Eczema, Skin Conditions, Infant and Children | July 28, 2016 | Author: Naturopath
The human skin, although often taken for granted, is actually the largest organ in the human body. It is also by far one of the most important as it serves to protect all other structures of the body against harmful stimuli that may cause infections and damage. At the very least, the skin acts as a middle man between the inner body and the external environment it comes into contact with. It is therefore obviously important that a good skin health and integrity is maintained at all times to ensure that it fulfills its protective function.
Unfortunately, because of the very fact that it serves at the front line of the body’s defense, the skin also happens to be the most vulnerable organ in the human body. It is mostly the first to signal any changes within the body, whether good or bad; when the body becomes too cold then the skin will have ‘goose bumps’ and when the body is too hot, the skin will sweat.
When things such as acne, eczema and other skin infections begin to appear on the skin, besides being unsightly, they often indicate some degree of ill-health on at least one physiological level. There has been much speculation and debate about what exactly causes acne, eczema and other related skin infections; from diet, environmental exposures to hygiene practices. No concrete consensus has been reached so far on the matter, but it is clear that a common denominator among all the theories is ‘immunity’ or rather, lack of.
The body’s immunity is weakened by an excessive presence of bad pathogens in the body as opposed to good bacteria. Microbes are the general term for all the bacteria in the body and there are literally hundreds of millions of these bacteria living inside every human being at this very moment. Contrary to popular belief, however, not all bacteria are bad. The good bacteria are known as probiotics and actually promote good gut health and consequently, good overall health of the body.
Acidophilus and other probiotics are defined by The Joint FAO/WHO Working Group as “live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.”
One of these health benefits bestowed by probiotics is good skin health. Foods that are rich in probiotics, especially Lactobacillus, L. acidophilus, B. bifudum and Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, helps to greatly reduce the appearance of acne and eczema. Infants who had developed eczema before they had turned 12months old have a far less concentration of diverse gut bacteria when they were 7 days old than infants who did not develop eczema.
The key to figuring out how exactly it is that probiotics taken orally to treat skin problems from the inside would help to promote good skin health and reduce the appearance of acne and eczema lays in the ways that probiotics act in the gut and body:
Flush out toxins. Probiotics flush out toxins and free radicals that can cause damage to the skin.
They also help to repair the existing damage that results from prolonged exposure to these toxins.
Strengthens skin barrier. By increasing microflora and microbiome in the gut, they help to strengthen the skin’s barrier which prevents harmful toxins from reaching and affecting the internal body.
Hydrate. Streptococcus thermophilles, a type of probiotic, helps to regulate the temperature of the body and thus the skin. This helps to maintain good moisture levels in the skin, preventing it form drying out or perspiring excessively and breaking as a result.
Immunity. By strengthening the immune system and immune response processes, probiotics make it easier for the body to fight infectious stimuli that may lead to acne and eczema. It also gives the body the strength to repair damage to the skin through regular immune processes.
Respiration. Probiotics help to clear the upper respiratory tract and can thus improve the respiratory processes; this ensures an adequate flow of oxygenated blood throughout the body which will lead to overall better skin integrity.
Collagen. Some probiotics are thought to carry the building blocks of collagen fibers that make skin plumper and look younger.
Besides supplements, the following are recommended sources of good probiotics:
Although dairy is probably the safest and most widely available source of probiotics, it is essential to verify first the contents of the product. Products such as yogurt can be tricky as there are so many types on the market and a lot of them are riddled with sugars and artificial colorants that will actually the counter the desired effect so it is probably best to opt for the organic dairy products where possible. Goats’ milk, cheese and dark chocolate are a great example of good dairy/dairy type products that are rich in probiotics.
The practice of fermenting foods predates thousands of years and it is not for nothing that the practice has been hailed as one of the healthiest nutritional practices. Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchee and kifir and apple cider vinegar are rich in probiotics that will help to maintain great gut health.
Ocean-based plants such as spirullina, a type of blue-green algae that is rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acid and antioxidants that can help protect cells from damage are another form of probiotic-rich foods.
Anyone who suffers from skin conditions such as eczema and acne would benefit by taking an extra helping of probiotics daily, at least through their diet, to help treat the underlying cause and repair damage.
People who have ever been on a course of strong antibiotics that may have compromised the integrity of their gut health would benefit taking a course of probiotics.
Everyone else who is exposed to a toxic environment, eats processed foods and/or leads a highly stressful lifestyle would do well to invest in a diet that is rich in probiotics as a precautionary measure to help the gut regain equilibrium.
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