The Gut-Skin Connection - How Altered Gut Function Affects the Skin

The Gut-Skin Connection: How Altered Gut Function Affects the Skin

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I’m preparing for my talk at the upcoming Wise Traditions Conference in Santa Clara, CA on November 10th. I’ll speaking on the “gut-brain-skin axis”, a fascinating topic that I’ve been exploring for some time. I hope some of you will be able to come to the conference, but I thought I’d share a little slice of my research here for those of you who can’t. (If you don’t make the conference and want to watch my entire presentation, I believe the Weston A. Price Foundation sells DVDs of the talks after the fact.)

I’ve discussed the gut-brain axis several times on my radio show, and I’ve at least mentioned the triangular connection between the gut, brain and skin. In this post I’d like to go a little deeper on the gut-skin connection.

Researchers as far back as 1930 suspected a link between gut and skin health, and modern research has now confirmed the importance of this relationship.

And as a clinician who works with people on these conditions, I’d go as far as to say this:

If you want to heal your skin, you have to heal your gut.Tweet This

Associations between Gut Disorders and Skin Conditions

Epidemiological evidence shows a clear association between gut problems and skin disorders. A recent report indicated that small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), a condition involving inappropriate growth of bacteria in the small intestine, is 10 times more prevalent in people with acne rosacea than in healthy controls, and that correction of SIBO in these individuals led to marked clinical improvement. (1) 14% of patients with ulcerative colitis and 24% of patients with Crohn’s disease have skin manifestations. (Interestingly enough, a study just came out showing that a drug normally used to treat psoriasis is also effective for Crohn’s disease.) Celiac disease also has cutaneous manifestations, such as dermatitis herpetiformis, which occurs in 1/4 of celiac sufferers. Celiacs also have increased frequency of oral mucosal lesions, alopecia and vitiligo. (2)

How Altered Gut Function Impacts the Skin

Intestinal permeability (a.k.a. “leaky gut”) causes both systemic and local inflammation, which in turn contributes to skin disease.

In a study way back in 1916, acne patients were more likely to show enhanced reactivity to bacterial strains isolated from stool. 66 percent of the 57 patients with acne in the study showed positive reactivity to stool-isolated bacteria compared to none of the control patients without active skin disease. 1 In a more recent study involving 80 patients, those with acne had higher levels of and reactivity to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) endotoxins in the blood. None of the matched healthy controls reacted to the e. coli LPS, while 65% of the acne patients had a positive reaction. Both of these studies suggest that increased intestinal permeability is an issue for a significant number of acne patients. (4)

Speaking of permeable barriers: most of you have heard of leaky gut by now, but what about “leaky skin”? The main function of the skin is to act as a physical, chemical and antimicrobial defense system. Studies have shown that both stress and gut inflammation can impair the integrity and protective function of the epidermal barrier. This in turn leads to a decrease in antimicrobial peptides produced in the skin, and an increase in the severity of infection and inflammation in the skin. (5)

The gut flora also influences the skin. Substance P is a neuropeptide produced in the gut, brain and skin that plays a major role in skin conditions. An altered gut microbiome promotes the release of substance P in both the gut and the skin, and probiotics can attenuate this response. (6) The gut microbiota influences lipids and tissue fatty acid profiles, and may influence sebum production as well as the fatty acid composition of the sebum. (7) This may explain why a Russian study found that 54% of acne patients have significant alterations to the gut flora (8), and a Chinese study involving patients with seborrheic dermatitis also noted disruptions in the normal gut flora. 2

Probiotics Improve Skin Conditions

Another line of evidence suggesting a connection between the gut and skin is the observation that probiotics improve skin conditions. Oral probiotics have been shown to decrease lipopolysaccharide, improve intestinal barrier function and reduce inflammation.

The first formal case report series on the value of using lactobacilli to treat skin conditions was published in 1961 by a physician named Robert Siver. He followed 300 patients who were given a commercially available probiotic and found that 80 percent of those with acne had some clinical improvement. 3 In a more recent Italian study involving 40 patients, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum in addition to standard care led to better clinical outcomes than standard care alone. (9) And another recent study of 56 patients with acne showed that the consumption of a Lactobacillus fermented dairy beverage improved clinical aspects of acne over a 12-week period. (10)

The beneficial effect of probioitics on skin may explain why pasteurized, unfermented dairy is associated with acne, but fermented dairy is not. I haven’t seen any studies on raw dairy and skin conditions, but my guess is that it wouldn’t be associated either. Orally consumed probiotics reduce systemic markers of inflammation and oxidative stress, both of which are elevated locally in those with acne. (11) Oral probiotics can also regulate the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines within the skin. (12) The fermentation of dairy reduces levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) by more than four-fold. (13) This is significant because studies show that acne is driven by IGF-1, and IGF-1 can be absorbed across colonic tissue. (14) This would be particularly problematic when increased intestinal permeability is present, which as I mentioned above is often the case in people with acne.

Now I’d like to hear from you. Have you noticed a connection between gut health and skin conditions in your own experience? Has healing your gut improved your skin? Let us know in the comments section.

  1. Strickler A, Kolmer JA, Schamberg JF: Complement fixation in acne vulgaris. J Cutaneous Dis 1916, 34:166-78.
  2. Zhang H, Yu L, Yi M, Li K: Quantitative studies on normal flora of seborrhoeic dermatitis. Chin J Dermatol 1999, 32:399-400.
  3. Siver RH: Lactobacillus for the control of acne. J Med Soc New Jersey 1961, 59:52-53.

755 Comments

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  1. I’ve been a pretty regular user of OXY 10(benzoyl peroxide) ever since my teens. I am now 61 years old. As a child I was on antibiotics frequently for chronic ear infections (probably actually due to dairy/food sensitivities/…);as a young woman for many years I fought UTIs almost never accompanied by positive urinalysis tests & again was frequently on antibiotics (probably UTIs caused again by inflammation due to food sensitivities + leaky gut). Up until menopause at age 55, I was able to keep my face break-outs under control, but since menopause my face has been a mess. Frequent break-outs with white heads & nothing seems to help, including heavy-duty prescription topicals from the dermatologist. I have been seeing a TCM/functional medicine specialist for 4-5 years. We’ve tried many TCM formulas, putting me on an insulin resistance diet (mostly protein & vegetables with limited carbohydrates). The I.R. diet has definitely made me feel better; probably PCOS involved, too — history of infertility, miscarriages, heavy body hair especially on face, but my face acne continues. My alternative health practitioner has of late had me tested for food sensitivities & for 4 months I have been on a fairly restrictive food rotation diet; after 6 months I will reintroduce foods I am sensitive to gradually. My alternative practitioner also now has me on aloe vera & L-glutamine — titrating up to bowel resistance & 400 mg./day. + probiotics on a rotation basis every evening(right now I take 2 capsules/day) + HCL Betaine(2-3 capsules with each meal). The acne break-outs are still occurring although maybe less frequently & less intensely? ——- Is it possible that my gut is so messed up/leaky that its going to take years to straighten it out &/OR is it possible that as I get older my hormones will even out & my skin will resolve?

