Skinflammation

By Mila McManus MD and Nancy Mehlert, MS

skinflammation

The skin is the body’s largest organ. It helps to regulate temperature and serves as the first line of defense against infection. It is an organ with the capacity to both absorb and eliminate substances.

The skin is also an outward manifestation and communication of what is going on inside the body. Healthy skin is reflective of a healthy internal body and ideally it should be clear and glowing. Any skin condition, such as oily or dry skin, blemishes, discoloration, eczema, psoriasis, acne, hives, rashes, itchiness, and premature aging are all signs that there’s something internally in the body that’s out of balance. These are not normal and should not be written off as “aging” or “normal for me”. Suppressing your skin problem with topical antibiotics and steroids, for example, is a disservice to your body because the underlying causes have not been addressed. Also, remember that the skin is a detoxification pathway and the body is, in many cases, trying to eliminate something through the skin. Stopping that process topically may prevent the body from detoxifying successfully.

When skin issues lead us to searching for the internal issues, in almost every case, it leads us to internal inflammation. This can come from many sources and, for some individuals, it may be the result of several factors. The most common are:

• Nutrient deficiencies
• Diet high in processed foods
• Hormone Imbalances
• Poor gut health with pathogenic microbial overgrowth
• Toxicity from heavy metals and chemicals
• Food sensitivities and allergies
• Compromised immune function such as autoimmune disease
• Viral, bacterial or parasitic infestation

Addressing these internal issues, along with improving liver detoxification pathways and doing so every day, in the lifestyle choices that you make, can result in healing that becomes evident in the skin too. An integrated, holistic approach addressing each of these areas is the optimal way to achieve healing of “skinflammation”.
Important nutrients for healthy skin include Vitamin A, Zinc, Vitamin C, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Biotin, Selenium, Silica, Niacin, Vitamin K2, Sulfur, Vitamin E and Pantothenic Acid. Each of these are essential for radiant skin health.

Because nutrition plays such a significant part of achieving and maintaining healthy skin, diet is one of the first items to address when healing skin problems. From this perspective, the most likely culprits that contribute to skin issues are sugar, dairy, gluten, corn and eggs. Anyone trying to identify sources of inflammation both inside and out would do well to abstain from these foods to see if improvement or healing is achieved. It is equally important to consider other possible food sensitivities through elimination or testing (e.g., IgE via skin and/or blood tests, IgG via bloodspot, ALCAT). Foods that support healthy skin and are anti-inflammatory in nature include avocados, wild salmon, bone broth and antioxidant-rich greens and other colorful vegetables and fruits. Click here for a real bone broth recipe or contact us for resources for buying quality, properly prepared bone broth.

It is a common misconception that skin care products are harmless and don’t penetrate the skin. In America, the FDA has only banned 11 ingredients in skin care products while Europe has banned over 1000 ingredients. The FDA leaves it up to skin care manufacturers to disclose and consider whether an ingredient is safe. What research clearly shows is that many of these ingredients are toxic, hormone-disrupting and/or are carcinogens. It is not safe to assume that a product is safe simply because it’s on the store shelf. You may find it helpful to use the Environmental Working Group’s “Skin Deep” guide for cosmetics (www.ewg.org) We carry one of the cleanest skin care lines (AnnMarie) available today in our office so be sure to come by and check it out.

Finally, supporting the liver and detoxification pathways is also critical for supporting an anti-inflammatory environment in the body and on our skin. There are many such protocols including supplemental and dietary detoxification as well as infrared sauna, salt therapy, and ONDAMED. Often the body is not effective at eliminating toxins and the body needs support to promote drainage so that detoxification can occur. Simple strategies such as lemon water, green juicing, proteolytic enzymes, deep breathing, and dry brushing can help to stimulate improved drainage and detoxification.

©2016 www.DrJayDavidson.com. The Magic Mirror of the Skin, Guest: Dr. Trevor Cates

By |2017-09-09T08:34:40-05:00September 9th, 2017|Articles, General|

Vitamin A

Vitamin A, also known as retinol, is a powerful antioxidant the body uses to help form Vitamin A sourcesand maintain good vision and eye health, a strong immune system as well as soft tissues, mucus membranes, and skin. It is not found in plant food; however, the body can use beta-carotene found in many fruits, vegetables and some fish sources to convert to vitamin A (retinol).  Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin. It is important to avoid taking Vitamin A without the guidance of a medical provider since excess can result in toxicity.  Issues with skin, mucous membranes, and immune function can be an indicator that Vitamin A is deficient.  Vitamin A promotes epidermal differentiation, modulates dermal growth factors, inhibits sebaceous gland activity, suppresses androgen formation, and promotes cell turnover in the skin.  Our medical providers can provide special tapering dosing protocols to meet your specific needs as well as monitor to avoid toxicity. Vitamin A can be a very helpful supplement for addressing skin issues.  Our office carries two forms manufactured by the ProThera Inc. supplement line.

 

References:

Nutrition for Skin, by Chris Kresser

By |2017-08-26T08:46:36-05:00August 26th, 2017|General|

Could You Be Next?

