How Diet and Nutrition Can Help Thyroid Issues

Fatigue that no amount of caffeine can shake, uncomfortable constipation, and wait… is that a bald spot???

These are just some of the key symptoms of Hashimoto’s Disease, the most common cause of underactive thyroid (hypothyroid) in the United States.

But sadly, despite being so common, Hashimoto’s is poorly understood by many doctors and likely under-diagnosed. And that’s a huge bummer, because there is SO much we can do to manage and control Hashimoto’s - you don’t just have to accept it!

So today, let’s dig into what Hashimoto’s is, how it affects the body, and most importantly, what we can do to treat it holistically, including how diet and nutrition can help thyroid issues. 


What is Hashimoto’s Disease?

Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the thyroid gland, causing tissue damage and preventing it from producing adequate thyroid hormones. Low thyroid hormones cause the symptoms of Hashimoto’s including:

  • Fatigue 
  • Depression 
  • Constipation
  • Hair loss
  • Pale and dry skin
  • Loss of fertility
  • Intolerance to cold
  • Heavy or irregular periods

While Hashimoto’s can occur in both men and women, it (and all autoimmune disease) is more common in women. 


How Do I Get Tested for Hashimoto’s?

Hashimoto’s is diagnosed via blood test for thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and thyroid peroxidase (TPO) antibodies. High TSH levels and the presence of antibodies are both indicative of Hashimoto’s. However, even if TSH levels are normal (or even low!)high TPO levels are still indicative of Hashimoto’s. High TSH levels occur when available active thyroid hormone (T3/T4) levels are low, or receptivity to these hormones is low, tricking the body to think they aren't around. All this is to say that it’s important to test both TSH and TPO for an accurate diagnosis. 

There are three stages of Hashimoto’s:

Silent Autoimmune - This occurs when antibodies are elevated, but there are no symptoms of hypothyroid or tissue destruction. If not addressed, this will progress to the next stage. 

Autoimmune Reactivity - Elevated TPO antibodies, with symptoms of hypothyroidism (fatigue, thinning hair, etc.), but no clinically noticeable loss of thyroid tissue.

Autoimmune Disease - Occurs when antibodies are elevated, hypothyroidism symptoms are present, and there is measurable tissue destruction. 

Ideally, we would catch Hashimoto’s at the silent autoimmune phase, but the reality is that most people are not tested until symptoms are present, and are therefore in the reactivity or disease stage when they begin treatment. This is one reason why I advocate for routine thyroid screening, ideally annually. At the very least thyroid levels should be screened at the time of the first period (menses), postpartum, and during menopause, because these are the three periods of life when women are most likely to express and autoimmune condition. 

Hashimoto’s and thyroid disease are not always synonymous. If TSH levels are high, but no antibodies are detected, it could be hypothyroidism from another cause. 


Can Hashimoto’s Disease Be Cured?

Getting a Hashimoto’s diagnosis is scary, and it’s only normal to wonder “Can I fix this?”

The answer isn’t black and white. Technically, Hashimoto's is considered incurable (as are most autoimmune diseases). However, that does not mean you’re doomed. In functional medicine, the goal is to get autoimmune disease into remission. 

I promise, you absolutely can be healthy and have an autoimmune disease in remission! My job is to help you do just that. 

So how do we do that? As a functional medicine practitioner, I treat disease by addressing the root cause. That means understanding why you got sick is incredibly important. The “why” will inform how to best treat your disease. Before we get into treatment, let’s talk about why disease occurs. 


What Causes Hashimoto’s?

Like all autoimmune diseases, hashimoto’s doesn’t have one cause. Instead, it develops due to a complex interplay of predisposing factors and a triggering event. Predisposing factors “set the stage” so that when a trigger occurs, disease develops. If you’re not sure what risk factors or triggers could be present for you, we can work together to test and establish your root cause. 

Here are some established risk factors for Hashimoto’s:

  • Genetic (having a family member who also has Hashimoto’s)
  • Other autoimmune disorders (vitiligo, Grave’s disease, type 1 diabetes, lupus, Rheumatoid arthritis, etc.)
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
  • History of Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Maternal autoimmune disease, especially if inflammation was present during gestation
  • Chronic infections (bacterial, viral)
  • Multiple adverse reactions to foods, chemicals, etc. (loss of tolerance)

Let’s go over some of the more common triggers I see with my own patients:

1. Toxin Exposure

For some people toxin exposure is not a serious issue, but for others, toxin exposure can trigger autoimmunity. (The difference is likely due to differences in detox capabilities, including the ability to biotransform heavy metals). In those who do struggle with toxin exposure, common chemicals like BPA have been shown to trigger autoimmunity. The issue can be with both total toxin exposure, as well as chemical immune reactivity. In chemical immune reactivity, even very small exposures can create an immune reaction. 

