Itching, dermatitis and food intolerances

About the disorder

There are cases when certain inflammatory conditions of the skin (urticaria, dermatitis, eczema, unbearable itching, etc.) have no apparent causes and seem hopeless, whether affecting children or adults. The first thought that comes to mind is to check environmental and food allergens, hoping to track down the “culprit”. A possible connection with one’s nutritional lifestyle is only taken into consideration once a conventional test proves that there is a food allergy, otherwise the correlation tends to be ruled out. However, mistakes are always possible: in fact, there are several kinds of atopic dermatitis caused by foodstuffs, even when immunoglobulins, typical of the allergy, are not traceable in the bloodstream.

Skin inflammations can originate from a food intolerance instead of from an allergy, slowly developing over time and becoming visibile, at a certain point, at skin level. Skin allergies appear rapidly, usually with acute, violent symptoms, and activate immunoglobulin production. Intolerances are, too, adverse reactions to foodstuffs that the body identifies as foreign, but disorders manifest themselves as “delayed action bombs”, instead of occurring straight away. This is because the immune system does not perceive the aggression as an immediate threat, and this causes a slowly developing, constant inflammatory state that the organism manages to tolerate  up to a certain point, until the symptom appears.

Because of this latency period, many find it difficult to accept and understand how a skin problem, “suddenly” arising at some point in their lives, might be connected to a foodstuff that had always been taken “without any problem whatsoever”.  A foodstuff can cause intolerance problems if  it passes through the intestinal mucosa barrier, day by day,  without having first been split into the basic nutrients (aminoacids, monosaccharides, etc.); as such, i.e. in the form of macromolecules, it should instead transit through the intestinal lumen and be eliminated as waste.

Once the no longer intact intestinal barrier has been crossed, the immune systems identifies it as a foreign element and activates a defensive response. Upstream there is not only a lack of efficient digestive enzymatic systems, but also a loss of the intestinal mucosa’s selective barrier function, which is therefore “mistakenly” crossed by food macromolecules.  An intact intestinal mucosa lets only nutrients pass through, whereas a mucosa resembling a colander allows food macromolecules to come into contact with the lymphatic and blood systems, triggering off a reaction of the immune system.

These macromolecules are perceived by lymphocytes (the so-called “sentinels” of the immune system) as enemies to fight  – technically referred to as antigens. The immune system does not generally treat such aggressions by food macromolecules as an immediate threat, so the reaction is slower and initially dose-dependent: in order to sensitise lymphocites to an inflammatory response, the attack needs to be a massive and prolonged one.

This explains the reason why food intolerances develop towards the most frequently ingested foodstuffs, precisely the ones that up until then had “never given any problem” whatsoever, or so it seemed. But why has the mucosa become “a colander” in the meantime? To fully understand the reasons for this, it must be made clear that the intestinal barrier is (or rather, should be) made of a compact deployment of cells, together with a multitude of permanently based, beneficial bacteria. Whatever has a negative impact on its vitality and on the presence of intestinal bacterial flora represents a concrete risk of the barrier slowly becoming “colander” in the long run, with an ensueing outbreak of a food intolerance.

Abuse of drugs (antibiotics, in particular), food pollutants (heavy metals, additives, preservatives and pesticides), stress and infections are all “poisons” undermining intestinal barrier’s integrity, starting from the bacterial flora itself. If this adds to other, earlier faux pas… such as insufficient or lack of breast-feeding, early introduction of cow milk or mistakes during the weaning phase, then the risk of having an altered intestinal permeability is almost guaranteed.

When there is a shortage of bacterial flora, the benefit goes to pathogenic microorganisms, whose main activity is to attack the intestinal mucosa. Junctions between cells slacken and the mucosa becomes permeable to food macromolecules that would have otherwise been rejected. Undigested, unwanted foodstuffs and toxins therefore access the organism, triggering of the food intolerance mechanism.

The skin-intestine relation has long been known: scientific studies have shown that in subjects suffering from atopic dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, etc., the intestinal mucosa appears to be particularly permeable [Increased intestinal permeability in atopic eczema. J Invest Dermatol. 1986 Feb; 86(2):101-4; Small intestinal permeability in dermatological disease. Q J Med. 1985 Sep; 56(221):559-67].

Besides scientifically proven evidence, everyone will have experienced the incredibile skin-intestine connection  at least once in a lifetime, perhaps without fully understanding the reasons underlying it. For instance, how many of us have had a skin eruption after taking an antibiotic? More than a matter of personal hypersensitivity to the product’s constituents,  in such cases it happens to be the effect linked to a depletion of the intestinal bacterial flora and to the consequent alteration of the intestinal permeability, as well as to higher quantities of food macromolecules accessing the organism.

In such a situation, the organism finds itself subjected to high antigenic pressure and to an almost daily hyperstimulation of the immune system, with  consequent release of inflammatory substances to defend the system.

