Eczema [Updated]

A big thanks to everyone on our support list who has posted tips for each other. I have attempted to collate the various suggestions here.

As corrections and additions are posted to our support list and/or to the comments field below, this post will continue to be developed. Please bookmark it and keep checking back, or subscribe to its comments.

The Journey

Eczema is a common issue for people coming to GAPS. Eczema is also very stubborn, and often one of the last things to heal. Some people hit on their personal solution quite early on; others require much more patience because the solution is slower in coming. However, on our support list we have seen decades of persistent eczema resolve in mere days, weeks or months.

It appears that eczema is often linked to healing crisis or “die off”. Thus, the management of die-off is important, as noted throughout the GAPS Guide book.

Healing

  • New! Important: Please read Dr Natasha’s note under the ‘Eczema’ subheading here.
  • Diet – For some people, the diet aspect of GAPS has alone resolved eczema. For some people, this was almost immediate; for others, it took up to seven months, with terrible flares in the meantime.
  • Probiotics – For some people, the addition of probiotics alone does the trick. (For others, the same thing triggers a flare-up. This may not be a bad thing, though, as often a symptom has to flare before it can resolve.)
  • Be sure to do the intro, work methodically through the program, and include lots of good, GAPS fats.
  • Removal or reduction of all culprit foods (different for everyone). The simplest way to do this is to start with Stage 1 then, when your range of food has built up, eventually rotate out the earliest foods. Some foods specifically found to trigger flare ups in different people are: fermented vegetables, sweet foods including orange vegetables and/or fruit (see Sherry’s comment below), dairy (for some, even ghee), legumes, foods containing higher amounts of oxalates, as well as many non-GAPS foods such as grains (see Dianne’s comment below)
  • As a trial, remove from your diet even GAPS-approved nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, bell peppers, paprika, eggplant), known to trigger eczema in many
  • Anti-fungals – Generally, I recommend starting these only after having been on GAPS for several months, including a full go at intro.
  • Chiropractic Adjustment – A comment below reminded me that my sister had a patch of chronic eczema clear up literally overnight after a single adjustment (by someone who was not even a chiropractor, though of course I can only recommend you see someone certified in this approach).

Prevention

  • All sorts of things can trigger eczema. Make sure you are using no chemicals, even the degree of chemicals found in sunscreens or in relatively “natural” laundry detergents (for example) such as ammonium lauryl sulfate.
  • Wear cotton clothing, avoid feather pillows, clean bedding regularly so that dust and mites do not cause or exacerbate problems.
  • Wash clothes and bedding regularly in hot soapy water.
  • Avoid excessive contact with water. Avoid soaps and shampoos (neither are necessary).
  • Seasonal allergies can exacerbate eczema that is otherwise lying low. Don’t be discouraged by this; in many cases, GAPS resolves seasonal reactions, too, so this may well subside after one or two seasons.
  • Go Slowly – Many people leap into multiple healing practices early on. This can cause fast and horrendous die-off, including pus, blisters and eczema. Stopping supplements, anti-fungal or probiotic foods, etc, can ease the die-off. While probably the most difficult thing to do on GAPS, moving very slowly and methodically can make all the difference, allowing healing to happen at a manageable pace.
  • Daily topical applications of coconut oil.
  • Ensure at least one -and preferably up to three- bowel movements daily. (Use an enema if necessary.)

Remedies

While healing is taking place on its own schedule, the remedies below, which have worked for different people on our list, can be used to soothe and calm the skin. Please note that for each person, what works is different. Also, a remedy that works for one person may even exacerbate symptoms in another. It is a matter of trial and error.

  • Ensure at least one -and preferably up to three- bowel movements daily. (Use an enema if necessary.)
  • Chiropractic adjustment
  • Baths with a cup of raw apple cider vinegar
  • Baths with baking soda and epsom salts, limiting any lotions
  • Removal of dairy (every speck, and including ghee)
  • Removal or reduction of all culprit foods (different for everyone). The simplest way to do this is to start with Stage 1 then, when your range of food has built up, eventually rotate out the earliest foods. Some foods specifically found to trigger flare ups in different people are: fermented vegetables, carrots, dairy (for some, even ghee), fruit (see Sherry’s comment below), legumes, foods containing higher amounts of oxalates, as well as many non-GAPS foods such as grains (see Dianne’s comment below)
  • Very regular aalgo seaweed baths: www.aalgo.com
  • Plantain salves – Apply before or as soon as itch begins. Then, Eucerin orginal cream slathered on affected areas before bed and up to three times a day. The Eucerin helps to hydrate the dry, papery area for long term itch relief.
  • Honey wrap – Slather affected body part in honey, cover with plastic (wrap or bag), and leave overnight.
  • Avocado (topical application)
  • Bio-Kult mixed into avocado, slathered on the affected body part
  • Homeopathic ointment called Florazone
  • If a person is scratching to the point of damaging skin, keep nails *really* short!
  • Mix some shea butter with a few drops of essential oil of chamomile, geranium, rosemary and lavender. Apply the cream to affected areas.
  • Borage Dry Skin Therapy by Shikai (in the US, available at Whole Foods) or breaking open a capsule of borage oil and smearing it on one’s hands, while taking multi-vitamins.
  • Turmeric paste (see Sarah Schatz’s note in the comments section below)
  • Aloe vera gel
  • Milk thistle and/or other liver support (see Tracy’s story in the comments section below)
  • New! DermaMed cream

Plaintain Ointment – Recipe by Susun Weed

“Pick plaintain (plantago–a ‘weed’ in every lawn! Google the image and you’ll know it right away) when leaves are vibrant and green. DO NOT WASH. Just brush the leaves off gently if needed. Chop them coarsely and pack loosely into a clean, dry jar. Add olive oil, dislodging air bubbles with a knife or chopstick, until the jar is filled to the very top. Label and cap securely. Let sit out of direct sunlight, on a surface that won’t be marred by oozing oil (I put the jar on a dish). Decant after six weeks*, pouring off the oil and squeezing out what remains in the plant material. Compost the leftover herb. Grate one tablespoon of beeswax for every ounce of oil. Stirring constantly, heat the oil and beeswax until the wax melts, usually within a minute. Pour the liquid into small, wide-mouthed jars and cool. Use this ointment lavishly for diaper rash, insect bites and minor wounds. It heals, stops itching, checks bleeding, and eases pain.”

Can’t wait six weeks? The recipe above can be used even after just a week, and even without the beeswax step. ie. Just set the coarsely chopped leaves in olive oil for a week, then apply the oil.

In a real hurry? Pick a plaintain leaf, chew it -making it really juicy- then put the mashed up, juicy leaf on the itchy spot.

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailby feather

99 thoughts on “Eczema [Updated]

  1. Baden,

    this post is a goldmine of useful information!

    Thank you for putting this all together. I will definitely be referring people to it.

    By the way, I am quiet these days, but around. It’s taking a while to get oriented, as 3 of my kids got pertussis when we moved, among other things . . . Someday we’ll get to Vancouver Island on the ferry. Let me know if you ever come across the Strait.

  2. I finished to read de book Gut and Psycology Syndrome, and I didn’t understand if eczema is a GAPS condition or a reaction of die-off. My dougther (2 years old) has eczema (only this GAPS condition), and I don’t know if GAPS diet is necessary for her cure. Thank you.

    • Hi Luciana,

      That’s a good question. There seem to be different sources/causes of eczema. For some, it is a food reaction (an indication of “leaky gut”); for others, it seems to be a reaction to chemicals or other environmental variables in contact with the skin.

      You could start by implementing the environmental tips (washing bedding, cutting out soaps and chemicals, etc) presented in this post and see if that does the trick. If not, it is likely a food reaction, which GAPS would help resolve.

      Sincerely,
      Baden

  3. Wonderful site. I have excema, especially between my legs. I can’t sit and have to sleep on my side. I have tried so many different creams and diets. I will try your suggestions. I have had this condition for the past 6 – 8 months. L. Tucker

  4. In Canada, there are several chiropractic-based clinics and centers being run which offer diagnosis and treatment of various musculoskeletal ailments and problems with the use of chiropractic treatment. These clinics offer divergent treatments and diagnostic facilities for treating the dysfunctions of the musculoskeletal system, joints etc.

    • Thanks for this note. Yes, my very own sister had a small but bothersome patch of chronic eczema cleared up overnight with a single adjustment! I’m adding this tip to the list now :)

      Best,
      Baden

  5. Hi, I’m interested in doing the GAPS diet for my 3 yr. old daughter with eczema and severe food allergies and myself, I have a bit of eczema. I’m also breastfeeding a 4mo. old baby who also is starting up with severe eczema. I’ve read the book, I’m confused about how to implement it as a breastfeeding mom. Is the probiotic that the book recommends safe through the breastmilk? Has anyone had any experience with this kind of scenario?

    • Hi Jody,

      Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride has, since publication of her book, provided new and comprehensive information for pregnant and nursing moms on her website:

      http://www.gaps.me/preview/?page_id=33
      http://www.gaps.me/preview/?page_id=34

      Note there she suggests a pregnant or nursing mom skip intro and do full GAPS.