It’s very important that people with autoimmune disease aggressively detox toxins, but it's essential to do it in the right order! If detox is begun before the autoimmunity is under control, the detox can actually flare autoimmune symptoms and make them worse.


2. Viruses 

Viruses are known to trigger autoimmune disease. Hepatitis C, human Parvo b12, Coxsackie, and herpes viruses, in particular Epstein Barr Virus (EBV - the virus that causes mononucleosis), are all known to trigger Hashimoto’s.


3. Bacteria

Bacteria and the biofilms they create can both trigger autoimmune disease. Bacteria can closely resemble human tissues well as decorate the extracellular matrix (ECM) of their biofilms with molecules that resemble human tissues. These molecules are recognized by the immune system, causing activation of autoimmune pathways.

These bacteria have all been implicated in the development of Hashimoto's: H. Pylori (which can actually be protective in IBD, but, can be a trigger for other autoimmune conditions like psoriasis, vitiligo, and RA), Borrelia Burgdorferi (Lyme), Yersinia Enterocolitica, Staph, and Strep. 


4. Gluten

Gluten induces leaky gut, even if a person doesn’t have Celiac disease. It is immunogenic, cytotoxic, and proinflammatory. In those with autoimmune disease, gluten can flare symptoms and prevent remission. It can have a negative effect on the microbiome and boost oxidative stress. 

However, gluten isn’t the only problem food! In many people, other common trigger foods include grains, eggs, dairy, soy, chocolate, coffee, and legumes. 


5. Mold

Mold is a silent epidemic that can trigger and exacerbate autoimmune conditions. Both the individual and the home need to be tested and treated for mold. In individuals, mold can be tested using urinary mycotoxins, CIRS markers, and VCS testing. An IEP (indoor environment professional) should assess the home for mold with an ERMI test. In general, humidity over 50% in any room is a problem. Test this with a hydrometer.


How to Treat Hashimoto’s Naturally

Now that we’ve covered some of the more common causes I see in Hashimoto’s, we can get into the good stuff: what you can do to put the disease in remission!


1. Test to Find the Root Cause

There’s a lot to cover here, but the first thing I do with any new patient is testing to help determine what their root cause is. Some key things I’m looking for are gut pathogens, bacteria, fungii, viruses, and chemical compounds that can trigger the immune system. 

With that information in hand, I move down the line of treatments, starting at the mouth!


2. Optimize the Microbiome & Gut Health

The microbiome begins in the mouth, so that’s where I start treatment as well. We need to optimize the oral flora and change out any products that could be damaging the mouth’s microbiome for healthier picks. Next up, I’ll start a protocol to heal leaky gut. Healing leaky gut is essential, but it’s not the only step, so don’t stop here!

We’ll also optimize digestive secretions and microbiome resilience in this step to help prevent any future gut infections. A lack of adequate stomach acid prevents proteins from being fully broken down. Those larger, more intact proteins then enter the bloodstream and are more likely to trigger immune activity. For anyone with autoimmune issues, or who is having immune reactions to specific foods, supplemental HCL to boost stomach acid levels is a must.


3. Balance Your Blood Sugar

No matter what dietary changes you do or don’t make (more on that below), the most important is eating in a way that supports balanced blood sugar. When blood sugar is high, the pancreas produces a surge of insulin. That insulin surge has an inflammatory effect on the body, causing autoimmune conditions to flare. This connection is so strong, I have seen clients put their autoimmune condition into remission just by balancing their blood sugar. It’s really that important. If diet changes alone aren’t enough, we can use key supplements to help bring blood sugar back into balance.


4. Optimize HPA-Axis Hormones

The hypothalamic-adrenal-pituitary (HPA) axis hormones include cortisol, the “stress” hormone. Optimizing this system often requires active stress management - more on that below.


5. Measure & Adjust Key Nutrient Levels

Key nutrients for Hashimoto’s health include omega fatty acids, selenium, zinc, and vitamins A,C, and D. Before supplementing, I always test. 


