Chronic skin problems should be a call interpreted as a call to action. To me, they are best interpreted as another tip of a health iceberg – as we saw with hair loss. I wrote this piece to help a friend provide his wife some details on how tactics apart from prescription creams may be able to help his daughter’s eczema.
Skin conditions, such as eczema, are often one of the first indications of leaky gut. This can progress into a whole host of inflammatory conditions. The time to act is when it is just a simple itchy hand.
Sounds bad – and it is! We don’t want to think about anything leaking in the gut, and to make matters worse this is can happen internally in the absence of obvious symptims.
These tight junctions serve as the bouncer – good into the body and the bad bounced out the back door. Leaky gut happens when these bouncers don’t execute their function and various particles, bugs, and or toxins get through because the junction isn’t tight – and the body then has to react. And react it does…
Zonulin is the signal to open these tight junctions.
“This protein is called tight junctions. It has multiple constituents, multiple little proteins that make up these large Velcro-like proteins that hook together and attach one microscopic cell to the next cell. [Starting] at your sinuses and [going] all the way to the rectum, you have a vast amount of cells that make up a single cohesive carpet or membrane or shield from the outside world — ideally.Dr. zach bush on mercola.com2
That membrane … is your frontline of defense … It is a single-cell layer thick … The “Velcro” is loosened appropriately by biology to allow big macromolecules to come in and then it tightens up right behind. That is managed by a little protein we make in our body called zonulin. Zonulin is produced appropriately by molecules that need to get through the membrane. It touches the membrane [and] the gut epithelium makes zonulin. The zonulin opens up the tight junction …
Zonulin is the critical modulator of this permeability of the gut membrane. If zonulin starts to get overproduced and you can’t check its production, it … leads to damage in the gut epithelium … All the gates open and everything it was supposed to keep out [in the intestines] is let in [to the bloodstream].
Zonulin also lets lectins in:
Zonulin opens up the spaces between the cells of the intestinal lining, which enables lectins to access the surrounding tissues, lymph nodes and glands, or bloodstream, where they have no business being. Once there, they act like any foreign protein, prompting your body’s immune system to attack themThe plant paradox 3
We saw another place lectins can wreak havoc in my previous article ‘Wheat: The Gallbladder Blocker‘. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could prevent that? On to what triggers zonulin…
Gliadin is a protein component of gluten and wheat. It is a major driver of immune reactions associated with Celiac Disease. Why? Zonulin!
Gliadin binds to CXCR3 and leads to MyD88-dependent zonulin release and increased intestinal permeability.Gliadin Induces an Increase in Intestinal Permeability and Zonulin Release by Binding to the Chemokine Receptor CXCR3. Karen M. Lammers, et al 4
Various bacteria can activate zonulin as well.
The two major triggers of zonulin release that have been described so far are bacteria and gliadin. It is well described that many enteric pathogens are able to produce enterotoxins that affect the intestinal tight junction of the host. In addition toZonulin, a regulator of epithelial and endothelial barrier functions, and its involvement in chronic inflammatory diseases
enteroxins, several enteric pathogens, including commensal Eschericha coli, lab E. coli, virulent E. coli, and Salmonella typhi have been shown to cause a release of zonulin from the intestine when applied to the apical surface.8 Following the release of zonulin, the intestine showed increased permeability and disassembly of ZO-1 from the tight junction complex.
Craig Sturgeon and Alessio Fasano5
A healthy microbiome (bacteria/virus/pathogen residents) keeps the problematic bacteria in check.
Here is a good summary on glyphosate and zonulin:
Glyphosate is a profound zonulin stimulator. Research reveals glyphosate damages the epithelial tight junction tissue on contact, weakening those barriers which protect us on the inside from the barrage of other environmental toxins we are exposed to, among other things. Injury to the tight junction membrane in the gut can lead to intestinal permeability.Dr . zach bush 6
The zonulin production initiated by the glyphosate assault quickly becomes systemic; injury to the tight junction membrane in the brain can result in a breakdown of the blood-brain barrier and a host of neurological symptoms.