  2. I have had Hashimoto’s thyroiditis since age 15 and been treated with synthroid for hypothyroidism. In my mid-twenties, I began to suffer from Raynaud’s disease in my hands and feet. At one point, the bottoms of my toes were blackened with blood that seemed to be drawn to the surface. The doctors were baffled and put me on a medication called Dibenzyline. This cleared it up after a while. But I have continued to suffer from the circulation problem. Several years ago, I started to develop vitiligo. The doctor has done nothing to treat me. In fact, I diagnosed myself–the internist did not identify it. My skin has been especially itchy lately (all over) and I have continued to suffer more hairloss. I gained much weight very quickly about 20 years ago and have been unable to lose it despite hardly eating. My stomach was very swollen for a long time. The food would not move through my intestines, always causing constipation. The blockage is compounded by scar tissue from three surgeries. I have developed acid reflux. Even eating and drinking liquids at the same meal is problematical if I have been constipated. I am unable to control my elimination function. I suffer from depression. I am so frustrated because I have been unable to solve my problems and receive no real help from the doctors. I have been to a nutritionist in the past and still not received adequate assistance for solving my gut health problems. Please help if you can make any suggestions. I am going to go to the links suggested above. I would be forever grateful for your assistance. Thanks.

    • I suffered for over 8 years with all those symptoms as well. Finally forced myself to try Armour because of all the good stories I’ve read online. Suddenly almost a decade of hypo symptoms gone in a few months despite trying synthyroid and Levoxyl with and without time release T3.

      Must be the T1, T2, T3 and T4 thats in Armour. Its been the final missing piece to restore my health. Depression, weight gain, constipation, dry itchy skin, circulation… all undertreated hypothyroid symptoms.

      • Thank you for your input. Are you taking any additional supplements, such as B12, Zinc, Vitamin D?
        Years ago, a doctor recommended added selenium to my diet also.

        I am really suffering so much with the gut problem. I don’t know what to eat because of the poor digestion. Food seems to sit in my gut and not move at all. Then I literally get backed up like a clogged pipe and can not eat with it coming up the other way because of the inability to move my bowels.

        Yes, I do suffer greatly from the brain fog and have been getting more hard spots on my skin.
        It sounds like the Paleo diet would be a good avenue to take. Years ago I was on the diet where meat was eaten primarily. It was before the South Beach and Atkin’s Diet. It was the Scarsdale Diet. I did lose weight with it successfully (but was not nearly as overweight as I am now). Also the Weight Watchers Diet worked in the past. But I feel like I need a change in my way of living..not just another diet. It is kind of like a chicken and the egg type of thing. Which came first? How are others coping with their diets and Hashimoto’s? Thanks again for this excellent forum.

  3. This was a great article. I have enjoyed almost flawless skin until I hit my 60’s. I have a large number of seborrheic keratosis spots showing up. Not to mention these red blood blisters as well as skin tags….it ain’t easy getting older! My dermatologist says this is the natural part of aging, and there is nothing I can do or stop doing to affect a change in my skin. I have not noticed my diet having any affect on my skin. I am gluten free and have been for several years. I had little to no beneficial bacteria for an unknown period which has been corrected. Any ideas?

  4. Absolutely – healing gut = healing skin! I’ve been eating Paleo for 10 months now. I saw some improvement farily quickly. However, the month that I committed to absolutely no dairy and went on a daily fiber supplement to really clean up my gut…that was the month it completely cleared up! Now I only take the fiber supplement when I don’t eat as well as I should (cheat).

  5. My sister is severely incapaciated by scleroderma and Renauds syndrome. Could her gut condition be influencing these diseases, the same as other skin conditions, or is she suffering purely from an autoimmune deficiency? I should be extremely grateful for your reply and any recommendations.

  6. Chris,

    Good post. I’ve been blogging on the link between leaky gut, endotoxemia and various health disorders on http://www.syontix.com for the last month or so.

    There is one correction I would make to your post, however. While it is true that compared to the colon, the small intestine can be considered mostly sterile, it really isn’t completely devoid of bacteria. Lactobacillus species inhabit the lumen and the mucus layer mediating gut barrier function by regulating the growth and health of the enterocytes forming the villi as well as preventing the colonization of same with pathogens.

    As I explain in my post “The Gut-Brain Axis: How Endotoxemia and “Leaky Gut” Impact the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis” and, “Why Do I Feel So Blue? The Role of Endotoxemia and Leaky Gut in the Cause of Major Depression”, inflammation will affect adrenal function, alter tyryptophan and serotonin levels in the brain and increase inflammation in the liver and throughout the body. The skin, like insomnia, anxiety, depression, impaired glucose control, fatty liver—are all manifestations of this process.

    Before I cured myself of irritable bowel syndrome by resolving my small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), rosacea was a constant companion. Once my small intestinal dysbiosis went away, so too my skin issues. Giving up gluten grains, along with prebiotic/probiotic supplementation, was part of this whole process and also resolved acne outbreaks along with much else.

    As you know, gluten trashes the small intestine via its inflammatory effect on enterocytes, by increasing leaky gut via its effects on zonulin signaling and by predisposing to SIBO by impairing peristalsis through gluten opioid peptides and adenosine. As I wrote in part seven of my SIBO series, plant lectins like wheat germ agglutinin have a directly toxic effect on beneficial gram-positive bacteria like Lactobacillus leaving the gut open to colonization by gram-negative bacteria.

    It is therefore not at all surprising that so many of those commenting here have seen improvements in their skin when switching to a Paleo diet and supplementing with probiotics. Without proper gut barrier function health, both physical and mental, is impossible.

  7. Cool article Chris,

    For the longest time I believed diet had nothing to do with the skin (acne specifically). My doc would always tell me growing up… “It’s hereditary. It’s your hormones.” But I noticed it would flare up the worst 3-4 days after my overindulgence of pasteurized milk or sugary foods. I don’t break out like I did in my teens, but I certainly don’t eat the same way. No doubt in my mind now that those morning and evening bowls of lucky charms and all the junk food messed with my skin.

    What’s the explanation for why the breakouts are the worst during young adulthood?

