What is a Skin Allergy?
A skin rash is a signal that something in the body is not working correctly. You may recognize it if you develop red, bumpy, scaly, itchy, inflammatory, blistery, or swollen skin. Though dry skin, an insect bite, or poison ivy may be suspect to this condition, the most common skin allergies such eczema, hives and angioedema, as well as contact dermatitis have not really had an answer to its cause to date.
According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, about 27 percent of children with eczema or skin allergies also have food allergies. Contact dermatitis also send about 5.7 million people to consult with their personal medical practitioners each year. Skin allergies can be very unpleasant and painful, and allergists and immunologists can relieve and possibly control the symptoms. But, what if we actually knew the cause of these unpleasant discomforts for total healing?
According to new research, we now have a clue to what is causing skin allergies. In October 2018, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), growing evidence suggests that gut microbiota, specificially dysbiosis, changes lead to the development of skin allergies.
What is Gut Dysbiosis?
Encompassing your body, both inside and out, are tiny microorganisms that make up your microbiome, a sort of “mini-ecosystem” that have a positive effect on your health. (To learn more about the gut microbiome, read Protecting Your Microbiome for Better Gut Health.) Bacterial colonies make up the better part of your microbiome and when they are out of balance, gut dysbiosis can develop. Depending on the bacterial imbalance, certain symptoms of gut dysbiosis may follow:
- Upset stomach
- Acid reflux
- Halitosis (chronic bad breath)
- Difficulty urinating
- Vaginal or rectal itching
- Skin rash
- Chest pain
- Difficulty concentrating or thinking
How is Gut Dysbiosis Linked to Skin Allergy?
Various kinds of epidemiological data suggest a link between gut microbiota changes (dysbiosis) and allergies. Though the skin is far removed from the gastrointestinal tract, researchers discovered that the mitochondrial antiviral-signaling protein (MAVS) gene plays a key role in the maintenance of intestinal barrier function, as well as the modulation of intestinal flora, to prevent the development of inflammatory diseases such as allergy. If this gene is not encoded properly, leaky gut develops which allows certain intestinal bacteria to migrate to other parts of the body, such as the lymph nodes and spleen, leading to more severe skin allergies. Lifestyle factors, such as diet and stress, are responsible for the improper coding of this gene.
What Causes Gut Dysbiosis?
As mentioned earlier, gut dysbiosis is caused by an imbalance of the microbiome, and an unbalanced microbiota may be caused by the following lifestyle factors:
- Poor diet (processed and refined foods, high sugar/carbs, hydrogenated fats)
- Alcoholic beverages (two or more per day)
- Prescription medications (especially antibiotics or antacids)
- Poor dental hygiene
- Unprotected sex
- Chronic stress
- Unwanted virus, bacteria, parasite, or yeast
- Chemical consumption (both accidental and purposeful)
Are there Tests that Diagnose Gut Dysbiosis?
Your personal health practitioner may order one of several diagnostic tests to determine if you have gut dysbiosis. More than likely, a naturopathic practitioner will be able to order the following tests:
- Organic acids test
- Comprehensive digestive stool analysis
- Hydrogen breath test
A medical doctor may want to take a sample biopsy to determine what type of bacteria is causing the dysbiosis.
Can Gut Dysbiosis be Healed?
Gut dysbiosis can be healed. Natural treatment will include lifestyle changes, including diet, supplements, and stress management. If you opt for medical treatment, it would include antibiotics that include Cipro, Xifaxan, or Septrin. Please read Protect Your Gut Health from Antibiotic Treatment before taking antibiotics.
Eat a Whole Foods Diet
Eating nutrient-dense foods will protect your body from dysbiosis and keep your gut microbiota in check. For protein, eat grass-fed beef, certified organic chicken and turkey, pasture-raised eggs, as well as wild fish and seafood. For carbohydrates, stick to dark green, leafy and cruciferous vegetables as well as low-sugar fruits like berries. Also be sure to include essential fatty acids like the fat in cold-water fish (salmon, sardines, tuna), flax and chia seeds, flax and olive oils, and avocados. Drink plenty of pure water to flush out toxins.
Take Dietary Supplements
Making sure you get the right nutrients to keep your microbiome in balance is important. Following are a few professional or pharmaceutical grade supplements you will need:
Managing stress will help resolve gut dysbiosis. You may also need to need to eliminate caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine which stimulate the brain and increase stress levels. Try relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, or chanting. Managing time properly can be a huge stress reliever. When you don’t feel rushed, adrenaline is reduced. You may even have to say no when it comes to extra projects.
If you’ve been suffering from a skin allergy, treating your gut microbiota should help relieve your symptoms. Being diligence will prevent further damage or disease that gut dysbiosis can bring.