Just when I think I've gotten over being disappointed in how doctors address their patients when it comes to disease, another post comes along to remind me of why I get so frustrated with the medical community when it comes to eczema. There's a big difference between the statement that low weight and stunted growth are a result of allergens, versus the statment that low weight and stunted growth are a result of nutritional deficiencies resulting in allergens to foods that would replenish those deficiencies.
Ambiguous is defined as susceptible of multiple interpretation...doubtful or uncertain (American Heritage Dictionary). Because the doctors gave you that general and ambiguous reasoning as a cause of your daughter's low weight and stunted growth, you were left open for misinterpetation. As a result, you assumed that staying away from those food allergens, should then result in normal growth; yet, no significant improvement has resulted. This is why that statement was misleading. The more accurate statement should have been as follows: As a result of your daughters allergens to foods that are major contributors of the nutrients needed for a child's healthy developement, it has created further deficiencies in those essential nutrients and promoted her low weight and stunted growth. When you understand that, then you understand that it is not the foods that are promoting her stunted growth and low weight; it is the vitamin and mineral deficiencies that have developed as a result of her food allergens that is causing her low weight and stunted growth.
This is why I cringe at strict Elimination Diets when it comes to infants, babies, and growing children. We get so focused on consuming foods to alleviate our hunger pains that we tend to forget that the main reason we eat is for nutrient replenishment to support our bodies life sustainability and function. When it came to my nieces, the only way that I was going to eliminate an essential whole food source was if it had proven to demonstrate an allergic reaction in my nieces. I was not going to follow the general and strict Elimination Diet list recommended for eczema sufferers; due to the fact that I became immediately aware of the dilemma that it would cause (nutrient deficiency) after reading the list. Food elimination is specific to the individual and needs to be implemented accordingly.
Staying away from the foods that produce allergens in your daughter addresses her eczema flareups; however, it doesn't address the low weight and stunted growth. To address that issue (low weight and stunted growth), you will have to address nutrient deficiencies. In Medicine 101, the following is learned: Symptoms of Vitamin A deficiency - night blindness; stunted growth in children; dry skin and eyes; increased susceptibility to infection.
This is why I get frustrated with the doctors; this is first year medical school training. They should not have given you that generally ambiguous reasoning for your child's stunted growth. As a result of their generality, they left an opening for misinterpretation and took focus off of the true cause (vitamin/mineral deficiencies). Yes, there is a connection between her multiple food allergens and her stunted growth and low birth weight. The problem with their explaination is that it took focus off of the connection. They should have clearly spoken that her stunted growth and low birth weight was a result of nutrient deficiencies, (in particular, Vitamin A), that developed as a result of an allergen to the foods that provide those nutrients; thus, resulting in her not being able to consume those foods and the nutrients they provided.
Had the doctors mentioned to you that vitamin A deficiency was representative of stunted growth in children, this would have changed your approach. You would have focused your attention on educating yourself regarding the whole foods that contain this essential nutrient; so that, you could address that deficiency with more consumption of the foods that would replenish this essential nutrient. Dry skin (eczema, psoriasis, etc.) and dry eyes are also representative of a vitamin A deficiency. Susceptibility to infection is yet another symptom of a vitamin A deficiency. If these two additional symptoms are also present with your child, then you have a strong case for vitamin A deficiency.
There are two forms of vitamin A: retinols and beta carotene. Retinols are mostly found in animal products; and the beta carotene, in plant foods. Beta carotene is where I focus on vitamin A replenishment because it converts the stored vitamin A from the liver for distribution throughout the rest of the organs in the body. There is a long list of beta carotene food sources. There has got to be at least one item from that list that your daughter is not allergic. Whatever that item is, it will be beneficial to her to have that food be a main staple in her daily diet consumption.
The caution with vitamin A is that just as the deficiency of this vitamin causes disease, so does excess of this vitamin. As a result, I strongly believe that you need to find a good nutritionist to work with you and your daughter. In my opinion, this will be the most beneficial doctor to help you in improving your daughter's health.
I focused on vitamin A in this discussion; however, a vitamin D deficiency may be a big issue as well. Vitamin D is essential for healthy bone growth. The deficiency of this vitamin is responsible for rickets in children. Rickets in simple terms is defective bone growth.
Yet, another reason why a good Nutritionist is extremely beneficial to eczema sufferers.