  8. Unfortunately, since I started eating Paleo 3 or 4 months ago, my skin has gotten worse. 🙁 I have eliminated all gluten / grains and significantly reduced my sugar and eat very “clean”. I have struggled with seborrhea dermatitis all my life… and I have started a major flare up since starting this diet (had it under control for a couple of years). My acne has also gotten worse the last month or two. I drink homemade raw kefir daily, but it doesn’t seem to help. (note that I consumed pasteurized dairy before this diet and didn’t seem to have major issues- so I’m not sure if dairy is to blame for my flare-up) Everything else has improved health-wise (weight loss, more energy, etc)- just my skin has worsened- and my hair is falling out fairly rapidly. I do have a copper IUD that I’ve had for 4 1/2 years– I’m planning on getting it removed soon to see if there’s any improvement (perhaps a copper / zinc imbalance??). If that doesn’t help, then I’ll see a naturopath for possible allergy testing. One final thought is that I’m exercising quite a bit more regularly since I started the diet – which means more sweat, in hot/ humid Florida. So perhaps that’s contributing to my flare-ups as well. Love the Paleo diet- just hope I can get to the bottom of my skin issues soon. So frustrating!

    • Zinc is incredibly important in skin health. It’s fairly easy to get the copper:zinc testing, usually plasma zinc and serum copper are best (for some reason the tubes used for serum zinc alter the results, meaning plasma zinc is more reliable….according to doctors that specialise in treating this).

      Zinc is needed for 200+ bodily reactions so it is important to get it checked out if you suspect a problem.

      Good luck 🙂

    • Looked into why serum zinc levels are looked at with disfavour and found the answer on this site.
      http://www.labnet.health.nz/resources/file/biochemistry-specialist/Pl%20Zn%20interpretation.pdf

      Red blood cells contain 80% of the blood’s zinc so when the blood clots in the tube, some of the zinc is released into the serum, artificially elevating it by approx 16%. The samples that provide plasma for testing zinc levels don’t clot as fibrinogen is removed from the serum by the anticoagulant (in this case, lithium heparin).

      • ANY blood test where the tourniquet is left on while blood is being collected in tubes is suspect. This restriction of blood causes what is called hemo-concentration and will skew mineral level results.

        I can’t believe how many collection places will leave the darn thing on well into the second tube. I reach up and say “Ouch, that thing is pinching me” and pull it off as soon as I see blood flow.

        DO NOT LET UNTRAINED MEDICAL PERSONNEL RUIN YOUR BLOOD TEST RESULTS… REMOVE THE TOURNIQUET!!

          • But this tourniquet thing is so prevalent. I mean doctors don’t even know correct procedure most of the time. I do a red blood cell mineral analysis every 6 months or so to spot and cure deficiencies and I rely on the accuracy of that test. I eat better than anyone I know and I still come up with weird deficiencies.

            • That must be frustrating not being able to rely on your test results. Doctors don’t know that much about phlebotomy. Best to get a qualified phlebotomist to do it – each to their own after all. Probably worthwhile finding some experienced and intelligent full-time phlebotomist you can explain your concerns to and making sure they always do your tests from the same site under the same conditions at the same time of day and in with you in the same posture e.g. recumbant versus sitting and ensuring they allow the skin prep to fully dry.

              Here’s a study saying there is less haemoconcentration if the blood is obtained distally as opposed to the cubital fossa and surprisingly, releasing the tourniquet once the flow is establish fails to prevent haemoconcentration from skewing results. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/498522

    • Trudy, I had similar problems. I think it’s the raw kefir. I never had any problems with pasteurized yoghurt or kefir either, but for some reason raw dairy makes my skin and hormones go insane. I tried a few times to incorporate it into my diet because everyone talks about how great it is, and I felt lucky to even be able to get raw dairy, but it’s like poison for my body. Everyone I ever asked about it says that there simply is no information out there about raw dairy and it’s effects. My theory is that pasteurization somehow denatures the hormones and proteins so that they become more digestible. After all, cooking meat denatures the proteins so that they can be digested more easily, why should it be different with milk? In any case, I’ve cut out dairy altogether, and my hormones went back to normal. Also, if your hair is falling out, it might be because you are going too low carb. My hair started to fall out too, and I was feeling stressed all the time for no reason, and it was because my adrenals were burned out from thinking that I was starving for so long. I’ve heard a lot of women had the same effect. For some reason, I think women need more carbs than men. Also, your seborrhea is definitely going to flare up in hot humidity. Have you eliminated alcohol? That aggravates it a lot. I’ve also struggled with seborrhea for years. I didn’t drink for a few months, and it kind of went dormant, and then when I started drinking again, it would flare up and itch a lot. Drying soap also irritates it, even the natural stuff. Try oil cleansing instead. That made a huge difference for me. If you don’t want to feel too oily, then put the oil on before you get in the shower, and let the water rinse off the excess. Once you towel dry, you won’t feel oily at all. Your skin just soaks it all up.

  9. I’m female, 51. I began having acne when I was 11 years old. I first got sick in about 1989 with CFS-type symptoms. 4 years ago I was diagnosed with Sjogren’s, Hashimoto’s and Fibromyalgia. I now have a super great progressive ND (Dr. Werner Vosloo) at the Chronicity and Restorative Health Clinic in Lake Oswego. Unfortunately, a lot of damage has already been done. My diet consists mostly of meat and veggies, but my body still doesn’t absorb protein well; I’m still very weak and my muscle tone is all but gone, even though I actually feel better than I have for some time (thanks to Dr. Vosloo). I believe through reading your articles and other research that leaky gut has played a large part in my illness from the very beginning. I wonder if you think that I could actually be truly healed by treating what I believe to be leaky gut – and for how many years would I have strictly follow a leaky-gut diet?

    • Hi Jodie
      If you have three autoimmune diseases, diet change is a lifetime change that you need to be considering. Otherwise, if you start eating the inflammatory foods again, you will just go back to where you start from. It’s daunting, but sometimes big changes are the only way to go.
      Best wishes,
      Allison

      • Thank you Allison. I should have also mentioned that I can’t hold any water in my body. I drink salt water 2-3 times per day in order to be able to drink a glass of water and hold it in. I guess at this point this could be from a number of things, but I’m wondering if leaky gut has something to do with it. I know that low adrenal function plays a part.

  10. Call it leaky skin syndrome if you’d like but what it really is is OPEN PORES. I had gut dysfunction for half my life because of undiagnosed food allergies and the havoc it wrought…. gut inflammation, bacterial flora imbalances and nutritional deficiencies. The worse I felt the worse my adult acne was. I could not get anything on my face even other peoples facial oils from a phone handset or else I’d break out.

    The greatest discovery I stumbled across was one of those BODY WATER SENSING SCALES. I bought one primarily to track my body fat which is what it is its main function. The BODY WATER feature is a throw away feature listed on the box. When I got on that and the results showed drastically low intracellular body water levels I was skeptical but kept my eye on it. When I felt my worst the scale showed even lower levels of body water. When I felt good and had a glow (which was rare) I was high in body water.

    I could clearly see that when I was hydrated that the skin was plump and the pores looked diminished because the surface of the skin was engorged with water. The light reflected of the surface of my skin differently because it was smoother. When I was feeling ill the pores were open simply because the water wasn’t in the cells as it should be and the facial skin sagged and looked rough.

