By Dr. Christina Compton
These three conditions -- eczema, allergies, and asthma – are the atopic triad, they often occur together. Studies continue to show that there is an increasing number of people suffering from allergic diseases, especially from food allergies and atopic dermatitis.
The ‘atopic triad’ have several things in common such as inflammation and a defect in or a filaggrin gene deficiency. Remembering that each person is unique and has a different genetic structure, here are a few noteworthy items according to WebMD, Feb 2019. “Most experts don’t believe that eczema is purely allergic. Still, they know it's clearly connected to allergic conditions like food allergies, hay fever, and asthma.
There is also the ‘atopic march’ which often begins with babies having eczema, and food allergies may also be present then later asthma develops.
Atopic dermatitis or eczematous dermatitis indicates an overactive immune response, a compromised skin barrier, and skin colonization of S. aureus. It is debatable whether S. aureus is the by-product of chronic inflammation or if it is the primary component. Nonetheless, Staph Aureus contributes to flare ups, increasing inflammation, penetration into the epidermis, and is very problematic. With the filaggrin gene (FLG) mutation a person does not have a tight skin barrier, and the skin’s microbiome is disrupted and less bacterial diversity. It has been suggested that effective management of atopic dermatitis could prevent development of asthma and allergic rhinitis. Long term inflammation becomes chronic which compromises the kidneys or liver which promotes atopic dermatitis. And, chronic inflammation stimulates reactions against the lining of airways; resulting in allergies or asthma. Another view is from Traditional Chinese Medicine, where itching is associated with wind pathogens, which also tend to affect the upper body.
Meanwhile research continues to lend more support to the skin-gut link, especially as many immune cells are located in the gut. Inflammatory properties of food can be evaluated to help support a person with eczema, allergies, and asthma. Some examples of the pro-inflammatory foods include sugar, refined carbohydrates, trans fat, aspartame, casein, omega-6 fatty acids, mono-sodium glutamate (MSG), gluten, and alcohol. Examples of anti-inflammatory foods include fermented foods (a prebiotic to feed good bacteria and provide high fiber), avocados, green tea, non-starchy vegetables, ginger, wild caught fish, bone and vegetable broth, lemon/berries/limes, garlic/onions and chives.
Shifting your food consumption to anti-inflammatory foods will calm the systemic inflammation response thereby helping the entire atopic triad.