How Leaky Gut is linked to Skin Conditions, like Eczema & Psoriasis…
First a little background … When the body doesn’t tolerate a food or has created antibodies to that food, ingesting it creates a chronic, low-level irritation or inflammation in the gut. Over time, with regular exposure, the irritation worsens and creates spaces between the cells. (Picture the walls of the gut, once tightly knitted together, looking more like swiss cheese!) This is what is commonly known as, Leaky Gut. These holes allow bacteria and their toxins, as well as incompletely digested proteins and fats, to “leak” out of the gut and into the bloodstream. Leaky gut syndrome (or increased intestinal permeability), sets the stage for myriad health problems, including rashes and skin problems, like eczema and psoriasis. The skin is the body’s largest elimination organ so it’s not surprising that it comes under assault when toxins careen through the bloodstream. A skin rash or eczema is a sign that the body is trying to slough out these toxins. Some people will also experience increase in acne or be told they have “rosacea”. The body is trying to eliminate the problem the best way it knows how, and unfortunately you may see the nasty effects of leaky gut manifest in skin problems. In addition, you might also experience gas, bloating, fatigue, sinus congestion, or foggy thinking. Many other autoimmune conditions are also linked to the underlying problem of leaky gut.
An Elimination Diet Can Heal Your Skin Conditions
An elimination diet is the best way to pinpoint the offending food. Here’s some practical tips and recipes on how to get started.
Don’t know where to start? Foods that are most likely to wreak havoc on the gut include wheat and gluten, dairy products, sugar, soy, eggs, corn and yeast. If you’re highly motivated go off “the big five” for at least 3 weeks: wheat, dairy, sugar, caffeine and alcohol.
Although this isn’t easy, you’re guaranteed to notice the foods you are reacting to and 90% of patients feel dramatically better after a 3 week elimination plan. You might also consider keeping a food journal. Spend a week or two writing down what you eat and how your body feels in the minutes, hours and days afterward (e.g., an hour after you eat dairy, you feel bloated). It’s about pattern and symptom recognition and connecting the dots which in turn helps you decide which foods to eliminate first.
If you are a “show-me the data” type of person, there are labs that will test the blood for levels of IgG4 against certain foods and may be a predictor of what foods you are the most sensitive to. In addition, if you have many reactions to a variety of foods, this is almost diagnostic for leaky gut syndrome and you should consult with a functional medicine doctor to start the healing process.