6. Detox Safely

If testing has revealed the presence of compounds like heavy metals, it’s very important that detox is done safely. Aggressive detox strategies can backfire for people with autoimmune disease, as the detox process can flare the autoimmune condition if the person has an immune reaction to the chemicals being detoxed. I recommend testing for what chemicals a person has reactivity to, then working to calm the reactivity, and finally detoxing with herbs and supplements like glutathione, as well as exercise and sweating.


7. Helminth Therapy

OK, this does sound crazy at first, but the research backs it up. Helminths are a specific type of worm, and the larval form (not the whole worm) is a common infection in much of the world. In countries with the highest infection rate of helminths, autoimmune disease rates are lowest. Helminths release tuftsin-phosphorylcholine (TPC), which turns on T- and B-regulatory cells. A prescription version of TPC has been shown to cure autoimmune conditions in animals, and clinical trials are underway. In the meantime, helminth therapy can be life-changing. I’ve been studying helminth therapy for years - read my blog post about it here.


How Diet and Nutrition Can Help Thyroid Issues

There’s no one perfect diet for Hashimoto’s (sorry!). Instead, I start with the Autoimmune Paleo (AIP) diet and customize based on the individual. No one should blindly follow a highly restrictive diet like AIP long term. Diversity is the key to a strong and healthy microbiome, so don’t eat the same thing day in and day out.

That being said, restricting certain foods can be helpful. At a minimum, I recommend avoiding gluten and dairy. For many people with Hashimoto’s, removing nightshades can also be beneficial. And if testing shows the presence of antinuclear antibodies (ANA) or rheumatoid factor (RF), I suggest cutting lectins as well. Also consider reducing sodium intake (or supplementing with potassium at salty meals) since high sodium activates the pro-inflammatory immune pathway TH-17, which pours gas on the Hashimoto’s fire. 

In some cases, intermittent fasting, a lower calorie or starch diet, and exercise (but not all 3 at once!) can be used to increase autophagy (clearance of proteins). Poor autophagy can increase immune reactivity. But please note, this is not me telling you to starve yourself. These are advanced techniques that should only be used in certain people under the care of a highly trained practitioner. 


Lifestyle Changes for Hashimoto’s Remission

While they aren’t “sexy,” lifestyle changes to better manage stress, get adequate sleep, and exercise are probably the most important part of any plan to treat Hashimoto’s. 


1. Why Sleep Matters

We know that sleep disorders (in those without sleep apnea) increase the risk of developing autoimmune conditions. The body primes and develops immune cells while we are sleeping, and a lack of sleep also induces an inflammatory response. Lack of sleep also leads to dysfunctional natural killer (NK) cells, a key part of the immune system, especially important for fighting viruses. 

If you take away one thing from this blog post, let it be this: unless you’re getting proper sleep, you have very little chance of autoimmune recovery. It’s that important! In fact, I consider sleep and blood sugar (see above) to be the two “cornerstones” of healing autoimmunity. The easiest way to get started on a better sleep pattern is to develop a routine pattern of sleep, rising and going to bed at roughly the same time every day - and bonus points if your bedtime can be before 10 PM. 


2. Managing Stress

Stress activates interleukin-17, creating a cascade that affects the immune system. But, it’s important to differentiate between good stress, which does not affect IL-17, and negative stress, which does. Positive stressors include things like exercise you enjoy, while negative stress might be an unsupportive partner or an unfulfilling job. I suggest active practices to reduce stress like GUPTA, Inaura, EMDR, therapy with a trained professional (especially Somatic therapy), Synctuition, Hypnotherapy, Ziva meditation, and MBSR training. 


3. Exercise

Sedentary behaviors can heighten inflammatory responses in the body. Any increase in movement is a good thing and better than none - so simple changes liking parking further away or taking the stairs instead of the elevator really can help. That being said, more intense workouts do have more anti-inflammatory actions, and are a great tool for those who are able to do them. However, going too hard is a real risk. A good rule of thumb is that you should be able to recover from the workout within one day. If you’re laid out on the couch for days after a workout, it was too hard. 


Will I Need Medication, Too?

I believe in mixing the best of both Western and alternative medicine… which means sometimes, yes, medication is a tool we need to use. Using medication isn't “failing” and it doesn’t mean taking other steps to heal your Hashimoto's - like the ones I’ve described in this article - aren’t worth the effort. 