With the collapse of the tight junction firewalls, all organ systems go under duress. Just behind that microscopically thin layer of protection of the endothelial cells that separate you from the outside world is the gastrointestinal lymphatic tissue (GALT). The GALT is a layer of immune cells that are vigilantly standing guard to address any breach in your firewall. It is estimated that 60-70% of the immune system, and more than 80% of the antibodies that your immune system produces, originate in the GALT.
Glyphosate is patented as an antibiotic7! How does that square with the bacterial component and keeping the microbiome in balance? Not so well!
And glyphosate use is staggering:
Since 1974 in the U.S., over 1.6 billion kilograms of glyphosate active ingredient have been applied, or 19 % of estimated global use of glyphosate (8.6 billion kilograms). Globally, glyphosate use has risen almost 15-fold since so-called “Roundup Ready,” genetically engineered glyphosate-tolerant crops were introduced in 1996. Two-thirds of the total volume of glyphosate applied in the U.S. from 1974 to 2014 has been sprayed in just the last 10 years. The corresponding share globally is 72 %. In 2014, farmers sprayed enough glyphosate to apply ~1.0 kg/ha (0.8 pound/acre) on every hectare of U.S.-cultivated cropland and nearly 0.53 kg/ha (0.47 pounds/acre) on all cropland worldwide.Trends in glyphosate herbicide use in the United States and globally
Charles M. Benbrook8
Quick Look at Celiac
Celiac Disease (CD) is an interesting group of patients to reference when verifying mechanisms such as this involving wheat. The way I look at CD is it being an amplified response to
What I observe in health conditions is that it is often not just one thing, but a combination of overlapping inputs that cause disease. Here is an association of data that shows what wheat/gluten/gliadin and glyphosate look like together in terms of CD incidence.
My takeaway on wheat and glyphosate is that they are highly dangerous together, but very effective individually still at contributing to profound health consequences
Since the post title is about skin, here is an observation about dermatitis in celiac patients:
atopic dermatitis was about 3 times more frequent in patients with celiac disease and 2 times more frequent in their relatives than in spouses.Allergy prevalence in adult celiac disease.10
Skin Health and the Gut
I have read countless times, skin health starts in the gut. To save time on including all those citations, here is part of the summary from a well-researched paper (165 references):
Through complex immune mechanisms, the influence of the gut microbiome extends to involve distant organ systems including the skin. With intentional modulation of the microbiome, probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics have proven beneficial in the prevention and/or treatment of inflammatory skin diseases including acne vulgaris, AD, and psoriasis.The Gut Microbiome as a Major Regulator of the Gut-Skin Axis. Iman Salem, Amy Ramser, Nancy Isham, and Mahmoud A. Ghannoum. 11
Wheat + Glyphosate +Altered microbiome can result in skin AND inflammatory issues. Does this change the perspective a little on this type of statement, “Oh, it’s just
Gut Health = Human Health
As your gut health goes, so goes your people health. I have seen countless connections from the gut to common diseases such as cancer and autoimmune conditions. I will add more posts on these connections in the future. Basically, anything with an inflammatory component can start from a leaky gut. Inflammation seems like a proper response to sh*t getting past the bouncer right?
This is a simple although not easy section. Avoid gluten/gliadin. Avoid anything treated with glyphosate. Organic is the best when feasible/practical. The Environmental Working Group helps on the practical, letting us know which you can skip the organic and which should be mandatory organic.
Avoiding gluten and glyphosate is near impossible (even organic wine can be contaminated), both ingredients are everywhere. There is one product I start with across the board for any exposures, pre or post. I mentioned Zach Bush a couple times above, he formulated a product that has been lab verified to restore tight junctions, even in the presence of glyphosate and gluten. The product name is, appropriately, Restore. You can find it on our site, as Island Drug is a proud wholesale partner. I have seen this help to correct gut issues for many patients of all ages.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out for a free intro call if you would like any help with this or other health optimization opportunities!
- BallenaBlanca [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
- Steven R. Gundry M.D., The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in “Healthy” Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain, pg. 23, loc. 435
- United States Patent 7,771,736