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Childhood Eczema and Probiotics

Childhood Eczema and Probiotics : Will they help?

Emerging research suggests that the balance of bacteria in our guts (the micro biome) has a considerable influence on our immune system and therefore skin conditions like eczema.

In this blog post, I will explore the potential role of various probiotic strains in reducing incidences and severity of childhood eczema.

What is Eczema?

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that affects around 43 million children under the age of five, worldwide. (1)

Characterized by red, itchy and dry skin, eczema often causes considerable discomfort and irritation, which can significantly impact a child’s quality of life.

The root causes of childhood eczema remain unclear and can differ from child to child. What we do know is that genetics, environmental factors and an overactive immune system are key drivers in most types of childhood eczema.

As a nutritional therapist, I’m particularly interested in the immune responses that drive and affect eczema.

Eczema and the Immune System

With approximately 70-80% of the immune system residing in the gut (2), researchers have been looking at the connection between gut bacteria, a critical component of our immune system, and its relationship to childhood eczema.

In particular, some promising research suggests that the use of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria probiotics may play a significant role in preventing and managing the condition.

Which Probiotics help Childhood Eczema?

Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium probiotics are known to improve gut health by promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria and therefore inhibiting the growth of harmful, inflammatory bacteria. This in turn, can modulate the immune system and reduce inflammation, potentially impacting the development and severity of childhood eczema.

Researchers in a 2021 study combining over 2000 children found that infants under the age of three, receiving Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium containing probiotics, may be 40% less likely to develop eczema. The benefit was observed regardless of family history or the amount of bacteria, even when followed up for 2 years. Interestingly, when expectant mums introduced these probiotics during pregnancy, there was also a 41% lower risk of the baby developing eczema.  

However, while a mix of a Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) and Bifidobacterium Lactis showed promise, combining LGG with Bifidobacterium Longum wasn’t as clearly beneficial. The role of these probiotics in infant eczema requires further investigation. (3)

In 2022, a new analysis reaffirmed earlier findings: taking Lactobacillus Rhamnosus probiotics during pregnancy and breast-feeding may reduce a child’s risk of developing eczema. By ages 6-7, these children had a 38% lower risk of developing the condition. However, by the time they reached ages 10-11, this benefit became less clear. Over time, as with many long-term studies, family drop-out rates increased. Importantly, the positive outcomes were apparent whether Lactobacillus Rhamnosus was used alone or paired with other probiotic strains. (4)

“Beyond prevention, can probiotics improve childhood eczema symptoms?”

A 2023 study reviewed 14 trials involving 1124 children to see whether any single-strain of lactobacillus may have a unique advantage. The single-strain use of L. fermentum, appeared to improve children’s eczema symptoms the most. Whereas strains like L. paracasei, L. plantarum, and L. rhamnosus did not show significant benefits. An interesting exception to this, was in babies under one year old, when given Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG for three months.

The amount of time that children took the probiotic, as well as the severity of their eczema symptoms, seemed to be important. A 12-week regimen seemed to be most effective. It appeared that among children with moderate to severe eczema, the probiotics were not consistently beneficial. (5)

How do I help my child with eczema?

More research is needed to fully understand the actual link between probiotics and childhood eczema. However, recent studies show promising results and indicate that the supplementation of lactobacillus and potentially with bifidobacterium probiotics, from early pregnancy, through to the first year of breast-feeding may significantly reduce the incidence of childhood eczema.

Expectant parents interested in supplementing with probiotics should consult with their pediatricians or a nutritionist first. Probiotics come in various forms, including capsules, powder and in foods like yogurt. Additionally, maintaining a healthy, balanced diet and avoiding potential triggers are essential for the management of eczema in all age groups.

Contact me to arrange a free discovery call or head to for more information.

Contact Tamla Anderson, registered nutritionist, if you would like to discuss your own or your child’s eczema.


