How I healed my daughter’s eczema (and leaky gut)

In my last post on my daughter’s eczema treatment, I had mentioned once again the Functional Medicine treatment that is helping her heal her eczema from within. In this post I am really happy to say that she is much better than before and her eczema is under control.

She is finally off her immunosuppressive medication after 5 long years of depending on systemic drugs to keep her eczema under control. She has been on prednisone (oral steroid), cyclosporine, azathioprine and methotrexate (at various points in time) to manage her very severe eczema for the past 5 years. For those of you who have been following my blog know that it has been a very long journey filled with a lot of ups and downs. When I started Functional Medicine treatment in 2015 I was convinced that it works but I knew that it would not be easy to implement the changes needed and the discipline that would be required. Countless others have been healed by this treatment for various chronic conditions including the seemingly “incurable” ones like Multiple Sclerosis (read Dr Terry Wahls recovery from a crippling MS here), Rheumatoid Arthritis, Hashimoto (read Dr Isablella Wentz’s story here), Alzheimers (read up on Dr Dale Bredesen’s amazing work here).

The struggle is part of the story

 

It has been worth every second, minute and hour that I have spent on healing her gut from within when I see her soft and radiant skin today

It has been worth every second, minute and hour that I have spent on healing her gut from within when I see her soft and radiant skin today. It has been worth every tear that I have shed when times were difficult and I questioned myself on the path that I had chosen to follow. It has been worth the effort that I had to put in to make the changes in our diet and lifestyle as product availability was poor initially and I struggled with finding the recipes for a different way of eating (gluten and dairy free). It has been worth it when I hear in her voice the delight of sharing her lunch with her friends in school, where her friends look forward to having the very same (gluten and dairy free, unprocessed foods) foods that she used to once eat alone.

Healing a leaky gut

leaky gut symptoms

It was a precious day for me last Thursday as her Functional Medicine pointed out in my daughter’s latest test reports of how her gut has healed slowly from being “leaky” and how this has resulted in her eczema coming under control. Her stool (GI Map) analysis showed that the her gut lining had healed to the extent that the protein called Zonulin was no longer present in high quantities as previously tested over the last couple of years. In other words the tight junction of the gut lining had healed to the extent that it no longer allowed any undigested foods, toxins, bacteria or yeast into the bloodstream and activate the immune system. This had helped calm down her immune system which had helped bring her eczema under control and allowed her to be pulled off her immunosuppressive medication. There were a few things that still needed to be taken care of as had showed up in her urine metabolite ONE test but every single marker had nonetheless showed improvement.

What had worked for us was a combination of lifestyle change and the right nutrition for her. Healing the gut from within also forms a part of the ancient healing traditions of Ayurveda as well as Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Some of the key things that we did that helped us to heal her eczema-

  • Remove trigger foods (like gluten, eggs and dairy), refined, processed and sugar laden foods (baked products, beverages etc) yeast, nightshades to name a few
  • Remove and reduce toxin exposure by switching to safe and eco friendly laundry and dishwashing detergents, personal care products (shampoo, lotion, cream etc)
  • Use therapeutic grade essential oils to manage and prevent infections and skin conditions; I later started using these for a variety of other ailments as a safe and effective preventive measure including minor burns, cuts, headaches etc
  • Add probiotics and fermented foods like kefir/sauerkraut to help increase the ratio of favourable bacteria in the gut against the harmful ones
  • Increase vegetable intake (through soups, juices and meals) as well as fruits (all colours)
  • Add supplements like Glutamine, licorice amongst others to help heal the gut lining
  • Add supplements like cucurmin, NAC, omega 3, phytonutrients etc to boost her antioxidant levels and lower overall inflammation in the body
  • Address the chronic stress of living with eczema with the help of books, emotional support and mindfulness
  • The whole family supported in making these changes without which we would not have been able to make this kind of difference

Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations

 

cross road on hillside meadow in mountain at sunset

Eczema remains a part of our life today inspite of what we have achieved. However, as I have mentioned in my earlier posts, it is only a part of who my daughter is and does not define her

Eczema remains a part of our life today inspite of what we have achieved. However, as I have mentioned in my earlier posts, it is only a part of who my daughter is and does not define her. And it is even more true today than ever before. It may remain a part her life but it is not something that she needs to be scared of. She will most likely need to be much more careful of her diet and lifestyle than many others but I believe this will give her a better insight and control over her own health which will actually help her in the years to come. While she has matured over the last few years due to her struggles, she has retained her innocence which gives her a freshness that children naturally possess. I can only hope that these years of learning and accepting the various changes in her young life will shape her into a compassionate, strong and beautiful young woman in the years to come.