    This is how I discovered how disrupted my electrolytes were because of the gut inflammation that I’d had for so long. Drinking loads of water did nothing and probably made things worse by diluting already low electrolytes. I finally experimented and took high dose magnesium glycinate, potassium and some sodium and sat in a sauna for a short time. I came out and looked in the mirror and amazingly the pores had fully closed and had expelled their contents! I had hundreds of tiny white dots all over my face that smeared when I touched them.

    The scale confirmed that water had drastically shifted from outside the cells INTO the cells. Body water shifted from 51% percent to near normal 60% in under an hour.

    I can’t stress enough the importance of keeping an eye on electrolytes if you are dealing with gut dysfunction… and the importance of owning one of these less than $50 body water sensing scales (I’ve had 2 different brands and both worked great). There are tools out there that will illuminate the mystery of what exactly your body is doing to deal with imbalances… you just have to seek them out. It will save your skin while you deal with the healing of your gut!

    LEAKY SKIN = OPEN PORES AND CELLULAR DEHYDRATION

    • Fallpinn…

      I suffer from dehydration. I am under the careful care of a good naturopath in Lake Oswego, Oregon, and he tries to keep me hydrated with IV fluids. Unfortunately, it’s not long before the water is out of my body. I drink saltwater 2-3 times per day, but I don’t think I’m taking magnesium right now (just everything else under the sun). It’s VERY difficult to keep a glass of water in my veins. Where do I purchase a Body Water Sensing Scale? And do you have any tips? Thank you.

      • Costco has a nice one. http://www.costco.com/Diagnostic-Scale-by-beurer.product.11763326.html and you can find one by Soehnle online for about the same price.

        Drinking saltwater so often is not a good idea. You are throwing off all the other electrolytes that allow the water to actually enter the cells and stay there. Excessive sodium drastically lowers your magnesium levels and when that happens potassium falls as well. You end up with an imbalance of all the 3 electrolytes you need for the “sodium/potassium pump” of cells to operate efficiently. This active transport mechanism allows water into your cells. Magnesium provides the ATP… or cellular energy to run this cellular ‘pump’. Here’s a little animation of how fluid enters and stays in the cells. Press play.

        http://nutrition.jbpub.com/resources/animations.cfm?id=27&debug=0

        What I did was got LOW SODIUM V8 juice which is loaded with potassium. One glass is almost 25% of the RDA. First get the scale and see what your baseline body water is… if you’re like me I was about 50% body water. It should be about 60%.

        You can start by experimenting with drinking a few glasses of V8 and dosing with a high quality magnesium like Magnesium Glycinate… you may be taking Mag oxide in a multi but this oxide form is almost totally un-absorbable. I started with 600mg of magnesium and 3 servings of V8 and gave it an hour and saw my body water had shifted dramatically into the cells… which is what this cheap little scale is measuring amazingly enough. My muscle tone changed and my face filled up instead of sagged… it was amazing.

        My cells were starved for magnesium and every time I took it the scales body water level reacted favorably. My doctor was amazed at my self diagnosis with the use of this scale. He gave me magnesium IV’s for a short time and I keep up with V8 juice…. but this chronic dehydration is over.

        Try it and see what the right combination of electrolytes is for you. I would stop this salt gulping while you are doing this…just use it normally. I really believe you’ll be able to teach your doctor a little something about hydration at a cellular level and how useful this type of scale really is!

        What type of thyroid hormone are you on?

        • Thank you Fallpinn…

          I will try the magnesium, although I’ve taken it for years in the past. I have a concern with starting a regimen of V-8 because of tomatoes being in the ‘nightshade’ family…isn’t that on the list of Paleo no-no’s? I really appreciate your input; when I think about my water situation I realize how serious it is. I’ve just lived with it for so long it’s a part of my life. I also remember reading somewhere that people with CFS shouldn’t take potassium, but I can’t remember the reason why. If your formula helps me hydrate, I’m all for it. Thank you again!

          • There are many types of magnesium all with varying amounts of absorbability… so a low as 10%. Magnesium Glycinate and a powdered mix called “natural calm” works best for me. Skip the V8 and take potassium supplements but remember that although potassium may be listed at 99mg on the bottle that is only 3% of the RDA of potassium. You’ll have to take 23 potassium pills to equal the amount of potassium in 3 eight once glasses of low sodium V8 juice… you’ll still be 10 pills short of making the RDA. You could instead eat a few bananas to make up the short fall. The scale is the what will tell you what works best.

            When I got dehydrated my PH would go extremely acidic which is a perfect situation for disease to take hold… so yes, a very serious situation.

        • BTW… I once was given a prescription for potassium, but it made me feel terrible ( off balance, and like I was drunk or something).

          My thyroid is carefully monitored regularly. I am currently taking T3/T4 (30/20) compounded for me at a compounding pharmacy, plus 5 mcg of Cytomel.

          • If your dehydration has something to do with all this salt driving down your magnesium… since magnesium and potassium go hand in hand…. replacing potassium alone doesn’t help people who are also magnesium deficient. Without enough magnesium, the body is unable to metabolize potassium and deliver it to the cells.

            In your case taking high dose potassium without magnesium may have highlighted a possible existing magnesium deficiency. Some websites say that magnesium deficiency can cause light headedness, dizziness and numbness.

            Good luck

    • Hi Fallpinn:

      Thank you so much for forwarding the Groupon to me. I was JUST getting ready to order the hydration monitoring scale (what a great price), when I thought I should check the scale I bought at Walmart 2 years ago for $35. My scale actually tracks hydration…yay! I never knew…I’m so glad I found your post. My hydration level is @ 53%. I’m going to go back and start taking my potassium again, along with magnesium glycinate and see what happens. I’m also going to start drinking alkaline water (Kangen) in a week or two. Thanks again…

  11. YES! Through trial and error, the elimination of dairy, gluten, nuts and bananas (go figure?) have helped with my cystic acne tremendously and certainly more so than any conventional treatment I have tried over the past 26 years. I will say, though, it took a good year after the elimination of gluten before I started to see real results.

    I’ve been on probiotics for at least a decade, but I do wish there was more information out there about which products are most beneficial. The market is flooded now, and I suspect a lot of the products are junk.

  12. As I am sure everybody here knows, there are probably a gazillion probiotics out there. Can anyone recommend a good one? I have been eating low-carb for over two years now, and asthma and skin problems have not improved. I only drink raw milk, buy pastured eggs, and try to eat as healthy as I can. Maybe I need a probiotic.

    P.S. who is Dr. K?

    • Dr. K is Dr. Kharrazian and he wrote Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? When My Lab Tests are Normal. His site is http://www.thyroidbook.com. I have been hypothyroid/Hashi for nine years and just recently read this book. It has truly opened my eyes and will hopefully lead to healing!