No matter where you’re starting or what your goals are, we can work together to find an effective, sustainable path toward remission.


Need Help With Hashimoto’s?

Helping women overcome health challenges like Hashimoto’s is my (gluten free) bread and butter. There’s nothing I love more than meeting a new client, hearing their story, and helping them create a customized plan to achieve their health goals.

If you have Hashimoto’s and you want support finding the root cause, creating a customized treatment plan, and recovering your health, I would be honored to support you. The first step is to book a free, no-obligation consultation with my team. 

Let’s tackle your health goals together!

>>> Book a free consult today

How To Detox Your Body The Right Way

So you’ve decided to go on a detox cleanse.

Maybe you’re starting a seven-day cleanse.

Or you’re going on a juice fast.

NEWSFLASH! Neither of these methods are true detoxification, the kind that can remove harmful toxins from your body. 

Don’t get me wrong. Both seven-day cleanses and juice fasts can have real benefits. Seven-day cleanses are great for people who are generally healthy and who want to reset their bodies. Juice fasts give your gut a break, and you’re boosting your antioxidant intake.   

But if you’ve been exposed to toxins and really need to detox your body, those strategies aren’t going to work. 

In this blog post, I’ll go into what detoxification is and what it isn’t. But before we go there, let’s review the red flags that suggest you need to detoxify in the first place.


Common Symptoms of Broken Detox

The only way to know for sure if you need to be on a detoxification program is to work with your functional medicine provider to order the right tests (more on this later).

But there are some symptoms of toxin exposure that can clue you in that you need detox. For example:

  • Autoimmune problems
  • All over joint and connective tissue pain
  • Brain fog
  • Flare ups of latent viral infections (loss of immune tolerance). For example, your herpes infection comes out of hiding after 10 years and causes you to suddenly get cold sores. 
  • General malaise
  • Random headaches
  • Rapid skin aging
  • Resistant weight loss
  • Skin breakouts like eczema, acne, rashes
  • You just don’t feel as well
  • You react to everything around you: food, chemicals, environmental exposures like pollen, the fact that it’s Wednesday. ☺

But you don’t have to be a complete mess to have a detox problem. In many cases, the full ramifications of having toxins build up in your body doesn’t show up until years later. 

A lot of people are overburdened with toxins and don’t know it because symptoms haven’t showed up yet. 


Sources of Toxin Exposure

Toxins are all around us in the food, air, and water supply. Here are some of the more common ones we’re exposed to daily:


Toxins show up in places you’d never think about—like the disposable plastic lid on that almond milk latte you just grabbed to go. Some common places that you’ll encounter toxins include:

  • Seafood (mercury)
  • Non-organic fruits and vegetables (glyphosate, pesticides)
  • Water-damaged buildings (mycotoxins). Half of all buildings in the United States are water damaged, so mycotoxins are a common problem.
  • Items not labeled BPA-free: Linings of cans, cash register receipts, toothbrushes, cloudy plastic containers. However, even items labeled BPA-free can contain BPS. This is another type of chemical that is just as toxic or more so than BPA.
  • Personal care products like shampoo, conditioner, moisturizers (phthalates)
  • Pesticides and herbicides sprayed on your yard or around your office (glyphosate and others)

You can’t get away from these environmental toxins, so your best bet is to get tested to make certain your detoxification is working like it’s supposed to do. With those results, a detox program can be tailored to your needs. How do you do that? By working with functional medicine providers like me to order the right tests and design customized protocols.


How To Test for Toxins in Your Body

Before starting a detox cleanse, it’s critical to get tested to see if you have a detox problem and how severe it is. 

Patients who have had an obvious exposure should definitely get tested. For example, if a person grew up in an agricultural area, or near a coal plant, or worked in a hair salon, it’s a safe assumption that a detox treatment is needed. 

Sometimes, however, it’s not so obvious. Exposure can come from working in the garden, eating food that’s not organic, drinking tap water for years, living or working in a building with water damage, and the list goes on and on. 

We often see patients who are loaded with really nasty toxins. 

Testing not only helps us understand how well your detoxification is working—it also helps us establish a baseline, so we can get a snapshot of whether detox treatments are working by retesting again after treatment.

The tests I use to tell how well your detox pathways are working are reviewed in the next section. But popular detox cleanses and juice fasts miss all of this. They don’t address how well your body’s detoxification- your unique biochemistry- is actually working.