As her mother, caregiver and a human being even I have come a long way since I started writing this blog about four years back. Today I would like to share some of the things that I have learned along the way.

  • Remember to always trust your own intuition and instinct where your child is concerned; there is no better advocate for your child than her mother (and father)
  • Try and work with doctors (and other healthcare practitioners) as partners so that you can work efficiently as a team; this is true for chronic conditions where treatment may take years to show any results
  • Food is medicine; nutrition plays a HUGE role in our health whether we realise it or not
  • I have learned not to compromise on the quality and safety of anything that we put in or on our body; buy the best quality and non toxic (if possible organic) produce and consumer care products
  • Taking care of your child’s emotional health is equally important and has a huge impact on their self esteem and confidence; we can unknowingly end up neglecting this aspect of our child’s health while focussing on their medical treatment
  • Self care should be regular part of the daily routine for the primary caregiver (usually the mother) of a child; without taking adequate care of yourself you simply cannot give the best of yourself to your child over a long period of time
  • It is important to include forgiveness as an integral part of your approach in taking care of your child; this is true both for your child as they may fail at times to adhere to the treatment plan and also for yourself as you may make mistakes even if it is unintentional
  • And last but not the least remember to enjoy all the good that is there in your life and treasure each moment with your child; their childhood can disappear in a flash if we are consumed only by trying to tide over the ‘bad times” till “good times” take over

I am thankful for my struggle because without it I wouldn’t have stumbled across my strength

There is so much that has happened in the past few years, so much that as a family that we have covered together and much that we have learnt along the way. While I wish my daughter did not have to go through what she did, it was something we had no control over at all. It took us a while to accept this fact and at the same time be thankful for all that we have. As this year comes to an end, I am grateful to have to come to this point in my life where I have so much to share and an opportunity to make a difference.

As this year comes to an end, I am grateful to have to come to this point in my life where I have so much to share and an opportunity to make a difference

I discovered my passion for helping others in need in the domain of healthcare and have set up my Health Coaching practice. This was done after completing my one year online course from the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy. I also discovered my passion for writing and creating awareness for various health related topics like the ones mentioned below (links given below)

I have also started creating awareness by giving talks to small groups of people and my first presentation is on “Toxins- hiding in plain sight

Toxins- hiding in plain sight 29th nov

Nourish. Heal. Connect

Transparent copy with name

I am collaborating with Dr Amrita Talwar, who is also my daughter’s dermatologist, for a Health Coaching set up in her clinic in Mumbai. At the same time I also have my own practice where I have started seeing clients for various health conditions.

I focus on the following aspects of healthcare-

  • nutrition and hydration
  • exercise and movement
  • sleep and relaxation
  • social relationships and connections
  • mindfulness and stress management

Incase you are interested in knowing more about my practice, please get in touch with me at

Email: anindita@aninditarungta.com

Contact : +917738533913

Fb: @healthcoachinindia

Twitter: @aninditarungta

Heal

Creating health and not just treating a chronic condition (like eczema)

adult and child hands holiding red heart, health care love and family concept

My last post on our own journey was quite a while back. A LOT has happened since then.

This has been a really eventful year but in a much better sense than it has been over the past few years. This is the year when we saw a glimpse of how eczema can simply fade away when the root cause is treated and the body heals. This is the year when I completed my nutrition and dietetics course but more importantly I also completed my Functional Medicine Health Coach certification from the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy.

All those who have been following my blog know that it has not been an easy road that has led me here. It has been a struggle to say the least not knowing for sure that the treatment and the offbeat path I was following for my  daughter’s eczema would even work or not. This was a treatment which would work from inside out by strengthening her immune and digestive systems by providing the right conditions for her body to heal. That our body has an innate power to heal itself given the right conditions is something that we probably have witnessed to some extent or other but rarely give much importance to.

The path that I chose takes a much longer time, effort and involvement. Because of this reason and also due to a lack of awareness is why we usually seek out conventional medicine as a “quick fix”. I had the same approach to our health till our daughter’s health got affected really badly. 

Don’t get me wrong, antibiotics and steroids and other drugs have saved millions of lives and they will continue to do so. But this same approach does not work well for chronic health conditions. The other problem is that we take our bodies and our health for granted at times due to our busy schedules. And then when things go wrong we usually end up looking for a quick and painless solution.