  13. Chris, I am a type one diabetic and have been Paleo for the last 3 months. I notice my skin is worse when I get blood sugar swings, I take a probiotic by Custom Probiotics with 50 billion microorganisms/capsule. Is there one in particular or a strength you recommend? Thank you for this great article.

  14. My 1 1/2 yr son got got excema really bad a t the beginning of summer. All summer long it got worse. I remembered when he was an infant he ate egg yolks three separate times and each time vomited until there was nothing left to vomit and was very lethargic afterwords. So, we did not give him eggs until about the beginning of the summer. he ate them in baked goods and pancakes though. He has always had dry skin. Finally, at the end of August I eliminated wheat and eggs(I have a wheat allergy). We also did start giving him raw probiotics. His excema is almost gone. he still has really dry skin. He still has little flair ups of excema. Oh, ans after 5 1/2 weeks of being egg free we gave him eggs for two days to see what would happen and he got read and starting itching again. So, no eggs. I am wanting to have him allergy tested for all major allergens. What type of test would you recommend and why? I just want to know what I can safely feed him. I have also considered raw dairy. We use it sometimes…

    • Hi Amy

      Is your son reacting to the egg yolk or the whites?
      Or have you been feeding him the whole egg?
      I particularly react to the egg white portion but not so with the yolk.

  15. When I jumped back on the Atkins bandwagon (for the umpteenth time) in August, I discovered that after 1.5 months my longstanding foot fungus was gone. I was shocked, it was so bad that I used Lotrimin Ultra as my regular foot lotion. Up until reading this I attributed the fungus going away to being in deep ketosis (didn’t really believe it because that never happened before but I had no other explanation). Now I think it’s the probiotic that I’m taking, which I started taking when I changed my eating. I’d never taken a probiotic before but I usually up my vitamins when I’m low carbing and decided to add this to the mix. Now I’m thrilled to know exactly what has cleared up my feet!

  16. I am on a ketogenic diet for about half a year, and have started to make & drink home made kefir about two weeks ago (thanks for your great kefir article!). Unfortunately so far this has not solved any of my skin problems. I always get a big rash when winter is coming, and the doctor subscribes me cortisone and antibiotic cream. I am sick of treating it with cortisone, the skin improves for a few days and than the rash is back as soon as I stop. Now I apply plenty of coconut oil and just wait it out until its over again 🙁

  17. I have been following a Paleo diet for a year and a half and I am so sorry to say, but my acne has worsened. Not only do I have it on my face, but also my back and shoulders. I am 32 years old and have had acne since I was a teenager, but I had hoped that I wouldn’t be dealing with it to such an extent at my age. I am beyond frustrated because I was hoping my acne would improve on this diet, but instead it has gotten worse. Any ideas as to why? I also have Hashimoto’s and am currently seeking the help of a functional medicine doctor, but we are in the early stages.

    • Very likely something you are eating more of now that is exacerbating acne. I like to remind my patients that just because a food is on the Paleo diet, doesn’t mean it’s safe for them. What are you eating significantly more of since you switched to Paleo?

      • I am eating significantly more vegetables and meat, most likely. I have just started the autoimmune protocol. Until this point, I had been comsuming nightshades regularly, nuts and seeds, coffee, alcohol, and eggs. I also went from consuming no coconut products, to using them very regularly in my diet. Could coconut be a factor?

        • Coconut is high in insoluble fiber, which can irritate an inflamed gut. So that’s a possibility. Nightshades are another likely culprit, especially if you increased your consumption of them on the Paleo diet. Non-starchy vegetables have a lot of insoluble fiber, so eating a lot of them can cause the same issues as coconut can. Finally, if your stomach acid is low (which is very common), you may not be digesting protein very well and that could lead to skin issues.

          • Yes, I was reading about the insoluble fiber thing yesterday. I also have thought about low stomach acid. I have been suffering from numbness and tingling in my left hand and left food for eight months now. I have had MRI’s, CT scans, and many blood tests by traditional doctors looking for a cause for the numbness. I read about low B12 causing this symptom, even though my B12 levels were “normal” on a conventional blook test. Could there be a stomach acid/B12 connection to this? I meet with my functional medicine doctor on Tuesday to go over the results of all my testing, so I am anxious so see what is revealed.

            • Sarah – This sounds like the beginning of peripheral neuropathy which I know a lot about. I’ve had it for 18 months now, but am healing. I think mine was caused by gluten intolerance, which lead to a b12 deficiency (among other things and other vitamin deficiencies). You need to address this now before it gets really bad. My B12 levels were 400-500 range when this happened to me. Get yourself some b12 shots asap. They are cheaper on the web than from the pharmacy with an rx from my doctor.

              Make sure you’re not getting any hidden gluten. Do you have any tremors, muscle spasms, memory problems? Read the book “Could It Be B12?”

              • Hi Laurel,

                Yes, my B12 is in the 400 range. My doctors have checked it three times while I have seen them with the numbness symptoms. At one point it was 700 when I was having symptoms, but the last two times it has been in the low 400 range. I do get fine tremors in my hands at times, a little bit of muscle twitching, and a lot of memory issues. I have finally gone to see a functional medicine doctor and go over all my test results on Tuesday. Hopefully, he will bring up the B12 piece and if not, I will ask him about it. Thanks so much!

                • It’s possible to have an active B12 deficiency and test normal on a serum B12 test. Ask your doctor to run a urinary methylmalonic acid (MMA) test. That’s a more accurate way of diagnosing B12 deficiency.

              • Not sure if I read it on this site but in Japan, a B12 result of less than 500 would be considered below range. Our lab does both serum and urinary MMA tests but the urinary sample alone is not acceptable as a test for B12 deficiency. The biochemist involved is a pal so I’ll ask her why that’s the case. Not happy with my B12 levels either and trying to eat liver once a week but the butcher’s is often closed by the time I get there after work. Gone GF as well (of course).

            • Hi Sarah… you sound a lot like me. Acne, Hypothyroid, strange prickles/numbness/tingles/pains in head and sometimes hands. Had all the same tests. I’ve been Paleo two years now and now know what triggers the acne for ME..which is dairy (but i do fine with butter) and coconut cream/manna/butter. I have no issues with coconut oil and can do smaller occasional amounts of coconut milk with no problems. The other thing that triggers it is higher carb loads.
              I’d been low carb on and off for years pre-paleo but mostly did it the wrong way with LC treats and proceesed foods.. When initiating Paleo it was low-carb and was the best thing that ever happened to me, and over time I added in the “safe starches” and all went well for awhile but eventually acne popped up more often, the head prickles/tingles & pains returned, gerd returned and I just didn’t feel as well as I once did. I contemplated the autoimmune protocol but thought I’d give the low carb a run first since it’s less restrictive and after eight weeks all the old symptoms have disapperared again and I haven’t had a pimple on my face since. I would never have considered myself metabolically deranged but I do believe too many carbs do something to my insulin levels that drive my hormones crazy. It’s just better when I limit them. I still eat the fruits and safe starches but portion it so I’m eating around 50gms/day.