Common Detox Tests

Your body cleanses itself of toxins using glutathione, sulfation, methylation, and a few other pathways. So, I always run tests to tell me how well these detoxification pathways are working in your body. 

We want to know whether you have a glutathione deficiency as indicated by urine pyroglutamate and sulfate tests. Low sulfate levels show the body is using up glutathione faster than it can make it due to the high burden of toxins. 

When you run out of glutathione, it leads to a high level of oxidative stress, which is an imbalance between damaging free radicals and beneficial antioxidants. The body needs some oxidative stress, but when there’s too much of it, cells become damaged. Tissues can be harmed. Disease processes can be triggered and aging speeds up.

My favorite antioxidant test? Urine 8-hydroxy-2-deoxyguanosine, or 8-OHdG for short, is a marker of DNA damage due to free radicals. If that marker is 3.5 or higher it means your detoxification is shot. Your rate of all-cause mortality just went up significantly, you have a greater chance of getting cancer, and you’re aging faster. But there’s good news. We can balance your DNA damage by boosting levels of glutathione and antioxidants.    

Detox tests often measure levels of the following markers: 

  • Pyroglutamate – High levels mean that your body is detoxing vigorously and needs glutathione support. 
  • Sulfate – Low levels indicate your body is running out of what it needs for detoxification, especially sulfation and glutathione.
  • 8-OHdG – High levels indicate your detoxification is weak and antioxidants are out of balance.
  • P-hydroxyphenyllactate – High levels of this marker show that your antioxidant levels are getting too low. You may need vitamin C.
  • Hydroxymethylglutarate – High levels show you’re not getting enough of the antioxidant and energy producer, coenzyme Q10.
  • Methylmalonate – High levels show you’re having trouble with your methylation detoxification pathway. You need vitamin B12. 


What a Detox Program Is Not

First, going on a juice fast is not detoxing because it’s low in protein. All the detox pathways need amino acids. And where do we get amino acids from? You guessed it: protein. 

The best way to ruin your body’s natural detox abilities is to go on a protein-deficient diet. That’s why we see a lot of vegans or vegetarians who can’t carry out detoxification. Many of these patients haven’t developed a comprehensive nutrition plan to make sure they get enough protein, because creating this type of plan is labor intensive. And carrying through with it is even more difficult!

Going on a vegan or vegetarian diet often comes from a place of compassion and doing what seems best for your health. But there are some risks.  

It is very hard to get all of the nutrients you need on a meat-free diet. Vegans and vegetarians who aren’t getting the nutrition they really need and who have protein malnutrition can be highly toxic. Sure, they eat a lot of antioxidant-rich plant foods. But due to the lack of protein and impaired detox, they can ironically have a lot of oxidative stress. Remember, oxidative stress results when detox mechanisms aren’t working and it damages tissues and cells and speeds up aging.

We find that vegans and vegetarians can also have problems with an important process known as methylation. Healthy methylation is involved in so many processes in our bodies, including detox. Vitamin B12 is a critical nutrient for methylation, but vegans and vegetarians are often deficient in this vitamin.  

Having said all that, a plant-forward diet is something everyone should be on for good health regardless of what other diet criteria you choose. 


A Real Detox Cleanse Takes Time

A real detox program is stretched out over time. It’s not the same as a seven-day detox cleanse. If your glutathione levels are depleted and you notice your aging is accelerated it’s going to take three to six months, or more in some cases, to get your detox tests in the normal ranges. It might take a year to get your glutathione levels up to where they need to be. 


How To Detox Your Body

The first step is to work with a functional medicine provider to help you personalize an effective protocol. When a patient needs to undergo a detox program, I always start with what’s going on in the gut. Often, the gut is the main source of toxins and oxidative stress. That’s why in most cases, I clean up the gut first.

In regards to dietary supplements, it’s really important that you address both Phase I and Phase II liver detoxification pathways. 

In Phase I, the liver breaks down toxins and makes them less harmful and water-soluble. This process creates a large amount of free radicals, which leads to excessive oxidative stress. 

In Phase II detoxification, another molecule is linked to the toxin to make the toxin less harmful. This is known as conjugation.     

