Millions of people suffer from eczema, a condition that can be incredibly frustrating and difficult to manage.
While there are many potential causes of eczema, one thing is for sure – it’s important to find the root cause and address it head-on. And what better way than with probiotic supplements for eczema.
If you’re like millions of other people who suffer from eczema, you’re probably looking for a solution that doesn’t involve expensive prescriptions or harsh topical treatments.
Probiotics may be able to help. Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that line your gut and support digestive health. Recent studies have shown that probiotics may be beneficial for people with eczema.
Fortunately, there are specific probiotics that can help repair it; below, we’ve included nine of them, along with guidance on how to incorporate each into your diet.
1. Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG)
“Studies have shown that Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG is the most effective strain for healing leaky gut,” Dr Kunin says—and for good reason. It’s one of the most widely studied probiotics out there, and studies on its effectiveness for everything from antibiotic-related diarrhea to gluten intolerance have shown that it can achieve all these things without causing side effects like bloating or antibiotic resistance like some other strains.
Lactobacillus Rhamnosus GG strengthens your gut barrier to help keep the bad stuff out and let the good stuff in.
Drink filtered or bottled water, not tap. If you cook with tap water, let it cool before using it so you don’t scald your produce (which takes away nutrients). Rinse produce thoroughly under running water before eating or cooking. Keep all kitchen surfaces clean by washing them daily with soap and hot water—especially surfaces that come in contact with meat, fish, or eggs.
Wash your hands thoroughly before preparing food or eating. Be sure to clean cutting boards, dishes, utensils, countertops, and storage containers with hot soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go on to the next food.
2. Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) + Bifidobacterium lactis
Another strain that’s been scientifically proven to benefit gut health is Lactobacillus reuteri, which, in combination with another probiotic called Bifidobacterium lactis, has been shown to help reduce the symptoms of eczema, particularly when taken during pregnancy.
Lactobacillus reuteri benefits your skin from the inside out.
Keep all food refrigerated until it’s time to eat. When you’re shopping for groceries, don’t buy anything that’s past its expiration date unless you plan to freeze and then defrost it (be sure you’ll be eating it within the appropriate time frame). When you’re out and about, don’t let your healthy snacks get warm.
In addition to taking Lactobacillus reuteri orally, apply a cream or ointment containing this probiotic on the skin at least once a day.
3. Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) + Lactobacillus helveticus
A combination of two probiotics— Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus helveticus —has been shown to benefit gut health by reducing the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines in the gut and on the skin. Plus, this combination has been shown to be safe and effective for children as young as one-year-old.
Lactobacillus helveticus fights inflammation from inside your digestive tract.
A Brat Diet is a great way to keep skin healthy and moisturized. This diet includes foods like grass-fed beef, pastured pork, and pasture-raised poultry. It also allows for organic full-fat dairy products, eggs, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and avocado.
4. Lactobacillus acidophilus + Bifidobacterium lactis
Another combination that’s been scientifically proven to benefit gut health is Lactobacillus acidophilus + Bifidobacterium lactis. In one study, this probiotic blend was shown to normalize the production of cytokines associated with atopic dermatitis (eczema).
Lactobacillus Acidophilus fights from the inside out.
Cutting down on sugar is a good way to keep skin healthy and moisturized. Sugar feeds bad bacteria in your gut that can lead to inflammation, which can make eczema worse. Sugary foods include desserts, fizzy drinks, fruit juice, maple syrup, and honey.
5. Lactobacillus plantarum + Lactobacillus paracasei
Another combination that’s been shown to help reduce the symptoms of atopic dermatitis (eczema) is Lactobacillus Plantarum + Lactobacillus paracasei. In one study, this blends normalized cytokine levels in children with atopic dermatitis.
Lactobacillus Plantarum soothes skin from the inside out.
Skip fried foods and choose baked or broiled meats instead. This is a great way to get your protein while still being kind to your gut and skin. When it comes to producing, a quick steam/boil will be your best friend.
6. Lactobacillus brevis + Bifidobacterium bifidum
A combination of two other beneficial bacteria— Lactobacillus Brevis and Bifidobacterium bifidum —has also been shown to benefit gut health by reducing the amount of pro-inflammatory cytokines in your colon.
Lactobacillus Brevis fights bacteria from the inside.
Simply cutting down on stress can keep skin healthy and moisturized. Stress triggers the release of cortisol, which among other things, dries out skin by slowing down natural oil production. It also triggers inflammation, which creates redness and irritation visible on the surface of your skin.
