By Emma Gould, Nutrition by Emma
Psoriasis is a skin condition which affects 2-8% of the World Population1. Conventional Medicine treatments include steroid creams, light therapy or, in more severe cases, immune suppressant drugs. Functional Testing, particularly stool tests, offer an alternative option and help to get to the root causes of why the psoriasis has appeared in the first place.
The earliest studies suggesting a link between intestinal permeability and psoriasis dates back to 19912. Stool testing gives us some answers as to why the gut may have become permeable and what exactly is happening in the gut right now to continue the problem.
Dysbiosis is an imbalance between the good and bad bacteria in the gut. Testing can show exactly which strains are low, which are high and if there are any pathogens present. Gram negative bacteria produce LPS which cross over the leaky gut, enter the blood stream and add to the immune cascade which results in psoriasis3.
An individual’s own sensitivity to specific herbs is an invaluable part of the results which helps to personalise a protocol. When we know exactly which herbs to use to knock back the overgrowth, it removes the guesswork and makes for a much more tailored approach.
Yeast overgrowth is often an issue for psoriasis sufferers. There are many different strains of yeast and the testing determines which strain may be present and which herbs to use to decrease it if necessary. Too much yeast again adds to the overall toxic burden and upsets the sensitive ecosystem of the gut.
These are surprisingly common in humans but don’t be alarmed! With some types of parasite, the jury is still out as to whether they could actually be beneficial to the gut. As always, interpretation is about taking a holistic look at the individual and deciding whether the parasite is causing any adverse effects.
This is an important one. It is the measure of the mucosal lining which coats the entire lining of the Gastrointestinal Tract. It is the first line of defence against fighting anything foreign which may find its way into the body. Low levels can be a reason as to why these invaders are able to stick around. It also offers another layer of protection to stop toxins crossing over the gaps in the intestine so it is important to increase it if found to be low4.
A measure of the digestive enzymes produced by the pancreas. A common find with psoriatics is difficulties in the earlier stages of digestion. Low stomach acid can mean that food is not the correct PH to activate elastase further down the track. If food isn’t broken down fully by stomach acid and enzymes, then it can putrify in the gut which adds to the toxic load5.
Short Chain Fatty Acids are dietary fibres which feed the beneficial bacteria in the gut. Low SCFA levels indicates a need for more prebiotic foods in the diet – generally speaking to add in more whole plant foods with a wide variety of colour, eat the rainbow!
These are also tested and can indicate a more serious underlying problem. As can the presence of blood in the stool.
In conclusion, the gut is an ecosystem. Functional Testing allows us to obtain specific answer as to which sections are out of balance. The herb sensitivity gives personalised answers allowing for a tailor-made protocol. Once the toxins are reduced, the gut is rebalanced and the intestine is allowed to heal, the overactive immune system will decrease and be reflected on the skin.
Springate, D., Parisi, R., Kontopantelis, E., Reeves, D., Griffiths, C. and Ashcroft, D., 2016. Incidence, prevalence and mortality of patients with psoriasis: a U.K. population-based cohort study. British Journal of Dermatology, 176(3), pp.650-658.
Humbert, P., Bidet, A., Treffel, P., Drobacheff, C. and Agache, P., 1991. Intestinal permeability in patients with psoriasis. Journal of Dermatological Science, 2(4), pp.324-326.
Visser, M., Kell, D. and Pretorius, E., 2019. Bacterial Dysbiosis and Translocation in Psoriasis Vulgaris. Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology, 9.
Mantis, N., Rol, N. and Corthésy, B., 2011. Secretory IgA's complex roles in immunity and mucosal homeostasis in the gut. Mucosal Immunology, 4(6), pp.603-611.
Proctor M, Wilkenson D, Orenberg E, Farber E., 1979. Lowered Cutaneous and urinary levels of polyamines with clinical improvement in treated psoriasis. Arch Dermatol, 115, pp. 945-949.