      Many breastfeeding moms are using Bio-Kult or any other commercial probiotic. For a conversation about commercial supplements and nursing, I suggest contacting the folks at gapsdiet.com

      Yes, many pregnant and nursing moms have done GAPS -both as instructed normally and per the instructions posted more recently (as above).

      To connect with moms who have been in your situation and successfully navigated a path of healing, I recommend you join the online support group.

      All my best,
      Baden

  6. Hi Baden, do you know people who have actually healed from exzema with GAPS/SCD? Especially the itchiness? I know it can help but I was just wondering if anyone has experienced any real lonlasting results?
    Thank you, Teo, UK

    • Hi Teo,

      Yes.

      To hear from people specifically on that, go into the support group and put in the subject line ‘eczema – anyone healed?’

      All my best,
      Baden

    • Hi Toni,

      I don’t know. I suggest Googling this matter or asking your doctor. A concern I would have is in the condition resulting in breakage of the skin, allowing for infection to set in.

      With all matters of the body, caution and care must be applied. When in doubt, do seek medical attention and advice.

      All my best,
      Baden

  7. I can’t thank you enough for this Baden. I have been a severe case most of my life and the GAPS diet offers me a glimmer of hope. I’ve been doing the diet (not intro) for 6 weeks now and suspected an intolerance to deadly nightshade after a major reaction following a tomato-based meal. I have just recently started fermented cabbage and wonder if I’m best delaying this? Have also been having daily carrot + celery + beetroot + pear juices (but wonder if I should give carrot a break) or at least not have it every day? Because choices are limited I find I’m eating pretty much the same thing each day and realise this is probably not ideal. I really appreciate the information you have gathered and there are some ideas I’m going to give a go. Thanks so much.

    • Hi Stephanie,

      It’s hard to say what another person should or should not delay, eliminate, etc. If fermented cabbage does not make your symptoms worse, I would carry on with it. The juiced vegetables will trigger significant healing in your body, which might transitionally manifest in exacerbation of symptoms. Go gently.

      For most people, it’s okay to eat the same basics every day at the initial stages: boiled meat and broth are key, as are fats for those who can tolerate those (which is the majority). Boiled vegetables are a nice bonus but can be introduced more slowly.

      All my best,
      Baden

  8. I had a rash on my lower legs that would show up when I got hot (usually from riding horses, but also from long hikes). It got much better when I cut out fruit and all grains (I already had cut out all other forms of sugar), but it was still there. The final piece of the puzzle was when I hadn’t eaten any legumes for about a month, then had some — I got reddest, angriest rash. Right now, I’m totally rash free. Since I had been dealing with this for almost 10 years (and had seen several doctors, including holistic doctors), I’m really, really happy.

    Aloe vera gel was the only thing I found that helped this rash.

  9. Hi Baden,
    This is a great post. I used to have eczema on and off when I was younger and before I started GAPS, I got a rash on my hand. When I started taking coconut oil and started GAPS, it actually got bigger and then it eventually got smaller and went away completely. I am not sure if this was eczema or just the toxins coming out of my body.

    Anyway, if you wrote this on the list and I missed it, forgive me. But years ago I used a paste made with turmeric for my eczema and it did help it go away temporarily. However it didn’t really solve the problem with my diet and gut so it came back. But it may be a good thing for people to use in conjunction with the diet.

  10. This is VERY useful! I have suffered with eczema from infancy til now (37 years). I know first hand how out of control this condition can get. I was nearly bed-ridden for 6 months because of it. I had open patches from head to toe and was given one antibiotic after another. I had staph and yeast infections over 80% of my skin. I tried literally everything I could find! Nothing worked up until 3 years ago when I had blood work done and was shown to be near liver failure. I was supposed to be hospitalized. But that was the breaking point for me….I left modern medicine behind and went on a quest to find a cure. I have only now come across the GAPS diet and plan to start it in 2 weeks with my whole family. I have been been 95% clear of eczema for the last 3 years…I started taking milk thistle to support my liver and went from 95% covered in eczema to only 15% (or so) in 2 weeks. I know as a nurse that the liver will excrete toxins through the skin when it is overloaded. Mine was apparently beyond that point. I am now convinced with all my research over the past 3 years that the GAPS diet will cure the rest, cure my chronic fatigue, and all my terrible food allergies. I feel guilt over passing this gut dysbiosis to my children but am VERY hopeful they will heal quickly! For me I plan to set 2-3 years aside for a very strict diet….it will be hard as my sugar cravings are still extreme. I know I still have a long way to go, but am convinced now that being dilligent will pay off. I plan to be 100% eczema free in 2 years! Thank you for your website and all the support!

    • Hi Tracy! Ive suffered with eczema all my life, I am now 21 and still struggling. Ive heard about milk thistle and want to try it, when you started taking milk thistle how much did you take and was it in liquid form or tablets? Ive heard liquid form is better as it works quickers..Thankyou

  11. Dianne

    What kind of Aloe vera gel and what I can get it. My 3 1/2 yo son is suffering from a severe eczema. He gets up two to three times a night from the discomfort.

    Thank you for your help.

  12. Sarah Schatz

    Hi Sarah,

    What kind of Turmeric paste? Where can I get it? My 3 1/2 yo son suffers from a severe cast of eczema. We are going to do a GAPS diet but in the meantime, I want to help him get some relief. I’ve tried a lot of things but nothing seams to help.

    Pls help us.

  13. Andrew, I used Lily of the Desert Organic. However, you can also use the fresh leaves. Just split them open and rub on the eczema.

  14. My son had severe eczema since 6 months old. I did the conventional route and nothing help. The doctors just said he would grow out of it and would just give him steriod cream. I could not take it anymore. At age 5 (1.5 years ago) he went on the GAPS diet for 7 months. It was hard. He had major flare ups and hives (which he never had before) but we stuck it out. After 7 months, we slowly went back on a few foods but kept dairy and wheat out. This is the first summer he has gone with out eczema! He skin looks beautiful and he does not have shiners under his eyes. He even can tolerate some dairy and wheat without any flare ups! Not even sunscreen has bothered him.

    Thanks to the diet, my son is scab free (except for the pick scrape on his knee from falling off his bike)!!

    • Nice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Good work, Mama Melissa!!!!!!! Great job on saving your son from needless pain, suffering and teasing!

      All my very best,
      Baden

  15. Melissa,

    Thanks for your post. My wife and I have higher hopes now that we hear from you. My 4 year old (Dec.2010) is suffering from severe Eczema. We just started modified GAPS diet with the guidance of Dr. Thomas Cowan. He breaks out between his thighs, elbows, and the worst part is the area right above his foot. His tummy has little bumps (not red) as well.

    He wakes up everything night to scratch 1, 2 or even 3 hours every night. I am wondering if your son did that and how you dealt with it? We are really stressed out right now seeing him and not letting him scratch.

    We did homeopathic for sometime now and very careful with his food, but it is not helping him deal with the itch. Once in a while we would use steroid cream, but very rare.

    Any suggestion to help him deal with the itch would greatly appreciate it.

  16. Andrew,
    Hi! I’m 21, and I have suffered from chronic eczema my whole life. I just started the GAPS diet (5 days ago) and I am already seeing some improvement!! I know that everybody with eczema reacts so differently to different treatments, but this is the only thing that has ever really helped me so stick with it! Also I wanted to let you know that something I found recently for dealing with the itch is called liquid licorice. It is concentrated licorice in a dropper that you put straight on your skin when it itches. For me it is absolutely worth it.. It stings a little at first, but takes the itch away. Another thing that I have not tried, but read about is rubbing garlic on the spot that iches. I hope that something works, and best of luck!!

  17. Hi Baden/Melissa/Everyone
    Thanks for your post. You gave me some hope here. My boy have chronic eczema and food allergies. He’s been on a strict GAPS diet for the past 18 months. Their have been fabulous improvement. His eczema cleared on his body except behind his knees, elbows from shoulder up to his face. I suspect its environmental in condition the air that cause the other part of his body not fully recovered.

    For the past 2 months his eczema got worst that I have to give him antihistamine. Some how I suspect his liver is not detoxing. Any one know what I can give him to help him to detox his liver? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated?

    And thanks Baden for you advise about fermented food. I do believe it does cause my boy’s eczema to flare up, same for apple cider vinegar, lemon or citrus fruits.

    Thanks.

  18. My daughter’s eczema is triggered by detergents, chemicals, perfumes and almost anything that is in soap, shampoo, laundry or dishwater detergent. We have switched to CalBen products (one of the only true soap products that you can buy) which has made a huge difference. If we get hand me down clothes, we have to wash them atleast 4 times to get out the detergent that was previously used or she will break out. We have also used soap nuts for our laundry and these also do not cause her to have a flare-up (but I prefer CalBen). She does still get some eczema, but it has been reduced dramatically by taking all the chemicals out of our house. I also wash the tub that she bathes in with the CalBen products. I usually just let her have a water bath soak with baking soda or epsom salts and do not actually wash her often, but will use the CalBen shampoo when I do. Hope this helps…it’s so hard to see your little one suffer.

