An Underlying Cause of Acne That Can Be Missed

Are you eating healthy, exercising, taking probiotics and supplements but your acne STILL won’t go? People are becoming more aware that healthy skin relies on a healthy gut. But one area that can be missed is digestion.

40% of people with acne have low stomach acid.

how can this affect your skin?

  • You can have problems digesting and absorbing nutrients needed for healthy skin – such as Zinc
  • You may struggle to digest and absorb protein needed to repair & create healthy skin cells
  • You can be more likely to have infections such as parasites and overgrowth of bacteria in the gut which can cause inflammation

what causes low stomach acid?

  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • H.pylori
  • Stress
  • Medications such as PPIs

Some signs of low stomach acid:

  • Heartburn
  • Burping
  • Indigestion
  • Fatigue
  • Iron or B12 deficiencies
  • Feeling sick with or without eating
  • Flaky, brittle or weak nails
  • Thinning of your hair
  • Skin conditions such as acne and eczema

What can you do?

1. Investigate
First, you want to rule out that there are no underlying infections, such as H.plyori and stool testing can help you with this. Once you understand what is affecting your digestion (stress or deficiencies) you can address the cause from there. But there are also other ways to help digestion:

2. Mindful eating 
Eating while on your phone, in front of your computer or watching TV, or just on the go can affect how well we digest our food. We become distracted, don’t chew our food properly and eat way too quickly!

It’s important to remember that digestion starts in the mouth. When we chew and engage with our food enzymes in our saliva start the digestion process, which then kickstarts digestion in the stomach. 
Eating too quickly and not chewing our food properly makes the whole digestion process so much harder. You will have larger food particles in your stomach that your body may struggle to effectively break down. This can leave you feeling tired and bloating after eating. You may also find if you’re eating too quickly and not registering what you have eaten, you’ll be looking for more food to satisfy yourself, and then feel overfull when your brain finally catches up.

Best way to stop this?
Make time to sit down and eat your food and eat without distractions. Concentrate on chewing your food to prevent yourself from just swallowing it. Taking a few deep breaths or doing something to help you relax before you eat can be extremely helpful. Stress can reduce blood flow to the GI tract and decrease stomach acid secretions, which will affect how well you digest your food. 

3. Bitter foods
Introducing bitter foods into your diet can help to stimulate digestion. Ideally you want to eat or chew on these foods before you eat your main or big meal.
Examples of bitter foods include radicchio (this is REALLY bitter), rocket, chicory, dandelion leaves and ginger.

If you can’t work out why you still have acne you may want to look deeper into WHY it’s happening in the first place. Addressing digestion could be the missing link into finally achieving clear skin. Without good digestion, you may not be getting all the benefits of food and supplements. If you feel this may be an area you’re struggling with, book an appointment and we can take a deeper look into your digestive function.

 

References 

  1. Long-term effect of Helicobacter pylori eradication on the reversibility of acid secretion in profound hypochlorhydria https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1365-2036.2004.01948.x 
  2. The Effect of Oral Probiotic on the Interleukin-10 Serum Levels of Acne Vulgaris https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6953923/
  3. Functional foods with digestion-enhancing properties https://www.researchgate.net/publication/51729852_Functional_foods_with_digestion-enhancing_properties 
  4. Proton Pump Inhibitors Interfere With Zinc Absorption and Zinc Body Stores https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5139861/ 
  5. Mindful Eating: A Review Of How The Stress-Digestion-Mindfulness Triad May Modulate And Improve Gastrointestinal And Digestive Function https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7219460/ 
  6. Photo by Markus Winkler from Pexels

Do you feel like you’ve tried everything but nothing will shift your acne?

I’ve been where you are for years and can understand your frustration. Grab my eBook and get my best tips on what to do to finally improve how your skin looks and feels. You’ll also get a bi-weekly roundup of my tips and blog posts to help you lead a healthy lifestyle, plus news I only share through email. You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of my emails. Before you subscribe please make sure you have read the privacy policy page.

By Emilia Papadopoullos
DipCNM, Nutritional Therapist

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