But I am digressing here.

Eczema and our lives now

First I would like to give an update about the treatment and our daughter’s eczema today. The Functional Medicine treatment that I had started exactly 2 years ago has now started showing some results. It has been a slow and gradual healing journey (which is not yet over) but then I guess it works only when it actually becomes a way of life. I have written various posts on what this treatment is all about earlier and you can check them out.

5 R framework

Functional Medicine treatment in our daughter’s case focussed on healing her gut and the issue of intestinal permeability primarily through dietary changes but also with the help of various supplements. We followed a 5 R framework- remove, replace, reinoculate, repair and rebalance. Over time this has helped her digestive and immune system to recover and become more strong and also balanced. Her skin has showed the results on the outside by becoming smooth and soft. For the first time in many years, we have been sleeping well as a family and through the night. As any parent with a child suffering from eczema will tell you, that is a luxury!

Of course, this does not mean that we can stop doing our work and that her skin condition can never become worse again. Her skin is her weak point in the immune system and may flare up when there is a trigger (in terms of food, toxins, stress etc) and she will always have to be careful. She is still on her immunosuppressive medication, Methotrexate but it is at half the dosage as earlier at 5 mg. Also I need to tell you that we have had a minor setback since coming back from our US trip this month. We spent about 2 months there during the kids’ summer break and even with lapses in her dietary restrictions (excluding gluten which does not suit her at all), her skin condition was at its best in a long time inspite of the sun exposure and other uncontrollable factors during traveling. But ever since after we came back her skin condition became a bit rough and itchy overall. What had changed for her was the environment and everyday stress and her body is taking some time to acclimatise and settle down.

This was a real eye opener for me. This incident showed that even when her diet had improved since being at home, changes in the external environment (read water and air pollution) had a big impact on her skin condition. I immediately ramped up her antioxidant levels to combat the external stressors through a combination of diet (cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and other leafy greens like spinach) as well as supplements like vitamin C and cucurmin and Hist D Jr. The last one has ingredients like quercetin ( a natural antioxidant), NAC (an amino acid which is a precursor to one of the most important antioxidant in our body called glutathione) and vitamin C ( a natural immune booster, anti oxidant and histamine lowering vitamin). Her skin has subsequently improved quite a bit and is settling down. I am keeping a close watch on how she is over the next few weeks or so.

On a more personal note 

Over the past few years of dealing with my daughter’s health related problems I realised a couple of things. One, initially I learned all about eczema so that I could help my daughter but after a while I realised that I had a genuine interest in knowing how to create health and apply it to our lives. The other realisation was that I wanted to bring this information to help and guide others in moving towards their own health and life goals. One thing led to another and my quest for knowledge led me to the Functional Medicine Health Coaching course which has turned out to be the perfect fit for me.

I enrolled with Functional Medicine Coaching Academy (FMCA) which is a US based organisation. FMCA is offering this course in collaboration with the main body for Functional Medicine, Institute of Functional Medicine (IFM)I  completed the course last month and I am proud to say that I am India’s first certified FM Health Coach!

Health-Coach-Certificate-Badge_web

“A Health Coach is someone who really listens to you, focusses on what is right with you, supports and guides you”.

As a Health Coach I will thus be providing customised guidance and support for various chronic health conditions on

nutrition and hydration

-exercise and movement

-sleep and relaxation

-social relationships and connections

-mindfulness and stress management

Functional Medicine Health coaching – a new beginning

I am in the process of setting up a clinic with Dr Amrita Talwar (my daughter’s dermatologist) in Mumbai. I will also be having my own practice at the address mentioned below-

Nourish. Heal. Connect

Lodha Supremus

Unit 804, 8th floor,

2 Senapati Bapat Marg, Opp Kamala Mills

Mumbai 400013

The setup for dealing with chronic conditions is quite different from that of dealing with conventional medicine due to the time and commitment required both from me and the person involved. I am in the process of setting up my practice with the help of latest technological platforms relevant to coaching which are suited to dealing with chronic conditions. I am also in the process of customising relevant dietary guidelines for Indian conditions and sensitivities. In case you are interested in reaching out to me for health coaching for any chronic health conditions, please feel free to write to me at

anindita@aninditarungta.com 

You can also reach out to me at

Twitter: @aninditarungta

Fb: @healthcoachinindia

As someone wise had said, “You have got a new story to write. And it looks nothing like your past”. 

This is definitely true for me and it is equally true for you!