(1) International League of Dermatological Societies (ILDS). Global Report on Atopic Dermatitis 2022 [Internet]. Eczema Council. London, UK: International League of Dermatological Societies (ILDS); 2022 [cited 2023 Sep 4]. Available from:

(2) Wiertsema SP, van Bergenhenegouwen J, Garssen J, Knippels LMJ. The Interplay between the Gut Microbiome and the Immune System in the Context of Infectious Diseases throughout Life and the Role of Nutrition in Optimizing Treatment Strategies. Nutrients. 2021 Mar 9;13(3):886. doi: 10.3390/nu13030886. PMID: 33803407; PMCID: PMC8001875.

(3) Sun M, Luo J, Liu H, Xi Y, Lin Q. Can Mixed Strains of Lactobacillus and BifidobacteriumReduce Eczema in Infants under Three Years of Age? A Meta-Analysis. Nutrients. 2021 Apr 25;13(5):1461. doi: 10.3390/nu13051461. PMID: 33923096; PMCID: PMC8145948.

(4) Voigt J, Lele M. Lactobacillus rhamnosus Used in the Perinatal Period for the Prevention of Atopic Dermatitis in Infants: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Trials. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2022 Nov;23(6):801-811. doi: 10.1007/s40257-022-00723-x. Epub 2022 Sep 26. PMID: 36161401; PMCID: PMC9576646.

(5) Fijan S, Kolč N, Hrašovec M, Jamtvedt G, Pogačar MŠ, Mičetić Turk D, Maver U. Single-Strain Probiotic Lactobacilli for the Treatment of Atopic Dermatitis in Children: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Pharmaceutics. 2023 Apr 17;15(4):1256. doi: 10.3390/pharmaceutics15041256. PMID: 37111741; PMCID: PMC10146705.

How nutritionist can help lose weight? Let’s explore in this case study. 

How nutritionist help lose weight? This is a question I am often asked. In this blog post, Brian speaks in his own words about his experience with a nutritional therapist.

I have always struggled with my weight even when I was a professional footballer. The diet in those days was to eat less but it never worked. I put on over 8 stone when I finished playing and had a heart attack along the way. I was weighing in at my heaviest at 152 kg I couldn’t even walk up the shop properly and it was only 10 minutes away. Something had to change and first of all, it was giving up smoking that’s what got me to 152 kg but I managed to beat that habit, now the weight.

I was introduced to Tamla by a friend and the first thing that was very apparent is she was not judgemental and made you feel at ease. We must have had 1 hour at least on a zoom call going through everything to do with the past and then Tamla came back to me with a programme. I must be honest and say I was ready for change. And so I started on the new food regime. Let me be clear it’s not a diet. It’s a new way of eating and I never have to starve or go hungry.

Tamla is the only lady or person that has got through to me and to date I am 122kg, I am still a work in progress but I can walk 6 or 7 miles now in one go which is remarkable from where I was.

I am 1 year in.

There will be times where you put on weight one week and lose a bucket load the next but it’s real life and we will slip up sometimes but my advice will be, just dust yourself down and get back into the routine that Tamla has done for you.
I love the food and I feel more confident every day and the best thing is Tamla is only a phone call away if you need support
I can’t thank her enough.

Splendid indeed.

Brian Horne,

Ex-professional footballer

Taking a Nutrition Based Approach to Managing Eczema with the help of a Eczema Nutritionist.

There are seven types of eczema with the most common being atopic dermatitis.

Eczema is recognizable as red, itchy, inflamed, dry or oozy skin. It’s a chronic condition that may calm for some time before flaring up again and can appear anywhere on the body. Usually, insides of the elbows and knees, torso, hands, neck and face.

The itching and burning can affect our lives in many ways from the quality of our sleep, activities that we are able to partake in, our work and levels of self-confidence. At worst, it can be really quite debilitating and may even require hospitalization.

It is estimated that eczema affects one in five children in the UK and around one in twelve adults and it is becoming more and more prevalent, globally.

Your GP will be able to diagnose eczema and then prescribe topical and sometimes oral steroids to modulate the immune system and minimize the symptoms of eczema, offering huge relief to the sufferer and parents of the child patient. However, these steroids don’t actually get to the root of the problem. They just mask the symptoms……until they come back again. Long-term use of steroids can also be problematic.

Eczema is one of my favourite subjects. My eczema first appeared when I was around three months old and had me hospitalized numerous times as a young child.

