Our bodies have various mechanisms to protect against toxins such as physical barriers, digestive secretions, immune surveillance and enzyme systems that process toxins for secretion via sweat, breath, urine, bile and faeces. In many cases, our bodies will sequester toxins for excretion and if they can’t deal with them immediately, toxins will be stored in fatty tissue, skin, and bone.
In his book, ‘Healing Psoriasis: The Natural Alternative’, last published in 2009, John Pagano underlines how important it is to view psoriasis from the inside out – fix your gut and eliminate toxic build up in the body.
So, what is a toxin?
Pagano provides a helpful explanation of what a toxin is:
“A toxin is a poisonous substance derived from animal or vegetable cells. When toxins invade the bloodstream, the build up becomes too much for the body’s natural defence mechanism to handle, resulting in symptoms such as tiredness, lack of energy and halitosis. The sluggishness extends to the GI tract meaning toxins are not fully eliminated but instead reabsorbed through the walls of the small and large intestines. With a poorly functioning gut, we become more susceptible to a number of degenerative, debilitating diseases, as well as various skin conditions including psoriasis.”
What John Pagano is describing is the body’s inability to break down and/or safely ‘quarantine’ toxins, thereby putting pressure on the body’s organs of elimination, including the gut. This can result in gut hyper-permeability syndrome, or ‘leaky’ gut.
How are toxins and psoriasis linked?
Toxins will first head towards the liver, but if the liver is already compromised, perhaps due to being full of fat or inflamed, then toxins can spill out into general circulation and if your ‘Achilles heel’ is your skin, potentially manifest itself as a skin condition like psoriasis.
There is no one reason psoriasis occurs, there are many factors that come into play to result in such a drastic flare-up of inflammation. High levels of toxicity in the body and impaired liver function certainly play a major role in the occurrence of psoriasis. One of the causes of this heightened toxicity may be constipation and a liver that, for whatever reason, is not able to break down and excrete toxins.
Psoriasis is currently labelled as an ‘incurable’ disease by orthodox medicine, however, when taking a look at the root cause and working from there, psoriasis can be prevented, managed and reversed.
There is a strong correlation between how we treat our bodies and the development of psoriasis, moreover that with dietary and lifestyle changes, improvements, sometimes drastic changes can occur and psoriasis can be reversed.
Steps to healing psoriasis
- Psoriasis is an inflammatory disease, thus making sure that your immune system is functioning optimally, consuming foods that reduce inflammation and keep the body alkaline is vital. Drink plenty of plain water to help flush out toxins and help prevent constipation. Include in your diet plenty of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, and oils such as olive oil and coconut oil. Go gluten and dairy-free until the psoriasis has healed, and then begin to reintroduce gluten and dairy and monitor your skin. My gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free recipes are all available to download here for free. There are breakfasts, light lunches and delicious dinners for meat eaters, fish eaters, vegetarians, and vegans.
- Removing excess toxins and maintaining the healthy integrity of the digestive system and the gut-skin axis will strengthen the body and drastically lower your chances of developing the disease. It’s important to do whatever is necessary to prevent constipation – drinking plenty of water (as mentioned above) in the diet, taking milk thistle to help support the liver, particularly if drinking alcohol, eating artichokes or taking an artichoke supplement to help ‘detox’ the liver, and periodic colon hydrotherapy if suffering with chronic constipation. Certain herbs can also be used to gently increase transit time in the bowel, reducing the risk of constipation, in particular senna, liquorice root and ginger root, as well as garlic, which acts as a natural gut ‘antiseptic’.
- It’s important to ensure your gut is well-populated with immune-supporting bacteria, so if you’ve ever had multiple courses of antibiotics, antacids, steroids or a gut infection like food poisoning, ensure you top up your levels of ‘friendly’ gut bacteria with a Live Bacteria probiotic capsule twice daily before meals, and if you’re not eating oily fish at least 3 times weekly, do consider supplementing daily with a high-strength Omega 3 fish oil capsule for its skin protecting effects – that’s both your internal and external skin! Check out the range of Just For Tummies digestive and gut health supplements, all vegan and gluten-free, with the exception of the Omega 3 fish oil.
- It is interesting that heavy alcohol (ethanol) consumption, which imposes a large burden on the liver and gut, can cause inflammation in the liver and degradation of the lining of the gut wall, increasing the risk of ‘leaky’ gut, which is known to be associated with psoriasis. This further illustrates the important role that liver detoxification plays in maintaining health. Similarly, smoking is also linked to psoriasis. This may be due to the increased toxic burden placed on the body by the many chemicals in cigarette smoke.
I hope, having read this blog post and my previous one about psoriasis and its link to gut health, that you will be able to make positive changes to your diet and lifestyle that will help bring about the improvements in your skin, and ultimately your overall wellbeing. I wish you well and I’d love to receive any feedback on the suggestions I’ve made.