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Skin Disorders and Digestive Conditions

Dr. Matthew Marturano By Dr. Matthew Marturano, Naturopathic Physician
Friday, February 22, 2013
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Anyone suffering from chronic skin conditions such as psoriasis and acne breakouts who also experiences frequent bouts of indigestion, diarrhea or constipation, should look to their diet as a possible culprit. A weakened or malfunctioning digestive system can often manifest in many ways, including a number of skin disorders.

Undigested food allowed to sit too long in the digestive tract, due to any number of reasons, will ferment and build up toxic byproducts. This sort of toxic buildup can cause or exacerbate skin disorders like acne and psoriasis. Good nutrition and regular, efficient digestion is the first step to good health. This is reflected in one's complexion, like a mirror of a person's overall health.

Obvious signs of a dysfunctional digestive system are stomach pain, gas, bloating, gurgling, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea or a burning sensation after meals. Less obvious signs are worsening psoriasis and/or acne breakouts along the jaw line, which signify a need to detoxify the bowel.

Diet and Nutrition
Major culprits in digestive dysfunction are dairy, processed foods and junk food. Dairy products can cause mucus formation, resulting in poor digestion of proteins. Improper food combinations can also cause sluggish digestion. For example, starches and proteins do not digest well together, similarly, fruits and vegetables.

Additionally, many people have food allergies or sensitivities they may not be aware of, such as lactose intolerance or gluten sensitivity. Keeping a food diary for a week or so can help to isolate foods or combinations of foods that may be triggering digestive problems, so that they can be eliminated from the diet. In extreme situations, an exclusionary diet may be required, adding back in one food at a time.

Herbal Remedies
Stress is another source of slow digestion, as the "fight or flight" reflex will cause the body to shut down all operations not required to deal with the immediate situation, including digestion. Chronic stress, therefore, leads to digestive disruptions, as undigested food is allowed to sit too long in one place and ferment. Teas made of peppermint, chamomile, lemon balm, rosemary and valerian are all good for soothing frayed nerves and relaxing a nervous stomach. Fennel and ginger root are thought to be effective at diminishing bloating and constipation, while mildly stimulating the stomach and intestines.

Commercial, over-the-counter (OTC) antacids should be avoided, as they act to neutralize stomach acid, which prevents digestion and interferes with nutrient absorption.

Dietary Supplements
Acidophilus, available in OTC dietary supplements or in specially marked dairy products, is a helpful bacteria that colonizes the digestive tract and helps with digestion. The fastest way to get acidophilus where it needs to go is via an enema, using distilled water mixed with acidophilus.

Digestive enzymes can be taken after meals to accelerate digestion, thereby increasing energy and avoiding feelings of bloating, gas and other symptoms of indigestion. A wide number of digestive enzyme supplements are available on the market as they are steadily gaining in popularity.

It's no secret the vast majority of Americans have poor diets, as is evidenced by the overwhelming number of digestive aids being marketed by major pharmaceutical companies. Before stocking the medicine cabinet with antacids, anti-diarrheals and laxatives, consider a few dietary changes combined with some natural remedies and see the health benefits reflected in a radiant complexion.

Products you may like:

Now Foods Acidophilus Powder  Now Foods Acidophilus Powder 
Why you may like this product? If you're not interested in an enema, try this supplement to support your gut. Each serving provides two billion live probiotics to balance intestinal flora.
Garden of Life Omega-Zyme Ultra  Garden of Life Omega-Zyme Ultra 
Why you may like this product? If missing enzymes are to blame for your digestive woes, try this product for relief. Each serving provides 21 pH- optimized digestive enzymes to help the body break down fats, proteins and carbohydrates.
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