In those days (I’m getting on a bit now) we didn’t know anything about the causes of eczema and I’ve spent a LOT of time over the course of my adult life reading, studying and learning as much as I can about this disease. Initially for my own comfort and now, for the benefit of my clients. I have learned all about nutrition for eczema and how changing your diet can help your skin.

As an eczema nutritionist, my main area of focus is food and gut health. Eczema is mostly an inside out condition and there is much that we can do by removing certain foods and adding others to improve our skin. However, it is very difficult to fully heal in the wrong environment and there are many environmental and ‘non food’ factors that can worsen eczema:

This is why I take an investigative approach to my client consultations and look at the person’s whole life. Not just their diet. My objective when working with clients is to get to the root cause of their eczema, correct it and then leave them feeling in control of their own condition with the tools they need to manage their skin into the future.

Learn more about gut microbiome and how they affect our health

Our guts are hosts to trillions of tiny organisms, collectively known as the ‘microbiome’.

This collection of bacteria, fungi, viruses and yeasts weighs around two kilos and lives in commensal harmony with us. They need us to host them and we need them in order to survive. We live completely co-dependently with our microbiome and like any relationship, it can be a healthy or less healthy existence.

So how does gut microbiome affect our health?

Imbalances in our microbiota may result in:

How can we look after our microbiome so that it will look after us?

Balancing blood sugar levels is an art

We want neither to be in a hypo-glycaemic or hyper-glycaemic state. We really want to stay somewhere in between. However, many of us spend the day on a blood-sugar rollercoaster. Up and down and all over the place. 3 pm chocolate anyone? Read on to learn more sugar nutrition facts.

When we eat, our body releases insulin, which mops up the glucose molecules and shuttles them into our cells to store as energy. When we ingest sugary foods and refined carbs, our sugar levels quickly spike and then quickly dive again as insulin does its job. This leaves us feeling low and can lead to cravings and cycle repetition. In more extreme cases, insulin resistance, diabetes and other morbidities.

A Nutritionist can help you to get off the blood-sugar rollercoaster.

Three things you can do to help stabilise blood-sugar levels:

1 Eat protein with each meal.

2 Choose wholefoods over refined and convenience foods.

3 Try to eat foods with a low glycaemic load (low GL foods) that take longer to digest.


Balancing blood sugar levels is particularly important if you are struggling with energy levels, erratic moods, cravings or are diabetic or prediabetic.

It’s Sugar Awareness Week, let’s learn about managing blood sugar levels

What better time to shed light on the importance of understanding sugar and its impact on our health than sugar awareness week? In this post, we’ll delve into sugar nutrition facts and share some valuable insights on managing blood-sugar levels effectively.

When we consume carbohydrates, fruits, and vegetables, our bodies break them down and convert them into glucose, which serves as a vital energy source for our cells. However, an excessive intake of sugar can trigger a rollercoaster effect on our energy levels and overall well-being.

You may have experienced this rollercoaster: a sudden surge of energy followed by a crash, leaving you craving more sugar to regain that initial high. Unfortunately, this pattern can contribute to insulin resistance and other chronic health issues in the long run.

To promote optimal health, it’s crucial to choose foods that are slowly converted into energy, providing a steady release of fuel and maintaining stable energy levels throughout the day. Whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, have a lower glycemic load (GL) compared to processed foods. For example, brown bread has a lower GL than white bread. Additionally, high-fiber foods and protein-rich options are also low in glycemic load.

If you find yourself struggling with fluctuating energy levels, irritability, or persistent food cravings, it’s essential to assess your blood-sugar levels. By monitoring your sugar intake and adopting a balanced approach to nutrition, you can proactively manage your energy levels and overall well-being.

During Sugar Awareness Week, let’s prioritize our health by educating ourselves about sugar nutrition facts and making informed choices that support a steady and sustainable lifestyle.

What is the link between nutrition and sleep quality?

When we nod off, melatonin activates a complicated cascade of processes that help us to feel refreshed and healthy the next day. But what is the link between nutrition and sleep quality? Read on to learn more. 

