Table of Content
Eczema is a chronic skin condition characterized by thick scaly, red inflamed skin with an itchy rash. Affecting more than 31 million Americans alone and overall, up to 3% of the world population, the condition still doesn’t have an exact known cause. However, researchers have come to a close conclusion that it results due to the combination of genetic and environmental factors. Moreover, it is also found that the microbes that dwell on our skin commonly known as skin microbiome also play a vital role in developing this eczema condition also known as Atopic Dermatitis. Scientists in studies also targeted a particular gene called Filaggrin that is indirectly responsible for the onset of Eczema condition. This confirms that Eczema is related to the genes and though necessary, can be passed on to the next generation Basically, eczema has no completely known cure. But it can be managed following a strict care routine and keeping a record of things and activities that one does in order to avoid the eczema flares. one needs to manage their eczema actively by following a strict care routine plan.
Do you have a care routine plan in place? Let us help you to manage your care plan in a way that’s effective for your eczema treatment
Affecting the quality of life of a person, a common eczema sufferer may require to spend an average of 30 min to a couple of hours in a day to take care of their moderate to severe eczema. This may include moisturizing, applying ointments/steroids, wet wraps, bleach bath controlling the room humidity, etc.
When there is a link between microbiome and eczema then definitely there should be a link between eczema and probiotics right…???
Let us understand if, what and how probiotics may play role in treating eczema…
Role of Microbes in Eczema
Despite their microscopic size, bacteria play a vital role in eczema and in the overall health of the skin. To understand probiotics, one should 1st know that our body possesses trillions of good and bad bacteria. The major chunk of them is present in our gut and the one which colonizes our skin is collectively known as the skin microbiome Skin microbiomes influence the skin barrier by controlling ecological factors, such as humidity, temperature, pH, and lipid content. These changes can exacerbate skin barrier dysfunction. They are associated with abnormalities in the functions of skin barrier-associated genes which produce a structural protein required to form an outermost protective layer of the skin. Earlier studies have found that the Microbe Staphylococcus aureus creates susceptibility to develop Atopic Dermatitis and is directly linked to Eczema Flares.
Often many people think of bacteria and other microorganisms as harmful “germs,” but many are actually helpful. There are certain bacteria that help in fighting this problem, in common words, they are also called as Good Bacteria which benefit humans. The treatment or management of eczema has a gamut of things involved in the care plan also gives rise to the idea of probiotics. But will it really make a significant difference in the journey to treat eczema?? Albeit of a lot of works and programs by different researchers and scientists in the field of use of probiotics to treat eczema the response or the information to support the effect of probiotics is only a little evident. What are Probiotics?
With rising eczema cases and there being a complete cure, there is always a search for alternative treatment methods. In such case use of probiotics as a treatment method for treating atopic dermatitis is rising in coming recent days. Probiotics are nothing but live microorganisms, also known as good bacteria, that are intended to have health benefits when consumed or applied to the body. Some help digest food, some destroy disease-causing cells and others produce vitamins. Many of the microorganisms in probiotic products are the same as or similar to microorganisms that naturally live in our bodies. The most common foods with probiotics include yogurt and other fermented foodstuffs.
What are prebiotics?
Prebiotics are nondigestible food components that selectively beneficial the growth or activity of beneficial microorganisms. They act as food for human microflora and are used with the intention of improving the balance of good bacteria.
What are symbiotics?
Synbiotics as the name suggest referring to food ingredients or dietary supplements combining probiotics and prebiotics in a form of synergism. The act by inhibiting the growth of pathogenic bacteria and enhancing the growth of beneficial organisms.
How do probiotics Works?
Probiotics act by maintaining a healthy balance between good bacteria in the human body. When a person falls ill or gets any infection the number of bad or harmful bacteria increases in the body disturbing. Probiotics restore the balance by fighting these harmful bacteria and supporting the immune system within the body so that it can prevent the kill and prevent the invasion of harmful bacteria’s in the body. Apart from fighting the bad bacteria’s they also aid in digestion, breakdown and absorb medications, etc create medicines and others. Probiotics also help to alleviate inflammation. When eczema is closely associated with skin inflammation. The probiotic sprays can be applied directly to areas of the affected skin. However, since chronic inflammation tends to be systemic, it is also important to target inflammation from the inside out. This means also eating probiotic foods or taking a quality supplement may help in fighting chronic inflammation.
Probiotics and Eczema
Probiotics can be an important value addition to the approach of eczema treatment. One can look at various perspectives in which this tiny organism that can’t be seen with the naked eye can be useful to curb eczema symptoms.
- Eczema is now for a long time suspected to be associated with the Leaky Gut Syndrome which is caused due to the increase in the gap between tight junctions. The Gut flora plays a vital role in maintaining the decorum of the tight junctions. In this case, probiotics can be a booster in improving the population of Good bacteria in maintaining the balance of Gut microbiomes improving the over-all condition making it a healthy Gut.
- When the eczema is severe, the individual is subjected to a good dose of anti-biotics, these antibiotics are known to damage the good bacteria too. A good supplement of Probiotics may help to regain the strength of the good microbiome which benefits our body in a various good task. This way intake of Probiotics helps to keep a balance of Microflora in our body while treating severe eczema infections with antibiotics.
- Numerous clinical trials have been conducted using different probiotic strains for their ability to help improve the lives of people suffering from eczema. A particular strain of probiotics has been found beneficial in subsidizing eczema symptoms in individuals. Clinical trials have been conducted using Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001 to study its effect on eczema. In a trial of around 298 women and their infants, administration of 6 billion CFU of L. rhamnosus HN001 to infants from birth to 6 months yielded a significant improvement in their life.
- Lotions consisting of the specific microbiome (probiotics) are applied to the skin infected with eczema. A topical lotion with S. epidermis and S. hominis strains to test their effects on atopic dermatitis patients was created by Dr. Gallo’s and team. Application of this lotion on volunteers suffering from eczema gave results in 24 hrs vanishing S. aureus (which are responsible for destroying the outermost protective layer of the skin). The same Lotion without these microbes remained ineffective on the patients.
- Spraying water solution containing probiotics was proved beneficial in controlling the eczema symptoms. In a finding from a study led by Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director NIAID suggests that R. mucosa therapy may help relieve some children of both the burden of eczema symptoms and the need for daily treatment.” For 12 weeks, twice a week a solution containing live R. Mucosa was sprayed on the affected part of the skin of children suffering from eczema. 17 of 20 children enrolled in the study experienced a greater than 50% improvement in eczema severity following treatment. Improvement occurred on all treated skin sites reducing the symptoms such as Itch and rash.
- Nowadays Topical preparations containing probiotics are gaining popularity for their role in skincare. These products are available over the counter (OTC) as all the probiotic products available currently are considered as cosmetics by the US FDA. Hence these products can be found at the beauty and cosmetic stores, salons, spas, etc.
Probiotic-Rich Foods to consider
When it comes to probiotics you have to consider certain things as specific strains of organisms are known for improving specific functions in the body. It is important to take advice from your physician before you go for a particular probiotic and its dose other than those are available naturally in the form of foods.
· Look for the supplement that has prebiotics also or symbiotic product
· Look for the Potency and CFU (colony-forming unit) at least 10 billion (Consult Doctor)
· Choose the one which has balanced strain and a known a brand to avoid the risk
· It is better to have more than one or multi-strain (5-6) of our tiny little friends
· Look for allergen-free probiotics which are free from the contents like GMO or other triggers which may cause flares
· Look for a better packaged probiotic which may not be vulnerable to environmental condition and is shelf-stable.
· Selecting the right probiotics may require little experimenting as different body react differently to the same probiotics
Among Probiotics strain, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are the most common supplements and have their own benefits they are typically found in yogurt, fermented products, and other dairy products.
Common foods that are rich in probiotics naturally include:
- Fermented Pickles
- Dark chocolate
- Miso Soup
- Raw cheese
- Apple cider vinegar
- Cultured vegetables
- Cottage cheeses
Prebiotics helping probiotics
Apart from probiotics as discussed it is good to consume the foods that may have content that acts as prebiotics. They promote the increase of good bacteria in the gut, help with various digestive problems, and even boost your immune system, these include:
- Chicory root
- Raw onion
- Raw dandelion greens
- Raw leek
- Konjac roots
- Jacon root
- Wheat Bran
Eczema treatment has reached new levels with novel methods of treatment and products/medicines that are used to treat Eczema. As the quench for treating and managing eczema seems to be a very long journey. As far as Probiotics in treating eczema, there has been interesting research showing evidence of the potential of using Pro-biotics in treating Eczema.
Probiotics can be beneficial for both adults and kids. Moreover, no evidence is found suggesting probiotics supplements may worsen the eczema symptoms or the skin condition and studies have demonstrated the positive effects of probiotics on reducing the incidence of eczema considerably. While there are a number of other proven benefits to probiotic bacteria consumption, aiming for improved immune function, digestion. So even if you say that it is not benefitting eczema it is definitely beneficial for your body in other functions.
So, it is always a good habit to include probiotic food in your meals. One easy way to start can be by simply introducing probiotic-rich foods into your diet, like yogurt and Buttermilk. However, if you are considering probiotic as a supplement and want to go for certain probiotic products or particular strain it’s worth a conversation with your healthcare provider.
· Wickens K, Barthow C, Mitchell EA, et al. Effects of Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001 in early life on the cumulative prevalence of allergic disease to 11 years. Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2018;29(8):808-814. doi:10.1111/pai.12982