By: Pamela Egan, FNP-C CDE
Probiotic Supplements Help Get Rid of Acne
JUNE 12, 2008 – Who would have ever thought that Acne was related to an imbalance of flora in the gut? If you don’t know me by now, I am opposed to using synthetic medications unnecessarily, especially severe acne medications with side effects such as Accutane, to treat adolescent acne. Sometimes, we just need to take a step back and look at natural remedies that worked in the past. Let’s review some simple facts regarding Acne.
Why are more and more adolescents suffering from severe acne? Is it something we’re eating, something we’re taking? Over the years, our children have received more and more antibiotics for minor ailments. I myself am guilty of demanding antibiotics for my four children when they were younger. Many adolescents are treated with antibiotics such as Doxycycline or Minocycline for their acne. The trouble with antibiotics is that while they will indeed kill off the bacteria that may be causing infection, they are non-discriminatory and so will attack the friendly flora in the digestive tract that actually work to keep us healthy. My patients act surprised when I tell them that their immune system is based in their gut.
In a healthy gut, the good bifidobacteria that make up about a third of the gut flora naturally produce antimicrobial agents, which kill off or inhibit the more harmful micro-organisms. When this balance is disrupted and the harmful bacteria are allowed to thrive, they can bind to the gut wall where the damage they cause includes intestinal permeability problems. We fail to absorb the good nutrients, vitamins & minerals and allow the wrong toxins through our intestines. This can lead to nutritional deficiencies, allergies, acne, and auto-immune disease.
The over-prescribing of antibiotics is one of the most common causes of this imbalance. However, supplementing the diet with high-quality probiotics will help prevent acne by re-balancing the intestinal system and put those good bacteria back in control. Whenever you are prescribed antibiotics you need to take a probiotic to counter the negative effects on your digestive system.
Even if you suffer from a serious skin condition such as acne, you will notice a dramatic improvement to your skin if you take a probiotic supplement. This is because acne has been linked in some studies to intestinal health with researchers reporting increased blood levels of toxins absorbed from the gut in acne sufferers.
These toxins come from those pathogens or bad bacteria that take over our intestinal tract. It has been shown that in about 50% of cases of acne, the natural balance of the gut bacteria has been disrupted and the bad bacteria are multiplying faster than the good bacteria. This is referred to as dysbiosis- the disturbance of the natural balance, which is an underlying cause of acne. Probiotics really can make a difference in helping to clear your skin of acne.
Pamela Egan, FNP-C, CDE is a board certified Adult & Family Nurse Practitioner, Certified Diabetes Educator & Clinical Specialist in Mental Health. She practices in Women’s Health with Kathy Posey, MD & can be reached at 985-867-1700 or www.pamelaegan.com.