Our immune cells get to work, searching for pathogens and mutant cells to destroy. Potentially cancerous cells are identified and discarded while a protein called human growth hormone promotes the growth, maintenance and repair of muscles and bones. Detoxification occurs and amyloid plaques (association with Alzheimer’s disease) are flushed from the brain.

Every tissue in the body is renewed faster during sleep so getting into a comfortable sleeping routine can have a profound effect on our wellbeing.

· Exercise, especially outside in daylight helps to regulate sleep.
· Research shows that magnesium plays a huge role in helping us to fall asleep. Magnesium-rich foods include pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds and chia seeds. Dark green leafy vegetables are magnesium wealthy, as are avocado, almonds, banana and dark chocolate.
· Tryptophan found in bananas, oats and nuts helps us to sleep throughout the night.
· Good quality proteins will also help stabilize blood-sugar levels, preventing a sugar crash, which may wake us.

It’s worth considering nutrition and energy levels are closely linked, so diet should be closely looked at, as well as lifestyle factors, when trying to improve your sleep quality.

Obesity and immune system – why all the fuss about obesity and Covid-19?

When we talk about obesity and immune system we first of all, we need to understand that it’s not about weight. It’s not about clothes size and it’s not about body shaming. It’s about belly fat. AKA spare tyre, muffin top, beer belly, paunch…………and slim people can have belly fat too………..known as apple or barrel-shaped.

The difference between belly fat and fat that is stored elsewhere on our bodies is that belly fat, stored in and around our central organs, is ‘active’ fat. It doesn’t sit there passively. It actively secretes hormones like insulin (which may lead to diabetes), leptin (which may lead to leptin resistance and overeating) and inflammatory cytokines, which could ignite a ‘cytokine storm’ in a severe Covid-19 infection. So, to be blunt about it, the bigger the belly, the bigger the risk.

Each pound of belly fat lost – only where it’s needed – reduces base levels of inflammation in our bodies, protecting us from a myriad of ‘pre-existing conditions like diabetes, hypertension and many cancers.

Eating for a healthier ‘waist-hip ratio’ means eating good quality proteins, whole grains, plenty of fruits and vegetables and importantly, exercise.

A nutritional therapist can help you understand more about the link between obesity and your immune system. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Nutrition and Stress Reduction – The link between Stress and the Immune System

Stress and immune system are closely linked. When we are in stress mode – whether we’re stuck in traffic, feeling hungry or someone has been quite rude to us – our body thinks we are in danger and releases cortisol into the bloodstream. The cortisol is there to help us ‘fight or flight’.

However, when there is no bear to fight with or tiger to run from, the cortisol remains in our bloodstream causing havoc and inflammation. And inflammation is a driver in all chronic diseases.

Our bodies also prioritise cortisol production over the immune system (keeping us alive over keeping us well), so important nutrients like vitamin C, magnesium and B-vitamins are directed away from the immune system to the stress response. And this is why we get sick when we are stressed out. When we talk about the link between nutrition and stress reduction we are talking about ensuring we are replenishing these nutrients and looking after our bodies.

Eating well and not going hungry, sleeping well, taking time out, staying hydrated and removing ourselves from toxic people and situations are therefore not just desirable but essential for our good health.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Inflammation, Diet & Disease

When something threatens to damage our cells, our body releases chemicals that trigger a response from our immune system – This is inflammation.

So, inflammation, in appropriate amounts is a good thing. It prevents us from walking on a twisted ankle and it kills harmful toxins.

However, excess inflammation causes problems and is implicated in almost all chronic illnesses from hypertension and diabetes to asthma and cancer. They’re all driven by excess inflammation in the body. Diet and chronic illness can therefore go hand-in-hand.

Excess inflammation in the body may be the result of diet and lifestyle choices, stress, or chronic toxin exposure and there’s much that we can do to reduce inflammation in order to better protect our long-term health. This is how diet and disease are linked.

We can cut down on or eliminate sugary and processed foods which, when broken down in the gut produce toxins and in turn, invites an inflammatory response.

We can increase our intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fermented foods. When these foods are digested, short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are released. These SCFAs regulate metabolism and lower inflammation.

Hydrate. We need plenty of water to help us eliminate toxins and thus reduce inflammation.

Please feel free to contact me if you would like further information.