            • Hi Sarah,

              Chris has an excellent article on B12 on this site.

              Also the book Could it be B12 is chock full of great info. Basically, the B12 serum test is incredibly misleading – the “normal” ranges need to be revised (they start too low) and also what is measured is actually a mix of different types of B12, not all of them are actually usable by the body.

              A better marker is urinary MMA and also holostranscobalamin.

              If you are already getting the tingling, you need to try to work this out pretty soon as it could be a sign of nerve damage as Laurel mentions.

              Just thought I’d mention that excess B6 (usally via supplementation) can cause the same issue and low sodium could be a culprit. Do you have any other low sodium symptoms like excess urination, low blood pressure or dizziness.

              Best wishes
              Allison

              • Thank you for the info Allison! I am going to see my functional medicine doctor ob Tuesday and hopefully the B12 topic will come up. I didn’t know about the dangers of too much B6. I don’t supplement at all right now, so I doubt this is the case although I do have those symptoms minus the excess urination. I appreciate your help with this!!

                • Hi from Norway!
                  The tingling I had in my legs, arm and upper back, went away when I switched to paleo (No grains, no sugar/fructose, no dairy, no processed food). However, the numbness/tingling in my right leg did not go away util I quit coffee. Makes sense, since there is a cross reaction between coffee and gluten.

              • This pricklyness in hands and feet happens when I take magnesium. Is this because magnesium causes low blood pressure? Should I just eat more salt? I do actually crave salty foods alot.

                You mention nerve damage? I’ve had this off an on for years. I do also feel lightheaded from time to time. You say get this “all worked out” any suggestions? Or just take b12? Any suggestions for the best B12 sprays? I used to take b- complexes years ago. I stop because they made me feel an overstimulated “wired” and “racy”.

                • Potassium and magnesium go hand in hand. If you are deficient in magnesium then you will be deficient in potassium. Supplementing either one when deficient in both will highlight the deficiency of the missing mineral. Potassium deficiency will make hands tingle. Drink low sodium V8 juice… one 8 ounce glass has 480mg of potassium. Potassium pills are limited by law to 99mg and that is only 3% of the RDA.

                  At least with me the sodium craving was a result of being low in these 2 electrolytes and my body was just trying to keep water in any way it could. BTW… lightheadedness is a symptom of potassium deficiency.

                  Eating even more salt than you already are will make your situation even worse.

        • Hi Sarah, I actually found coffee to be a major acne trigger for me (which was sad because I loved coffee). Now I’m a tea drinker, but my skin is happier!

          • Thank you for all the replies and food for thought! I am hoping I am on the right path. I guess my frustration comes from the fact that besides the acne and being diagnosed Hashi, my strange symptoms didn’t come until after I started the Paleo diet. I knew I had Hashi’s but it really didn’t seem to ompact my life much. In June 2011, I began having strange symptoms such as tightening in my throat, TMJ symptoms, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, the numbness and tingling in my extremeties, brain fog, memory lapses, and most recently IBS symptoms (which have never in my life bothered me until Paleo). I also have this sporadic pressure on the left side of my upper abdomen right under my ribcage. Sometimes it extends along my side to my left shoulder blade. Doctors have put me through many tests only to tell me I am healthy and it is all in my head. They have told me I have anxiety and depression, which I do now because no one can tell me what is wrong with me!!! I am staying true to Paleo because I know it is what is best for my body and have started implementing the Autoimmune Protocol to see if this helps. I just can’t comprehend why cleaning up my diet has made me feel the worst I have felt in my life. I try to keep positive and educate myself as much as I can, but sometimes the symptoms are so severe I want to throw in the towel. I am hopeful, though, that my new doctor can lead me down a healing path.

            • Sarah…wow, the more you write the more I can relate except my problems were all pre-paleo to begin with and LC Paleo made them better. Adding in more carbs over time eventually caused so many symptoms to return. I had the sporatic pressure on the upper left side and had an MRI done to rule out speen issues. That was several years ago. I still get the pressure occasionally and from the research I’ve done I’m guessing it’s certain foods that are irritating to the area of the splenic flexure of the large intestines… where the transverse colon & descenting colon meet. ( part of IBS) . I’ve noticed for me that nuts are a prime suspect for this. And also a few days after I eat wheat this ALWAYS occurs for a day or two. I don’t eat wheat much but I do a few times a year on special occasions and a few days after I eat it I get that . I’ve had the nausea, dizziness, TMJ sensations, brain fog, memory lapses and anxiety and panic attacks. Not really any depression or fatigue though. At least part of the problem with the panic attacks was that my TSH had gone too low and my synthroid dose needed lowered. The panic attacks ended after that got adjusted but anxiety and everything else continued until i went LC paleo. I would guess there is something that is keeping you inflammed, messing with your insulin or other hormones. AIP is probably a really good way to go since Paleo per se hasn’t worked. I’d also recommend watching your carb content but at the same time making sure you are taking in enough calories (add Fat). Lowering carbs but not getting enough calories can mess with hormones too.

              • Thank you Shelley. Yes, it seems that our stories are very similar. I will start looking into Low Carb Paleo. I was feeling a bit better on AI Paleo until last night when my abdominal pressure was very bothersome and I had an IBS bout. One thing about the left-sided pressure is that it seems to calm down when I eat a little bit of something. Also, if I go too long without eating it really gets aggrivated. Did you ever find this to be true? I really appreciate you sharing your story with me…it really helps to know I am not alone.

            • Sarah, I’ve been put through all the tests over the past 5 years as well. I was experiencing fatigue, brain fog, tingling, and severe stomach inflammation all throughout my abdomen, but particularly in my upper left side of my abdomen right under my ribcage. All of my tests were normal and yet I felt horrible. Eventually I was told it was all in my head and stress related. Out of frustration I went to a naturopath for the first time and he immediately recommended I go gluten-free and cut out the main IBS culprits, which for me were alcohol, carbonated drinks (including kombucha), dark chocolate, and coffee, even decaf. Within 2 weeks my abdominal pain was gone. I am staying gluten-free because I did notice my acne improved significantly. However, it is when I try and reintroduce coffee and carbonated beverages even now that I stimulate the muscle spasms that bring back my abdominal pains. I have come to accept that I cannot do caffeine (including teas and chocolate) or carbonation because they all contribute to stimulating smooth muscle spasms. Lately, I have also begun dealing with new symptoms of extreme throat constriction and GERD constantly irritating my throat and making me feel like I’m on the verge of an asthma attack. This was after changing my diet to paleo and cutting out the stimulants. All of the specialists I’ve seen are once again telling me it is stress related. I did not think I was stressed, didn’t see it and kept denying it. However, over time, I have discovered that the only time I do not have these throat symptoms is when I go away on vacation and truly feel relaxed! I am now taking ashwaganda and drinking passion flower tea daily to try and approach all of my various muscle spasm issues from an anti-anxiety perspective. I do think there is something to it. Going gluten-free definitely helped my skin, though!

