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Root causes of psoriasis and ways to address it including gut stool functional testing

Root causes of psoriasis and ways to address it including gut stool functional testing

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.


Secretory IgA

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!


Inflammatory Markers

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.


  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. Visser, M., Kell, D. and Pretorius, E., 2019. Bacterial Dysbiosis and Translocation in Psoriasis Vulgaris. Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology, 9.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.


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A Nutritionist's Top Tips for Gut Health

A Nutritionist's Top Tips for Gut Health

Registered Nutritionist and Naturopath, Lauren Windas and Co-founder of ARDERE is sharing her top tips for supporting your digestive health.


The incredible organ that is our gut has become an area of increasing popularity within the health and medical community, showing no signs of slowing down. More and more research has come to light on how our digestive system plays a pivotal role in our overall wellbeing. From skin health, to autoimmune conditions and even our mental health, the gut is a key player in a variety of biological processes that can have widespread outcomes towards our overall wellbeing.

Once thought of as a straightforward system of the body, the digestive system was considered as simply one long tube for our food to pass through, absorb our nutrients and pass out the other end. Yet the gut offers a plethora of health benefits to us, and we can credit much of these to the community of microorganisms living within us, called the microbiota.

The microbiota refers to the various species of bacteria, yeasts and protozoa that reside within the large intestine. Most of you will have heard about ‘bad’ bacteria and organisms that can cause disease, but we also host a variety of ‘good’ bacteria which can promote health.

These beneficial bacteria can support immunity (since 70% of our immune system resides in the gut), as well as influencing our mood (90% of the body’s serotonin, a ‘happy’ brain chemical is produced in the gut). With over 100 million neurons having been identified within the digestive tract, the gut has now been referred to as our “second brain”, due to the body’s longest cranial nerve, the vagus nerve, extending all the way from the brainstem into the colon, connecting and communicating the two organs with one another.

Scientists are now uncovering the various facets that we can implement to our diet and lifestyle in order to promote an abundance of these favourable communities of good bacteria that can ward away infection and illness and generally keep our digestive system (and overall health) in good nick.

With a rise in chronic diseases such as IBS, psoriasis, anxiety and depression, it’s never been more important to ‘go with your gut’ and give it some TLC.

That’s why I’m sharing my top 5 tips on nurturing the health of your gut:

Eat probiotic and prebiotic foods

Probiotics are live bacteria that are introduced to the body for their beneficial qualities. Whilst probiotics can be taken in supplemental form, I always encourage my clients to use food-form probiotics too, for their ability to populate the communities of good bacteria within the digestive tract. Probiotic foods include:

  • Kefir - the bacteria in milk kefir can pre-digest the lactose content, making it much easier to digest if you are lactose intolerant. You can also experiment with water kefir, as an alternative.
  • Live yoghurt – always check the labelling of yoghurt brands to see if they add ‘live cultures’ to their ingredients lists, to ensure you are reaping some beneficial gut bugs.
  • Kimchi – a Korean dish of spicy pickled cabbage that packs a nice flavour punch.
  • Sauerkraut – a German dish of chopped pickled cabbage, which is a less spicy alternative to kimchi.
  • Kombucha – this is a great swap from a high sugar fizzy drink. Kombucha is a drink produced by fermenting sweet tea with a culture of yeast and bacteria. The small amount of sugar that is added to kombucha for fermentation processes gets broken down, resulting in a low sugar drink full of friendly microbes and organic acids.

Prebiotics are compounds found in food that help to promote the beneficial bacteria colonies that already reside in the gut. In other words, it is food for our gut microbes. Prebiotic foods include:

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Asparagus (it will retain most of its prebiotic content when cooked al dente)
  • Oats
  • Chicory root
  • Apples
  • Bananas (the less ripe, the higher the prebiotic content!)
  • Jerusalem artichokes

Up your fibre intake

Fibre is a plant-based carbohydrate that passes through the digestive system to the colon. Whilst fibre is something that humans cannot digest, it offers a food source for our gut microbes, which ‘gobble’ up the fibre and can produce beneficial by-products, called Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs). SCFA’s can have anti-inflammatory effects in the colon as well as nourishing the cells of the gut lining1

It is recommended that we should be consuming 30g of fibre a day, whereas the majority of the population are estimated to only be averaging 18g daily.

Not only does fibre help our microbes to produce SCFA’s, having a high fibre diet can help reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes2, cardiovascular disease3 colorectal cancer4 and constipation.

