Posts Tagged ‘probiotics’

Product Review & Give-Away: Vidazorb Probiotics

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

A couple of months ago, I was contacted by a representative of Vidazorb to try their probiotics and review them on my blog. They sent me a sample of the Vidazorb Belly Boost for children and the Vidazorb Daily probiotics for adults. They were especially interested to see how the probiotics helped my son’s eczema.

These probiotics have a lot of positive features. To start with, they have a CFU (colony forming units) count of approximately 10 billion per tablet, and they recommend 3 tablets per day. They are chewable, and for those too young to chew them, they are very easy to crush into powder to mix with food or liquid. They taste really good, too. My son always got excited whenever he got one, and often would beg me for “I-ah-kicks” whenever he thought of them. They also do not require refrigeration. They are also gluten, soy, lactose, and corn free and have zero calories..

On the other hand, they did not help my son’s eczema. That doesn’t mean they wouldn’t help some children’s eczema, but it didn’t help my son. I stopped using the Infaskin that we had been using before to really try the Belly Boost, and during that time his eczema actually got a little bit worse, only to go back to what it had been after we added the Infaskin, which we did a few days before we ran out of Belly Boost. I don’t think that the Belly Boost had a negative effect, it just didn’t have a positive one. Perhaps this is because it doesn’t have as many variety of strains as Infaskin does. But Infaskin was specifically developed for skin conditions, while Belly Boost appears to be designed simply to maintain proper digestion, so this doesn’t surprise me too much.

They are to be taken 1 tablet 3 times a day, preferably with meals. I had a hard time remembering to give them to him at each meal, especially in the evening when I was so focused on getting the kids fed, dressed, read to, and in bed. The Infaskin was given once a day between meals, so it is easier to just give it whenever I remember–usually I do it before breakfast with his first liquid of the day. This isn’t really a negative, just for me it is.

They are a bit cheaper than the Infaskin is, at $43.60 if you buy it from Vidazorb. Infaskin costs me $50 for a month’s supply. They are probably a bit more expensive than some probiotics that you can get from another place, but they are very good quality, as far as I can tell, and if one were looking for probiotics to give their child during and after a round of antibiotics, I would definitely recommend Vidazorb as an option to consider. Very kid friendly.

If you want to try them, during the month of October, 2011, you can use the coupon code NEM50 to get 50% off any order. Now, that’s a pretty good deal!

But it gets even better! Vidazorb would like to offer one lucky reader a two-month supply of Belly Boost for their child. That’s an $87.20 value! Simply post a comment telling me which Vidazorb product you would like to try (click on the link to see them all). I will pick a name toward the end of the month of October using Random.com.

Product Reviews Coming Up – Probiotic & Air Purifier

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

I am very excited about two product reviews that I will be doing within the next month or so, and I wanted to announce them. In a few days (as soon as I can get time to write it) I will be doing a review of a children’s probiotic and a give-away! Check back in a few days or subscribe to be sure to find out more details.

The second product review I will be doing is for an air purifer from Bionaire. I just selected this air purifier this morning, and was told I will receive my product “shortly.” I suppose that means next week. Once I have had a chance to try it out, I will do a review here.

My son has a lot of environmental allergies on top of his already extensive food allergies, so having an air purifier with an allergen filter will be a real blessing. You may have heard that indoor air quality can get pretty bad, especially in the winter when we tend to keep windows closed more, or in summer if where air conditioners are used a lot. At times I had wished I could have an air purifier of some kind, but I never thought about actually getting one, because we just don’t have the budget for it. But thanks to this blog, I am getting the chance to get one. I’m really excited!

And I’m also excited to offer you a coupon from Bionaire. You can get a free air filter that will fit any of their machines. You will need to have purchased one of their machines to use it in, but if you have an issue with air quality, having a good air purifier would probably be a good idea.

What do you think? I would appreciate your comments on air quality and its affect on things like eczema and asthma, and how an air purifier could be helpful.

 

My Baby Has Eczema: The Cause Found and the Healing Begun

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

It has been 5 months since the last post, and a lot has happened. Before I fill you in on the results of the stool test, what we did as a result, and the results, let me briefly review our journey with my son’s eczema for those who don’t have time to read all the posts from the beginning.

He developed eczema at 1 month old. It was diagnosed around 3 months, and we tried to avoid all steroids, even hydrocortisone. But he was a really miserable little baby. We tried everything, even goat’s milk formula (turned out all dairy is off limits, not just cow), and I restricted my diet to the point of frustration until he was weaned at 12 months. We added Triamcinalon, a medium-level steroid around 18 months just to control the symptoms, and not long after that we started to see a naturopath who was recommended by his pediatrician. When I ended the last post, we were waiting on the results of a stool test.