7. Lactobacillus reuteri + Bifidobacterium lactis + Lactobacillus rhamnosus
A combination of three different probiotic strains has also been shown to benefit gut health by reducing inflammation in the colon, improving stool consistency, and increasing the number of beneficial bacteria.
Lactobacillus reuteri fights for the skin from the inside out.
And remember, healthy skin is nothing without a nutritious diet and lifestyle! So make sure you’re getting plenty of fruits and veggies with high levels of antioxidants (like berries) and minerals (like potassium), as well as lean protein and healthy fats (like fish and olive oil).
8. Lactobacillus rhamnosus + Bifidobacterium lactis + Prebiotic
Finally, a combination of two different probiotics— Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Bifidobacterium lactis —with the prebiotic inulin has also been shown to benefit gut health by reducing inflammation in the colon while increasing the numbers of beneficial bacteria.
Lactobacillus rhamnosus keeps skin healthy on the inside.
Prebiotic inulin feeds good bacteria, so taking it with probiotics creates a symbiotic relationship that benefits your digestive system and skin! And remember that while some foods like coffee, dairy, and processed meat can make eczema worse for some people, they may provide relief for others. So don’t give up on these foods completely; simply try to cut back on them or consider removing them from your diet one at a time to see how you feel.
Just remember that good gut health is very important for preventing and treating eczema.
9. Bifidobacterium bifidum + Lactobacillus acidophilus
In a study of infants with atopic dermatitis (eczema), a combination of Bifidobacterium bifidum and Lactobacillus acidophilus reduced the total number of infectious episodes. It also reduced itching, redness, and other symptoms associated with atopic dermatitis.
- Bifidobacterium bifidum fights for your skin from the outside.
- Bifidobacterium breve fights the condition from the outside.
While additional research is needed on the effects of a combination of probiotics, it is safe to say that a well-designed supplement can definitely help your skin condition. And taking a blend with multiple beneficial bacteria strains will be even more effective!
By increasing the number of different strains in your gut, you’re improving your digestive system as a whole and helping improve symptoms of skin conditions like eczema.
Choosing your probiotic supplement for eczema
Here are a few more things to think about when choosing a probiotic supplement:
Safety is key. From the very first day you take a probiotic supplement, it is important that you trust the product to deliver what it promises. Buying from a reputable company that manufactures its own products is key, as these companies are typically held accountable for their quality control and safety standards.
To be sure your supplement contains viable microorganisms at the levels stated on the label, check for a “Use By” or expiration date. Be wary of supplements that do not include a use-by date on their label, as this may indicate that the company is unaware of how long their product will remain viable after being manufactured.
Choose the best supplement for your needs. The strains of microorganisms in each product can be very different—and it is important that you choose the right supplement for your specific needs. Some products contain so many different strains, they can be described as a “probiotic mega-blend” or “blended.”
Others are made up of just one strain of beneficial bacteria, so they may be described as an “advanced targeted blend” or designed to treat a specific condition. If your only goal is to prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea, you’d likely want to choose a product that includes Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG—the probiotic strain shown in clinical studies to reduce the risk of diarrhea associated with antibiotics.
Explore different dosage forms. Not all supplements are created equal, so explore the different delivery systems available—such as chewables, gummies, capsules, and powders. If you’re choosing a powder form of supplement (which can be added to water or juice), it’s especially important that you follow any precautionary labeling information included with the product. Chewable supplements usually come in tablet form, while gummies and capsules can be more versatile.
Avoid products that contain fillers or additives. A high-quality probiotic supplement should need no more than a few simple, natural ingredients—such as the bacterial strains themselves (most often listed as lactic acid bacteria on the label); rice powder (if it’s in tablet form); and silica (only needed to keep the supplement free-flowing).
At only 1 gram each, rice powder and silica are safe ingredients that do not pose any health risks. Most importantly, they shouldn’t interfere with the beneficial effects of the probiotic strains.
Take care when choosing dairy products that contain live active cultures (LABs). These yogurts and cheeses are often referred to as “probiotics” because they contain LABs—the same friendly microorganisms that live in some of the best probiotics.
However, not all LABs are safe for everyone, so it is important that you speak with your healthcare provider first before adding them to your diet.
Remember that not all supplements are created equal! You need to take a high-quality supplement that contains viable (alive) bacteria—not just dried bacteria “counts.” So be sure to look for a probiotic supplement that contains strains such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacteria longum, and Lactobacillus rhamnosus, which have been scientifically studied for their health benefits.
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