Can a keto diet cure skin disorders?

Izabelle

Izabelle had always been active and interested in food and nutrition but got numerous diseases after being vegan for six months. At that time she was a nutritional medicine student which made her look for answers in different diets.

Fortunately, she found out about the low-carb diet and changed her way of eating. This is her story:

To whom it may concern,

I have always considered myself to be healthy, always been active, eating my fruit, vegetables and tried hard not to eat too much of “the bad stuff”. I’ve always been interested in cooking, so I did three years at Stockholms Hotel and restaurant school to become a chef when I was 15-18 years old. I later moved to Australia to complete a diploma in fitness to become a personal trainer (2013). I fell in love in Australia and decided I wanted to add a nutritional medicine degree because I realized exercise was not going to be enough if I wanted to help change someone’s life.

When I started my nutritional medicine degree in 2016 I was a vegan. I had been vegan for around six months, and before that, I didn’t eat a huge amount of meat or dairy.

In my first year of my degree, I got really sick, I had tonsillitis three times in less than three months (I had never had this before), I also had my worst EVER breakout of oral herpes (cold sore) and I developed eczema on both my arms, and later around my mouth, eyes, and armpits (see pictures). I was so fatigued and felt like I was 43, not 23. I thought I ate well, plenty of vegetables, minimal processed foods, and that veganism was the best thing for my body. I am not saying the vegan diet made me sick, but rather the tipping point for me – depleting my nutrient levels even further.

After I slowly recovered from being sick, my eczema kept getting worse. I tried cutting out all sort of things from my diet, took a lot of probiotics, excluded all additives, eating special gluten-free bread but nothing helped. I went to three different doctors, they looked for autoimmune, coeliac and any other abnormalities. The diagnosis was “eczema” and “it is in your genes”. A doctor gave me a cortisone cream and oral tablets, however, I didn’t take them as I wanted to know the root cause of my problem, because when I found the cause, I could potentially manage resolve my issues.

So, I treated myself as I would treat a patient.

I started eating animal products again, I cut out ALL GRAINS, gluten and cow’s milk. I never drank much alcohol so that wasn’t a problem. I realized I probably had increased intestinal permeability (leaky gut) and this is where my eczema (inflammation of the skin) and also low immune system problems originated from. I had to fuel my body so it could build itself back up again! And for that I had to reduce inflammation (which meant low carb) and provide adequate amino acids, fats, and minerals from REAL, QUALITY, WHOLE FOODS!

After re-introducing animal products, and adapting a low-carb diet, I got better. It took around two-three months before my eczema was completely gone, and probably two-three months to figure out what was going on. I did not get another cold sore outbreak until 2018 (due to high stress and it was minimal), I have not been sick a single time since my first year of my degree. I am now halfway through my third year! I have not experienced any type of eczema since changing my diet and I have now adapted a keto diet in the last month. I am now experiencing EVEN MORE benefits! Including; NO menstrual pain (This had been an issue for almost one and a half years with severe pain – dysmenorrhea).

I think the link is lower inflammation because of the keto diet, but also liver detoxification support from all the quality amino acids and minerals… and fiber from cruciferous vegetables. I do not have any major mood swings, I feel more energetic, I do not need to nap after meals, I am not bloated (this is a big one for me as I’ve been bloated for the past five years) and I am slowly losing weight. My mind is clearer, and I can’t wait to see what will happen in another month! I am not a big person, 61 kg (134 lbs) and 159 cm (5’2″) tall with a fair amount of muscle mass, but I have lost 5.5 lbs (2 kg) in four weeks without any starvation or excessive exercise.

The biggest challenge was to ignore a lot of things I had learn previously – regarding carbohydrates, benefits of grains etc. Coming from a personal trainer background I was skeptical of such low intake of carbohydrates for training. As a nutritionist, I asked, “will I be low in antioxidants and vitamins?” To overcome this, I did my research, I read papers, looked at the actual chemistry in the body regarding ketones, glucose etc and that was enough to get me on board. The keto diet made sense on a biochemical level. And it also made sense when looking at what humans have been consuming the longest (not high carb and grains). Then I thought about my previous diets; the standard “normal diet” did not work, and the vegan diet did not work either. The only thing that had worked so far was no grains, no gluten and eating a lot of vegetables and animal products.

Keto meant cutting carbs even further and increasing my fat, which I was more than happy to try, considering all the benefits I had experiences in the past with low-carb. As the carb intake is restricted, it is essential for me to consume high-quality vegetables with lots of fiber and they have plenty of antioxidants and vitamins in them. I probably eat more greens now than I did before on “just low-carb”.

I am thankful for all my experiences, as it has taught me a lot. Perhaps if I saw an article or anything regarding management of eczema linked with low-carb I would have been extra happy as it would have saved me time and emotional drama. I am lucky to be studying nutritional medicine and having a genuine interest for this, but for someone who doesn’t have the same interest or knowledge, it may not make sense why low carb would be of benefit for this type of issue… or even low carb high fat + quality protein for dysmenorrhea. I would like to see even MORE studies on keto and low carb, this field is going to GROW and I can’t wait to be a part of it!

