Psoriasis. If you struggle with it, you’re not alone. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, psoriasis affects 7.5 million people in the United States. This painful and embarrassing condition also affects 1.8 million people in the United Kingdom.
So, what is psoriasis? Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes cell turnover to happen at a much faster rate than it should. In other words, healthy skin experiences cell turnover approximately once per month. In psoriasis patients, the skin cells rise far too quickly and pile on top of each other.
Like most autoimmune diseases, the immune system is triggered to attack your own healthy tissues (in this case, your skin), instead of the foreign invaders (bacteria, viruses, fungi), it should be protecting you from.
And, like all autoimmune diseases, psoriasis begins in the gut. The good news about this is that it can also end in the gut.
In this 3-part article series, we will learn how a condition called leaky gut syndrome could be causing your psoriasis outbreaks, which foods are triggering your strongest flares, how you can use anti-inflammatory foods to combat (and win) your battle against psoriasis, and which natural remedies will work best while you heal.
First, let’s look at your gut.
The Connection Between Your Gut and Those Scaly Patches
Leaky gut syndrome is a common yet frequently overlooked cause of multiple autoimmune diseases, ranging from psoriasis to lupus. Picture your intestines as a tightly-weaved basket, all sealed up against anything getting in or out.
Now, imagine those weaves loosening, leaking the contents of the basket all over the place.
When the “tight junctions” holding your gut together start to loosen, bacteria, toxins, and incompletely digested proteins leak out into your bloodstream.
This causes your immune system to go on the attack, where it causes inflammation in healthy tissues and cells. Since your skin is your largest organ, it comes as no surprise that it can be affected by the toxins continually leaking out of your gut.
According to a study published by Clinical Reviews in Allergy and Immunology, leaky gut syndrome is strongly associated with the development of autoimmune disease.
“This review is focused on the role of impaired intestinal barrier function on autoimmune pathogenesis. Together with the gut-associated lymphoid tissue and the neuroendocrine network, the intestinal epithelial barrier, with its intercellular tight junctions, controls the equilibrium between tolerance and immunity to non-self antigens.”
“This new paradigm subverts traditional theories underlying the development of these diseases and suggests that these processes can be arrested if the interplay between genes and environmental triggers is prevented by re-establishing the zonulin-dependent intestinal barrier function.”
To put it in layman’s terms, when you fix your gut, you can fix your autoimmune disease.
Another interesting study, this one published in Autoimmune Diseases, revealed that Prevotella copri, an anaerobic intestinal bacterium, is prevalent in 75 percent of patients with new onset rheumatoid arthritis and 37.5 percent of psoriatic arthritis patients.
“This again demonstrates the effects of the environment from the gut microbiota aspect on autoimmune disorders.”
Common Signs and Symptoms of Leaky Gut Syndrome
So, how do you know if you have leaky gut syndrome?
Check for these telltale symptoms:
- Food Sensitivities
Multiple sensitivities to foods such as gluten, soy, corn, and lactose products are an almost sure sign of an unhealthy gut.
- Mood Disorders
Your brain and gut are closely connected by something called the vagus nerve. When your gut is not healthy, neither is your nervous system. This can lead to mood disorders.
- Nutritional Deficiencies
Since the signs and symptoms of nutritional deficiencies vary depending on the deficiencies present, it’s important to get blood tests to determine just which nutrients your body is starving for.
- Thyroid Disease
When the immune system becomes erratic and overactive due to toxins pouring out of a leaky gut and into the bloodstream, it can attack any healthy part of your body, including your thyroid. Thyroid disease is a common sign of an unhealthy gut.
- Inflammatory Skin Conditions
In addition to psoriasis, inflammatory skin conditions like eczema, atopic dermatitis, and acne are also strong indicators of poor gut health.
- Chronic Gut Complaints
Gurgling intestines, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, and excessive flatulence (gas), abdominal pain, and excessive belching are all signs of a gut in distress.
- Autoimmune Disease
If you’ve been diagnosed with any autoimmune condition, leaky gut syndrome may have been one of the primary contributing factors in its development.
Now that you know how closely your gut health and skin health are related and how leaky gut syndrome can cause psoriasis and other autoimmune conditions, we’ll next examine the best ways to treat leaky gut syndrome, so you can heal from the inside out.
Click on the link below to continue reading part 2 of this 3-part series.