Do you have, or are you at risk for, an Autoimmune Disease?

By Nancy Mehlert, MS and Mila McManus MDautoimmune diseases

While rare in underdeveloped nations, autoimmune diseases have become a 21st century epidemic, with one in six people in America living with autoimmune disease. Some of the increasingly common autoimmune diseases of our times include Hashimoto’s thyroid disease, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, inflammatory bowel disease (i.e., ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease), psoriasis, and celiac disease.  What you may not realize is how easily anyone can end up with an autoimmune disease if inflammation is not addressed aggressively and in a timely manner.  Here’s why:

Your immune system is designed to protect and defend you from potential invaders; those microbes and substances which should not be in your body, including bacteria, parasites, yeast, fungi, chemicals (e.g., plastics, pesticides, petroleum, heavy metals), and anything else that looks foreign and mysterious to  your body. There are varying theories as to the exact etiology of autoimmune disease. Traditionalists tend to blame genetics or occasionally allow that infectious disease may stimulate it.  Others in the functional and integrative medicine fields give genetics significantly less credit and recognize inflammation as an underlying common thread to all autoimmune diseases that have become chronic and systemic. Simply put, autoimmune disease occurs when the immune system loses its ability to distinguish friend from foe and begins to attack its own tissues, whether that be an organ, nerves, joints, bone, or other tissues. Most functional integrative practitioners also recognize the gut microbiome (i.e., the colonies of various microbes in the gastrointestinal tract) as providing the vast majority of our immune system, and so connect a compromised microbiome and consequent gut inflammation, as well as related gut permeability (aka “leaky gut”), directly to the onset and progression of autoimmune disease.  So while definitions and causes of autoimmune diseases vary, what is consistent among them is a systemic inflammation partnered with the body attacking itself, most likely involving underlying gut UNhealth. Lack of gastrointestinal symptoms does NOT equal a healthy gut.  Moreover, let’s not underestimate the role of stress as it triggers and/or exacerbates all that ails you.

Treatment methods also vary.  Traditionalists will simply seek to stop the immune response with anti-inflammatory medications and immune suppressing medications, all of which have serious side effects and fail to address the source of the problem.   Functional medicine seeks to find the chronic sources of inflammation in the body and correct these areas, working to restore optimal function and offer healing.

Understanding the concepts above about autoimmune disease can help you see that, if you don’t identify and put out the fires of inflammation in the body, they can lead to some very serious diseases. Moreover, it follows that your best defense against autoimmunity is to choose a balanced lifestyle that avoids common sources of inflammation, and address any inflammation at its source if, or when, it does appear.

The human body is complex.  Just as a car needs the parts of the engine, properly assembled, AND gas, AND oil, AND tires, AND brake fluid AND filters, the human body has many parts that must function together properly and be cared for properly in order to remain disease free and healthy.  There is not a simple pill or diet or an exercise that can cure or prevent autoimmune disease.

Here are many of the likely factors to consider as you seek to avoid or treat an autoimmune disease. We recommend that you partner with a functional/integrative practitioner to explore the following:

  • Check for hidden infections caused by yeast, viruses, bacteria, and other parasites or pathogens.
  • Identify food allergens and sensitivities with IgE and IgG testing so that they can be removed as a source of immune attack and invasion.
  • Identify inflammatory foods and beverages, as well as medications, which contribute to overall inflammation, and avoid them.
  • Identify vitamin, mineral, and other nutrient deficiencies. Healing and recovery will require them. They help to regulate the behavior of the immune system.  For example, vitamin D and zinc deficiencies have been well studied as common culprits involved with inflammation.
  • Address your gut health by restoring the military force of beneficial bacteria that protects you, while simultaneously eliminating the inflammation there.  The gut needs to be healed, sealed and re-militarized!
  • Identify possible sources of chemical exposure and minimize ongoing exposure. Consider your past and present exposure to pesticides, heavy metals (e.g., mercury, lead and arsenic), petrochemicals, Roundup (an herbicide), plastics, fragrances and other beauty care products. All of these are invaders that create havoc, disrupt normal bodily processes and create real and significant inflammation. They are pervasive and present in our routine daily lives but can be dramatically minimized with an intentional approach.
  • Consider utilizing PEMF as a complement to your other treatments.
  • Address your stressors.  Stress is an inflammatory trigger.  According to Dr. David Marquis, a Diplomat American Clinical Board of Nutrition, “ when you engage in an argument and your cortisol levels increase or you are burning the midnight oil to finish a project and your thyroid hormone levels fluctuate, both are examples of chemical changes in the body that create immediate, real time intestinal permeability, resulting in absorption of partially undigested food, toxins, viruses, yeast and bacteria to pass through the intestines into the bloodstream where the immune response attacks”. Learn to balance your life, practice deep relaxation, exercise regularly but not excessively, ensure quality sleep and maintain healthy relationships. Care for your mind, body and spirit – your whole, integrated being.

References:

https://draxe.com/autoimmune-disease-symptoms/

www.mercola.com

 

 

 

 

 

By |2016-08-01T08:57:27-05:00July 29th, 2016|Articles, General|
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