Is Your Gut Leaking? How I'm Healing my Gut to Eliminate Acne
Leaky Gut. You may have heard the term, but might not be aware of what it actually means or how to treat it. I had a sneaky suspicion I was dealing with leaky gut but had prioritized balancing my hormones first. Now that I've learned more about gut health, I would recommend everyone investigate if leaky gut may be responsible for triggering or aggravating another symptom or condition.
So what is leaky gut? MindBodyGreen did a great job of summarizing the condition:
"Leaky gut syndrome (also known as intestinal hyperpermeability), is the result of a compromise to the intestinal lining. During the normal digestion process, the tight junctions (think of them as protective gates) stay closed, forcing all molecules to effectively be screened and only pass into the blood stream through the mucosal cells. For a number of reasons, these tight junctions can become “open,” or permeable, allowing bacteria, toxins, incompletely digested proteins, fats and waste into the bloodstream.
Once these toxins are in the blood, they flow throughout the body, which can trigger an autoimmune reaction. Because of this systemic problem, the list of conditions linked to intestinal hyperpermeability is far reaching. Arthritis, asthma, autism, autoimmune diseases, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, type I diabetes, type II diabetes, skin disorders, thyroid disorders and weight loss resistance have all been linked to gut health issues."
Symptoms and Causes
Symptoms of leaky gut can vary but the most common are:
- Irregular digestion (constipation and/or diarrhea)
- Joint Pain
- Brain Fog
- Slower metabolism and hey -
- Hormone imbalance!
Causes of Leaky Gut can be one or more of the following (and then some):
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Food intolerance
- Grains/Gluten and Sugar top the list, but I'd recommend a food intolerance test. I'm intolerant toward gluten, dairy, green beans and kidney beans!
My face has always been incredibly sensitive to the internal workings of my body and even after I balanced my hormones, I found I would still break out from a bite of cheese or a stressful situation. Acne can be a result of an unhealthy digestive system due to the inflammation caused in the body, particularly by your emotional state and intolerance toward certain foods.
If you follow me on any social media, you know my diet is mainly:
- Corn-free and mostly
- Caffeine-free and
Making the switch to a gut healing protocol actually wasn't that intense for me since I was doing the majority of the leg work. A few of the changes I had to implement were:
- No processed foods (like my favorite organic, gluten free crackers!)
- Limited sugary fruits (I do love my dates and bananas!)
- Tons of bone broth (more on this later)
- No sugar - at all!
- Organic Kefir smoothies
OK the last one was a huge step for me. Kefir is fermented dairy rich in probiotics essential to healing the gut, but committing to drinking a dairy-based drink when I know dairy makes me break out? Well, some studies have shown Kefir to actually improve lactose intolerance! Additionally, you can get Kefir in a variety of forms, such as coconut or water. There are plenty of sites that show you how to make your own Kefir, if you're into that sort of thing.
Because we want to support digestion and detoxification, I would recommend speaking to your healthcare provider about supplementing your (gut-healthy) diet like the one above with:
- Organic Fermented Vegetables
- Organic Kefir (no sugar added)
- Cod Liver Oil
- Digestive Enzymes and/or
- My doctor recommended Glutamine over digestive enzymes as it helps repair the gut lining and protect against mucosal breakdown in the gut. Digestive enzymes help break down your food, so you can take both, but if you choose to take one, perhaps consider the Glutamine
- Vitamin K2 MK4
And if you are a fellow MTHFR'er, since we have difficulty activating folate and detoxing, talk to your healthcare about supplementing:
- Organic Green Tea
- Helps detoxify
- Liver Support (like Milk Thistle)
- Helps the elimination of toxins
The ancient remedy of bone broth has been found to heal the gut because it helps seal the lining. The gelatin abundant in bone broth helps restore the gut, manage inflammation, promote probiotic growth and even fight food sensitivity.
More than that, bone broth also:
- Protects joins
- Maintains healthy skin
- Supports the immune system
- Boosts detoxification
- Aids the metabolism and promotes anabolism
Osso Good Bone Broth
If you're like me, I tend to spend a lot of time in the kitchen already, and I simply did not want to be brewing bone broth all day everyday. Enter Osso Good! They brew the organic bone broth from farms in Northern California and Oregon committed to going beyond organic with responsibly raised animals fed with non-GMO ingredients and no added hormones. Yay!
While they feature a variety of broths, I zoomed in on their "Revive the Gut" for Gut Health and Digestion Aid. This broth is infused with herbs to aid digestion and stregthen the spleen and stomach to support proper nutrient absorption while being AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) Compliant by containing no inflammatory ingredients such as onions, garlic, peppercorns or tomatoes.
Herbs infused into broth: Huang Qi Zhi (Processed Radix Astagali), Dang Shen (Radix Codonopsis), Fu Ling (Poria), Chen Pi (Pericarpium Citri Reticulatae), Shan Zha (Fructus Crataegi), Bai Bian Dou (Semen Dolichoris Lablab), Da Zao (Jujube Fructus),Hua Jiao (Pericarpium Zanthoxyli)
*Please consult with a practitioner before using.
The broths arrive frozen, so they can keep up to 6+ months, but man, I go through mine quickly! ;)
Meanwhile, I still needed to nourish my skin and help it heal from the inflammation and break outs.
Kristi, the creator of KHUS+KHUS Modern Herbal Fusion sent me a few of her incredible products to help nourish my skin and calm the breakouts on my face. I love Kristi's products, not only because they work, but because of their purity and their creator's intention.
I used her DETOX Hydrolat and Face Serum both featuring organic, sustainably wild-harvested French Violet, Patchouli, White Grapefruit and Rock Rose (the serum adds in Jojoba, Watermelon Seed and Tamanu).
These formulations assist in the relief of skin eruptions and sensitive skin conditions. It assists in regenerating, disinfecting, moistening and calming tissues...which is exactly the assistance my skin needed!
Because I've fallen head over heels for this new-to-me brand, I want you to experience it as well! They are offering my readers 15% off anything in their shop with the code: jannyorganically15%
I opted with "less is more" for my skin healing. My daily routine was:
Skin care AM
- Face Wash: Osmia Organics Black Clay Facial Soap - Available from Beauty Heroes (members automatically get 15% off!) Integrity Botanicals or The Detox Market
- Hydrolat: Khus + Khus Detox
- Serum: Khus + Khus Detox
Skin care PM:
- Make-up Remover and Cleanser: Josh Rosebrook Herbal Infusion Oil - Available fromThe Detox Market or Integrity Botanicals)
- 2nd Cleanser (I double cleanse after make-up removal) - Osmia Organics Black Clay Facial Soap (see above)
- Mask (2-3 times/week):
For further gut-health reading, I highly recommend Dr. Josh Axe's book Eat Dirt, in which he explains how leaky gut develops along with eating and lifestyle tips specific for the type of leaky gut you have!
He has made a these quizzes available so you are prepared for which applies to you!