Top tip: if you are someone who suffers with IBS and digestive symptoms, then always increase fibre into the diet slowly as it can exacerbate your symptoms.

Eat mindfully

One in five people in the UK suffer with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), a condition which affects the gut and causes symptoms such as diarrhoea, constipation, bloating, gas and abdominal pain.

A lot of my clients will put their IBS symptoms down to having food intolerances, which are, of course, a very real thing. However, despite avoiding various trigger foods and following an elimination diet, I often see clients still experiencing exacerbations of their symptoms.

This is where lifestyle comes into play and I like to emphasise that the way you eat is just as important as what you eat.

When you eat in a stressful state, your nervous system is in a state of fight-or-flight, which unfortunately means that digestion becomes last on the body’s priority list. 

So slow down, avoid any distractions (that means no social media or TV whilst eating!) and chew your food thoroughly, to facilitate the digestive system to work optimally to break down and absorb your food, alleviating any digestive distress.

Eat smaller meals and practise meal spacing

Your digestive system is extremely hard-working and is busy working around the clock, utilising a lot of energy just like the rest of our body. Therefore, we need to give our gut a breather to rest and repair.

If you are someone who suffers with bloating, consuming smaller meals can be beneficial in reducing symptom severity and frequency.

Eating smaller meals can help the stomach to empty much quicker than if you eat a large meal, reducing abdominal pain and distention after eating.

Spacing your meals and avoiding frequent snacking after meals can also be the key to a healthier gut. A special mechanism called the migrating motor complex (MMC) acts as a form of gut housekeeping, sweeping away undigested food particles and bacteria out of the stomach and small intestine to keep the intestines healthy. The MMC is activated after a 4-hour fasting period5. Therefore, spacing your food and avoiding frequent snacking between meals can help to keep the microbiota healthy and within optimum balance.

Diversity is the spice of life!

Whilst you may have heard of the well-known soluble and insoluble fibre, you may be surprised to learn that there have been over 100 different types of fibre identified in the diet. Eating a diverse range of fibre is associated with a strong diversity of gut bacteria, which is a key facet towards optimum health and has been shown to lower our risk of various chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and metabolic syndrome.

In order for us to reap the benefits of these different types of fibres, eat a variety of different types of plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, wholegrains, nuts and seeds on a daily basis.

Always remember to mix things up – if you often eat blueberries with your morning porridge, try switching this to raspberries the next day to reap different plant fibres which will increase the diversity of your gut microbiota.

And finally, if you are looking to uncover more insights into the health of your microbiome, look no further than the GI360™ Complete, an advanced, innovative, comprehensive and clinically-applicable stool profile, utilising multiplex PCR molecular technology, coupled with growth-based culture and ID by MALDI-TOF, sensitive biochemical assays and microscopy to detect and assess the status of pathogens, viruses, parasites and bacteria that may be contributing to acute chronic gastrointestinal symptoms and disease. The GI360™ Complete also includes comprehensive stool chemistries for assessment of digestive, immune, inflammation and intestinal health.



  1. Säemann, M.D. Böhmig, G.A. Osterreicher, C.H. et al. (2000). 'Anti-inflammatory Effects of Sodium Butyrate on Human Monocytes: Potent Inhibition of IL-12 and Up-regulation of IL-10 Production', The FASEB Journal, 14 (15), pp. 2380-2382 NCBI [Online]. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11024006
  2. Wang, P.Y. Fang, J.C. Gao, Z.H. et al. (2016). 'Higher Intake of Fruits, Vegetables or their Fibre Reduces the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: A Meta-Analysis', Journal of Diabetes Investigation, 7 (1), pp. 56-69, NCBI [Online]. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4718092/
  3. Threapleton, D.E. Greenwood, D.C. Evans, C.E.L. et al. (2013). 'Dietary Fibre Intake and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis', BMJ, 347, BMJ [Online]. Available at: https://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f6879
  4. Aune, D. Chan, D.S.M. Lau, R. et al. (2011). 'Dietary Fibre, Whole Grains, and Risk of Colorectal Cancer: Systematic Review and Dose-Response Meta-Analysis of Prospective Studies', BMJ, 343, pp. 1-20, BMJ [Online]. Available at: https://www.bmj.com/content/343/bmj.d6617
  5. Wood, J.D. (2017). ‘Enteric Nervous System: Physiology’, Encyclopedia of Neuroscience, pp. 1103-1113, Science Direct [Online]. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780128093245018344

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