  19. I have been eating a WAPF diet for about 3 years. I’m nursing a 5 1/2 month old who has mild eczema and I was wondering if his condition is die-off or something else? I am only up to taking 2 biokult probiotics a day and I break one into my sons mouth also. I’ve been doing gaps for about 4 months. He had mouth thrush almost right after his birth and this is how I started on probiotics and then found GAPS. I started doing full GAPS 3 months ago and started a modified version of intro diet 3 weeks ago where I cut out the known irritating food from my diet no eggs, all dairy, and legumes. Its been challenging to do this while nursing but I thought if I did stage 1 and slowly introduced foods I’d find out the culprit allergy food bothering him. I have some moderate seasonal hay fever but no other allergies. I see that nursing mom’s should dull full GAPS and not be more restrictive then that, so I must be moving to fast by going down this road. How should I proceed from here? Is his eczema something we should be okay with and assume its die-off or should I further try and find the culprit allergen?

    • Hi Jill,

      A few thoughts:

      1. Please review on Dr Natasha’s website (www.gaps.me) or in the newest edition of her book her suggestions for nursing mothers and for infant care. As you note, one of the recommendations there is for a pregnant or nursing woman to skip intro and go straight to full GAPS. There is much more there, though.

      2. One capsule is a lot of BK/probiotic for 5.5 month old. The GAPS and GAPS Guide books state recommended maximums per age, with 1-2 billion per day for an infant. Each capsule of BK contains “a minimum 2 billion probiotic microorganisms per capsule”. GAPS Guide suggests starting children at not more than 1/10th of a capsule and working up very slowly. Thus, I would cut back your son’s probiotic dose to that for now.

      3. Have you seen this blog’s post dedicated to eczema? If not, type eczema into the site’s own search engine and check out that post for ideas of how to proceed. The matter may be resolved by simpler means, while allowing you to get full nourishment.

      All my best,
      Baden

  20. I”ve had bad eczema on my legs for about 5 years now. I’m 70, and otherwise pretty healthy and robust, apart from some musculoskeletal problems.

    I went the medical route which didn’t help at all, had blood tests etc, used cortisone ointment until I got tired of it, because it made little difference. The skin on my legs is ugly, scarred and thickened by scratching. I only shower when I need to wash my hair, and don’t use soap.

    I’m sure it is linked to digestive imbalances, and am just starting to explore the GAPS route. For me, it doesn’t seem to be allergic dermatitis, as the doctors told me it is. I think it is an auto-immune reaction, as I had a severe auto-immune disorder in my thirties, and the eczema came on after a series of major panic attacks at a time of my life when I was processing the stresses that had caused the original breakdown in my thirties.

    So, my question is, I’m not all that interested in using particular external applications, and want to heal from the inside; so can anyone tell me that they have healed their eczema by following the GAPS diet, and if so, have they started from scratch with it, or just modified their diet? I already avoid most dairy and sugar, and eat natural fats, but am willing to do the extra yards with fermented foods etc.

    Thanks, all

    • Hi Christina,

      I personally haven’t struggled with eczema, but many people have resolved this issue via GAPS, yes. It is recommended for any condition to do GAPS thoroughly, including the intro progression.

      You may or may not hear from others via the comments box on this site. To connect more directly with others doing the program, check out the email lists referenced on the ‘support’ page of this blog.

      All my best,
      Baden

  21. I would get a rash on my lower legs when I would either ride horses or go for a long hike. (Along with the rash, all my mucous membranes would also get inflamed.) It got better when I cut out gluten, dairy, citrus, and ALL sugar. It didn’t go away until I cut out all grains and legumes.

  22. has anyone suffered with DH? the combination is severe environmental allergies, food allergies, and head to toe severe eczema. Gaps has been in effect for almost a week now along with extra probiotics and a liver cleanse. Things I think are getting better, slightly. Has anyone changed climate and found it helps? We are in Minnesota, and the cold dry weather now is torture. Would Florida help?

    • Hi Shannon,

      I don’t know what “DH” is, but definitely people with the combination of severe environmental allergies, food allergies (non-anaphylactic), and head to toe severe eczema have recovered from those symptoms via GAPS.

      To increase your chances of hearing from others who have, I suggest posting to the support list with the symptoms in the subject line.

      In the meantime, I express some caution in doing “extra probiotics and a liver cleanse” at the beginning of GAPS. This can create a detox load heavier than the body can process. As in the GAPS Guide book, I always recommend proceeding gently, methodically and slowly.

      All my best,
      Baden

  23. DH is a form of celiac, which we thought was the case. I am rethinking this now. The symptoms are the same, but maybe the root is different. Dermatitis herpetiformis is what is known as DH. It is very terrible and miserable, so we are very hopeful that GAPS will help. Gluten free helped slightly for a while, but true healing and recovery hasn’t ever happened. That is why I wondered about the climate change. It certainly alleviates the misery, but wondered if it really contributes to the healing process. I will certainly try the support list, thanks so much.

  24. Hi Baden – Thank you for such a wonderfully informative website. I have been slowly transitioning my son and I to GAPS over the last three months. We have not done the intro yet. My son is 2 and 1/2 and still breastfeeds. We are taking GAPS into our lives because he has what I call a revolving door of food intolerances. He adds some, gets over some, starts reacting to them again and so on. I am writing because since July he has started to react to foods in a strange way – the tip of his foreskin (he is not circumcised) swells and gets red, once even blistered. This is the part that does not actually touch the penis but dangles below it. Now it is looking like eczema. We have treated it as an infection many many times. Sometimes it gets better but never clears up totally. We know that it was caused three times by food – goat dairy, corn and nuts. But now are confused and can’t figure out what is causing it. Do you think this could have to do with die-off as opposed to just being an allergic reaction to foods? Have you heard or experienced with your son such a thing? I assume it has to do with toxins coming out with his pee. I am confused and concerned and would appreciate any advice. Just before I wrote this I sent a request to join the yahoo group so when I receive that email I’ll post there too. Thank you again for what you do and sorry for the long message.

  25. Hi Naomi,

    I think your theories about possible causes (die-off, toxins exiting with the pee, allergies, etc) are excellent.

    One other thought is yeast overgrowth.

    Yes, my son did twice, very briefly, have similar symptoms. Although I did not know the cause for certain, I treated it as a yeast infection (apple cider vinegar baths, otherwise keeping the area dry and aired out, kefir directly on the affected area 2-3x per day, no underwear, etc) and it resolved very quickly.

    Because of the symptoms, I would consider transitioning to intro. Normally a mother who is breastfeeding is advised to stay on full GAPS, moving to intro only when her child is weaned. However, your son’s age makes him not dependent on breastmilk (though it is wonderful to continue breastfeeding for as long as possible), and if intro were to reduce your supply, your son would still thrive.

    You will likely receive excellent info from the support list as well.

    All my best,
    Baden

  26. My son had really bad chronic eczema all over his thighs that responded to no natural therapy that we tried (naturopathic and homeopathic) when he was 4. Finally we put him on the leaky gut diet and it completely and permanently healed in 3-4 weeks on a no disaccharide diet…..he is now 9 and has not had any reocurrance and has not been on any special diet….I am now putting my whole family on GAPS diet though because of my own PMS, my hubby’s dyslexia and while my son is ezcema free, he has dark circles under his eyes and has trouble getting to sleep….our family has been vegetarian on a whole foods diet until this past year… I feel that the GAPS diet is the essential piece that we needed to know about to attain healing for our whole family at a much deeper level (we were low saturated fat and high fibre). I so appreciate this work and just wanted to share our experience for those wondering if healing the gut really does help/heal eczema. In our experience is worked like magic….the only piece that I would like to add is that tropical fruits (even though they were disaccaride free) still contributed to the inflammation ..luckily I figured that out in the first week…..as soon as the tropical fruits were out the healing sped up quite a bit faster…what a relief and joy it was!!

  27. Hi Baden, Thanks so much for the information you provide. It has been very helpful and encouraging. I visit it every day reading the same encouraging comments to keep my spririts up as it all can be so hard sometimes.

    I do have a question. My 5 year old son is finishing up week 3 on the intro diet. It is a very slow process for him in that I am not seeing much progress in his eczema healing. I wanted to try the milk thistle mentioned above, but you also say to take things slowly and don’t do different healing protocols at one time. Do you think we can do the milk thistle or should we wait, and if we need to wait, how long?

    At this point we are on stage 3/stage 4 –
    no dairy yogurt/kefir- haven’t tried
    no eggs – weren’t tollerated

    had to back off the ferments and probiotics. I think I increased them too fast (at the 2 week point he was doing 9TBS of kraut juice and 2 bio-kults per day) so now he is doing none till his eczema flare heals up a little.

    Thanks for any information you can give!
    Martha

    • Hi Martha,

      Thank you so much for the positive feedback on the blog!

      You made the right decision reducing the probiotics for your son. (Yes, that was a lot for two weeks in.) This said, it is critical to include some probiotic source, but just starting with very tiny amounts (as detailed in the GAPS Guide book) and working up very, very slowly. Have you read Dr Natasha’s additional note under ‘eczema’ here?

      At only three weeks in, I would not yet introduce another internal healer for eczema. I can’t know for sure how the milk thistle would affect your son, but my initial sense is that combined with early intro, the overall healing load would be too much. I would carry on slowly and gently with the program. Besides those arounds soaps, detergents, etc, you might in the meantime try an external therapy such as the chiropractic option listed.

