Originally published in Bradford Today on August 18, 2019.
In her weekly column, licensed nutritionist, Nonie De Long, shares a case study and explores holistic treatments for eczema and psoriasis.
Dear Nutritionist, I like to read your column and I have a question. I’m very frustrated about my health. I have serious eczema to the point where I scratch my skin off. I have bloody scabs over most of my body. It’s embarrassing and it’s become a problem with my work and every aspect of my life. I have been on cortisol creams for over 2 decades and saw a naturopath and none of it helps. Literally I can’t do anything without scratching my skin off to the point that I bleed! I would like to know if you know something! What can I do in terms of my diet that really helps this problem? I will do anything! Thank you! Itchy! Dear Itchy, I am so sorry you’ve suffered this problem without a solution for so long! Yes! I have found effective holistic eczema treatment! I will outline it for you herein, and I will enclose pictures of a client who suffered severe psoriasis for 30 years before coming to see me. The after photo is taken less than 2 months after we started working together. He was on corticosteroids for over 30 years prior to seeking out my help. I enclose this to give you hope. There is healing for chronic skin conditions! In every single case of eczema or psoriasis or severe acne that I have seen, the client has extreme food intolerances. Intolerances are different than allergies in that they are not immediate reactions, but often delayed and more subtle. They sort of build up over time with repeated exposure. So, my first recommendation is that you get tested to figure out what food is optimal for you. This is not the typical skin scratch test I am referring to. This is not a blood antibody test either. I want you to have your hair tested for food intolerances, which will tell you not only what you are sensitive to, but what is genetically optimal for you to eat. There are only a few nutritionists that do this, but I recommend highly that you find one. This is basically a reset for your body in terms of inflammation. After you are on this diet for 2-3 months you can add things back in one per week to see how your body reacts. Realize that when you react to a food it may be delayed. An allergy is an immediate reaction. A sensitivity can sometimes can take days to fully manifest, often in less obvious ways like brain fog and low energy, or low mood, or digestive disorders. Or skin complaints! If that happens, remove the food and see if it clears. It can take 2 to 3 weeks to clear the symptoms if the body is under any sort of stress. So it's a very slow process and testing is really the best way to go. It might seem very basic, but when we have repetitive exposure to inflammatory foods in our diet we aren’t able to be really accurate in identifying how each one makes us feel. But when we get back to the basics we can usually more easily detect those that trigger a response in us. It’s a combo of listening to the body and also removing the 'noise' of excess triggers that helps. You will be surprised how well it works. Common intolerances are wheat and gluten, grains, dairy, and additives like artificial colours or MSG. Wine, fruit, eggs, and chocolate, as well as tea and coffee, are also common. Many people also react to the oils in processed foods and to corn or soy oil in a way that exacerbates inflammation. Additionally, sugar causes a number of problems with hormones and adds to inflammation. It’s best to remove all of these and focus on a very simple meat/fish with root and cruciferous veggies with only water to start out. Brown rice is a very non-reactive food for many but it can add to inflammation so I don't recommend it every day. Some fruit is acceptable but overdoing it overloads the body with sugar, which isn't going to help you. I've seen strawberries cause skin problems! This diet will reduce reactivity and act as a reset for you. You will be better equipped to determine what you react to from this place. And just because you react to something doesn’t mean you can never have it again! Usually there is a period wherein we remove offending foods 100% and then there is a period wherein we introduce them in rotation. This depends on your sensitivity level, which the testing determines. And it usually requires professional guidance. When intolerances are approached thus they become very manageable and over time they should improve exponentially. Fermented foods are fine, as are some natural condiments and sauces as well as healthy oils, including virgin coconut, avocado, and extra virgin olive oil. This is your foundation diet to rebuild your health. I know it’s popular to shun meat products but it is not optimal, in my opinion. It's harder to clear skin troubles using grains as staples. If you are not averse to eating animal products, do so in a nose to tail fashion, optimally one fish or meat meal a day. But veggies should be your primary food. Skincare should be limited to all natural products that you can eat. Your skin actually absorbs what you put on it, so it’s best to focus on purity! Grapeseed oil, almond oil, apricot oil, coconut oil, cocoa butter, and shea butter are all acceptable moisturizers. Natural bar soap should replace any scented or liquid soaps for a cleanser. A good natural scrub is bicarbonate - or try diatomite for sensitive skin. And moisturize after every shower. The easiest way is to bathe in the eve and apply oil an hour or more before bed so it can absorb fully. Going to a tanning salon or getting enough natural sun exposure in season - for short periods - is also highly beneficial. Data is emerging that suggests oral vitamin D supplements do not do what the sun-synthesized vitamin D does for our immune system and health. And sun exposure creates an incredible healing response in skin tissue. I am not recommending you go for the crispy broiled look, but a light tan is a good indicator that you're getting enough. People of darker skin tones need more sun to tan and to synthesize vitamin D. So the tan is a good indicator of benefit. This does not work if you're wearing any sunscreen products! Next you want to get a good zinc supplement 25-30mg/ day. You want orotate or picolinate. These make the zinc more bioavailable. wherever skin is problematic. And you want to find the right digestive enzyme and probiotic for your needs. New science . I recommend a few professional brands, depending on your symptoms. If you’re doing all this and you do not get an 80% reversal in you symptoms in 2 months you absolutely need to see a licensed herbalist cum homeopath. These modalities can address issues that other medicines do not. It’s difficult to explain but it works and is very safe. I recommend you try these when diet and supplements alone fail to fully solve the problem. The photos attached are of a client who suffered psoriasis for over 30 years, using various steroidal creams and treatments. He was diagnosed with type II diabetes and reached out this year, after which I assisted. The second pic is at less than 2 months working together. He is very happy to report that the skin issues are 95% gone! The diabetes has gone from highs of 35 to highs of 11! Food really is medicine! Of course, if you need further direction or assistance, you can always reach out! Namaste! Nonie Nutritionista Nonie De Long is a registered orthomolecular nutritionist with a clinic in Bradford West Gwillimbury, where she offers holistic, integrative health care for physical and mental-health issues. Questions? Send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org