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Eczema Natural Treatment Home Remedy

By Dr. Jonathan V. Wright

If you have a child with eczema, or have eczema yourself, you may have been frustrated with treatment you've been given so far. Fortunately, there are other treatment options that usually achieve better and longer lasting results. In the large majority of cases, eczema can be entirely controlled or eliminated without prescription medication.

"Mainstream" medical treatment of eczema involves a bewildering array of synthetic cortisone-like preparations, along with antihistamines to control itching. In more severe conditions, prednisone is given orally.

More solid relief of eczema involves diet change along with supplemental minerals and vitamins. In more severe cases, testing and treatment for incomplete digestion may be necessary.

To eliminate eczema, food allergy must be identified and eliminated first. Desensitization is frequently possible. Milk and dairy products are usually at the top of the allergy list, especially for children. Although self-diagnosis of food allergy is possible with careful dietary elimination and observations, most frequently help is necessary from a skilled and knowledgeable health care professional. Regular scratch-type skin testing is fairly accurate for inhalant allergies, but it's unreliable for food allergy. For more dependable and useful food allergy and sensitivity screening, you might want to contact a member of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine at 913-642-6062 or the International Federation of Electrodermal Screeners at 800-258-2172. For more information about allergy testing, you might want to read the brief on Allergy Testing.

In more severe cases of eczema there's frequently impairment of digestive function, even in small children. Sometimes the stomach isn't making sufficient acid and pepsin to completely digest food. Less often, the pancreas doesn't make enough digestive . Clues that inadequate digestion is part of an eczema problem include bloating after meals, indigestion, constipation or diarrhea, and undigested food particles in the stool. Individuals with eczema who also have significant digestive problems must have them appropriately treated to successfully control or eliminate eczema. It's usually necessary to check with a health care professional familiar with testing and treatment for these problems. In addition to the referral numbers you've heard, you may want to contact the American College of Advancement in Medicine. I will give you their telephone number in a minute.

Fortunately, significant digestive problems are present in only a minority of people with eczema. For the majority, recognition and treatment of food allergy along with vitamin and mineral supplementation is enough to control or eliminate eczema.

Zinc is far and away the most important mineral for eczema. For children, quantities of zinc vary from 30 to 90 milligrams daily, depending on the age of the child and the severity of the eczema. For adults, I usually recommend 60 to 120 milligrams daily to start, in the zinc picolinate form for better absorption. Since zinc treatment usually needs to be continued for months to years, it could possibly deplete body copper. I usually recommend copper sebacate [seb-a-catel, 4 to 8 milligrams daily, taken at a different time of day than the zinc.

Essential fatty acids are the other key supplement in eczema treatment. Flax oil is the best-balanced source of essential fatty acids, and is widely available at natural food stores. For children, I usually recommend two teaspoons to two tablespoons daily to start, again depending on the age of the child and the severity of the eczema. For adults, one to three tablespoons daily are usually necessary to start. For those who don't like the flax oil is available in capsules, though it takes five to six to make a tablespoon. Many parents mix the flax oil in with juice, or blend it with peanut or other nut butter. Vitamin E should always be used with supplemental essential fatty acids. I usually recommend 200 to 400 units daily.

Other nutrients useful in eczema treatment include vitamins A and C. For children, quantities of vitamin A vary from 20,000 to 40,000 units daily, for adults from 25,000 to 75,000 units daily. Vitamin C recommendations can vary from 500 to 1000 milligrams daily for children to 3 to 4 grams daily for adults. Since there's a small chance of unwanted effects from larger quantities of vitamin A, it's always best to work with a health care professional skilled and knowledgeable in nutritional and other natural therapies.

Since food allergy is such a large part of eczema, in a small proportion of individuals there may be allergy to the supplements you've heard about. If this happens, desensitization must be done before treatment can be continued, or alternatives must be found.

When using individual supplements in treatment, it's always wisest to use a general multiple vitamin and mineral supplement also.

Occasionally, children with stubborn eczema are found to have candida overgrowth in the bowels, usually caused by multiple antibiotic treatments. For further information about candida, you might want to read the brief on Yeast Infection (Candida).

Since many of those with eczema are young, and since so much allergy is usually involved, it's best to be working with a health care professional skilled and knowledgeable in food allergy and sensitivity screening and treatment as well as nutritional and natural therapies.

Because of differences in age, sex, metabolism, or potential allergy, these diet and supplement therapies may not be suitable for you. Consult a health care professional skilled in nutritional and natural therapies. To locate one near you, you might call the American College of Advancement in Medicine at 800-532-3688 or the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians at 206-323-7610.


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