I also had it on my arms but I don’t have any pictures of it, unfortunately. I am from Sweden, however, I now live in Australia, Sunshine Coast and have been for the past 5 years. I am 25 years old.

Health and happiness,
Izabelle

Izabelles’s Instagram: @honestandholisticnutrition
Facebook: Honest And Holistic Nutrition

Comment

Wow, what a journey! Congratulations Izabelle to incredible health benefits using a keto-diet. Thank you for sharing your story!

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Do you have a success story you want to share on this blog? Send it (photos appreciated) to andreas@dietdoctor.com, and please let me know if it’s OK to publish your photo and name or if you’d rather remain anonymous.

It would also be greatly appreciated if you shared what you eat in a typical day, whether you fast etc.

12 comments

  1. Ronnie M
    Keto clears up my eczema completely in a couple weeks. Also lots more energy and sleeping better. And I'm losing weight.
  2. Bill Denny
    More people being conned by this goodness gracious eat less and exercise more all the animal saturated fat the coconut 12 saturated fat all the saturated the bacon the meets all this stuff heart disease in the making but for the meantime they'll all get rich
    Reply: #3
  3. Leesa
    Bill Denny, did you proof read what you posted???? It makes no sense at all
  4. Braden McGuire
    Although I do not have pictures, I had basically the exact same problem, and keto solved it frighteningly fast. I'm 21, 6'3", 155lbs and been keto for about 10 months, on a random suggestion by my dad. I just needed some kind of guidelines to eat by, not knowing all the AMAZING benefits. I feel so happy to know that I've solved all my anxieties about food! I don't get hungry! That's on par with the mental clarity for my favorite benefits, I used to get hungry and start to panic multiple times in a day because if I didn't feed myself quick enough I would get sick and get dizzy and nauseated; 2 weeks in to keto those symptoms went away and have not come back since! I could go on and on and on but eating keto has changed my life in so many ways I loooove it!
  5. Karen
    Great article! I just mentioned to a friend of mine that since I have begun eating Keto my skin has cleared and, I used to have dry skin on my feet, rough dry skin that needed to be manicured. My feet are now smooth as silk. Incredible.
    Dear Bill, since I began Keto my BP is 80/60, my cholesterol normal and my husband a CABE heart patient has been taken off two heart medications.
    Try research before commenting.
  6. Christopher
    Doing the keto diet has helped my eczema and red skin syndrome from using steriod creams. Basically listening to my doctors screwed me. Ive tried the vegan diet but was an epic fail then paleo then keto and i love the food plus i just feel so much better now. I love this tasty diet, its perfect for me
  7. LIZA
    I just started my keto 3 weeks ago,I feel so great,no cravings,and lose 6lbs.I am a Filipina but I love the food here in dietdoctor site but I can't eat most of the time.I tried all diet online but always failed and hungry,5' feet only and I started keto weighing 134lbs now I a 128,after giving birth of my 3 boys my weight which is 100lbs never go back,my goal is 110lbs or 115lbs ,hope I can make it with the help of this site.Thank you diet doctor.com.
  8. Aiva
    More than year on keto, don't have any improvement in eczema and psoriasis! But yes, lost a lot of weight and stabilized blood sugar!
  9. Vlad
    Well of course it has to be also from the fiber. Its not like its a known fact we don't process vegetables, and we barely take anything of value from them. but it has to be. how can it not be?
    Starting to get sick of this high praise for leaves. But alas, each to its own.
    Going pas that..what can i say, congrats to this person. And good luck to keep it like this. health issues are not fun.
  10. TeeDee
    Strict Keto helped with my initial weight loss, A1C, joint pain, some digestive issues, irritable bowel (for the most part, but still had flare-ups) severe mood disorders, but it wasn't until I had to go to the zero carb level that my skin issues subsided (psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, inflamed pustules on my face, itchy hives, etc.) Everyone needs to figure out what their body is asking for and I'll always be grateful to everyone along the way as I've done low carb, keto and now zero carb. Never felt better! :)
  11. Karen
    Aiva, I hope you eczema and psoriasis eventually improve. I wanted to share that my daughter had eczema her whole life until we discovered she was celiac, before that time she may have just been gluten sensitive, and once she avoided gluten her eczema cleared up. When she accidentally ingests any gluten, her eczema flairs up on her elbows.
  12. 1 comment removed
  13. Alumine
    I've had eczema for as long as I can remember... Last year I found that I could reduce it by stopping eating everything containing cow's milk (but it's really hard because I love chocolate). I've already tried keto but fainted on my 3d day from hypoglycemia and everyone told me to stop because it was "unhealthy". I'm considering trying it again though, I'd do anything to stop my eczema cause it's getting worse and worse every day
    Thanks for the idea, let's hope it works!

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