Treating Children with the Atopic Triad: Eczema, Asthma and Allergies
Although my practice focus covers preconception, perinatal and postpartum healthcare, I inevitably see a large number of children in my practice. The most common concerns in the pediatric population seeking Naturopathic care is eczema, asthma and allergies, also known as the Atopic Triad. The Atopic Triad is a group of conditions characterized by a common immune hypersensitivity reaction to general allergens such as food or pollen. Naturopathic Medicine can be extremely effective at not only alleviating the symptoms of the Atopic Triad, but can help support and balance the immune system for greater long-term outcomes. Here are a few things I consider with my patients for the successful treatment of the Atopic Triad:
1) Identify food sensitivities
Food sensitivities are a common source of immune aggravation. Identifying food sensitivities can be done in several ways, one of which uses a simple blood test. The blood test looks for a heightened IgG immune response to many different types of foods. Once the sensitive food(s) is/are identified, the goal is to eliminate it from the diet, give the immune system a chance to calm down, and work at healing the gut (see below). Eventually, these hypersensitive foods may be added back into the diet with minimal adverse effects.
2) Vitamin D
The benefits of adequate Vitamin D in children is well established in regards to the development of type 1 diabetes, autoimmunity, asthma and allergies in children.(1) Many parents are aware of the importance of Vitamin D supplementation during the pre and post-natal period but might not recognize that Vitamin D supplementation is just as important for babies and children. Vitamin D can be one of the simplest ways to dramatically support the immune system.
Zinc is often another easy and simple nutrient often overlooked when discussing strategies to strengthen the immune system. Zinc deficiency is associated with higher incidences of food allergy (2), atopic dermatitis (3), and an increased risk of developing and worsening of asthma in children. (4).
4) The Microbiome
The role of the gut microbiome is well established in digestion, mood disorders, autoimmunity, asthma and allergies. Starting from birth, a healthy microbiome can be encouraged by supporting vaginal birth and breastfeeding. Women who supplemented with probiotics throughout their pregnancy and during breastfeeding have also been shown to contribute to healthier microbiomes in their children and lead to decreased incidences of the Atopic Triad. (5) In some cases, supplementing children with specific strains of probiotics may be beneficial in the treatment of the Atopic Triad.
No parent likes to see their children suffer any type of ill-health, especially when they negatively affect the child’s quality of life. Unfortunately, conventional medical treatments may not be the complete answer in addressing the underlying causes of the Atopic Triad. Naturopathic Medicine can provide direction and hope in creating stronger and healthier immune systems in our children and continuing into adulthood.
~ Dr. Patti
1. Lange NE, Litoniua A, Hawrylowicz CM, Weiss S. Vitamin D, the immune system and asthma. Expert Rev Clin Immunol. 2009 Nov; 5(6): 693-702.
2. Kamer B, Wasowicz W, et al. Role of selenium and zinc in the pathogenesis of food allergy in infants and young children. Arch Med Sci. 2012 Dec 20; 8(6): 1083-1088.
3. Karabacak E, Aydin E, et al. Erythrocyte zinc level in patients with atopic dermatitis and its relation to SCORAD index. Postepy Dermatol Alergol. 2016 Oct; 33(5): 349-352.
4. Rerksuppaphol S and Rerksuppaphol L. Zinc Supplementation in Children with Asthma Exacerbation. Pediatr Rep. 2016 Nov 17; 8(4): 6685.
5. Peluchhi C, Chatenoud L, et al. Probiotics supplementation during pregnancy or infancy for the prevention of atopic dermatitis: a meta-analysis. Epidemiology. 2012 May; 23(3): 402-14.