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 Naturopathic Medicine: Adios Alligator Skin 
 
Lauri Aesoph M. ND ©

One-third to a half of psoriasis sufferers know a family member with the same condition. Genetics aside, one explanation for the overly-enthusiastic production of skin cells found in psoriasis are cyclic-GMP (cGMP) and cyclic-AMP (cAMP), naturally occurring compounds that control cell division rate. When these substances are out of balance, for example cGMP is too high and CAMP too low, then psoriasis occurs.

Fortunately, there are several ways to manipulate cGMP and cAMP levels. The simplest is through diet. Because toxins, such as those derived from bacteria and yeast, boost cGMP, a high-fiber-toxin-removal diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains is essential. If your liver isn't adequately filtering blood, psoriasis may be the result. Alcohol, which encourages toxin absorption and discourages liver function, should be avoided in this condition.

Inflammation, a key symptom in psoriasis, can also be controlled through foods. Eicosapentaenoic acid, onions and garlic are all natural anti-inflammatory agents. Animal-derived fats have the opposite effect--they promote redness, swelling and pain.

There are many other steps you can take to control a psoriasis outbreak. Several nutritional supplements have been shown to be helpful including selenium, vitamin E, zinc and vitamin D. Chromium may be indicated if you have a blood sugar problem.

Sunlight, a source of vitamin D, is excellent for psoriasis as well as stress reducing activities. Ask your doctor to check how well your digestive system is working. Poor protein absorption and utilization contribute to psoriasis symptoms. Depending on what's wrong, you may need to take supplemental hydrochloric acid or pancreatic enzymes.

Medicinal plants also have a place in a psoriasis regimen. Milk thistle, or Silybum marianum, not only calms the redness, but works by improving liver function. Dandelion can also be used for the liver. Many traditional psoriasis herbs work by normalizing the affected body process. Red clover, or Trifolium pratense, works this way as does sarsaparilla root, or Smilax offinalis. Trifolium also soothes eczema.

Psoriasis is a disease that waxes and wanes. Conditions that aggravate it include injury to susceptible areas, and sometimes a bad sunburn or general irritation of the region. Some individuals, especially children, have a violent psoriasis outbreak after a urinary tract infection.

Beauty may only be skin deep, but healthy skin demands more than superficial care. Your skin's health is a reflection of your overall well-being. Genetics and individual physiology are the framework for health. But it's what you nail to that frame, your nourishment, activity level, mental outlook, emotional stability and spiritual harmony, that shapes the final product.



Skin Facts

Did you know...

  • Until Eskimos were introduced to a Western diet after World War II, they rarely suffered from acne.
  • The female hormone, estrogen, not only makes female skin softer and smoother than a man's, but also causes cuts to bleed more.
  • Skin helps keep us warm in cold weather by: not sweating, by restricting blood flow to the body surface and thus preserving body heat, and by causing us to shiver.
  • After living in hot weather for one to six weeks, sweat glands produce up to 1.5 liters of perspiration per hour. Salt loss, on the other hand, reduces dramatically.
  • Triglycerides comprise most of the lipids in the sebaceous glands.
  • Nails and hair are considered part of the skin.
  • You lose on average 50 to 100 hairs per day.
  • Toenails grow slower than fingernails.
  • Nails help you grasp and pinch things.
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