Immune cells and inflammatory mediators activated by the intestine can reach any area of the body, including the skin: this happens because the immune system, in charge of defending the organism from external aggressions, responds in a generalized way, alerting each and every body district, with a particular focus on access routes, skin included. It must also be considered that toxins (antigens, inflammatory mediators, etc.), forming as a result of food intolerances, often have a specific target organ in each of us, probably due to the fact that all individuals have a body part that turns out to be weaker than others.

When it is the skin to be affected, apart from skin symptoms connected to the food intolerance, the epithelium, usually most effective in responding to external stimuli, gets destabilized and can therefore become hypersensitive to antigens that are normally harmless, coming from the environment, from objects, clothing, cosmetics or other.  

 Besides, we should not forget that the skin is one of the five extretory organs of the body (from the latin “emunctus”, to expel) and as such the organism can use it to free itself from intoxitating intruders: skin irritations can therefore be the result of this “outburst”. Another two organs playing a fundamental role in detoxifying the organism are the liver and kidneys. Whenever there is an overload of toxins, as in the presence of food intolerances, these organs, too, find themselves to be overworked and cannot fully perform their functions.

Several toxins (undigested macromolecules, inflammatory mediators, etc.) end up remaining in the blood circulation, further burdening and destabilizing the organism, aggravating the entity and frequency of skin diseases until they become chronic.

Nature can help you in case of itching and dermatitis from food intolerance.

Our Approach

A natural and effective approach

In the relationship between food intolerances, itching and dermatitis, eliminating the foodstuff (or foodstuffs) responsible for triggering off the inflammation could seem to be the solution to the problem at first sight.  But apart from the difficulty in determining, and therefore eliminating, possible “guilty” foods, the only factor responsible  for such inflammatory condition is the loss of integrity of the intestinal mucosa and the passing through of food antigens and toxins.

Therefore, eliminating the foodstuff causing intolerance, although a surely useful step, does not actually represent the definitive solution to the problem. There will be temporary relief, but not lasting very long: the damaged mucosa will allow “leakage” of other molecules and the organism will develop new intolerances, with new recurrences of skin affections. Instead, it is vital to act on the causes, starting from where the inflammation originated in the first place, i.e. the intestine.

 GSE, itching and dermatitis from food intolerance  

With regard to this specific problem, Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) is particularly effective for its fundamental role in solving food intolerances. First and foremost, in fact, owing to its selective antimicrobial action, GSE controls proliferation of organisms that alter intestinal permeability (including the the much-feared Candida albicans), while safeguarding bactial flora, which plays an essential role in protecting the mucosa and preventing food intolerances.

Secondly, it protects and repairs the gastro-intestinal apparatus, accelerating the healing process of damaged mucosa originating the problem of food intolerances and of the subsequent, chronic inflammatory status leading to the insurgence of such annoying skin affections.

For all the above reasons, GSE therefore represents the cornerstone upon which an extraordinarily effective approach is based, to counteract causes underlying food intolerances and, in susceptible subjects, the ensuing symptoms of itching and dermatitis.

The association and synergy of specific plant extracts enables to implement a complete approach aimed at tackling and solving the problem causing food intolerances by means of a product for systemic use, performing the following functions at the same time:

  1. it restores integrity of the intestinal mucosa: only this way can access to the organism of food macromolecules and antigens be hindered, so as to prevent accumulation of toxins and development of inflammations;
  2. it optimises the intestinal “ground” and promotes correct metabolic processes, ensuring the presence of integral and vital bacterial flora, as well as facilitating digestive process of the pancreas;
  1. it promotes drainage of toxins and improves functionality of dedicated organs;
  1. In addition to the above, it is necessary to follow a diet that enhances intestinal eubiosis and the right input of nutrients on the one hand, avoiding food categories that alter the intestine’s permeability and, on the other, promoting intestinal eubiosis with right input of nutrients.

This approach, combined with a healthy lifestyle (in terms of diet, but not only), includes the use of natural remedies that are well known in folk tradition and the efficacy of which in providing a definitive solution has been confirmed by recent studies.

Nature can help you with…

Grapefruit Seed Extract: thanks to its cytoprotective properties, GSE accelerates healing of damaged gastro-intestinal mucosa.

Centella: traditionally employed for its cicatrizing properties, Centella strengthens epithelial tissues, promoting  keratinization processes; it stimulates growth of the epithelial endothelium and fosters the production of collagen, therefore ensuring a more effective wound healing. Moroever, it has anti-inflammatory, tonic, diuretic and sedative properties.

Asiatic acid and asiaticoside present in the phytocomplex are the most active complexes: asiatocoside, in particular, favours angiogenesis and stimulates the synthesis of collagen. These properties make Centella essential to restore integrity of an excessively permeable intestinal mucosa.