              • Thank you for sharing your story. It helps to know I am not alone. I have been on the Paleo auto-immune protocol for a couple of days, which cuts out all of the things you mentioned above. My abdominal pressure was better until last night, when I had an aggrivating episode of IBS. For some reason, when I eat a little bit, it seems to soothe the left-sided pressure, but if I let myself get too hungry it really gets irritated. Did you find this be true?

            • Sarah, you aren’t the only one who gets that weird pain in the upper right under the ribcage. It happens to me when I eat foods that don’t agree – dairy, legumes, starches, highly processed anything, and sugar. I had my gallbladder out a few years ago before I found paleo (no stones – it was hyperkinetic ) and I think if I had found paleo earlier I may not have had to go through that! I am seeing an endocrinologist next because unfortunately there are no functional medicine practitioners near me. If that doesn’t help I’ll have to figure out how to afford chinese medicine.

              For skin – If I cheat and eat foods that I know I shouldn’t have my skin flares up w/ weird acne like bumps, and it also happens if I get ‘glutened’. If I eat low carb, low starch, healthy foods w/o a lot of fat (aside from coconut oil – that is fine!) my skin is fine and my energy levels are where they are supposed to be. I’d also dealt with dandruff for years before going paleo but had always been too embarrassed to talk to anyone about it, and it went away. 🙂 The paleo AI protocol is what has helped me the most so I hope you find more answers with it!

              • Margaret,

                Thanks for your response! I am glad you have dialed in your diet and know what works for you. Yes, I do feel like the AI protocol is going to help me greatly. If you go to the site http://www.thyroidconnections.com, you can find a practitioner in your area who has attended Dr. Kharrazian’s lectures. He wrote the book Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? Even if you don’t have thyroid issues, these practioners look into gut issues, adrenal issues, liver problems, etc. I am getting help for my leaky gut which has led to thyroid problems, malabsorption issues, liver issues, neurological problems, and more. I am just starting the process of additional diet changes and supplements, so hopefully I will see some positive changes. I hope you find some relief of your own!!!

            • I had gluten ataxia (my dx) with neuropathies and B12 deficiency (serum 90). I got better getting B12 shots (initially) and then sublinguals and going Paleo. Got even better when I went from cyano B12 to methyl B12 (thanks to Dr. Kresser’s post on B12). My neuropathy (and extreme fatigue, malaise, brain fog, dizziness, TMJ, incontinence etc.) comes back if I have any grains – including rice or GMO free corn tortilla chips, buckwheat pancakes, and to my surprise when I eat too many nuts or nut flour products. I’m currently monitoring too many starches for a cause as well. I too used to/do get pain under the rib cage and tightening of the throat – always when having wheat, buckwheat, and nut flour goods (but not nuts out of the hand). I likely have adrenal fatigue and maybe thyroid issues and finally accepted I have to go see a doc for some testing. But avoiding all grains and keeping nuts to a small amount eliminates my neuropathies.

              • Thank you Sandra! I just started the AI protocol about a week and a half ago and am feeling better. I am on some supplements for the B12 deficiency as well as for got repair. My neuropathy is pretty much gone. Have felt it on the tip of my middle finger a bit, but so much better than what it was. My brain fog has improved greatly. Thank you for the tips about other triggers for symptoms. I am beginning to suspect corn, nuts, and nut flours are triggers for me as well. I hope you have continued healing!

              • Hi …hope your well, I find your blogs very helpful 🙂

                I have been diagnosed hypothyroid but also adrenal insufficient.

                I also have to avoid gluten, yeast, sugar, moulds etc for candida..

                But also I have to eat very low fat or I have problems with distended belly, achey pain in belly, nausea, stools that stick to the loo and frothy…

                I even get the nausea from good fats like salmon..

                My skin lacks sebum I have to bath using olive oil otherwise uncomfortable and dehydrated…I also suffer from muscle spasm in my right cheek / mouth area which fluctuates all the time!!

                Do you think maybe I need a digestive enzyme like lipase? I’m concerned that maybe I’m not digesting fats I feel better when I have very tiny amounts of fat but think iam causing problems with vit a, e etc..

                I also have a problem with my eye especially the left one is dry all the time, irritated and lots of sleep in it all the time…

                I try and get plenty of veg in my diet but being gluten free allergic to nuts..and not having enough fat ..I’m concerned I have deficencies…

                I just wondered what you think ? I ve brought cod liver oil and taking that but what else can I do?

                Would the fat problem be related to hormones?

                I’ve also had a time in hospital with a adrenal crisis due to bad infection and my amylase was very high as if I have pancritis as if I was a drinker and I don’t drink !! .

                Thank you 🙂

              • Does this go for even nuts that are soaked ala WEston Price Foundations’ belief that in order to digest nuts they have to be soaked?

            • Try finding a chiropractor that specializes in the Atlas.GlobalAO.com.Also if no luck there look into Lymesdisease.Marc

            • I felt bad for 3-4 months after going paleo. The symptoms I had 3-4 months into the diet change were so bad I thought I was going to die! These were withdrawal symptoms (which I did not know at the time). I had breathing difficulties, problems swollowing, depression, dizziness, abdominal pains, problems walking due to no energy etc etc. The doctors told me I was fine and that it was just all in my head…! I told them I had changed my diet, but they just didn’t care – “What’s diet got to do with it?!”
              Good luck, and be patient. It takes time to heal.

            • Hi, Sarah, I’m intrigued by how many similar symptoms I have to yours: TMJ, dizziness, fatigue, tingling in my shins (and Reynaud’s in my hands), brain fog, and memory lapses. I was diagnosed with celiac disease three years go and have been fairly painstakingly gluten-free since then. (I do eat out sometimes, but try to choose only restaurants that seem to be GF knowledgable.) I have found since going gluten-free that many of my symptoms have lessened, but not gone away. My skin is still dry, in spite of coconut oil and fish oil every day, along with a mix of ground hemp, chia and flax seeds (ground fresh and kept in the freezer). In particular, my facial skin seems to have gotten worse. I am 50 and I just saw pictures of myself in which I look dead if not already decaying. Ugh. I can’t help thinking that I’m not really at the bottom of this as far as diagnosis goes. Reading about everyone on the paleo diet makes me fear that I need to remove even more things from my diet. Oh, yes, and I’ve also introduced green tea and eight cups of water per day into my daily regimen over the past few months. It seems to have helped my mood and focus somewhat, but not my skin.

