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The Role of Diet Modification in Atopic Dermatitis: Navigating the Complexity

Abstract

Diet has long been understood to have an intricate association with atopic dermatitis, although much remains unelucidated. Skin barrier dysfunction with dysbiosis and consequent impairment of immune tolerance likely underly the pathogenesis of coincident atopic dermatitis and food allergy. There is a wide range of possible skin reactions to food, complicating the diagnosis and understanding of food allergies. Many patients, parents, and providers incorrectly suspect diet as causative of atopic dermatitis symptoms and many have tried elimination diets. This frequently leads to inaccurate labeling of food allergies, contributing to a dangerous spiral of inappropriate testing, referrals, and dietary changes, while neglecting established atopic dermatitis treatment essentials. Alternatively, certain dietary supplements or the introduction of certain foods may be beneficial for atopic dermatitis management or prevention. Greater consensus on the role of diet among providers of patients with atopic dermatitis is strongly encouraged to improve the management of atopic dermatitis.

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Correspondence to Peter A. Lio.

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Dr. Lio reports research grants/funding from the National Eczema Association, AOBiome, Regeneron/Sanofi Genzyme, and AbbVie; is on the speaker’s bureau for Regeneron/Sanofi Genzyme, Pfizer, Eli Lilly, LEO, Galderma, and L’Oreal; and reports consulting/advisory boards for Almirall, ASLAN Pharmaceuticals, Dermavant, Regeneron/Sanofi Genzyme, Pfizer, LEO Pharmaceuticals, AbbVie, Eli Lilly, Micreos, L'Oreal, Pierre-Fabre, Johnson & Johnson, Level Ex, Unilever, Menlo Therapeutics, Theraplex, IntraDerm, Exeltis, AOBiome, Realm Therapeutics, Altus Labs (stock options), Galderma, Amyris, Bodewell, and My-Or Diagnostics. The other authors report no conflict of interest.

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PL conceived the research idea. AR, MN, and SB researched and wrote the article with input and editing from PL.

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Rustad, A.M., Nickles, M.A., Bilimoria, S.N. et al. The Role of Diet Modification in Atopic Dermatitis: Navigating the Complexity. Am J Clin Dermatol (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40257-021-00647-y

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