Keratosis Pilaris: Is Your Digestive System Working Properly?
The health of your digestive system plays an important role in maintaining healthy skin. When the digestive tract gets irritated, it can inhibit the absorption of essential nutrients that keep your skin healthy. Damage to the intestinal lining can cause the release of toxins and undigested food proteins into the bloodstream, triggering allergies and many other health issues, including inflammation in the skin.
Your Keratosis Pilaris may be a sign that your digestive system is not working properly. Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to improve the health of your digestive system. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables packed with essential vitamins fiber is great for your digestive health. Grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds are also rich in fiber, which keep your gastrointestinal tract running smoothly.
B-complex vitamins play an important role in digestion because they help metabolize food. You can get B-complex vitamins by eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, leafy greens, whole grains, beans, dairy, eggs, and seafood, or take a supplement if needed. Pay attention to how you eat your food. Do you wolf your food down? Eating slowly, taking time to chew your food, and stopping when you are full is important for healthy digestion.
It is also very important to stay adequately hydrated for healthy digestion, so make sure you are getting your eight glasses a day. Just make sure not to drink too much cold water with meals, as this can slow down digestive enzymes and prolong digestion.
4 Steps To Improve Your Digestive Health
If you want to take a systematic approach to improving your digestive health, follow this four step program. The four steps in this program are: remove, replace, reinoculate, and repair.
Step 1: Remove
The first step to improve your digestive health involves eliminating problematic foods as well as cleansing bad bacteria, yeast, and parasites from the gastrointestinal tract.
Eliminating Problematic Foods
To determine what foods you are sensitive to, you can go on an elimination diet. You will need to eliminate foods commonly associated with allergies, such as dairy, gluten, eggs, soy, yeast, citrus fruits, shellfish, nuts, and tomatoes, for at least three to four weeks.
After you have given your digestive system time to heal, you can reintroduce foods one at a time to see if you have a negative reaction. This is the best way to find out what foods you are sensitive to. Once you identify which foods you are sensitive to, eliminating those from your diet will improve your digestive health.
You may be able to reintroduce some foods in smaller amounts later on, but while you are going through the four steps, it is best to avoid eating foods that you are sensitive to.
Eliminating Bad Bacteria, Candida, and Parasites
Stool samples can be tested to determine if you have bad bacteria, parasites, or an overgrowth of Candida (yeast). However, these tests are not always completely accurate. If you have an overgrowth of Candida, you can follow a Candida diet to help cleanse it out of your system. This typically means you have to cut out sugar, fruit, yeast, gluten, vinegar, mushrooms, peanuts and peanut butter, pistachios, alcohol, coffee, black tea, aged or moldy cheese, and processed foods.
Eat a lot of raw vegetables, whole grains, seeds, and legumes to help clean out the gut. You can also eat foods that contain natural antibiotics to kill off yeast, bacteria, and parasites. Foods that act as natural antibiotics include, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, spinach, kale, raw garlic, ginger, horseradish, onions, leeks, radishes, mustard, lemon juice, coconut oil, cinnamon, turmeric, oregano, thyme, and rosemary.
You should also eliminate alcohol, caffeine, and medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids, and antibiotics. These substances damage the intestinal lining and destroy good bacteria, causing a bacterial imbalance in the gut.
To help support and detoxify the liver during this process, you can drink green tea and take herbs such as dandelion root, milk thistle, chicory root, globe artichoke, and burdock. Getting enough vitamins B6, C, and E is also essential as they help enhance the production of glutathione, which allows the liver to flush out toxins.
Step 2: Replace
The second step to improving your digestive health involves taking digestive aids to get the proper stomach acidity and digestive enzymes. Digestive enzymes help you break down proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. A deficiency in digestive enzymes can lead to indigestion, feeling too full after meals, bloating, gas, and acid reflux.
If you are deficient in digestive enzymes, you can take a digestive enzyme supplement. There are a variety of plant-derived and animal-derived digestive enzyme supplements. Most people find multi-enzyme formulas to be the most effective. Another consideration is making sure you have the proper stomach acidity to activate digestive enzymes, which work better at certain pH levels.
