Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Eczema and skin woes

It seems that whenever I make a public announcement that things are better, something will slide downhill. Two steps forward, one step back. Since posting that Juliana's skin was clearing (it really looked like it was!) it has gotten much worse. In fact there was one morning a week or so ago when I literally did a double take. Not only does she have some mild eczema on her cheeks, she also has had little red bumps on her chin, around her mouth, under her eyes and on/around her nose - basically everywhere except her forehead.

So what in the world is going on? I wish I knew. I might suspect a virus like Hand, Foot & Mouth but she doesn't have these spots anywhere else and she doesn't show any signs of being sick. I might suspect a food intolerance but she doesn't have any GI symptoms. In fact overall she is doing quite well. So my hunch is that we are dealing with with either a detoxification reaction or a nutrient deficiency. I've been leaning towards the latter theory.

A few months back I read Supperimmunity for Kids by Dr. Leo Galland, a prominent immunologist. This was a surprisingly good book, though the reader may have to separate the wheat from the chaff in a few places. I also might as well mention that the book is over 20 years old, but in my experience it's still light years ahead of today's conventional medicine. Dr. Galland discusses how he has some kids whose allergies completely disappeared after taking cod liver oil (I wish we were so fortunate!) He discusses why pregnant women should not drink tap water. He says to give egg yolks and liver to your baby. He repeatedly discusses essential fatty acids (EFAs). There's some good stuff here.

I bring all of this up because Dr. Galland also discusses eczema and how it's not always related to something that a child is getting but rather something that they are missing.
Some children need more EFAs than others because their bodies don't metabolize EFAs well. Children with eczema have difficulty converting linoleic acid, the major omega-6 EFA, to GLA. Evening primrose oil and black currant oil, which contain GLA, get around this problem. Some children may also need more omega-3 EFAs; up to 1 tablespoon of flaxseed oil a day by age one may help. Or you may substitute up to 1 teaspoon of cod-liver oil or up to 2 tablespoons of walnut oil. If you are breastfeeding, add EFAs to your own diet.
Dr. Galland also says that in his research he has found that people who have allergies need more EFAs than people who don't.

Now back to Juliana: I'm working with our nutritionist to try a few different things. Some things that we are considering are Vitamin C, Zinc, and of course, EFAs. So far we've switched the form of Vitamin C and have seen a modest improvement in her skin. I have been giving her Evening Primrose Oil (an EFA) but can't say that I've seen any change from it. We're also about to switch the base of her formula and it will be interesting to see if that changes anything. It seems that even once everything in the diet is right it can take a little while for the skin to clear. We'll see, I guess. Juliana's dietary challenges are certainly an exercise in both patience and perseverance.

1 comment:

  1. Pleased to see an update but not so pleased that all is not going as well as hoped.

    It is definitely an exercise in patience and perseverance. When I'm feeling bad that we haven't quite got everything sorted yet, I remember back to the bad old days when Sophie pooed 10 times a day and screamed incessantly. And the days when it took 10 hours to get 4oomls into her. So remember to give yourself a pat on the back for how far you've come already. Also remember that if it was easy, the medical profession and/or nutritionists would already have the answers. Trailblazing can be hard, but it will be worth it!

    I suspect that Sophie (and other Kabuki Kids) may not metabolize fats properly. OAT tests from Great Plains Laboratory indicate my suspicion is true, but the OAT tests we had run through the chidrens' hospital show a completely different picture. So difficult at times to know what to believe! We try to include a variety of oils - obviously the CLO and fish oil. We used to use ghee but sadly can't anymore (I thought it would be okay as there is no milk protein in it, but our gastroenterologist said it can contain traces, and needs to be removed from the diet). Walnut oil is lovely - we drizzle it on banana/egg "pancakes", or onto her fruit. We also use macadamia oil, coconut oil, duck fat, and she eats avocado pretty regularly. But walnut oil is one of my favourites :)

    Hope the eczema clears soon.