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The Meat in Your Diet Can Cause Eczema


A friend of mine had eczema for many years. The pain during a flare-up was debilitating and made any movement painful.  What was even worse is that every medication, remedy and treatment either did nothing or made things worse. Those with eczema have usually tried everything to no avail. There is currently no cure.

 

For those unfamiliar, eczema (or atopic dermatitis) is a skin disease caused when the body attacks its own skin cells. Eczema is an inflammatory disorder that disrupts the skin’s outer barrier. The disruption to the barrier causes skin dryness, scaly lesions, itchiness and a lot of pain. Eczematic skin is weak and cracks at the surface, causing those with the condition to be vulnerable to a multitude of infections.

Like acne, dermatitis is a common condition that has been studied extensively but with little progress towards a cure. It is also something that is more common now than in the past. When I hear of something being more common now, I immediately jump to examining environmental causes.

 

Acne is often caused by bad skin care. This is why those with acne seem to have a department-store inventory of skin care in their bathrooms, in addition to constantly going to estheticians, and their skin looks worse than someone with a simple skin care routine and who never gets facials.

 

Acne is also caused by diet. A lot of people report that after eliminating meat and dairy from their diet they saw a clearing of their skin in a few weeks. The reason why meat and dairy is harmful to the skin is because of the added hormones and antibiotics. The hormones in meat accumulate in your body and cause your sebum glands to produce an excess of sebum, which is inflammatory and leads to clogged pores, pustules, redness and pimples. The antibiotics interfere with your body’s bacterial biome and will kill off beneficial bacteria. When beneficial bacteria are killed off, you open the door for pathogenic invasion which manifests in many ways, including acne.

 

Fluorescent microscopy image of bacteria

 

Using the same idea, I was curious if a meat and dairy-free diet could improve the signs of eczema. It's possible that consuming meat initiates an inflammatory response that causes the destruction of skin cells. It has been found that a high-fat meal causes an increase in pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as Interleukin-6. Further studies found that interrupting Interleukin-6 in eczema patients resulted in improvement of their symptoms.

 

Interleukin- 6

 

Other studies that have found that drugs that suppressed Interleukin-3 (IL-3) and Interleukin-4 (IL-4) also saw an improvement eczema symptoms.

 

I believe that eczema can be caused by many factors, and for a lot of people, their diet is the cause. I determined that my friend was drinking milk daily and eating meat with just about every meal. I suggested to go meat-free (with the exception of fish a couple times per week) for one month.

 

Going meat free when you are addicted to animal products is not an easy task. Most cannot go a single meal without at least one animal product included. And that is a huge problem with westernized diets and the reason for many health issues. Humans can survive on plant-based proteins, it is healthier and meat (for those who want it) should be consumed at a maximum of once per week.

 

I had to lay out the case for my friend who was reluctant to give up meat and dairy. And I said that you have to choose what you like more, burgers or moving without your skin peeling off. So my friend agreed and changed diet for one month.

 

And the reason why I am writing this article today is because my friend is now eczema free for the first time in over 10 years. Said friend also dropped their cholesterol too which was an added bonus. 

 

So if you have eczema, tried every medication, remedy and treatment to no avail, I suggest examining your diet. It could be the root cause for your skin issues.

 

 

 

References:

 

Hamilton, J. D., Suárez-Fariñas, M., Dhingra, N., Cardinale, I., Li, X., Kostic, A., ... & Yancopoulos, G. D. (2014). Dupilumab improves the molecular signature in skin of patients with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology134(6), 1293-1300.

Jeong, S. H., Kang, D., Lim, M. W., Kang, C. S., & Sung, H. J. (2010). Risk assessment of growth hormones and antimicrobial residues in meat. Toxicological research26(4), 301.

Lundman, P., Boquist, S., Samnegård, A., Bennermo, M., Held, C., Ericsson, C. G., ... & Tornvall, P. (2007). A high-fat meal is accompanied by increased plasma interleukin-6 concentrations. Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases17(3), 195-202.

Navarini, A. A., French, L. E., & Hofbauer, G. F. (2011). Interrupting IL-6–receptor signaling improves atopic dermatitis but associates with bacterial superinfection. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology128(5), 1128-1130.

Viljanen, M., Pohjavuori, E., Haahtela, T., Korpela, R., Kuitunen, M., Sarnesto, A., ... & Savilahti, E. (2005). Induction of inflammation as a possible mechanism of probiotic effect in atopic eczema–dermatitis syndrome. Journal of allergy and clinical immunology115(6), 1254-1259.