skin disorders. There is one study of 27 people demonstrating that 11 subjects had outbreaks of skin problems within two hours of eating eggs. It is imperative that you have a healthy lifestyle. It is wise to eat from the basic food groups including appropriate grains, 5 or more helpings of fruits and veggies per day and a modest amount of fats 25-30% of your total food consumption, less if you have cardiac, stroke or hypertension in you or your family members. It is also important to drink at least 8-10 glasses of water per day and exercise regularly. Below you will find some important suggestions to help you with some skin disorders.

Zinc: Deficiencies of this important mineral harm the skin and reduce its abilities to act as a barrier. (Typically, a deficiency can cause dermatitis around the mouth and rectal areas) Many rashes and other skin disorders can improve on relatively supplemental doses of zinc (adults 15-60 mg/day, children 10-15 mg/day-please be sure it is chelated (the molecule of zinc is tagged to an amino acid to enhance absorption) an example is zinc gluconate)

Vitamin E: This vitamin is a powerful antioxidant and has many benefits. It has been suggested that some skin disorders may be secondary to low levels of this vitamin. [Rec. 200-1000 IU/day-I recommend all natural as studies have shown three times the bioavailablity and absorption-D alpha tocopherol is all natural, D,L alpha tocopherol is synthetic (man made)]

Vitamin C: Several studies have demonstrated that this water-soluble vitamin can help patients with eczema and other skin disorders. (Rec. 100-1000 mg/day)

B Vitamins: These important nutrients are primarily involved in neural function, but they have many other roles. Deficiencies of the B vitamins can cause dermatological problems. (Rec. all the B vitamins at levels in Body Language Vitamin Co, Multi-vitamin and Antioxidant formula-typically at 25-100 mg: B-12 is poorly absorbed by mouth, therefore it can be given by injection or sublingually-under the tongue, or in higher doses i.e. 1000 micrograms)

Vitamin D: This vitamin is actually a hormone like compound that is crucial for bone, fingernail and skin health. There is evidence that vitamin D prevents skin cells from growing and shedding too rapidly. (Rec. 400 IU / day-note you should not take more than 800 IU/day without consulting your physician-toxicities do occur)

Vitamin A/or Beta-Carotene: A very important fat-soluble vitamin that has notable benefits for the skin. (Consider 5000-15000 IU/day); I prefer B carotene, as there are no untoward side effects from high doses, whereas with high doses of vitamin A, toxicity is a possibility.

Deficiencies of protein, folate and iron were identified in a group of patients with psoriasis and eczematoid skin disorders (this argues for a good general multi vitamin on a daily basis, not surprisingly, we highly recommend Body Language Vitamin Co?s multi-vitamin; it is the best one available).

Fish oils (yum!): A study from Finland showed resolution of psoriasis in 7/80 patients with psoriasis while 12/80 reported significant improvement. While the results are not staggering, fish oil is considered a very good supplement (specifically-DHA (doxyhexanoic acid) and EPA (eicospentanoic acid). There is increasing concern about the accumulation of mercury and PCB?s in the world?s fish population-it has been suggested that EPA and DHA do not expose us to an increased risk, as these compounds are not typically found in the EPA and DHA.

Evening primrose oil: this is to be taken orally and may be very helpful for eczema, it is suggested to take 1 tsp. orally/day.

Alpha linoleic acid: A very important source of omega 3 oils (also seen in fish oils). May help maintain healthy skin, it is recommended to take 500-1000 mg/day

Herbal considerations: These are topical options, i.e. do not ingest! Quercus (this is oak bark) has high amounts of tannin, which is an astringent. Malva (Mallow) moist compresses are very beneficial for eczema and psoriasis. Chamomile tea is an anti-inflammatory and can be used as a compress Pine tar is an antiseptic and affects keratin (their primary protein in skin) Juglans regia (walnut) has been used in Europe for centuries for eczema

There are many other herbal opportunities, we can discuss them if you would like or contact a local herbalist.

Conventional medicine: Allopathic or Osteopathic recommendations are typically corticosteroids, wraps, lights, methotrexate, cyclosporin etc.

I would favor manipulating the dietary intake (including supplements): Besides working closely with your dermatologist, you may need to work with an allergist to help determine food allergies if present. There are no quick fixes and this form of complementary/alternative medicine may take weeks to several months before a full effect can be expected.
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