      Martha, please let me know how things progress.

      All my best,
      Baden

  28. My boy has been on the GAPS diet for 20 months now. There has been 80% improvement, but sometimes it got very bad. I’m not sure what cause it to go bad. 20 months down the track I thought his food intolerance would have improved, but no, he’s still very restricted to limited food. I’m a bit worry that he is not having enough nutrition. His food are pumpkin, broccoli, fresh beans, carrots, pork, chicken, white flesh fish, egg yolk (not white) and cherry is his only fruit. Any other food I’ve tried, he would flare up. And food have to be boiled, or steamed. Baking and roast will cause him to flare up too. He’s 8 years old now. I’m really worried about his food variety. Do you think he has enough nutrition know his food are so lmited?

    • Dear Anne,

      80% improvement is certainly excellent, but I hear your concerns, too. So long as your son is eating meats, these veggies, fats and egg yolk, I’m not immediately concerned about his range. Fruit is not critical, so the fact that cherry is his only one does not worry me. However, reacting with severe eczema to all other foods or preparation styles is something to consider, yes.

      Is your son doing daily -and rotated- detox baths?

      Have you read Dr Natasha’s post on eczema on her FAQ page? It is linked to in the post.

      In any case, with this situation, I recommend you connect with a GAPS physician, linked to on my ‘support’ page. I would love to hear back from you, Anne, how that goes.

      All my best,
      Baden

  29. Hi Baden,

    You’re right I think I do need a GAPS physician, but I’m not sure who to turn to in Wellington, New Zealand.

    I’m very depressed to see after nearly 2 years his gut still hasn’t healed. I’m not just worried about his nutrition but I’m also worried that he’s becoming more and more sensitive to a wider variety of food and environmental contaminants.

    I’ve just started him on digestive enzymes today (Solgar brand- not sure if it’s GAPS legal but that’s the only one with OX bile I can find in Wellington). He has severely flared up these few days. I really don’t know what is the cause of it as he hasn’t had anything new, I can only put it through as environmental issue.

    Some how I think he cannot tolerate fat. The fat he is taking are chicken and pork. I’ve tried others like ghee, coconut, olive oil, duck, raw avocado. They don’t seem to do too well on him.

    Sometimes it’s so hard to know what causes him to flare up as he never had a day with clear skin unless I apply steroids on him.

    I do admit since GAPS, he sleeps well, has no swollen eyes, no constipation, less medication (ie, oral/external steroids and antihistamine )and most important his eczema has improved.

    I do have some questions:
    1. How would I know if the digestive enzymes is legal, if not what would be a good one to try on my boy?

    2. I’m worry he is sensitive to broth, as it is high in natural MSG. Should he continues taking it, as after nearly 2 years he’s still in stage 2 of GAPS diet and is limited to certain food?

    3. Cooking diminishes the nutritional value of the food and destroy enzymes that can assist in digestion and absorption of food, should he continue eating cooked food since after nearly 2 years and his gut still hasn’t healed?

    I have been very patient after these 22 months, and I do believe it has a very powerful healing properties, just that life is getting very stressful especially finding food for him take to school.

    I do hope you have some suggestion for me.

    Many thanks and sorry for the long post.

    • Hi Anne,

      To find a GAPS physician in New Zealand, go to this page: http://gapsguide.com/about/support/, scroll down to ‘Professionals Supporting GAPS’, and follow the links. Ultimately, you will find at least two practitioners listed for NZ. However, most GAPS professionals also provide phone consultations, so you won’t need to find one in Wellington, specifically. One from anywhere in the entire world will do!

      Absolutely one should not be in Stage 2 of intro after two years. A couple of weeks would be the maximum. It’s awesome that you are seeking support in moving forward!

      Dr Natasha talks about increasing sensitivities here. You might find something useful in that article.

      1. GAPS does not present a comprehensive list of recommended/not recommended ingredients in supplements. A page that is helpful, especially for people who need to be very strict, is this: http://www.pecanbread.com/new/Sup1.html I also recommend the folks at nutrivene.com as an excellent source of information and supplements.

      2. Any food you suspect as possibly being an issue simply remove for two weeks, then try again. If you see improvement during its removal, and/or problems upon its reintroduction, leave it out. This applies to each fat, broth, anything. A problematic food can be tried again after more months of healing.

      3. Yes, he should eat cooked food. However, he needs to also progress to the stages which include raw foods as well. Each meal must include veggies that are raw, as well as raw and fermented.

      Anne, you are such a great mom! You have been working so hard to heal your son. It’s thanks to you he’s seen the improvements he has, and with your excellence in reaching out now, I’m confident he will see even more progress!

      All my best,
      Baden

  30. Hi Baden,

    First thank you for putting the GAPS guide and this site together ……very informative and helpful:-)

    My 11 month old daughter battling eczema since 7 months old has just started on the GAPS intro. She is on the WAP (http://www.westonaprice.org/childrens-health/319-recipes-for-homemade-baby-formula.html) meat based formula and duck meat currently. I weaned her off the sugar portion of the formula (see below) last week. She does not tolerate lactose, whey, eggs, dairy, apple, chicken etc.

    She was constipated on day 3 on just the formula and so i gave her some butternut squash and carrots. That helped with the bowel movement but her eczema that was beginning to clear flared angrily……weeping and very itchy skin and rashes on her back. She is back on just the formula and duck meat (boiled for 3 hrs and then pureed). I worry about her being constipated again and having to give her an enema. Also, do you think i should wean her off the formula?

    Homemade Hypoallergenic Baby Formula

    3 3/4 cups homemade beef (ox tail) stock….can use buffalo, turkey, duck, goose, or lamb stock
    2 oz organic, grassfed liver cut into small pieces
    1/4 cup liquid whey. Do not use if baby shows signs of whey intolerance (removed for my daughter)
    5 TBL Lactose (substituted Sucrose as she did not tolerate lactose)
    1/4 tsp Bifidobacterium Infantis Powder (replaced it with probiotic from Klaire Labs similar to bio-kult…same strains)
    1/2 tsp unflavored, fermented cod liver oil (“salty cod” or “antioxidant free” are the flavors to choose from)
    1 tsp expeller pressed, organic sunflower oil
    2 tsp organic, extra virgin olive oil (in a dark bottle)
    1 TBL virgin coconut oil
    1/4 tsp acerola powder

    • Hi Suku,

      I’m going to be posting briefly about eczema this evening. (Eczema is crazy tricky, hey?! Oy!)

      The formula, minus the ingredients you’ve removed, looks excellent. On the other hand, at eleven months she doesn’t need to be on a formula. You could continue it for now, but start giving her other GAPS foods in their adult form (minced, of course, for a young chewer) then move entirely to those. That way, you have opportunity to try the CLO, coconut oil, probiotic, etc, separately, to see if any of these might be hard for her right now (in which case, they can be removed for a bit then restarted at smaller doses).

      Constipation is sometimes unavoidable, especially in-die-off. If orange veggies help her move her bowels but also trigger eczema flares, try the other options listed in the GAPS Guide book under ‘constipation’ as well as under ‘die-off’. In your GG book, you’ll find child-gentle options for enemas, if the first ones you try don’t work within 36 hours.

      All my best,
      Baden

  31. Dear Baden

    Thank you so much for the very informative sites you’ve posted in Feb. My boy has a tremendous improvement since I put him on the HCI & pepsin and I managed to get hold of a probiotic that suits him. There’s only a few spots on his face and neck. Now I’m just waiting for his body and behind the knees to clear up. The greatest joy is … he did not flare up after eaten avocado and oranges and he had 1/2 cup of carrot juice with no problems. 4 months back all those were still a problem. He can’t wait to have egg white and apples.

    From today he is on his full 2 years GAPs diet. I’ve come a long way to get to this result and now I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have faith he will recover completely very soon. And I’m looking forward to introduce more new food to his diet.

    Thank you again Baden for all your hard work and encouragement. I will be in touch a let you know how he goes.

    Anne

    • Oh Anne,

      Congratulations to you both on this wonderful healing! Thank you *so much* for letting me know that the information was helpful!!

      All my best,
      Baden

  32. Hi Baden,

    Thanks for this post and for you GAPS guide book (found 1 seller here in the UK!). I have been following your Intro journal as well as I intend to start with the Intro in May. I have a skin condition that cannot be properly diagnosed (dermatologist said it can be an overlap of eczema and psoriasis). Recently, I have noticed that whenever I shower, my skin would be itchy the moment I put soap on it. I am using an organic liquid soap that is paraben and SLS free. What would you recommend as an alternative to soap please?

    Thank you,
    Peachy

    • Hi Peachy,

      When skin is impacted by soap, etc, I recommend using no soap, except where absolutely necessary (eg. to remove any fecal matter after using a toilet). Wash your hair with egg yolks, spritz your armpits with diluted Apple Cider Vinegar or baking soda during a shower, etc.