Agar Agar: the high content of complex polysaccharides, agarose and agaropectin, justifies its internal use as an anti-inflammatory, with a soothing effect on the mucosa. Agar Agar is immune to the aggression of gastric juices and reaches the intestinal tract directly, where it covers the mucosae with a thin, protective layer, while indirectly promoting the restoration of intestinal integrity.

  1. To optimise the intestinal “ground” and enhance correct metabolic processes, ensuring the presence of integral and vital bacterial flora, facilitating digestive processes in the pancreas,

Nature can help you with…

Grapefruit Seed Extract:  thanks to its antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties, it is the perfect remedy to directly combat pathogenic microorganisms (in particular the much-feared Candida), which are responsible for the alteration of the intestinal microbial ecosystem, which in time causes injuries at mucosa level, worsening intestinal permeability and consequentely triggering the onset of food intolerances.

Curcuma: from Curcuma rhizome an extract is obtained, rich in curcumina, that has proven beneficial effects on the immune system: a team of researchers has, in fact,  discovered that curcumina can reinforce the immune system making it more efficient in counteracting the attack of pathogenic agents. Curcuma also has a digestive function, since it simulates biliar secretion helping the digestion of fats. In addition, it also has an important antifungal action and, in this sense, it works synergistically with GSE.

Fermented maltodextrins (enzymes): this is a special combination of purified, highly efficient enzymes, concentrated extracts obtained from fermented maltodextrins using cultured fungus Aspergyllus. These enzymes are active at a temperature close to that of the human body. They carry out their activity within a pH range between 3.0 and 9.0: in other words, they are the only enzymes that are active in both the acid and alkaline, as well as the neutral tracts of the intestine. Their action starts in the higher part of the stomach. This helps diminish the body’s secretion of digestive enzymes, reducing workload of the pancreas. These enzymes break down proteins as well as carbohydrates and fats effectively, ensuring that food macromolecules are split into their core constituents.

  1. To favour drainage of toxins and improve functionality of organs in charge…

Nature can help you with…

Milk thistle: characterised by extraordinary, antioxidant and detoxifying properties, its action affects the liver in particular; its use is essential to improve hepatic activity and purification of organisms “intoxicated” by food intolerances.

Curcuma: due to its particularly rich phytocomplex, it has always been employed as a remedy to solve liver problems. It has hepatoprotective, choleretic and colagenic effects, promoting the production and secretion of bile and, therefore, of digestive processes. In addition, it has a marked anti-inflammatory action in both acute and chronic cases. This activity, free of any side effect whatsoever, is essential in reducing the chronic inflammatory state which is inevitably sparked off by food intolerances.

Solidago: well known for its marked diuretic and purifying properties, it has an anti-inflammatory and decongestant effect on the urinary tract, contributing to maintain well-being of kidneys and bladder. Considering its properties in general, the draining action exerted helps eliminate toxins accumulated due to food intolerance.

  1. In order to follow a diet that enhances intestinal eubiosis and the right input of nutrients… 

Nature can help you with…

PLANT PROTEINS: legumes (beans, peas, fava beans, lentils and chickpeas), tofu, tempeh, yeast and wheat germ.

CEREALS AND WHOLEWHEAT PSEUDOCEREALS: rich in vitamins, mineral salts, fibres, starches and proteins.

They can be divided into gluten-free cereals and pseudocereals (rice, millet, maize, buckwheat, quinoa and amaranth) and in cereals containing gluten (barley, rye, spelt, oats, wheat and kamut).

ORGANIC SEASONAL FRUIT AND VEGETABLES:  the richest in vitamins, especially vitamin C, provitamin A and minerals (calcium, potassium, zinc, copper, magnesium, etc.), antioxidants and fibres.

FISH: small fish and open sea fish (sardines, sea breams, sea basses, anchovies, mackerels), not more than twice a week.

OLEAGINOUS SEEDS: rich in vitamin E, group B vitamins, minerals such as phosphorus, copper, calcium, zinc; plant proteins, fibres, essential fatty acids and monounsaturated fatty acids.

FIRST PRESSING OILS: rich in vitamin F, A and E vitamins, polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6).

LOW FIXED RESIDUE MINERAL WATER: to be taken away from meal times and at room temperature, with fixed residue levels below 50mg/L and pH between 6 and 7. Planned intake of the above listed components has been split and differentiated according to the requirements of different times of the day (morning, midday, evening). This way, useful substances are provided in adequate quantities at the best time of the day to ensure optimal efficacy.

Besides, it is essential to point out that when there are food intolerances it is necessary to rule out all foodstuffs damaging  the intestinal mucosa and rather opt for foodstuffs that promote intestinal eubiosis and that are therefore essential for the definitive resolution of food intolerances and to maintain good health.