Herbal combos that include dandelion, milk thistle, and artichoke leaf really just emphasize Phase I liver detox. If you’re taking supplements that address only Phase I and not Phase II,  you can go into what’s called pathological detox. This means your efforts to detoxify are actually backfiring. You’re not effectively getting rid of toxins. You’re making yourself more toxic.

When a patient feels bad during detox it’s often because the patient is doing pathological detoxifying by only supporting the Phase I pathway.  Or, in some cases, the patient doesn’t have enough bile flow to move the toxins out.  

Here are the detox supplements I often use in my patients to make sure I’m supporting both a patient’s Phase I and Phase II detoxification:

Coffee enemas can also promote bile flow.


Don’t Go It Alone

Your body’s detox can break in so many ways. That’s why a detox cleanse is going to be more effective if I customize a detox protocol designed especially for your needs. I do this based on testing to find out how well your body is—or isn’t—getting rid of toxins.  Book a free 15-minute troubleshooting call with me to find out the best course of action. 

If after the call you come on board as a patient, I’ll order the right tests for you. I’ll also support your gut health and your body’s unique biochemistry to address the root causes of your detox problems. If the tests warrant, I’ll put you on a cleansing detox program that supports both Phase I and Phase II in order to eliminate uncomfortable detox symptoms. The goal? Make your body as clean and pure as possible so you’ll feel your best once again.


How to Heal Skin Rashes and Eczema in Kids

One of the absolute worst things a parent can experience is a sick child, especially a baby or toddler. Watching them suffer brings on a visceral feeling only another parent can understand. 

I've been there and know that feeling.  

Whether it is a skin issue like toddler or baby eczema, tummy troubles, or the latest cold, flu, or other easily transmitted infection, there is no worse feeling as a parent.

Watching your little one scratch and squirm because their skin itches or cry out and curl into a ball because their tummy hurts or their body aches is just horrible.  

Then comes the dreaded second-guessing.  

What could I have done to prevent this? A better diet? Less sugar or treats? More sleep? Vitamins or supplements? More time in the sun? 

The list is endless and it's not worth your energy to beat yourself up, because the truth is that eczema in kids, rashes, and childhood illnesses are unfortunately becoming more frequent and harder to treat in many cases. 

But why? 

After almost two decades in functional medicine I've watched many things evolve and change. 

Ten to fifteen years ago when a child came into my practice, I could resolve skin or gut issues in one to three months fairly easily. Gut issues themselves were not as complex and multi-layered.

Now they are. 

And, we have to dig much deeper.

In this article, I’ll take a look at why childhood eczema and skin rashes are becoming more severe. I’ll also dive into what you can do to get rid of kids’ skin conditions.   


The Gut-Skin Connection

What’s happening in your child’s gut is a reflection of what’s happening in his or her skin. Scientists call this the gut-skin axis. When there’s an imbalance between the good and bad bacteria in the gut—what’s known as dysbiosis—the skin may suffer. 

Getting rid of a seemingly simple dysbiosis of the gut and skin is not as easy anymore as changing the diet, balancing and rebuilding the gut, and supporting the immune system. 

Sometimes it's still a relatively simple case if we are lucky, but more commonly now I'm seeing resistant bacteria and yeast like Candida, Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Clostridium, and other hard-to-treat organisms like mold living in the gut because our environment is changing rapidly—and not for the better. 


Why Is Eczema in Kids So Hard to Resolve?

In the last seven to eight years, these are some of the primary factors contributing to the increased severity of eczema, childhood skin rashes, and gut issues I'm seeing in children. 

Environmental Toxins

Toxins of all kinds are ubiquitous in the environment now—they’re in our water, air, and soil from industrial processes, agriculture, wildfires and other natural disasters, as well as plastics and other materials we use that degrade into fine particulates or nanoparticles. Our bodies have to work overtime daily to transform and eliminate them. Unfortunately, we can't get rid of them all and they get stored in our body tissues. Babies are exposed to these toxins as many can cross the placenta and can also be transmitted via breastmilk.

The most common ones I see in practice that affect the integrity of mom and baby’s gut and immune systems are:

  • Bisphenol-A (BPA), BPS, and other plasticizers
  • Glyphosate, Pesticides and Herbicides
  • Heavy Metals and 
  • Mold
  • Environmental Pollutants (chemicals in the air, water and soil)

Glyphosate, a common herbicide used on many vegetables, may kill off the good bacteria in the gut. Exposure to BPA while in the womb is linked to asthma and respiratory infections in kids. Asthma is part of what is known as the “allergic triad” of asthma, allergies and eczema. People that have one are vulnerable to all 3  at any point in their lives, but childhood is most common. 

