Healing Inflammation

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Healing Inflammation

I have a stubborn skin condition that covers my whole body with red dry patches. Their redness and visibility varies with, I'm thinking, the amount of inflammatory foods and other substances in my diet.

My thoughts and the health care practitioners I've visited in the past have lead me to believe it's a result of having a leaky gut.

Currently, I'm following a very strict paleo diet that consists of factory eggs, wild (when I can) salmon and seafood high in omega 3's and vegetables (leafy greens (spinach), broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, avocados, garlic for guacamole, homemade balsamic dressing (EV olive oil, dijon mustard and balsamic vinegar) and sometimes sweet potatoes). That makes up probably 90% of what I eat.

I'm trying my best to stay away from alcohol, coffee, grains, sugar, fruit and other inflammatory substances. However, given my age and the people I have around me, I can't follow it 100% and I tend to isolate myself in order to sustain it which doesn't help my mood. This sometimes leaves me doubting my regimen and maybe just not caring as much about it.

I guess my question would be, Is there anything I should add to my diet to ensure I don't start having deficiencies?
It's so restrictive right now because I'm paranoid of adding in something that exacerbates my skin rash.
Also, it may be hard to tell from this relatively short passage but, could my inflammation be due in large part to how I look at food?

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I forgot to mention, the only supplements I'm taking right now are Norwegian kelp for iodine, L-Glutamine powder for digestion and a 12 strain probiotic, which I've recently run out of.

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Sorry for the delay replying.... Couple things right off the top of my head to get you started:

Red patchy skin is certainly a sign of inflammation! Finding the cause is going to take some more digging. Consider the following possibilities:

  • food allergy, food sensitivity or food intolerance
  • sensitivity to something in the environment (air quality at home or work, chemical irritants such as insecticides, laundry detergent, household cleaners, soap, dust, pollen, mold/mildew, animal dander, etc.)
  • omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acid ratio
  • other nutritional defficiency
  • infection (virus or other pathogen)

I don't know what kind of health practitioners you've been to in the past but, from what you've said, it sounds like eczema. The best starting point is to see a dermatologist and get it identified, especially if its chronic.

If it were some sort of contact dermatitis then it would be likely be more localised. For instance, a sensitivity to laundry detergent would be localised to where your clothing comes in contact with your skin. Because it covers your body, I'm going to assume that if it's environmental that it is air-born.

If it comes and goes then that is a good sign that you can isolate the cause. Start by keeping a log of the severity and location of the rash, what you eat, where you've been, and any other events in your life (stress related) that might contribute.

I don't see anything obvious in your diet. Looks pretty healthy, in fact.

If you think this is a food sensitivity or allergy (and I'm going to include leaky gut in this category), start by totally eliminating the most common causes of sensitivities and allergies from your diet. You can add them back in after a week if you're convinced they're not contributing to the cause. Common substances are things like peanuts, gluten, lactose. Have a look at this for ideas: http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/food-allergies

I'm not suggesting you have leaky gut syndrome (I don't diagnose anyway) but to the best of my knowledge on the subject, foods containing lectins or gliadin are thought to contribute to it. That means eliminate whole grains and certain legumes. My suggestion would be eliminate all grains and all legumes and see what changes occur.

Final thoughts are try to get all omega-6 fatty acids out of your diet. Even olive oil has some, although the amount is much lower than other vegetable oils. If you eat in restaurants or eat any processed foods at all, you are getting a high dose of omega-6.

The amount of omega-3 fatty acids you are getting from the fish is not enough to bring you into balance. I suggest a high quality DHA/EPA supplement. I personally take 4000 mg a day. I wouldn't bother with ALA supplements.

That should get you started. I'll add more to this thread as I think of it.

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Thanks for your reply Stephen.

Is there a specific brand/type of fish oil that is best? I think I've heard that you need it to be kept cold or else the fatty acids oxidize.

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Rule of thumb: If it smells or tastes fishy, it's not fresh. If you go with capsule form, always bite into one to check freshness. 

I personally use Carson's in the liquid form 

Yes, always refrigerate after opening!

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A thought... The title "Healing Inflammation" suggests that inflammation is a disease or disorder. It's not!

Inflammation is a good thing if it is a defence response to irritants, physical damage, or infection by pathogens. Inflammation is the body's defence response to these stimuli and is part of the healing process.

It is when inflammation exists for reasons outside of the healing process, as in the case of an omega-3 fatty acid deficiency, that we do want to make sure there is no deficiency.

It is pretty much established that North Americans are not getting enough omega-3 so supplementing is always a good preventative measure.

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Thanks again for your reply and the product recommendation.

You're also right about the title.

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