      All my best,
      Baden

  33. Hi Baden,

    Thank you so much for all the information and all you do to help us with these excruciating problems. My friends daugther (now 16) has had chronic eczema since she was a baby. I want to help her so much but she only speaks French and I have no translation for the GAPS book, diet or even websites to refer her to. Do you know of any information for her in French? It is difficult to see her suffer when the help is easily available. The doctors here have told her that she will have eczema for the rest of her life and there is nothing that can be done for her! She is desperate (even suicidal)!

    Thank you so much.
    Sara

    • Hi Sara,

      Good news! While not all GAPS resources are available in French, Dr Natasha’s comprehensive website is! On the top right corner of her blog are flags, each of which can be clicked to show her site contents in a different language. See: http://gaps.me/preview/?page_id=32&lang=fr Any other online material -for example, my post on eczema approaches- can be translated via Google Translate.

      All my best,
      Baden

  34. Hi Sara,

    I know someone who speaks french, is nutritionally well versed and is on the diet currently with her whole family. If you are interested, maybe she could consult with your daughter over the phone. e-mail me @ sherry@nullwholefoodsfamily.com if that interests you and I will ask her on your behalf!

    Warmly,
    Sherry

  35. Hi Baden,

    Just wanted to add “7 cream” to the list of helpful items. It is the only thing that worked for my husband. It soothes the itching and reduces redness.. Everyone is different but this cream allowed him to stop steroid use way before we started Gaps. When you stop the steroids, you get horrible flares and and this really helped! He won’t go without it! I would recommend trying it.

    A little more about it here https://www.helios.co.uk/seven_cream.html. It is sold in lots of different places including US and Canada. Just google it.

    Hope this helps someone!

    Dee

    PS: thank you for answering my earlier post Baden!

  36. Hi Baden,

    Thank you so much for your reply. It was really helpful. Changes are being made and we are looking forward to a bright, itch free future!!

    Bestest
    Sara

  37. I just started my 16-month-old daughter on the intro diet this week for her eczema – she has it on her neck, underarms, behind her knees, insider her elbows and on all her little fat folds. She’s adjusted to the diet well, although no healing yet.

    My question is about coconut oil – I’m applying it to her eczema but it seems to be aggravating her neck which is becoming flaky and looks red and irritated. She’s also getting new little bumps on her tummy. Do you think this is a die-off reaction? I’m not sure if I should continue with coconut oil…

    Also, should I keep her on stage 1 if she’s having this reaction, or can I move her on to stage 2? I’m confused about the signs to look for before moving on. She has no digestive issues, although she is peeing A LOT, but she sleeps well and is quite happy.

    • Hi Jennifer,

      Coconut oil is tricky. One the one hand, it’s a very healing food. On the other, early on it can trigger too much die-off. Where it’s applied topically, I don’t know what range of experiences one could potentially have. I always recommend people steer clear of coconut oil during intro and, because we know that anything absorbed through the skin will shift the internal systems, I would follow this recommendation in terms of topical application as well.

      Any healing approach can definitely exacerbate symptoms initially. It’s common to see an initial worsening of symptoms through the diet alone.

      New bumps -including on one’s tummy- is a common die-off reaction. (It sounds like healing is indeed happening!)

      Yes, please do move her on to the next stage. One will experience all sorts of symptoms -old and new- for the first months on the program, and we must continue moving forward through the program regardless. Skip a food only if it clearly brings up a specific reaction, then continue forward.

      All my best,
      Baden

      • Hi Baden,

        Thanks for much for your help! I stopped using it for a bit and it seemed to help; I also cut out orange veggies and that also helped quite a bit.

        I do have a question about moving through the stages, though. It seems that day to day my daughter’s eczema areas flare up a bit – I know this can be associated with die-off, but it makes me nervous to move to the next stage. I had noticed before I started GAPS that she had diaper rash easily and her dirty diapers would smell strongly acidic. Since starting GAPS that has stopped. Should I just keep moving her through as long as her stool doesn’t cause her rash or isn’t too loose, even if her skin isn’t noticeably better?

        Thanks!

        • Hi Jennifer,

          Yes, definitely continue moving through the stages. You can do so slowly if you like, eg. one new food per week, for example, but definitely keep moving forward regardless of a symptom (eczema in this case) still being present. Some symptoms will require weeks, months or even the full two years of the program to resolve. Moving forward to additional nutrition will help with healing. Only if you see a specific reaction to a given food, remove that food, leave it out for some weeks, and continue to otherwise move forward.

          Stool will be quite random the first several months. You might see loose, harder, perfect, mucousy -all sorts of things. Thus, this alone cannot be used to assess reactions (unless it’s clearly a consistent response to a given food).

          All my best,
          Baden

  38. Hi Baden and everyone

    I thought it’s about time for me to up date you all about my little boy who is 9 years old now. Since my last post (April 2011), Tim has tremendous improvement. He was on HCI & Pepsin for 10 months. We took it off him 4 weeks ago and so far he’s still doing wonderfully well. His skin is all clear and smooth just like a little baby again, nice and silky. He’s off the GAP’s diet just before Xmas and it’s made traveling so much easy. There are still things he can’t tolerate such as nuts, sesame seeds and kiwifruits but I’m happy to leave them off his diet.

    When he started GAP’s he can only tolerate 5 vegetables, 3 fruits and white meat and it felt like he’s allergic to everything in this world. Food that we think he was okay to eat became clear. Clear as, we realized that he was allergic to more food then we expected and the specialist always blame it’s on pollens and house dust mites, not food.

    Now 3 years later, he’s eating whole eggs, plenty of vegetables and fruits, all meat, dairy and oil (includes coconut oil, flaxseed oil, olive oil & avocado oil etc).

    Please introduce food one at a time including oil too. Everyone is different. One can tolerate does not mean others can. My boy’s reaction to certain food did not show up until 3 to 7 days later but things like pears, apples, seafood, red meat, seeds, olive oil, and coconut oil show up 30 minutes later, nuts and sesame seeds are instant.

    GAPS diet have tremendous healing properties. GAPS diet need lots of love, support, time and most of all perseverance and patience. I know it’s costly but for the one we love it’s well worth it for his/her lifetime health.

    I’ll keep posting to let you know how my boy goes. Autumn through to Spring were his worst months in the past years since born.

    Good luck and don’t give up!!

    Anne

    • Anne, thank you so much for letting us know how your little boy is doing! And for sharing where he started, what specifically helped him, and what continues to be limits for him.

      Anne, what a GREAT JOB you’ve done as his mom!!

      Every cell in me hopes that your journey continues to be full of health!

      I may quote your comment in a post soon :)

      All my best,
      Baden

  39. My family is doing full GAPS right now (we skipped intro due to stressful life circumstances at present; also because I am breastfeeding), mainly for 2 of my childrens’ eczema. My son, whose eczema is rather severe, got worse when we started, but is slowly seeing some improvement (we’ve just started 3 weeks ago). I have read that there may be a link between liver function (production of bile, digestion of fats) and eczema. Would it be advisable to use liver building herbs in addition to doing GAPS, or will that make die-off more intense? My little guy is so itchy, increasingly so as the day wears on, that I hate to make it worse! I want to help him heal quickly, but I don’t want to make the die-off unbearable for a 2-year-old. I know we probably need to do intro, but I just can’t manage it right now and would rather do something (full GAPS) than to give up! I have ordered the GAPS Guide, Baden, and appreciate any support/encouragement you have for me! Thank you for your blog!

    • Hi Danielle,

      You are wise to know your limits (about ability to do intro right now).

      Honestly, eczema is so tricky that patience is key in any case. While some people do see tremendous relief within days or weeks, with or without intro many find it can take many months to heal. As you’re just three weeks in to full GAPS, I would for now continue as you are, and provide your son remedies for soothing the skin. After a total of three months or so on GAPS, you could look at adding one liver cleanser at a time, starting with very tiny doses and working up slowly. Generally I recommend a person do a good three months of GAPS, including one round of intro, before adding adjunct therapies, but where intro is not possible, this would be my second suggestion. This said, if intuitively you sense that starting a tiny dose of one liver cleanser now would be okay for him, do feel free. Yes, adding cleansing elements can indeed exacerbate symptoms, but once you sense he’s strong enough for a deeper action, you can proceed.

      Danielle, thank you for ordering the GAPS Guide book. It’s in folks doing so that I can be available to answer questions here!

      All my best,
      Baden

  40. Hi Baden,

    We’ve been doing GAPS diet for 4 months. My both boys (4y.o. and 1,5 y.o.) have severe food allergy and hey fever. I still beast feed the youngest. We still on the stage 2 of introduction diet and I’m confused. The older one still gets symptoms (staffed nose) and eczema. He is very tied and always hungry. But his stool is regular and ok. And I do not understand if I’m doing it wrong or it is a dye off reaction.The younger has terrible eczema. He scratches himself constantly. And last week he had breathing problems. The doctor suspected asthma. And with him it is difficult to figure out if it is his food or my food he reacts to. I can not keep full GAPS diet due to his reaction.
    Can you suggest how to find those groups of parents with allergy kids?

    • Hi everyone,

      I thought I should post something about my own experience in regard to my boy’s eczema and severe allergy. My boy (whose 9 years old now), if you read from above post, has severe eczema since birth. I put him on GAPS diet 3 years ago, and had shown tremendous improvement. He’s on gluten free diet now and he can tolerate normal food when he goes to party.