Environmental pollutants are increasingly abundant contributors to eczema. Some common outdoor contributors include toluene, benzene, formaldehyde, and diesel exhaust. Indoor air quality and environment is often worse and the culprits are furniture, tobacco smoke, air conditioners, stoves, wall paints, construction materials, cloths, carpets, personal care products, cleaners, and food additives and preservatives. These can contribute to leaky gut, alter the microbiome, and affect gene expression in susceptible individuals promoting eczema (also known as atopic dermatitis). 


Poor Nutrition

I've seen many patients who have a seemingly perfect diet on paper, but when tested they still suffer from malnutrition. This is happening for many reasons. Most notably:

  • Toxins can modify the microbiome, cause leaky gut, and alter the immune function. Mast cell activation can be a byproduct of this as well. 
  • Inadequate digestive enzymes and digestive secretions such as stomach acid and bile acids result in poor breakdown and absorption of nutrients. 
  • The soil and water that our food is grown in is often nutrient-depleted.
  • Multiple pregnancies and breastfeeding can cause mamas to become depleted even if they are supplementing with vitamins and nutrients.
  • Certain gene variants  or polymorphisms called SNPs (pronounced snips) can make it more difficult to absorb nutrients. In practice, I frequently see issues with vitamins A, B2 (riboflavin), B6 (pyridoxine), B9 (folate), B12 (cobalamin), C, D, and E; minerals zinc and magnesium; and nutrients such as choline and omega-3 fatty acids.  Most of these nutrients are integral to skin, gut, and immune health.  

All of these factors can affect mama and her children.  


Mama's Stress

Stress and trauma may be the most critical factors of all since they contribute to causing and also perpetuating GI issues such as leaky gut and dysbiosis, inflammation, nutrient depletions, and hormone and neurotransmitter imbalances. Having one child is hard enough, let alone multiple. The stress of taking care of a household, having a job, possibly caring for another adult, and trying to fit in time for self-care and relationships can compound the situation. Sadly, this is a reality for many women today which contributes to eczema, skin, and GI issues in their kids through epigenetic changes, meaning that Mom's stress can turn on genes that promote inflammatory conditions even in their children. 

Since I'm also a nerdy microbiologist, I periodically look at statistics in my practice. I have observed these trends over the years in the mamas of my pediatric patients with skin and gut issues: 

  • Over 85% have multiple children
  • Only one out of five children I see is a first born child
  • Roughly 97% report feeling stressed, anxious, or depressed (almost all have GI symptoms as well)
  • About 75% report some kind of trauma


How To Get Rid of Eczema in Kids

The great news is that we can fix eczema in babies, toddlers, and kids!!!

Many mamas come to me saying they have tried many dietary changes and supplements to fix their child's eczema or kids’ skin condition with little to no success. This is because, as described above, the issue is more complicated, but getting rid of skin problems in kids can be successful if you take the proper steps. 

So how do we fix it? 

  1. Complete a detailed history of the child and mama. This way we can identify all of the possible contributing factors and test accordingly. 
  2. Conduct initial testing assessing gut, inflammation, and immune function. This is generally accomplished through stool and urine testing. 
  3. Order special testing as indicated by the patient’s history, which might include looking at mold/mycotoxins, environmental toxins, nutrient levels, genetics, or food sensitivities or allergies. Most of these tests can be completed with a urine or fingerstick blood spot sample. 

Once we have all of the results in place, we put together a very specific plan to heal the gut and immune systems, balance inflammation, support detoxification if necessary, replete nutrients, and adjust the diet to support healing and fend off common childhood illnesses including eczema. 


I Can Help Heal Skin Rashes and Eczema in Kids

It’s frustrating to see your little one suffer, but I can help soothe the suffering. I’ll work with you and your child to get at the root cause of your child’s skin condition and help them have healthy, comfortable skin again.  

The beauty of working with children is that their bodies still have so much resilience and capacity to heal. All you need to do is remove some of the interference and point them in the right direction. If you want to get rid of your child’s eczema and help him enjoy life without itchy discomfort, set up a 15-minute complimentary call with me. We will figure out what is holding back your little one from healing so you, your child, and your family can spend more time on what really matters- giggling, tickling, and having fun!