Stomach acid contains hydrochloric acid, potassium chloride, and sodium chloride. A common problem, especially as you get older, is not producing enough hydrochloric acid. This is known as an underactive stomach and can cause gas, feeling too full after meals, and abdominal pain or cramping.
Apple cider vinegar is a wonderful digestive aid that helps stimulate hydrochloric acid and balances the digestive system. You can take a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar mixed with water before each meal for better digestion.
Betaine hydrochloride supplements are also an effective treatment for an underactive stomach. It is best to consult with a doctor before starting any digestive enzyme or betaine hydrochloric acid supplements.
Step 3: Reinoculate
The third step for a healthy digestive system is to rebalance the bacteria in your gut by reintroducing good bacteria.
Various factors contribute to an unhealthy balance of bacteria in the gut, but fortunately many are lifestyle choices that can be changed. These factors include: medications such as antibiotics, steroids, and birth control pills, high fat/high sugar/low fiber diets, alcohol consumption, stress, and lack of sleep.
Good bacteria, known as probiotics, prevent bad bacteria from multiplying in the gut and help keep the correct bacterial balance for optimal health. Probiotics are identified by their genus, species and strain. There are many different strains of probiotics, and each strain has specific health benefits.
The most tested and proven strain is Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM. This strain has also been proven to perform better when taken with Bifidobacterium lactis Bi-07. There are supplements that contain anywhere from eight to ten strains of bacteria, but more is not necessarily better. Good bacteria can compete with other good bacteria, so it is difficult to know how effective certain combinations will be.
Not all probiotics are high quality, so make sure to check the company’s website to see if they have quality control measures and if they have done clinical trials. Start off taking probiotics with a lower bacterial count every other day, and work your way up to a higher count every day. It is also helpful if probiotics include a prebiotic supplement such as insulin, which contains food fibers that probiotics feed on.
Step 4: Repair
The fourth step for healthy digestion is repairing the intestinal lining if it has become too permeable, a condition known as leaky gut syndrome.
The fourth step is not necessary for everybody. If you see improvement and resolution of symptoms after following the first three steps, you may not have to follow the last step.
Keratosis Pilaris and the Leaky Gut Syndrome
Leaky gut syndrome is a condition where inflammation in the gut causes the intestinal lining to become more permeable, allowing undigested food proteins, bacteria, and other toxins to pass into the bloodstream. Normally, the digestive system breaks down food and allows vitamins, minerals, simple sugars, and amino acids into the bloodstream.
When the intestinal walls become damaged and permeable, toxins that are supposed to be eliminated from the body, as well as undigested or partially digested food proteins, leak into the bloodstream. It is then up to the liver to filter out these toxins from the blood. However, increased toxins in the blood can overload the liver, causing toxins to be recirculated into the body. This can manifest in different areas of the body, including the skin.
Undigested food proteins that leak into the bloodstream can lead to an increase in food allergies when an immune system response is triggered. More food allergies can also contribute to skin problems such as KP.
Leaky gut syndrome is linked to various medical problems and autoimmune illnesses, including rashes, acne, food allergies, irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and multiple sclerosis. If you have a lot of food allergies or intestinal inflammation, you may have leaky gut syndrome. There is an intestinal permeability test that can be done by consuming a solution containing two sugars.
One sugar normally gets absorbed into the bloodstream and excreted into urine, and the other is not normally absorbed into the bloodstream at all. Urine samples are taken to find out if the sugar that is not supposed to be absorbed into the bloodstream shows up, indicating leaky gut syndrome. Fortunately, there are ways to heal leaky gut syndrome and restore the normal permeability of your intestinal walls.
L-glutamine, an amino acid, is particularly helpful for maintaining tight junctions of cells that make up the intestinal lining. You can take l-glutamine capsules or mix powder into shakes, juices, or smoothies. Zinc, selenium, omega-3, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B-5 (pantothenic acid), and vitamin B-9 (folic acid), are also necessary for maintaining a healthy intestinal lining.
When you get control over your digestive health, your overall health will improve, and you will feel better. You should also see improvement in your KP as a result of healing your digestive system.
For help putting the “Four R Program” into practice, consult with a functional medicine practitioner. It is always recommended to consult with a doctor before changing your diet or adding nutritional supplements.