Test Results

The results came late in February. For insurance reasons, they were sent to his pediatrician, and we received a copy in the mail as well, which we shared with the naturopath at the next visit. It just so happened that my son got a bad cold that turned into bronchitis just after the test results arrived, and before the scheduled naturopath’s visit–which I think got delayed for some reason, probably the cold. My husband took him (since I think I was also feeling under the weather at the time), and the pediatrician went over the results of the stool test.

In a nutshell, he had a gut full of pathogenic bacteria. Which confirmed his suspicion that the source of the eczema was in his gut.

Let me explain a little. You may have heard about beneficial bacteria in the gut. They help to digest food and do other things. They coat the surface of the intestines. If they are killed off and yeast (such as candida) is present, the yeast will multiply to fill in the gaps. On the other hand, they can be killed off by pathogenic bacteria–and they had certainly been doing that, because showed almost no beneficial bacteria in the test at all, in spite of all the probiotics he had taken for the past year. There were also neutral bacteria, neither beneficial nor harmful, but taking the place of the good bacteria.

The doctor, of course, prescribed antibiotics to treat the bronchitis. Normally I would have hesitated, but when I realized that some of the pathogenic bacteria was susceptible to the antibiotic, I figured this would be a way of killing two birds with one stone!

Not long after we met with the naturopath. He reviewed the test results and explained them to me. He asked us to up the Infaskin probiotics that had already proved to help him so much, to counteract the antibiotics. I think he also upped the Vitamin D from 1,000 IU to 2,000, because he felt Manny could be getting a little more of that.

On a side note, the results for the parasite test came in later, and they were negative. He also showed a little yeast, but it didn’t seem to be a significant problem. Especially since he eats mostly gluten-free grains and I sweeten his home-made rice or teff milk with stevia, so his sources of sugars are quite limited.

What Happened As a Result

Just around the time the antibiotic treatment finished, a tree fell on our house. It was quite a disaster, and we’re still not back in our home almost 5 months later. That was March 15th. We spent the next 10 days living with some friends in their house nearby, and during that time, we used the Triamcinalon for the last time. We haven’t used it since.

Over the months since then, I have watched my son’s skin steadily improve. He went from breaking out in small patches most everywhere to breaking out only on his tummy, face, neck, groin, and folds of elbows and knees. And in the last month I haven’t noticed anything on his tummy. I ran out of the prescription 2.5% hydrocortisone and bought some 1% at the drug store recently. I remember when we would go through a 2 oz. tube in a week, but now I think that tube will last us a couple of months–and I don’t use it every day, at least, not on the same spot two days in a row. He scratches less. He’s a happy little 2-year-old when he’s not having a melt-down. And he’s steadily improving. At the last visit with the naturopath–back in May, I think–he didn’t change anything about his treatment and scheduled his next appointment for September, saying to only call if he got worse or stopped improving. Which he hasn’t.

So that’s the latest. He’s not cured, but he’s on the way. It’s going to be a while before we start trying things we have eliminated from his diet, though we occasionally try new things (like parsnips–he likes them and they don’t cause a reaction, yay!).

So now it’s your turn. Share this story with others or share your story. What have you done that has worked? What didn’t work? Every case is unique, and what worked for Manny might not work for the next reader. But what worked for you might. If you would like to share your story here as a post instead of just in a comment, let me know!

My Baby Has Eczema: Trying Natural Methods Again

Friday, February 4th, 2011

Last week I shared about how we found a new doctor when we moved and eventually started using the steroid Triamcinalon. Once the pediatrician had exhausted his store of resources, and after a couple visits to an allergist proved that we were already doing everything conventional medicine had to offer, we decided to try a naturopath recommended by the pediatrician.

Dr. Dramov in Tigard

Dr. Dramov has got to be one of the nicest doctors I have ever met. Unlike your average MDs, he greets his patients in the waiting room and goes with them through every step of the visit. If he has an assistant other than the receptionist, I haven’t seen one. He acted like he has all day, asking me several times per visit if there is anything else I want to ask–very thorough.

During the first visit, he went over Manny’s history of eczema and asked what we were giving him. Then he asked me to try several things: upping the probiotics he was already taking, adding quercitin, switching from the digestive enzyme we were using to one with ox bile in it, and adding in evening primrose oil. We were to make one change per week, and to not add the next thing if we noticed improvement.

Well, we did our best, but nothing made the slightest difference. I had gotten him to where I was using the Triamcinalon only every other day most of the time, but I couldn’t taper off more than that. He would just get worse if I tried.

B12 Shots and a New Probiotic

At the next visit, he told me that he had just been to some kind of medical convention to learn more about the treatment of eczema. He said there were two things that seemed to help that we weren’t already doing: B12 supplements, either sublingual or shots, and a special probiotic called InfaSkin. He had ordered the InfaSkin, but it hadn’t arrived yet. My husband picked it up later.

