It's been a couple of weeks since I wrote on my eczema series and I've missed it! Outside of my home and church, food allergies are my passion. Now, I am finding helping people with eczema is coming in a close second. If you have missed any posts in this series, clickhere.
When you read the title, did you say, "Pro...what??" It has only been in the last couple of years that I have heard much about probiotics and I am so amazed at their health benefits. As you might expect, they have been very beneficial to helping me clear up Tyler's eczema.
(Please note: I am not a doctor or a nurse. I'm just a mom that does a lot of research to keep her children healthy. Talk with your family doctor or allergist if you have any concerns about the information I share.)
What are Probiotics?
I get this question a lot, including from people in my own family. Would you be surprised to know you have most likely been reaping the benefits of probiotics on a small scale and didn't even know it? If you have eaten yogurt, then you have!
Probiotics are beneficial or "good" bacteria. Its hard to believe that any bacteria could actually be "good" but we need this type of bacteria to be healthy. Your body contains billions of bacteria and other microorganisms and many of them work hard to keep you in good health.
If you have ever taken an antibiotic (a drug that kills bacteria, even the good stuff) and have suffered from loose stools as a side effect, you know first-hand how miserable it can be to loose that beneficial bacteria. They serve a great purpose to keep us in optimal health. Like any other health problem, when things get out of balance, our health suffers.
These bacteria actually aid in digestion and guard our body by protecting it from harmful pathogens.
How Does This Help Eczema?
Many of these "good bacteria" are housed in our intestines. As much as 80% of your immune system is actually in your intestines! Eczema is an overreaction of the immune system. By strengthening the immune system, we can lessen, or possibly eliminate, the red, itchy flare ups that eczema creates.
I have studied probitiocs off and for a couple of years and am just now starting really wrap my mind around all of this. But, if I had to sum up their benefits for eczema in one sentence, I would say: "They give your body the right tools it needs to go to war."
"War" might seem like a strong word but if you have ever seen eczema like Tyler gets, you would completely agree with this analogy. His body fights hard against things it really shouldn't. For him, culprit #1 for is corn syrup. While I can eliminate that from his diet, I can't eliminate things like dust and mold which also trigger his eczema. So, I need to give his body the tools it needs to fight it off in a healthy manner.
What Kind Should I Get?
It took me quite a while to figure out exactly type of probiotic to put Tyler on. Last March I asked his allergist and then started digging around on Amazon (where I buy so many things these days). I read and read and finally found something that I wanted to try.
Last week we went back to our allergist and I showed him what I was using and he said it was an excellent choice. Yeah! Plus, Tyler loves the taste.
Here's what we use:
I give Tyler one of these daily along with his multivitamin. Not only do they help with eczema, they also keep the immune system strong.
When my youngest child, Dylan, was recovering from rotavirus in April (translation: LOTS and LOTS of intestinal problems), I gave him one of these each day, too. It seemed to help him regain his health a lot quicker.
(A quick note: the particular brand we use are not safe if you are dealing with a milk allergy, per a disclaimer on the bottle. Check out other probiotics Amazon sellshereor visit your local health food store.)
Even if you do not live with eczema, probiotics are great for many things. I suffer from bouts of terrible bronchitis. Last week, in anticipation of fall when I suffer the most, I started taking an adult version since they also are great for respiratory problems. (There are even reports they can help prevent asthma in children.)
Here is what I am on, for adults considering using them, too:
If I were required to give only two things to do to clear up eczema, they would be eliminate high fructose corn syrup from your diet and take a probiotic supplement.
I also have several suggestions of foods to eat that contain natural probiotics. Tyler takes his supplement daily and I try to feed him one natural probitic food daily. Join me tomorrow where I will share what he eats to keep his body full of all of those "good" bacteria.
I strongly encourage you to do your own research on the benefits of probiotics. Below are a few sources I used in preparing this post. But, dig deeper and make sure your child (and you!) are putting things in your body that will keep it in optimal health to keep the eczema (and a ton of other health problems) at bay. For Further Reading on Probiotics: Mayo Clinic Mercola