      What I did with my boy is slowly reintroduce food to him one by one, starting with 1 or 2 type of blended vege soup, and boiled/steamed meat/fish for 2/3 days before I move onto the next lot of food to ensure that he’s not allergic to them. By re-introducing his food again, I discovered he’s allergic to so many fruits, veges, seed and proteins (such as apples, pears, citrus fruits, berries, bananas, avocados, coconut, cabbages, broccoli, onion, mushrooms, lamb, beef, eggs, ghee, olive oil etc). His stable food were only carrots, pumpkin, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, celery, lettuce, chicken, white fish, pork lard and chicken fat/lard. He was on those food for a good month. I need to be carefully as to what he can eat, as he’s very sensitive not just to food but environmental too.

      After that month his sleeping pattern improved. He slept right through the instead of crying up to 10 times through the night. It took him a good 6 months before we notice his eczema has improved by 50%, and that’s provided he’s not eating an allergy food . By 22 months he’s still not yet eczema free, so I was just about to give up, but thanks to Baden for the information he gave me – posted February last year.

      I started giving him 1 capsule HCL + pepsin twice a day (I’ve tried 2 brands and at the end I used “Radiance” which work really well) and increased Bio-Kult to 2 capsules twice a day. About a month after this, his eczema has improved. He was eating more and more food, and as months go by his skin complex was just like a baby, soft and smooth.

      We has stopped the GAPS diet January this year, and so far he still doing really well, without the help of Bio Kult, HCL+Pepsin and other supplements. He’s taking gluten free/sourdough & avocados sandwiches to school (no longer roast pumpkins/drumsticks with celery and carrots). He eats normal food when he goes to friends’ place and parties (except I still say no to him for candies/sweets/colourings). Nuts and sesame seeds are still off his list too and I do not wish to try it, maybe later when I think he’s ready.

      We have tried so many different diets and supplements including cod liver oil,probiotic, HCI + Pepsin before GAPS, but never make a difference to his allergy until GAPS was introduced.

      So I personally think GAPS has help him to heal his gut, and build up his immunity. I just can’t imagine if he didn’t spent that 22 months on GAPS, would re-introducing the supplements have helped him? For us, it has worked in that sense. So a BIG thank you to GAPS!!

      We’re all different, everyone has to listen to their own body for individual foods. The above is my own experience with my own boy, I’m sure you all will be able to find a solution for your own children too.

      To get better health we need to take control of ourselves. It’s a hard journey, but perseverance and patience is what keep me going. We all know good things take time. Good luck and don’t give up!!

      Regards,
      Anne

      • Hello Anne,

        Thank you for your story. It is important to know that allergy kids get better on this diet, as I see no other solution to our allergies then GAPS.
        I have a question for you. How did you figure out problematic foods, if you child was constantly with eczema?

        Regards,
        Julia

        • Anne, thanks for your help. We did full GAPS for over 6 months before we had the opportunity to give the intro a go. Now it has been just over a month of intro, and it seemed my 2-yr-old son (who had terrible flares all along doing the full GAPS) did instantly better once we started intro (sleeping better too). But every time I try to introduce something, it seems he has a reaction about the 2nd/3rd time of having the new food. But then when we take those foods back out, he will still sometimes have a “bad” day with flares on his face and neck, and all-over itching, even though his skin is much clearer overall–these random flares make me wonder how I am to know whether or not he is reacting to those new foods, really, or if those are random flares too. I’m just baffled. We’re basically still on stage one and he’s back to sitting around itching much of the time (and waking at night). Do I need to take out everything but 1-2 veggies and maybe chicken to see if there’s still something (like beef or some other veggie) that’ still causing distress?

          Then the other issue I have is that my 5-yr-old daughter, whose skin didn’t respond much during full GAPS, has had such extreme die-off for the past month of intro. I cannot seem to ease her discomfort. Though her legs were her main problem before, her entire body has flared (even her ear lobes, eye lids). While the die-off has eased ever so slightly on her upper body, her legs are in constant torment. Her sheets are often wet of a morning because when she scratches her legs, clear liquid pours out of them like rain. The backs of her knees are a purplish gray color, which is scary-looking. I’ve tried baths, enemas, removing all probiotics and fermented cod liver oil, she sleeps almost constantly so I know she’s getting enough rest. We change her clothes and sheets frequently because of the dead skin, liquid seeping from her skin, and constant applications of salve. Between the food prep, baths and laundry for 2 kids with eczema (and 2 more without), I am exhausted!!! How can I ease this die-off??

          I’m tired of the concerned looks I keep getting from people–it’s giving me a guilt complex. Am I doing the right thing?? I am ready to give up! Please help, anyone.

  41. Hi Julia,
    I did a lot of testing. Any food item that I could think off and it’s a common food allergy I requested for a blood test and a skin prick test. I also did hair allergy testing and NAET allergy testing.

    Any food items that was on the blood test, prick test and hair testing I eliminated them. Any food items that was in the NAET testing also got eliminated, but also use it as a guide to re-introduce food again. Also, I keep him on the low salicylate diet at the beginning.

    Basically, his food was re-introduce one by one again like a little 6 months old baby with the above taking into consideration. His main carb was carrots and pumpkin. And he did pretty well on them, especially carrots. When he flared up, I would cook a big pot of thick pureed carrots soup, plus white flesh meat/fish steamed, and this would clear up his eczema. I avoided all spices and herbs, including ginger and garlic. Those weren’t too good for him. So all meal was very plain and natural. The only flavors in his food were lard and salt.

    Doing it one step at a time, I find it’s easy to identify his problematic food, especially he does not showed an instant allergy attack, it’s always took hours or days laters for his symptom to showed up.

    Pears and apple was never on my boy’s allergy list but it was only discovered months later after he was on the diet. And it happens when we were on an outing. He had pears that morning, by afternoon he was scratching. That was about 3 hours later. So I chase back to the last items he had. At first I thought it was dust mites and humidity in the train. So I gave it more thought and re-try pears again a week later. The same problem came back. I thought pear allergy … that was impossible, as i haven’t heard anyone with pear’s allergy, but after the 3rd attempt I was convinced pear was a problem.

    With apples, he would cried at night, and with yoghurt he would throw his tantrum and feeling irritated. All these things will become clearer, as it goes by. The hardest part is patience … slowly step by step identifying allergy/intolerance/problematic food.

    That’s my system. You might have a better system then mine as all kids are different. Hopefully your child will get well soon. Good luck.

    Anne

  42. I never thought I’d be reviewing hand lotion. I have chronic eczema that returns periodically from hand washing. I have to say the Lady Soma Skin & Nail Treatment works great. I’ve tried other moisturizing lotions but they never worked. I don’t know what Lady Soma’s secret ingredient is (maybe the vitamin E), but this stuff heals my chapped hands after using it for like twice a day for 2-3 days.

    I also use it anywhere on my body I have eczema or irritated skin. Excellent healing/soothing qualities.

  43. Hi Danielle,

    I feel for you. My boy who is now 9 was in the same situation as your daughter, and he was flaring up occasionally up until he was 20 months on the GAPS diet. When he was 20 months on GAPS I introduced HCI & Pepsin (Radiance Brand), and after taking that, there was a tremendous improvement. I have tried a few other brands but it didn’t work except this one. He was taking 1 capsule of HCI & Pepsin that contains 648mg HCI & 130mg Pepsin, 2 times day. On top of this I gave him 2 capsules of BioKult twice a day, and a couple more if he flared up, but not together with HCI & Pepsin, normally it’s one hour in between. I followed the GAPS book and every time when my boy flared up I read the book again, it’s like a bible I have it with me all the time and keep referring back to different section to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

    If you go back to my old posts it will tell you what I did. When my boy flared up I still give him antihistamine and 1% hydrocortisone ointment to ease his pain, but remove it once he’s better. I used tea tree oil and mix it in with his cream and moisturizer to get off rid of infection and bacteria/strep that was on his body.

    Fermented food/yoghurt/probiotic drink/kefir triggers them to flare up. This is stated at the beginning of this site under “healing”. And there’s a link in this post regarding Dr Natasha’s post on FAQ on eczema.

    Also, if my boy didn’t have a bowel motion on the day he would flare up too. Household products, laundry powders play a big part. At the end I only used baking soda and lavender oil for my laundry. Salicylates and oxalate foods also triggers his eczema. He drank and bath in spring water to ensure there’s no fluoride and Chloride. With all those taking into consideration he still flared up but I didn’t give up. I still carry on and with the ease of his pain I also gave him medication too.

    My boy only did the intro for 3 weeks, (I couldn’t keep him on intro longer as he has to go to school and he’s bit reluctant to take soup to school. But he stayed on stage 2 for over a year because he was still very sensitive to a lot of food by then.

    I have no regrets for doing the GAPS and I wished I had continued with GAPS a little longer. We off it for one year now and so he’s pretty good. Now and then he has bread but most of the time he stays with gluten free.

    You are a wonderful mum! You are working so hard to heal your children, I’m sure you see the light at the other end of the tunnel very soon. Time does matter and I’m glad I didn’t give up.

