As we enter 2019, I often hear an individual’s new years’ resolution is to lose the weight. I myself have resolved to do this both in the new year, as well as throughout the year whenever a big event will occur in which I am going to wear a special outfit, or if I am going to be seeing someone I have not seen in a while. Obviously, we all want to put our best foot forward so to speak.

Over the past year, I have worked and studied diligently on an extension of traditional medicine now termed functional medicine. I am still a dermatologist at heart, but I can augment the care of the skin by looking at the individual as a whole. I have begun to talk more and more about use things like daily multivitamins, probiotics and fish oil for all healthy adults over the age of 18. I have also begun to look past the skin to the gut for answers to common skin problems. 

We know that the entryway to the body is through the gut. From there, every other organ is affected—either positively or negatively, including the skin. We ingest foods, and depending on the health and well-being of the gut, we may be able to produce the proper amount of stomach acid, and digestive enzymes to ensure that the food particles are properly prepared for the gut distal to the stomach. Then begins the process of the body determining what needs to be kept and utilized as a nutritional source, and what should be discarded (or remain in the gut to be transported out). The small intestine contains the gut microbiome, a population of millions of bacteria that are predominately good in nature and help with further digestion and utilization of nutrients. The biome also serves as a checkpoint for things that we do not want to get out into the tissue outside of the gut, including pathogens and toxins. 

The gut microbiome does require certain things to maintain this necessary barrier—a good diet typically consisting of 8-10 servings of fruits and vegetables (usually 2 servings of fruits and the remainder coming from vegetables), 35 gm of fiber per day in addition to the fruits and vegetables, and 8-10 cups of water each day. Without these items, the microbiome will typically start to see a drop in the population of some or all of the bacterial species, and now the body is compromised. With that compromise or imbalance, inflammation can ensue leading to what is known as a leaky gut. Now items that we do not wish to remain in the body are actually leaked out into the surrounding tissue. Leaky gut can lead to bloating, discomfort and even weight gain if left untreated.

If you are experiencing issues related to weight gain, and you seem to not be having success with a healthy diet and exercise, you may consider checking your gut health. Dermatology Office and Dr. Ellen Turner now offer a test created by Genova Diagnostics, which evaluates the stool for multiple indicators to determine the health, or lack thereof, the entire gut. Once the specimen is received from the lab, it typically takes about two weeks for the results to return and the patient can return for a consultation with Dr. Turner to review the analysis results. Call 214-373-7546 if you are interested in obtaining this test kit.