              Am I crazy to be using commercial facial products? What I have is Arbonne, which is vegan and lanolin free. Not pure enough?

              • Trudee, you might want to try traditional grassfed tallow on your skin. It works beautifully for me, I think because it’s so compatible with our skin. I got some lovely beef tallow from US Wellness which I use for both cooking and skin care. You could also source from a local grassfed farm (find your nearest Weston Price chapter leader or go to Eatwild.com). Here’s an article with information on the benefits and how to make your own. I use mine plain (100% tallow) and it has just a slight scent to begin with but absorbs right in and dissipates.
                http://www.westonaprice.org/know-your-fats/traditional-nourishing-and-healing-skin-care

              • Try fermented cod liver oil. Green pastures is a great brand. It might help. It’s a little tough to get used to (I take the unflavored, it does come in flavored). It’s helped my skin immensely.

            • If you are sicker after switching to a “healthier” diet–Dr. Robert J. Marshall of PRL products says that you are not digesting and absorbing your food. He recommends pancreatic enzymes at the start of the meal and HCL (hydrochloric acid ) at the end of each meal, especially if you are over 40.

            • This exactly matches ALLL of my symptoms. As soon as I started going full paleo I got all of those same things. Really bad nerve pain under my left shoulder blade (my back hurts so bad), pressure under left front rib sometimes, and numbless and sharp tingling pricks on arms and legs. I have no idea why because I think that this diet is way healthier, from what everyone says. But It’s almost making me want to revert back to a less restrictive diet, because I don’t feel better in that respect.

              What could this be???

              • Pain between the shoulder blades can indicate a sluggish gallbladder. For someone who has been on a standard lowfat diet, it can help to reintroduce fats more slowly into the diet. You can help stimulate bile production by taking things like beet juice, beet kvass, digestive bitters, bile salts, milk thistle, fermented foods, digestive enzymes and raw apple cider vinegar with meals.

            • I haven’t seen anyone mention salicylates (natural pesticides in fruits and vegetables) as a trigger for skin issues. My son, now 3, suffered from eczema and severe dry skin since he was about 3 months old. He ate only non-processed foods, and was on a paleo-like diet, off gluten, dairy, egg, corn, and whatever else would traditionally be a source of eczema. After 2.5 years I discovered salicylates as the main source of his eczema – fruits and vegetables! Coconut oil, almonds, olive oil, honey, apple juice, kale, berries! Everything we thought was healthy was toxic to his system. Within days of removing salicylates, his eczema cleared up! Best of luck. -Lara

          • Hi Chelsea,

            I have been three days off coffee, which has been rough! I have been so tired! I am sticking with it though…I have stocked up on tea! Thanks for your insight!

      • Jackie,

        It’s good to know I am on the right track! I read Dr. K’s book, which is how I found the doctor I am beginning to work with who follows Dr. K’s protocol. It was light a million light bulbs went off when I read that book.

        I am following The Paleo Mom’s protocol as well. Just started, so we will see how it goes. I also bought Balanced Bites for the AI recipes. I just wish there were more recipe resources for us autoimmune folks. I guess I will just get used to modifying!

        Thanks for the help; I really appreciate it. I am also glad that you have found healing!

    • Sarah, you’ve gotten lots of helpful info, but I just wanted to send you another note of solidarity.

      When I went Paleo, my skin was the best it had been since I was 15. I was still on hormonal BC though, and that had always helped. I went off that last year, and suddenly the acne came roaring back, even cystic stuff. I couldn’t believe it and I was disappointed too since Paleo was supposed to save me from that.

      I decided to wait it out and hope that it would get better. It didn’t. I had some other health issues going on (found out later probably due to MTHFR deficiency), so I was hoping that would solve it but it didn’t. My func med NP recommended cod liver oil and I thought she was crazy. I resisted it for a long time, but I found a jar of it I had bought for my husband’s eczema (note: that never cleared up on Paleo either, though he won’t give up dairy), so I took a few each day. Within a week, my skin had calmed significantly and now it is very clear again. I was gobsmacked, but grateful.

      I wish you the best in your search for clear skin and health!

      • Hi Karen,

        I appreciate your feedback! It helps to know what has worked for other people. I went to get my results from extensive testing today from my functional medicine doctor and let’s just say I have a lot of work to do!! My gut is not a happy camper! While it is so eye-opening to know why I am feeling the way I am feeling, it depresses me to know that the Paleo diet wasn’t working for me. I have to make some major tweaks to my diet (continue with the autoimmune protocol) as well as add some supplements and lifestyle changes. I will be starting Green Pasture’s Cod Liver Oil, so it is great that you say it has helped you and I hope it makes positive changes for me as well. Oh, and as hypothesized above, my B12 is low! Hopefully, supplementation will help with the numbness and tingling!!

      • Hi Matt,

        My Vitamin D is at a 50 with the 25 (OH) Vitamin D test. My doctor just started me on a supplement of emulsified Vitamin D because he wants it in the 70-80 range. I also live in the Midwest, so getting it from the sun will be harder as we approch the winter months.

        Thanks!

        • FYI, lard from pasture-raised pigs is very high in Vitamin D since they metabolize Vitamin D from the sun like we do. This could be especially helpful in the winter months, but is a great fat all year round.

          • Thank you Beth. I have some leaf lard in my freezer I need to render. Perfect timing with winter coming!

  18. Yes. I had rosacea around the middle of my nose for some years (although I didn’t know that that is what it was called.) I only realized resently that it is gone!
    I have now been eating paleo for 2 years.

  19. My 12 year old son has a rare growth disorder and as child was on Prevacid for many years for reflux. He also had a g-tube for 8 years for feedings. At age 10 he started developing psoriasis on his hands and knees and they were cracked and bleeding. We removed gluten from his diet and within 2 months his skin cleared. He also takes probiotics, zinc and fish oil. If he cheats on vacation with wheat, it comes back fairly quickly. Removing gluten and healing his gut has made a dramatic difference in his skin health.

  20. Since the scalp is also part of our skin, will healing the gut also help with alopecia? My hair is falling out rapidly.

    • Betsy: I didn’t have room to discuss this in the article, but the hair follicle is subject to the same influences that the skin is. Also, it’s one of the most hormone sensitive tissues in mammalian biology and contains a fully functioning local hypothalamic pituitary axis. This means hair is exquisitely sensitive to stress, whether physiological or psychological.

    • Try doing a 1/2 Apple Cider Vinegar, 1/2 Warm Water rinse on your hair and scalp for a few weeks. Let it sit for a bit before you shower. The ACV cleanses your hair so you don’t need shampoo and the smell fades quickly. Your hair and scalp will feel amazing and your hair might have a better environment to grow/regrow. This helped me. I have struggled with losing hair every time I endure stress.

      Also, make sure only organic chemical free hair products.

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