skin care is essential, especially as we age.
What most people don’t know is that they have a magical power to slow down rapid aging and to eliminate skin issues by simply paying homage to their digestive system, aka, the gut.
When talking about glowing skin from the inside out, the gut is the first place to look as the bacteria in our gut is in direct communication with the bacteria on our skin.
What's Up in Your Gut
Bacteria have a much more sophisticated communication system in place than us humans. They have their own cell phone-esque ‘technology,' and their messages can spread like wildfire. This can be healthy or unhealthy, depending on the quality of the microorganisms inside your intestinal tract.
If you think of microorganisms like a community, we have pillars of the community that are the good guys who contribute to its infrastructure and lasting health. They look out for everyone even beyond their own community (in this case, good bacteria will look out for the immune system, informing it of how to stay healthy).
We also have some “bad guys” who shake things up a little. In a balanced community, there’s nothing wrong with this. The problem is when the bad starts to overtake the good.
We should have around 85-90% good bacteria and symbiotic microorganisms in our gut and 10-15% of the bad guys, called pathogenic microorganisms.
The problem is most of us have consumed enough sugar, antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, alcohol, mercury toxicity, and coffee (all enhanced by chronic stress) to kill off a lot of the good guys.
This creates imbalance in what’s called the microbiome, which is the collective genetic material of all the microorganisms in your gut (good, bad, and neutral).
Since the gut-microbiome is the foundation to all health, our goal is to shift the terrain to reestablish good order. From there, our infinitely wise human body can then replicate this genetic code to the other places where bacteria live in and on your body, like the skin, lungs, throat, sinuses, and genitals.
This is why improving your gut health is an essential step to improving your skin. It not only makes you look years younger but also helps you feel younger, too, restoring your precious energy.
But where do you start? First, you'll want to look for signs of imbalance.
Symptoms of Candida Overgrowth
I find that the vast majority of people have what’s called candida or yeast overgrowth in their digestive system. This can happen with even just one full round of antibiotics—which kills the good bacteria along with the bad—if you do not repopulate with probiotics after. Candida is an opportunistic yeast that can move in and proliferate like crazy in a gut that doesn’t have enough good bacteria to fight it off.
The top eight tell tale signs of candida (coming from someone who had the worst case of it you’ve ever seen and has since helped thousands overcome it) are:
- Chronic constipation, bloating, or gas
- Hazy, brain fog
- Chronic exhaustion
- Intense sugar cravings that are “bigger than you” – you know when you run out in your pajamas for a sweet treat at 11pm because you can’t think about anything else? That’s the organism craving its food to stay alive.
- Recurring vaginal yeast infections
- Depression and anxiety
- White coating on the tongue
- Hormonal imbalances and low thyroid function. Candida inhibits thyroid conversion of the inactive thyroid hormone T4 to the active thyroid hormone T3 (another reason for exhaustion and constipation!)
But of course, you'll want to know for sure if Candida is the cause of your symptoms.
The DIY Candida Test
You can use stool tests, saliva tests, and blood tests to detect candida and candida antibodies.
But there's also a free and easy way to test yourself at home, called “the spit test.”
I’ve used this test alongside expensive lab work and have gotten accurate results for years. It's a great starting point for understanding if Candida is connected to your chronic skin issues or other daily symptoms.
Here's how you do it:
For six days, when you wake up (before you eat or drink anything) spit a dime-sized amount of saliva into a 6 oz. glass of water.
Watch for changes in your saliva in the glass of water over a 45-minute time period and write down your results each of the six days.
- If your saliva stays floating on top, this means that candida overgrowth is likely not an issue for you.
- If it grows legs, then Candida is likely an issue for you and could be getting in the way of your hormonal and whole body health. This is a sign that it’s time for a tune up.
- If it sinks to the bottom of the glass, then there are more of them than you and you’ll want to get this under control as soon as possible.
There are two ways to increase the accuracy of this test:
- Do not consume dairy the day before you start testing or on any of the six days as it can thicken the mucosal membranes and give you a false positive
- Stay hydrated as dehydration can cause your saliva to sink and also result in a false positive.
If you have Candida, you want to identify it as early as possible. The sooner you start working towards rebalancing, the sooner you’ll feel better and get your glowing skin back.
If you suspect you have Candida and want to know more about how to get rid of it, I have a 30-minute TV episode on how I’ve helped countless others kick their Candida in just 6-10 weeks time. Just click here and scroll halfway down the page to watch the show.
How to Eliminate Candida
The first thing you’ll want to look at is your diet. I use a diet that slashes inflammation by eliminating sugar and the most common food sensitivities, along with a 16-day antifungal rotation that includes grapefruit seed extract, oregano oil, olive leaf extract, and Pau D’arco – all strategic for very different reasons.
There are also other powerful and necessary GI cleansing agents involved to clean up the homes these “bad guys” build in your body to keep them safe, which are called biofilms, such as food grade diatomaceous earth and bentonite clay as well. Another is saccharomyces boulardii, a yeast eating strain of probiotic.
The next step is repopulating the gut, healing and sealing the damage to the stomach lining, followed by balancing stomach acid, providing a full tune up to the entire digestive system.
After a decade in private practice and working with thousands of real people, I could not have a stronger belief in the power of the human body. When we give the body what it needs and remove what burdens it, it will heal itself and it will thrive.
The moral of this story is healing the gut, heals the skin in a lasting way. Believe in the power of using food and botanicals as your medicine to heal and to thrive.
Christa Orecchio is a Clinical Nutritionist and the woman behind thewholejourney.com. She wants to help people get healthy and get glowing skin from the inside out by acknowledging the connection between skin health and gut health.