Fermented Food Can Cure Eczema: More Evidence

After reading Shant Mesrobian’s story of how he eliminated his eczema with fermented foods and a probiotic supplement, Todd Fletcher left a comment:

My eczema and other skin problems of 15 years disappeared completely from regular kefir and yogurt, which I did because of this blog.

I asked for details.

Who are you?

I live in Mesa Arizona, 49 years old, software developer.

When did it start?

I had lots of allergy problems as a child; had to have soy milk as a baby, had allergy shots for 5 years until I was 22 or so, I was allergic to trees and grass. The allergies pretty much went away after I came to Arizona and now have had no problems at all with it for many years.

I am pretty sure my eczema started in Maryland before I moved to AZ, that would put it before 1992. It started on the outside of my right shin. I can’t recall and never had any notion of any change that brought it on. It continued up until I started the kefir, though it would go dormant from time to time, often after which it would reappear elsewhere. It progressed from my shin to the back of my right knee, my right inner thigh, then my back, then my hands. It was always most prominent on my right side; I am right-handed.

Before fermented foods, what did you do to get rid of it?

I tried vitamin E both orally and topically very early. It did seem to soothe it but I hated the smell and mess. Otherwise I used cortisone when it was really bad, but tried to minimize that. Mostly I just put up with it.

What were the fermented foods?

I liked Nancy’s Peach best for kefir; it was the most sour, and the other flavors of that brand had berry seeds that I didn’t like. Otherwise I got Lifeway Pomegranate [kefir], second most sour. Yogurt was mostly Strauss Farms or Brown Cow, though occasionally I’ll get Fage if the others aren’t there. I would have probably 3 containers of kefir and one or two of yogurt a week. For the yogurt I would get unflavored and add some bananas or maybe a little honey.

After you started eating kefir and yogurt, how long until you noticed improvement?

Less than a week. I went on and off many times, both intentionally and inadvertently, and the pattern was repeated every time. Now I can go off of either one without it returning; I don’t think I have seen any eczema in more than a year even though I might go a week or two without it. I have slowed down in the kefir because most of them have sugars and stuff, I mostly go for the plain yogurt these days.

Did you expect the improvement?

Not at all. I was trying to recover from a bad stomach bug that left me with digestive distress. I only tried the kefir because I read it had more cultures than yogurt. It solved the digestive problems but I only noticed the effect on eczema when I stopped it and the eczema returned. I hadn’t noticed it had stopped since it sometimes went dormant for a few weeks at a time.

What were the other skin problems?

I had splitting of my fingertips, really painful and right on the tip making it hard to use. I assumed this was just the eczema presenting itself here, but it might have been something else. I also had generally dry itchy skin no matter how much lotion I used, which is not a problem now.

6 Responses to “Fermented Food Can Cure Eczema: More Evidence”

  1. Adam Says:

    I had 2 small patches of eczema on my left & right wrists while I was living in China. When I got back to the US I started eating Greek yogurt mixed into 2 tablespoons of Potato starch four times a day. The eczema has gone away completely.

    Seth: Good to know. I hope this blog will be an eczema-free zone.

  2. Joe Says:

    Adam:

    How did you arrive at 4 times per day?

    Did, say, 2-3 tablespoons once per day not work?

  3. Adam Says:

    I started with 1 tablespoon four times a day. For the first week or so I was getting a lot of gas. Not painful or smelly, just a lot of it. After the first week it subsided, along with the vivid dreams I was getting at night. I doubled up to see if the dreams, the gas, or both would come back. I honestly have no idea what the “correct” dose of potato starch is… I am just playing with it & experimenting at this point. It isn’t as if I titrated the dose to the eczema — I actually didn’t even notice the eczema disappearing, as it wasn’t that bad to begin with. One day I just examined my wrists & found it was completely gone.

  4. cathy Says:

    @Adam, was your greek yogurt plain or flavored? I like Greek Gods or Brown cow as well as Fage, the last being the one I can eat plain easiest. I like the Greek gods w/honey the best.

  5. Adam Says:

    I like it plain. Usually I got ZOI brand, but I have Greek Gods in the fridge right now. I have had it with honey & Macadamia nuts mixed in, which was delicious, but I usually only eat honey before bed.

  6. Justin Says:

    I had eczema as a teen and into my early adult years. It came on with a vengeance around age 28. By age 33, it was so bad that I often wished for death. We are talking bloody sheets from my skin splitting open in up to 20 locations during the night; eyes swelling shut from eczema on the lids. It looked as though someone had stabbed me all over. Just terrible and without relief, minute after minute after minute. Then I read on Mangans that fish oil cured a lot of simple health problems and that some Dutch researcher had done a lot of work on fish oil and inflammation. I had already been taking 2g/day of fish oil. I immediately went to 14g per day buying from bulk natural oils (about 2,000 capsules). Within two weeks my eczema was reduced by >90%. As soon as I lowered the dose to 6g, the eczema would return. I now use about 10g per day to keep it in check. The Dr’s say I should be wary of heavy metals, but I see no other choice (though I am going to try adding yogurt as per the original post).

    I should mention that during my horrific period of outbreak, I was prescribed and religiously used Elidel for my eyelids and very strong steroids for my hands, arms, back, legs, etc. The efficacy of the steroids compared to fish oil at 14g/day was poor. The side effects of the steroids are very real as well. The skin on my hands is now very thin and I blister easily; this is not a major life problem, but it is worth noting.

    As for experts, when I told the Dr. that I was taking 14g of fish oil per day, he replied, “you mean 14mg…” I admire much of the medical community, but so much of it is just out of whack. I am sure Dr.s are over regulated and face a litany of challenges, but the end result is substandard care. I should mention that I consulted more than eight dermatologists over a period of six years. Not one mentioned fish oil as a potential solution. They are all one thing: diagnose then drugs.

    Now I only get flare ups from vasodilators likes niacin and yohimbine (great stuff when matched to dmaa and caffeine; otherwise perfectly terrible).