Originally published June 25 2007
How your skin health reflects the health of your large intestine (and other holistic principles of wellness)
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor
Did you know that the health of your large intestine is reflected in the health of your skin? Your large intestine and skin are organs that interact with the environment. They both absorb and emit chemicals, water, and other metabolic products. The large intestine is the body's largest internal organ; its purpose is to absorb food, nutrients and water. The function of the skin is to hold not only all of your other organs, tissues, capillaries and muscles in place, but also to allow your body to breathe. It is a respiration organ -- it both inhales and exhales.
Part of the function of your skin is to excrete waste. Sweating, for example, is not just for cooling your skin; it also opens your pores and excretes toxins. This is one reason why people who use deodorants and antiperspirant chemicals on their skin develop breast cancer, liver cancer or other forms of cancer; these products block the body's ability to open up and excrete toxic wastes through the skin. Sweating is good for you!
When you look at someone who is suffering from skin problems, it is a clear indication that something similar is going on in the large intestine. For example, people who suffer from severe acne are usually heavy consumers of milk and dairy products.
The link between skin disorders and intestinal health problemsProcessed dairy products are what I call stagnating foods (raw dairy is a different story, however). They do not digest easily in the human body. They have no fiber whatsoever, and they contain a protein that is very difficult for humans to digest. When milk enters the digestive tract, it can actually stay lodged there for an extended duration and putrefy because there is no fiber to move it out. It begins to create pus-filled sores on the inside of the large intestine wall. The exact same thing happens to the skin -- it creates sores with pus called acne. It is a reflection of what's happening in the large intestine, except you are seeing it from the outside.
Conventional doctors who do not understand holistic health only look at what's happening locally; they think bacteria in the skin cause acne. We all have bacteria on and in our skin, so the presence of bacteria isn't the cause of acne. Do you think clear-skinned people have sterilized their facial skin? Hardly. If you are suffering from acne, try going dairy-free for thirty days and see for yourself just how much your acne is reduced or eliminated.
The benefits of healthy intestinesWhen a large intestine is healthy -- when it is not carrying putrefied, undigested food matter and instead contains healing, cleansing phytonutrients like chlorophyll from fresh fruits and vegetables -- it is going to perform its function well. A person who has a healthy large intestine will reflect that in their complexion. Their skin will look young. This helps explain why people who routinely engage in a lot of juicing -- drinking the juice from raw fruits and vegetables -- have such healthy looking skin. It is not only because the juice is nourishing their skin, it is also because the juice is cleansing their large intestine. Their entire digestive system gets healthier, and their skin reflects that improved level of health.
Probiotics are good for both the large intestine and the skin for many of the same reasons. The large intestine is kept healthy by maintaining a friendly terrain that welcomes helpful bacteria. We must have friendly bacteria in the gut in order to be healthy individuals for a variety of reasons, some of which are only beginning to be understood by medical researchers. Healthy skin also provides the right terrain for friendly bacteria, while discouraging the growth of harmful bacteria.
The importance of water for digestion and skinThere are other similarities between these two organs: their positive reaction to sufficient dietary water. Water actually helps lubricate the movement of fecal matter through the large intestine. In a person who is chronically dehydrated, the peristaltic action of the large intestine is reduced; thus fecal matter spends a longer amount of time in the body, emitting toxins and poisoning the body.
So many people are chronically dehydrated, it's no surprise that millions of people suffer from diseases of the large intestine and bowel like Crohn's Disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Likewise, water is important for healthy skin, lubricating it and keeping it soft and supple. Without water, all tissues in the body become crippled at the cellular level; they begin to shrivel and lose their ability to function properly. They are unable to do the basic things that every cell needs to do to survive, which is to take in nutrients and excrete metabolic waste products.
Keep your tissue flexible for better performanceYou'll notice that people who drink a lot of water and do not consume dehydrating beverages such as soda, coffee and sugary drinks tend to have much better skin. They also have healthier large intestines, even though you cannot see that from the outside. Another interesting similarity between the two organs is that they both benefit from nutrition which allows them to operate with a healthy amount of tissue flexibility. Minerals like silica and certain types of nutrients such as collagen can also help in this process. Of course, good protein assimilation is crucial for this, too.
Healthy large intestine tissue is flexible tissue; the same thing is true with skin. Healthy looking skin, when stretched, snaps back into place without showing signs of wear, tear, or stretching. When a person suffers nutritional deficiencies, especially certain minerals and amino acids, they begin to lose the flexibility of the protein fibers in cells throughout their body. This can affect their skin and their large intestine, as well as other organs.
If you see somebody who appears to be aging rapidly, such as a person who smokes cigarettes, you are witnessing the stiffening or hardening of the fibrous connective tissue in their skin. As the same time, they are losing physiological efficiency in their kidneys and liver, reducing their ability to remove toxins from the blood. They are losing metabolic process efficiencies in their large intestine, small intestine, the brain, the heart and all the organs of the body, and the skin reflects all of this. Looking at your skin is actually a very good way to get a quick glimpse at the overall health of not only your digestive tract and your large intestine, but your entire body.
If you want a healthy digestive system, all you really have to do is adopt a healthy lifestyle. The same things that irritate skin also irritate your digestive tract. If something is giving you acne, rashes, eczema or any kind of skin problems, chances are it is doing the same thing to your large intestine and perhaps your entire digestive tract.
Remember, the body is holistic. One organ can reflect the health status of another, or even of the entire body. You can tell a lot from the skin, and even from fingernails or eyes. All you have to do is learn to pay attention to your body and interpret the obvious signs of health or disease.
As a side note, Chinese Medicine relies heavily on tongue diagnosis, which is based on the same holistic principles being presented here. The character of the tongue can reveal an extraordinary amount of information about the health of a person's internal organs. Tongue diagnosis is extremely advanced, amazingly accurate and is a medical technology that has been developed and improved for nearly 5,000 years. In fact, an experienced Chinese Medicine doctor can tell more from your tongue and pulse than a Western doctor can tell from $10,000 worth of blood tests and an MRI. (No kidding.)
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