If you or your child suffers from eczema, you may be frustrated to find asthma developing down the road. That's because eczema, specifically atopic dermatitis (AD), and asthma are actually closely related inflammatory conditions. And it's common for eczema to progress into asthma. This progression of AD to asthma is known as atopic march. Researchers have known about it for many years and are investigating whether treating AD early can help slow or even stop this march to prevent asthma and other allergic diseases.
It's not fun to think about, but inflammation-inducing house dust mites are linked to both AD and asthma. Research with mice confirmed that inflammation in the skin from dust mites eventually progressed to inflamed airways. Interestingly, if the researchers directly exposed the mice's lungs to the dust mites, the inflammatory response was quite different. This helped elucidate some of the complexity of atopic march.
From there, the researchers wanted to know if getting the skin inflammation in check could stop the disease from progressing to asthma. For a study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, they combined two anti-inflammatory treatments and found that the treatment was able to alleviate the AD and reduce the inflammatory response in the lungs. They're planning to keep investigating the links between the two diseases to find a drug that will break the chain between the diseases.
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I think these researchers are on the right track. But they're so hung up on using drugs that they're overlooking an obvious natural solution: fish oil. Many people who suffer from eczema and asthma have suboptimal levels of delta-6 desaturase (D6D), an enzyme that's vital to your body's ability to use essential fatty acids like alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), a powerful anti-inflammatory omega-3 oil. Your body needs D6D to convert ALA into anti-inflammatory agents like EPA and DHA. So if you don't have enough D6D, it's easier for inflammation to get out of control in your body.
You could try to solve this problem by increasing your D6D intake. But pro-inflammatory substances use this enzyme too. And they typically snatch it all up before the ALA can get a hold of it. So unless you eat a carefully balanced diet, it's easier to skip straight to the end product and supplement with the EPA and DHA directly.
Fortunately, that's easy to do. You'll find all that you need in Complete Daily Oils. I recommend three soft gels a day for adults and one a day for children to all my patients because I think the oils it provides are vital to balanced nutrition. But if you're suffering from an inflammatory condition like eczema or asthma, you can double this amount. If you only have eczema but not asthma, I recommend that you start this regimen right away, before the problem gets worse.
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD