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Acne and Digestive Problems: The Skin-Gut Connection

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The skin and gut connection has been recognized as undeniable in the medical community. In fact, most dermatologists will acknowledge that gut issues and skin problems frequently occur together.

The research is there to confirm the skin-gut connection.

The Relationship Between Acne and Digestion


Want to get rid of acne for good? It's important to start incorporating fermented foods into the diet slowly so the gut has the proper time to heal and cleanse — by drinking a few ounces of InnergyBiotic a day.

One study investigated 13,000 adolescents. Those with acne were more likely to experience symptoms of gastrointestinal distress like constipation and heartburn. The study found that abdominal bloating, which is a sure sign of intestinal dysbiosis and inflammation, was 37% more likely to be associated with acne. (1)

Other studies have found a definite link between mental health and skin disorders. (2)(3) Some studies have even shown that stress can impair normal and healthy gut bacteria. (4)

In fact, as far back as 1930 physicians have had evidence to show that:

  • Beneficial bacteria can improve inflammatory skin conditions.
  • Beneficial bacteria can positively affect psychological symptoms, like depression.
  • The health of the gut, brain, and skin are all interrelated. (5)

Beneficial bacteria like Lactobacillus acidophilus, which are found in fermented foods, can help heal intestinal permeability. (6)

Fermented foods naturally heal the gut mucosa and nurture a healthy inner ecosystem. The research suggests that probiotic-rich foods are an essential component in maintaining clear, healthy skin, as well as a clear, healthy mind. Nonetheless, when the gastrointestinal tract and immune system are damaged, even fermented foods can be overdone before the gut has time to heal.

Heal Your Acne: Take It Step by Step

Overdoing fermented foods before the gut has had time to begin healing and cleansing can aggravate certain conditions, like acne and migraines.  That is why Body Ecology teaches the important Step by Step Principle.

Many fermented foods contain tyramine, arginine, and histamine. These are all molecules that affect vasculature. In fact, while too much tyramine in the diet can increase blood pressure, it has been found that arginine actually reduces blood pressure. Histamine, the molecule involved in an allergic response, also promotes blood flow.  Tyrosine, arginine, and histamine have been found to aggravate chronic migraines. (7) 

Common foods that contain large amounts of tyramine are: 

    • Smoked, aged, or pickled meat
    • Most cheeses, especially Stilton
    • Yogurt and sour cream
    • Soy sauce
    • Tofu
    • Sauerkraut
    • Peanuts
    • Brazil nuts

Common foods that contain large amounts of arginine are:

  • Diary foods
  • Wheat germ
  • Peanuts
  • Nuts

Common foods that contain histamine are:

  • Fermented foods and beverages, especially sake and wine

When starting fermented foods, listen to your body. Making your own fermented vegetables is easy. Or start with a few ounces a day of InnergyBiotic.  If hormone issues are present, it is worth looking into Body Ecology's Dong Quai probiotic liquid. Dong Quai is known as the "female ginseng" in Chinese Medicine. Just remember, take it Step by Step and slowly rebuild your digestive strength.

What to Remember Most About This Article:

  • Physicians will sometimes recommend that their migraine patients go on a diet that is low in tyramine, arginine, and histamine. This has been found to also improve acne.
  • The molecules tyramine, arginine, and histamine can be found in fermented foods. This may seem counterintuitive since decades of research have confirmed a solid relationship between the health of the gut and the health of the skin.
  • While most people find relief from chronic health concerns with a diet filled with fermented foods, it is important to start slowly if your gut is compromised. Follow the Principle of Step by Step.

Product Recommendations:

  • Kefir Starter

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    Kefir has many benefits, including better digestion of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. It has been known for thousands of years for its anti-aging and immune-enhancing properties.

    Kefir is an ancient cultured food, rich in amino acids, enzymes, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and B vitamins. Kefir means "feel good" in Turkish, and that's just how you'll feel after drinking a glass in the morning! Easy and fun to make at home, it is superior to commercial yogurt. An absolute must after antibiotic use!

    Unlike yogurt, kefir can actually colonize the intestinal tract and is simple and fun to make at home. To make kefir: Mix one packet with 1 quart of warm milk, cover and set at room temperature for 18-24 hours. Refrigerate and enjoy!

    Each packet yields 1 quart of kefir, and can be reused up to 7 times. This means you can create 10 ½ gallons of kefir from one box!

    • Digest fats, proteins and carbohydrates
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    • An absolute must after antibiotic use
  • Veggie Culture Starter

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  1. H Zhang, et al. Risk factors for sebaceous gland diseases and their relationship to gastrointestinal dysfunction in Han adolescents. J Dermatol. 2008; 35: 555 – 561.
  2. E Uhlenhake, et al. Acne vulgaris and depression: a retrospective examination. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2010; 9: 59 – 63.
  3. T Loney, et al. Not just 'skin deep': psychosocial effects of dermatological-related social anxiety in a sample of acne patients. J Health Psychol. 2008; 13: 47 – 54.
  4. SR Knowles, et al. Investigating the role of perceived stress on bacterial flora activity and salivary cortisol secretion: a possible mechanism underlying susceptibility to illness. Biol Psychol. 2008; 77: 132 – 137.
  5. Stokes JH, Pillsbury DH. The effect on the skin of emotional and nervous states: theoretical and practical consideration of a gastrointestinal mechanism. Arch Dermatol Syphilol. 1930; 22: 962 – 993.
  6. EC Lauritano, et al. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and intestinal permeability. Scand J Gastroenterol. 2010; 45: 1131 – 1132.
  7. Millichap, J. Gordon (Summer 2002). Noha News XXVII: 3–6.

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Information and statements regarding dietary supplements/products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Information on this website is provided for informational purposes only and is a result of years of practice and experience by the author. This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal, or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your healthcare provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read on this website.

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