Digestion and skin health… Is there a connection?
I’ve had my own share of countless dermatologists, chemical peels, antibiotics, DIY hacks – all in the name of finding a solution for my cystic acne. I bought so many skincare products but that only masked the root problem of my acne. Hippocrates, the founder of modern medicine, stated that all diseases begin in the gut. Well guys, it is true, digestive issues was the major cause of my cystic acne . I’ll break it down for you.
Poor Digestion & Poor Elimination –If you wake up with a thick white coating on your tongue, also called Ama, you have an accumulation of improperly digested food that congests the intestinal tract. This then ends up showing on your skin especially on you forehead. Why? Because your skin is an elimination organ. How? I’ll explain.
Foods like processed foods and refined sugar weaken your intestines and increase inflammatory cytokines like IL-6 and IL-8 which are associated with acne while foods like pasteurized dairy and processed breads can act as a glue to your intestinal wall causing a mucoid plaque that your body is unable to eliminate. The gut has both good and bad bacteria. So this mucoid plaque acts as food for the bad bacteria which eat, ferment and create toxic by-products associated with acne like hydrogen sulphide and poisonous gases like ammonia.
These substances can also be absorbed through the gut wall ‘leaky gut’ into the bloodstream causing acne, body odour, brain fog , fatigue and congest your lymphatic system. All waste in the blood is filtered through the lymphatic system. The only way to pump the lymphatic system is through deep breathing ,exercising and muscle movement. So the clogged gastrointestinal lymphatics manifest on your skin.
Solution 1; Increase stomach acid HCL (hydrochloric acid). HCL is responsible for protein breakdown into amino acids, stimulates the pancreas and small intestines to produce digestive enzymes and bile needed to breakdown the carbohydrates, proteins and fats you eat and lastly kills pathogens, parasites, and yeast present in food. Symptoms of low stomach acid include acne, bloating, fatigue, nausea, constipation, undigested foods in stool among others. To increase HCL, take zinc – zinc is needed to produce stomach acid, drink apple cider vinegar before or with meals (I prefer this) – dilute in water and please use a straw since it can weaken your teeth’s enamel and drink hot tea with your meals like warm ginger tea instead of cold drinks.
Solution 2 ; Get your bowels and lymphatic systems moving by adding more fibre into your diet, exercise, body/muscle movements, deep breathing, water. Incorporating a supplement called Lower Bowel Formula would also really help. This is not a laxative. It strengthens the lower intestines causing stronger muscle contraction which enhances consistent bowel movement.
Solution 3; Balance the gut flora by weeding out the bad bacteria and repopulating the good bacteria – Now if you’ve ever taken antibiotics for your acne eg doxycycline, you know acne improves only for it to come back once you’re off the meds. Antibiotics kills all the bacteria including the good microbes hence causing an unhealthy gut. To correct this, do a parasite cleanse then take probiotics , I get mine from Healthy U. You can also incorporate probiotic foods.
Solution 4; L-lysine – This is the holy grail. This is the best anti-acne supplement ever. It is an amino acid – building blocks of protein. I incorporated 1000mg daily in my routine. Lysine helps in the production of collagen elastin which causes skin suppleness and healing, produces digestive enzymes for absorption of nutrients, produces antibodies for the immune system, helps to activate the gall bladder, reduces anxiety by blocking stress response receptors- meaning it deals with stress acne, produces hormones in the endocrine system meaning it also deals with hormonal acne which we’ll discuss about in the next blog post.
The digestive health topic is wide but I just covered the important details. This worked for my digestive acne and also my overall health. All the supplements mentioned can be found in Healthy U outlets for those in Kenya. Ensure the supplements are vegan/vegetarian. Feel free to email me on any questions and all the best. On the next post we’ll talk about hormonal acne.