He asked me how I wanted to do then B12. Because I wasn’t sure how well the sublinguals would work on such a small child (by this time he was just weeks away from his second birthday), I opted for the shots. He showed me how to give them, doing the first one himself. Then he sold me the tiny vial of serum and enough insulin syringes to last a month. I bought a sharps container at the drug store, and have since gotten so good at them that my son actually likes his daily shot!

It was almost two weeks after that visit that my husband was able to stop and get the InfaSkin probiotics. We started him on them on a Tuesday or Wednesday. Within two days, I knew they were doing something; I hadn’t reached for the Triamcinalon since his first dose! In fact, he was able to go 4 or 5 days without it–his longest stretch ever! I still used the hydrocortisone 2.5%, but I was actually using less of it. As you can imagine, I was thrilled! This was the first non-drug anything to actually make a difference!

Further Tests

At this second visit, the doctor also ordered stool and blood tests. We will get the results of those tests at our next visit, which will be next Friday

A couple of weeks after starting the Infaskin, I received samples of Renew lotion. Rather than repeat myself, I’ll just refer you to the post that tells what results Renew had on my son.

This brings the story up-to-date. I will continue to post updates as they occur. Now it’s your turn. Would you like to share your story? If so, please contact me; I would love to publish others’ stories here on this blog.

My Baby Has Eczema: New House, New Doctor, New Plan

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Last week I shared about how my life spiraled out of control as I watched my baby get worse and worse, with no end in sight. My emotions were out of control, and I didn’t know what to do about it.

New Home

I had been resisting going to a regular doctor (MD) out of fear. My husband worked for Child Protective Services, and he told me that a doctor had turned a mother in to CPS for not following the treatment he had outlined for her child. I didn’t want to have a doctor prescribe steroids for my son and then turn me in to CPS if I didn’t use them! But I was getting to the point that I couldn’t handle things the way they were. My son was miserable nearly all the time. If I put him down to practice crawling, he would put his face down on the carpet and rub back and forth. I knew I had to do something. Besides, the naturopath he had been going to had pretty much exhausted her knowledge of the subject.

My husband and I realized that we needed to have him home more. He worked an hour away, and the 2-hour round-trip commute was killing him, especially on top of all the stress we were dealing with. So he started looking for a place to rent near his work, and I decided it was time to start using the hydrocortisone more than just a tiny bit on the worst areas, as I had been.

New Doctor

I also decided it was time to find another doctor. I didn’t know where to start, but I knew of a place where I could ask for recommendations. So I logged into Mamapedia.com and asked the moms in my area for a recommendation. I specified that I wanted a doctor that would look favorably on alternative options and that would not be bothered by the fact that I had chosen to delay vaccinations.

I only received one reply, but it was a recommendation for a doctor that was only 3 or 4 miles away from my husband’s work–and even closer to the house we were going to rent! Integrative Pediatrics with Dr. Paul Thomas was her suggestion, and I eagerly checked out the website. When I read that “it is the goal of Integrative Pediatrics to bring the best of complementary, alternative and holistic medicine,” I was sold. I called and made an appointment for as soon as I could–which happened to be several days before the actual move.

The doctor was very understanding of our choice not to vaccinate yet, and even supportive of it as he learned more about Manny’s situation. I have found many swollen lymph glands on him–in the back of his neck, in his groin, and maybe some other places. For all we know, they are probably all swollen. This indicates an immune system response, and is likely a side effect of the allergies he has. His doctor believes that adding vaccinations to the picture is just not a good idea at this point.

Allergy Tests

While he encouraged me to continue using the hydrocortisone as needed to relieve the symptoms, and even suggested Benadryl (which actually made him break out more, so we stopped that), his main line of attack was with natural things. He did an IgG food sensitivity test and later an IgE food and environmental allergy test. The results told him that Manny has some kind of internal irritation that is causing the external manifestation of eczema; he is more or less sensitive to almost every food they tested on the IgG test, with a few exceptions (mostly meat, which we don’t eat, and random things like bananas and beets). He also had an IgE count of almost 3,000–the highest the pediatrician had ever seen–and was allergic to almost every food they tested, except chocolate and yeast and meat.