    Anne

    • Hi Anne & Baden,
      We recently started GAPS intro for my 4 year old son who has had a number of food allergies and intolerances since birth.His main symptom is severe eczema all over his body. Prior to starting the intro diet we had been told he had a candida over growth, so we had done an anti candida diet for about 5 weeks, but with the diet, antifungals (nystatin) and other supplements (probiotics and fermented cod liver oil) his eczema flared up to the point that he was bleeding if he just scratched. So, after 3 weeks of his eczema being so severe, our dr decided he needed oral steroids which we reluctantly did. After that we started GAPS intro and have been on it two weeks now. he stayed at stage one for four days and then progressed to stage two. He is allergic to chicken so we have been doing beef or turkey based soups. In stage 2 I didn’t do the eggs because he has an anaphylactic egg allergy, so I progressed with increasing sauerkraut juice to 4-5 tsp/d and added ghee (he probably ate 4 tablespoons/d). Now his eczema has flared up to the point that he is itching to the point of bleeding and up throughout the night unable to sleep even with antihistamines. We’ve gone back to stage one intro, so no ghee, no probiotic juices. The only supplement he has continued to have is the cod liver oil (1/4 tsp). He has been doing two daily detox baths /d (cider vinegar, epsom salt, baking soda rotation)
      Is this normal? How long do I continue at Stage one? I have been putting coconut oil on his skin all over multiple times a day. Is this ok or should I use something else? I am at a loss as to whether this is a typical die off reaction and if I should keep pressing through the diet and how to know when to progress?
      Any suggestions would be great! Thank you!

      • Hi Jenn,
        I used GAPS to heal my 1 1/2-year-old daughter’s eczema. I noticed that topically applying coconut oil actually exacerbated the issue – I think the oil creates a die off effect as well, because it’s anti-microbial. That combined with the intro diet can be overwhelming on their little bodies :(

        I also discontinued any cod liver oil and that also helped.

        Eczema takes a really long time to heal – just be prepared to plug away at it, and slowly but surely, the skin heals. It took about 8-10 weeks before I saw any improvement, and then it just really started to clear up! Healing comes, just be patient and determined!

  44. Thanks, Anne. I have ordered some HCL w/ Pepsin after reading your earlier post and am looking forward to trying it once it arrives tomorrow. We will see how that does. Thank you for letting me know that you did use some hydrocortisone during flares, I had been resisting because I was afraid it would interfere with her healing, but she NEEDS relief so I will go get some ASAP. Thank you again. I will keep trying anything to heal them.

  45. Hi Everyone,

    I couldn’t use any ghee, red meat fat, coconut oil, olive oil, flaxseed oil, hempseed oil etc for my boy within the first year. The main fat my boy used was pork lard, and original Nordic Arctic cod liver oil, now and then I added chicken/duck fat. And I only bathed him in epsom salt with emulsifying ointment (but need to be very cautious as it’s very slippery), and I moisturized it with Cetaphil RestorDerm Cream after his bath. I feel I need to use emulsifying ointment and Cetaphil because he couldn’t take any other oil, I know it’s not natural but I have no other comforting cream to applied at that time to relief his pain. And if he’s weeping I added tea tree oil with the cream and applied. It stung, but for my boy (he was 6) he said it’s relief his itchiness. If needed I applied hydrocortisone when he was asleep to avoid rubbing it off during the day. I read how good raw honey was and tried to apply it on him but he could take them too.

    I never added vinegar and baking soda to my boy bath as anything fermented (such as yoghurt, kefir, cheese and sauerkraut), anything sour and acidic (like vinegar and lemon) are off my boy’s list at the time. And he does flared up with them. I’m sure whether it’s the die off effect or anti-microbial effects, but I rather take it off his list then going through the pain. He’s can take them now, but with loads of fats added to it, otherwise I can see tiny blister pushing up his skin. So fat/oil is very important, it healed his gut and helped to improve his immune system which then helped him to fight candida over growth, which I do believe my boy has.

    I have to say thanks GAPS it has heal my boy. Also, thank you Baden and the community for their support and the links I found in this site.

    Everything is trial and error, and things work for one does not mean it works for other, as we are all different and responded differently. I think there’s a phrase that says, “One man’s food is another man’s poison.”

    Good Luck and don’t give up. I believe healing will come.

  46. Thanks, Anne for the reply! what did you do for probiotics if he couldn’t tolerate the sauerkraut? I am wondering if my little boy is having trouble tolerating the sauerkraut. He was doing a tsp every other day of sauerkraut juice, but the past two days I have given him a tsp/day and his eczema looks worse.I don’t know if it is from the sauerkraut or not because we were also outside more than normal the past two days. I did start him on evening primrose oil two days ago as well in hopes that would help. Also, how do I know when to progress to the next stage of intro? we are on stage one right now and have been for 16 days. Since he is allergic to eggs, we will not do that in stage two, so I feel like the only difference between stage one and stage 2 for us will be increased probiotics and meats that are not boiled. Is this right?

  47. I ended up using Bio Kult. My boy was allergic to eggs too. He only stayed on stage 1 for 2 to 3 weeks and then moved on due to the fact he was a school age boy, so soup was a bit tricky. But he mainly had steamed/boiled meat/blue cod fish at home, and roasted drumsticks/pumpkin for school lunches with a bit of par boiled carrots sticks. We stayed like this for about 6 months, as he wasn’t too good with casseroles/stews. I also added fruits at this stage. He loved food and couldn’t do it with out fruits, so I allowed him to have fruits at school but mainly orange/yellow flesh fruits because he couldn’t tolerate apples, pears banans and citrus fruits. Some how he does very well with food that are orange/yellow flesh fruit/vegs. I did a test for him to see what minerals/vitamins he’s lack off, just about everything especially omega 3, so I continued with cod liver oil (known he’s ok with cod fish), but not fermented cod oil.

    As time went by, he could take more and more variety of food and no longer have reaction to pollens, dust mites, or swollen and weepy face on a cold southerlies days.

    He couldn’t do stage 3 or stage 4, as he can’t have eggs, avocado, coconut, nuts, and raw juices.

    So he went to stage 5, six months later, adding raw salad. And this make life a lot easy. He can have carrots, cucumbers and frozen blueberries at school. I also added sprouted navy beans/lentils and added more roasted and grilled meats/vegetable, and pan fried chicken pieces for school lunches with salad.

    Close to a year later he could take egg yolk, avocado, citrus, pears, apples and olive oil.

    The momentI added HCI & Pepsin at 22 months a lot of food have no reaction except kiwifruit, nuts, sesame seeds and coconut.

    He okay with limited coconut and kiwifruit now. The only supplement he had were Nordic cod liver oil, Bio Kult and HCI & Pepsin (added 22 months later).

    I keep wondering if he stayed on GAPS for another year or two, would he be able to have nuts and sesame seeds too. But it was too hard with house moving, job demands and 3 other kids to care for. It’s easy to start GAPS when they’re still young, it’s so hard when they’re older. Keep them longer if you can. Once they’re better and they off GAPS it’s hard to put them back on again.

  48. Baden, thank you for this incredible resource. Glad to hear I’m not alone in my suffering.

    After being on the Paleo diet for a year and losing weight and feeling fantastic, a bout of chronic stress recently, along with lack of sleep and some bad eating led me down the leaky gut road, and my eczema has made a reappearance after many years. I’ve been working with a chiropractor/functional medicine practitioner, and had extensive blood work done, and been put on a huge regimen of supplements. I’m still having some flares, which my doctor thinks is from die-off/healing crisis, so I’m now starting the Intro diet to try to get these symptoms under control. So far, so good.

    Baden, your modifications here for GAPS for eczema are tremendously helpful. Would you be able to clarify a little more on the intro diet, specifically as it pertains to juicing, for someone who has eczema? I was on the Autoimmune Protocol for Paleo prior to this, so I have steered clear of nightshades, citrus, dairy, etc. I know tropical fruits don’t agree with me, either. You mentioned “orange” veggies and fruits above, which now makes me question the carrots that NCM suggests juicing first. Would love your insight into this.

    Thank you!

    Faye @ GreenOrganicMama.com

    • Hi Faye,

      Lovely to have you with us!

      In terms of the juicing, if you are choosing to rotate out orange veggies for a while, to see if that helps with the eczema, I would simply skip the juicing for now. After you’ve removed orange veggies for a month, you can retest them. If there does not appear to be a link between the eczema and the orange veggies, you can include them in your program, including by juicing them.

      All my best,
      Baden

  49. Hi I have a question about the gaps diet and eczema
    I have been on the gaps diet and went through the intro for a little over a month. My skin has made some improvement but I still have it all over
    Do any of you know if I wanted to go out and eat bad (regular foods) for a day would that set me back from the progress I’ve made from the diet?? Or would it not do much harm of I go back on the diet after?
    Thanks

  50. Hi Baden, I’ve only just read the book 2 weeks ago but I’m putting myself and my daughters (4yr and 2yr) on the diet asap as we all have severe eczema and food intolerences and I’ve just got to give it a go! However my eldest daughter has been taking the probiotics for 2 months already (since this was the treatment recommended by our nutritionist). Her ezcema has been crazy. We’ve had lots of spots, but now her skin is extremely itchy. Its red raw in place, especially her face which just makes it worse. We started on 10 billion Lactobascillus gg and started adding the biobfact. We’ve halved the dose too, but the itch is just as bad. How long should this die-off period last? Should I give the probiotics a break? We’ve cut out the starches and sugars but not managed the intro diet yet as we’re waiting for the hols to get stuck into it properly.

