If you have skin, and I know you do, at some point you have had an issue with it. Acne, hives, Eczema, Psoriasis are all skin conditions that can have their root cause in the gut. Today we will explore that and I will include a PowerPoint of the presentation I did for Oakland County this week. Thank you to all the workshop attendees that participated.
Your skin is the first line of defense
It is your number one barrier to the environment but is also so sensitive that it can send signals to your body to adapt to your environment. When your skin detects that your environment is too hot or too cold it will send messages into your brain to either cause you to sweat or shiver. This keeps the body balanced (homeostasis). If a bug bites you, your immune system will go on the attack and bring the immune cells necessary to combat the intruder and prevent the bugs poison from taking over your bloodstream. Brilliant, I know.
Your skin is your biggest detox organ
That is why sweating is so important and we often recommend far infrared saunas in order to assist in this mechanism. If you have been exposed to chemicals, infections, heavy metals or other toxins, sweating is a great way to help get them out. Just remember to wipe off your body after and not let the sweat dry on your skin where you could reabsorb what you just worked so hard to get out. If the kidneys and liver are overburdened by toxins then the toxins escape through the skin causing inflammation and damage to the skin.
The gut is always involved
A sluggish colon can cause skin issues due to the backup or re-circulation of toxins. This is why it is so important to include fiber and water in your diet, have the right amount of stomach acid and enzymes, chew your food well and have a bowel movement daily, if not more. When you eat anything it has to be broken down into smaller components in order for the intestinal lining to identify it and pull it into the bloodstream to nourish your body. If the intestinal lining is inflamed or irritated the cells that line the intestines and create a barrier will move apart and leave gaps that allow things to pass through that normally wouldn’t like microbes and large, undigested food particles. When the immune system sees undigested food particles come through into the bloodstream they attack! This can cause many different reactions, one of which is a skin reaction.
What can irritate the intestinal lining?
- Medication, especially antibiotics and steroids
- Allergic foods
- Food dyes, preservatives, artificial flavors
- Infections (bacterial, fungal, and viral)
Gluten-Sensitivity-Rash is a thing
You might think that the overwhelming increase in gluten sensitivity is a fad, but I have lost count of the number of patients that have improved their symptoms (many skin-related) by going off gluten. You don’t have to be diagnosed with Celiac disease to have a gluten sensitivity. The gluten molecule looks like a variety of body tissues so the immune system can get confused and when it attempts to attack undigested gluten that has snuck its way into the circulation it may end up attacking the body instead. This is autoimmunity.
What contributes to skin issues?
- Environmental Toxins
- Digestive Imbalance
- pH of body
- Nutritional Deficiencies
- Drugs (BCP, Steroid, Lithium…)
The skin is very reactive to changes in hormones
You might think you don’t take hormones but if you drink milk, eat eggs, or even drink city water, you are. Cows, pigs, and chickens are often pumped full of hormones that get into the milk, cheese, yogurt, bacon, eggs, beef, and chicken piccata that you eat. Choose organic to lessen the load and eat more veggies and just enough of these proteins, not too much. I bet you didn’t know that our city water filtration system doesn’t do a very good job of removing the hormones that women on birth control pills are on. It gets into the water system when they urinate, then into you. Gross! Sorry. Filtered water, please!
The dangerous double P’s
There are chemicals in most body lotions, cosmetics, shampoos and conditioners that are toxic and can cause skin reactions. They are called parabens and phthalates. The demand for products without these dangerous toxins has gone up with awareness so we now have more options without them. Read labels!
Finding food sensitivities
Food sensitivities are a common culprit in skin conditions. There are four main ways to identify that you have a food sensitivity. None of these are fail-proof except for elimination.
- Scratch testing. This can be done through an allergist. Scratch tests are more accurate for environmental sensitivities (pollen, mold, grass) than they are for food sensitivities. If this test is positive it can be declared an actual allergy since it is an IgE (a special kind of immune cell) reaction.
- Blood tests. There are a variety of blood tests out there that can identify food sensitivities. There is a lot of false positives and false negatives that occur so we use it as a guide. The benefit is that it is more accurate for foods than a scratch test because it also tests for IgG which can show a delayed reaction. An example of a delayed reaction would be eating a strawberry on Monday and getting a rash on Wednesday.
- Muscle testing. This is what I do in the office. We identify a strong muscle. A muscle that can resist a small amount of pressure that is placed on it. Then we have you taste, hold, or in some way be in contact with a specific food like corn. If your muscle test goes weak in the presence of the food we are testing then we consider that an indication that you should stay away from it for a period of time.
- Elimination. This is the best but most difficult. You may be sensitive to many things so we usually start with a very limited diet to see if you improve. Then we slowly add back in foods over a period of time and see if you get symptoms again.
Supplements that can help
Massage and Bemer to get the gunk out
Massage is a great way to get the lymphatic system moving. Your lymphatic system is the garbage trucks of your body. It gets the toxins away from the cells and tissues and into the urinary and bowel system to be eliminated. An’ Marie, our massage therapist, is very knowledgeable and can help you improve your detoxification.
Our circulation specialist, Elaine, uses Bemer technology that is proven to aid in improved circulation. Clearing the bloodstream of toxins is her specialty and you would benefit in trying out this technique.
Whether you are trying to heal from a skin condition or working against father time to prevent skin changes due to aging, don’t stop at just the skin. Look deeper. We can help.
Keep it clean!
For information about the water filtration system that we use in our home contact Thom Lee from United Standard Systems at 248-594-4500 or 248-318-1554. Click here for a video interview with him.