The gastrointestinal system, or the gut does more than absorb nutrients from our food. This system of digestive organs, which includes the mouth, oesophagus, stomach, rectum, small and large intestine, as well as the liver, pancreas and gallbladder, makes up 70% of your body’s immune system.

The important role of the gastrointestinal system is to act as a communication centre to and from the brain to fight against diseases. When the system is working well, it acts as a barrier to allow nutrients to pass but still protect against foreign pathogens. That is why the health of your child’s gut is so important as it could affect their overall immune system which is said to be linked to eczema.

Is eczema linked to gut bacteria?

Scientists from the University of Turku, Finland have discovered that kids who have eczema have a lot more bacteria in their guts than kids who not have this skin condition. They observed children with and without eczema to compare gut bacteria, and results showed that infants at 18 months who have eczema, had different amounts of bacteria, than those without eczema.

What food to eat and what to avoid for a healthy eczema gut?

The microorganisms living in the gut contain a huge number of good and bad bacteria. It is very important to keep the good bacteria in balance so the gut can work well.  Certain foods such as sugary, junk food, processed foods and also medications such as antibiotics and topical steroid creams can have a negative effect on the balance of your child’s gut bacteria so be mindful of your child’s diet as gut inflammation may trigger eczema flare ups.

Common foods that can help with eczema are fatty fish, yoghurt, soft cheeses, fruits and vegetables packed with antioxidants such as strawberries, rock melon and kiwi. Foods containing quercetin such as broccoli, kale, apples and cherries are also good for your eczema child because they have natural anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine properties.

How does gut inflammation trigger eczema?

When your child’s body has too much bad bacteria, inflammation happens and this results in a fever. Inflammation is good for getting rid of harmful bacteria but too much inflammation can weaken the walls of your child’s gut lining and create holes which we call a ‘leaky’ gut. Bad bacteria can then enter these holes and into blood stream, causing infections. Our skin is the body’s largest elimination organ which means when the bacteria is being wiped out an eczema flare up can happen.

What are the symptoms of a leaky gut?

Not everyone will have the same symptoms so it is important to keep an eye out for how your child reacts to certain foods, especially processed or sugary. Some of the common symptoms are:

  • Gas and bloating
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Stomach aches especially after eating
  • Skin rashes
  • Inflammatory bowel disease

Can probiotics help with gut health and eczema?

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts which can help with gut-related problems. Probiotic supplements are usually given in powder form to children, by mixing with food. They are being considered more and more for children with eczema and allergies as they can help build a strong and healthy immune system that can better withstand eczema triggers and allergies.

The most well-known probiotic rich food is yogurt which contains live cultures. Other fermented foods like sauerkraut, miso, sourdough bread and soft cheeses also contain probiotics.

This blog post was brought to you and your family with love from Julia and the itchy baby co. team x.

Disclaimer: Information provided is of a general nature only, and you should always consult your medical professional.