    • Hi Michelle, I can give some tips, wile you are waiting for Baden’s reply. My son’s eczema goes crazy with jucing, so you may try to eliminate different foods, to check if it is food or probiotics. Dr. N. Campbell-McBride has very good tips on her page, if you go through the questions and answers http://www.gaps.me/preview/?page_id=32 you may find something good for your situation.
      One thing I should stress for everyone – fats are very important for the recovery. I rediscovered lard for my younger son who has many food allergies and could not take even gee and he started to do better on lard. After two weeks on lard (I have put it in every food and even on the skin) he started to manage small doses of gee.

  51. As we continue on this GAPS journey (over a year), my two children with severe eczema have improved from the dramatic die-off we experienced upon starting the intro. What has brought the most noticeable improvement has been finding and gradually eliminating trigger foods as we discover them. We are down to a very limited diet now. It seems that we are at a point where, as soon as we eliminate a food and see improvement, they get a little worse again in the next few days. I thought, “OK, we’ll eliminate everything except one meat and broth and build from there to get this figured out.” But when we tried that, they only experienced more flares before we could even introduce a new food. So, is this die-off, or are they becoming more and more sensitive to everything they eat? It’s getting to where we have little left we can eat. And I cannot tell the difference between die-off and reaction still after all this time.

    I know she says in the GAPS book that a person with leaky gut syndrome can be allergic to basically anything on any given day. So, how am I to eliminate problem foods if everything is a problem? I am not understanding why their gut is still so leaky after all this time on the diet and a therapeutic dose of probiotics. We’ve even begun supplementing with glutamine. Is healing really possible?? I’m beginning to doubt. I thought we’d be introducing more foods by now (and by this I mean GAPS legal foods, intro foods), but instead, we’re still having to take foods out.

    In the past several months, when we took out veggies high in beta-carotene, we saw dramatic improvement, then mild improvement some months later when we eliminated beef, then again mild improvement when we eliminated onions a couple weeks later. A week ago, they were starting to look comparatively good and I was feeling like I could breathe again. But this past week has been a roller coaster of flares and rashes that I cannot correlate to anything they are eating. We are only eating a handful of vegetables plus chicken and eggs.

    Any advice is much appreciated. I feel like I’m losing my mind. People who don’t understand what we are trying to do ask me if we are going to just “treat” them now, meaning with drugs. That doesn’t seem like an option to me, but I need to know if this really works! Am I doing this for nothing?

    • Dear Danielle,

      In terms of healing through diet, you are experiencing one of the most challenging situations people can come across. “How do I heal with food if every food is a problem?” This can be extremely stressful indeed. In a case this challenging, and where all of the tips in the above post have been implemented, I strongly recommend doing two things:

      1. Post to one of the GAPS email lists. Others may have experienced a very similar issue and be able to offer the tips that helped them.

      2. Consult with a health practitioner familiar with GAPS. Four lists of these are linked to from this blog’s Support for You page.

      Danielle, please let me know what ends up working out for your family.

      All my best,
      Baden

    • I have also been finding the ‘die-off’ period and its aftermath difficult with my 4 year old daughter who like your children has severe eczema too. It was only when she developed infections in her skin for which she was hospitalised for 2 nights that I realised why her skin hadn’t improved following the die off stage. It appears that as the die off symptons of itchy pus filled spots made her scratch, it all got infected and her scratching spread it. The improvement since she had antibiotics was amazing (despite being something I was trying to avoid, obviously!). I would just check with your gp if they believe its infected, though I think this can be difficult to diagnose, as we were back and forth to the gp and he/she didn’t spot an infection when I’m sure with hindsight it was there.

      • Clara, this is very close to the situation with my older son. His skin improved after treatment with antibiotics, BUT after that his reaction just shifted to other kind – stuffed nose, bed wetting and behavioral. Actually it was almost easier to see his reactions to food, as they were clearly manifested on the skin.
        Do you see other symptoms in your daughter added after skin treatment?

      • I was re-thinking about eczema and infection, as it is still the problem for my younger son. I think if there is an infection on the skin, then it will not go away even after taking antihistamine? For my boy his skin clears up after one week on antihistamine. I suppose this may be a good test?

  52. Danielle, I so feel for you. We have the same situation with 2,5 y.o. When my 4 y.o. improves greatly on this diet, his little bro just suffering from eczema and terrible anaphylaxis to foods basically eating only meats and broth.

    One think I know for sure – in the spring allergy get worse because of the pollen. I have to give antihistamine every day to my boys. Then again, I can not introduce any new food, because boys are “covered” with antihistamine.

    The younger has got Impetigo lately, the streptococci infection, which means his immune system is really down. I’m afraid his diet is poor in vitamins. I’m not sure if it is safe to start multivitamins?

    I wish we had in Finland any doctor familiar with GAPS diet, but there is none.

  53. Hi Baden,

    I have a 4 year old who has been on the GAPS diet for about 2 months now. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can give him the Betaine HCL? He is too young to swallow so I had been opening the capsule and pouring it over his food as per our Holistic Doctor. However, when I inquired with the company Thorne Research, they suggested not to do this. I’m frustrated because I don’t know how I should give it to him. Is NuTriVene better if I open it up? Your feedback is appreciated!

    • Dear Malani,

      If your son’s health practitioner prescribed taking it a given way (e.g., sprinkling it over food), then I would go with that.

      If no one specifically prescribed this as necessary for your son, here is some more food for thought: For what symptoms are you giving him the Betaine? For most people, this is not required. I present more info and options in GAPS Guide 2nd Edition under Supplementation – Stomach Acid, which in part refers one to the book’s information under Heartburn, as well. If Betaine was not specifically prescribed by your health practitioner, the tips and solutions referred to there may prove simpler for your 4 year old.

      When you ask, “Is NuTriVene better if I open it up?”, do you mean is Betaine HCL better if taken in powder vs capsule? Or are you asking if NuTriVene’s brand is best? Or?

      All my best,
      Baden

  54. Hi Baden,

    My son has been on the intro for a month now for eczema and digestion issues caused by leaky gut. I had two months off work so I had to get through intro rather quickly. The problem is we are basically stuck at stage 2-3 without dairy or nuts. His eczema is spreading and much worse, his sleep is horrible, his digestion has not improved and his temperament got worse as well. At day 20 he started getting red blotches on his legs and by night time he had full body hives. They lasted for about three days and we used benedryl twice a day for comfort. His eczema looked better by the time his hives were gone but the very next day it was worse. It still is getting worse and worse by the day. This made us think it could be a histamine issue so I’ve been making everything as low histamine as possible with no affect. Hes not getting any ferments or probiotics right now. Im at a loss for what to do. This cannot be a healing reaction since hes not taking anything to help him heal right? His gaps practitioner seemed to think that is what is going on but I really think its something else. Do you have any thoughts? Thanks!

    • Hi Quianna,

      I’m really glad to hear you’re working with a GAPS practitioner, with symptoms this intense and stubborn.

      I agree with your practitioner that this could well be a healing reaction. We don’t need to take something specific to bring on healing. The body will do that by itself, if we give it the chance -and that’s precisely what you’ve done by starting Intro. Do you have the 2nd Edition of GAPS Guide? If so, you’ll see in there that I urge people to *not* take (add) things in the first stretch of Intro simply *because* by Intro alone, the body will indeed be triggered into deep healing. This is the primary purpose of Intro.

      If your practitioner agrees, here is what I would suggest doing (I am not a health practitioner of any kind):

      1. Ensure your son has a bowel movement daily. Use an enema -even a simple child’s fleet one- if necessary.

      2. Ensure he has a detox bath daily -use any that don’t aggravate his skin; rotate the remaining options to implement a different one each day.

      3. Start from wherever your son is at now. i.e., Stage 2-3 without dairy or nuts. Continue to avoid any foods you know for certain he reacts to. Other than those, continue through the GAPS intro, adding one new food every four days. (i.e., Follow the instructions in GAPS Guide 2nd Edition.) If he reacts to one of those, remove it, wait four days for his body to calm, skip that problematic food, and move on to the next one in the Intro progression. A month in, he needs to be adding some building foods.

      4. Once all that is in place, start a probiotic. Be sure to implement the suggestions in GAPS Guide 2nd Edition for starting low and slow, i.e. a low dose probiotic powder, a pinch mixed in water, a sip of that water. Like, really low and slow!

      I can’t actually see the post above from my typing area, but on this website and in my book I mention additional supports around eczema. For some people, it resolves with one chiropractic appointment, or removing all soaps from one’s entire life for a period, or humidifying the person’s home, for examples. I would consider any of the full list of these tips.

      Quianna, please write again to let me know how these suggestions work for you.

      All my best,
      Baden

Add Comment Register



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>