When we got the results of the IgG test back (the IgE test didn’t come until months later), I modified my diet to match up, hoping that his eczema would subside, even if only a little. It didn’t. Only the hydrocortisone helped anything. I began to dream of weaning him so that we could feed him an even more limited diet than I could manage to do myself, and maybe we could eliminate all the bad foods and he would clear up. So just before he turned 12 months I started the process of weaning him, cutting out one feeding per week, until by 2 weeks after his first birthday he was totally weaned. But his eczema didn’t clear up. Then I felt bad about weaning him, but I just couldn’t stay on his diet anymore. I ignored the criticism from those who said I should have nursed longer, knowing that I was doing the best I could. I had nursed my daughter for 20 months and wanted to nurse my son until 2 years at least, but I could not imagine another 12 months of eating such a bland, limited diet. In the end, I’m glad I did, because not long after weaning him we figured out that he was allergic to some of the things I had been using in my diet to replace things we already knew he was allergic to (for instance, he is highly allergic to sunflower seeds, which I was using to make a “sour cream” to replace the dairy version), and when we eliminated those foods, he stopped breaking out during meals like he had so many times when I was nursing him.

But back to the doctor. I was very pleased when he didn’t push steroids right off the bat; instead he suggested a regimen of probiotics, vitamin D, Omega 3 oils, digestive enzymes, and multivitamins. Over the months we found sources for all of these things in forms that he could handle (for instance, try finding multivitamins for children that don’t have some food substance in them took us quite a while). He also encouraged us to rotate his diet so that he didn’t eat the same foods every day, as a means of preventing new sensitivities from forming.

We Try Steroid Cream

Of course, by using the hydrocortisone .5% and sometimes the 1%, we were able to clear up the worst of the skin issues. His little cheeks no longer oozed, and the yeast infection in the folds of skin on his neck cleared up, since it was no longer raw and oozing there. Patches of good skin began to reappear around the areas of inflamed skin, and gradually the symptoms began to subside, little by little.

However, it never really cleared up. At his 18-month check-up (or maybe it was a 2 or 3 months later, I don’t remember) when the doctor asked if I would like to try something a little stronger to help control the symptoms, I agreed. He prescribed Triamcinalon, a medium-level steroid cream, and said to use it once a day or less, as needed, but not on the face or genitals.

I felt a little guilty about using this steroid, but at the same time, I realized that he was a much happier little boy. And besides, the steroid was not our main plan of attack. It was just something to keep the eczema at bay while we continued searching for the cause.

I remember there was a patch on my son’s wrist that had been encroaching on the back of his hand. The hydrocortisone had calmed it, but it simply would not go away. Manny’s father is Hispanic, so his natural skin color is a pale olive complexion. However, the eczema had bleached it as white as a readhead’s skin.  Wherever a patch of eczema would clear up, the skin would slowly get its natural color back. However, this patch would not clear up. Until I started putting the Triamcinalon on it. When I did, it cleared up and hasn’t come back! So now I don’t need to use it there anymore. That taught me that sometimes when the eczema gets too far, it really does need something to get it back under control. I can control pretty much anything on his arms with hydrocortisone and am using less of the Triamcinalon now that I did when I first started.

Of course, not every patch of eczema was that easy to clear up. But gradually his overall natural color began to show up, and some places would be almost cleared up at times. I finally got to where I was using the Triamcinalon only every other day, using just hyrocortisone on the odd days.

But I wasn’t able to cut it out entirely.

Allergist’s Opinion

Shortly after starting the Triamcinalon, at the suggestion of his doctor, we visited an allergist. That, for us, was a waste of time and money. I know many people have been helped by an allergist, but for us, by the time we went, we had already figured out almost everything he was truly allergic to, and the allergist wasn’t willing to subject such a young child to allergy testing, since he, as he put it, “he will probably outgrow most of them anyway.” Since being weaned at 12 months, he had been on a strict, fairly hypoallergenic diet, and we had also been on a fairly good moisturizing plan, so the allergist’s conclusion was that we were doing everything right and hopefully he would outgrow his allergies. And now we have a bill that we are hoping we can pay with our tax refund.

By this time, we had bought a house an hour away from my husband’s work–again. It was the only one we could afford that met most of our needs. We  decided to keep his pediatrician–especially when the allergist said he was one of the best pediatricians in the Portland area–but he was a pediatrician, not a skin disease specialist, and he was running out of ideas now too. He was convinced that the cause of Manny’s eczema was somehow tied to irritation in the gut, but he didn’t have the time or resources to really dig into that. So he suggested that we try going to a naturopath that specialized in gastrointestinal issues. So we made an appointment with the naturopath after our second visit to the allergist.

Next week I will tell you about the visits to the naturopath, what we tried, and what the results have been. That post will bring this story up to the the present day. This story is far from finished. But now you have an overview of my son’s life.

So in the mean time, please share with us about your experience with doctors and steroids–or your avoidance of either. Also, if you have something that worked for you, feel free to share it in the comments. If you want to share something with me but you don’t want to name it in the comments, please use the contact page to contact me directly. Thank you for reading and consider subscribing so you won’t miss the rest of the story!

This post is mentioned on Blogelina’s Blogging Buddy Blog Hop.