Lisa is a qualified Nutritional Therapist. She has been practising nutrition for 12 years across a broad spectrum of health conditions. She has a special interest in Rosacea, and her research, together with handson experience, led to the writing of her thesis entitled “The Nutritional Management of Rosacea”.
Moving on from my isolated focus on digestive health, this week I want to give you some data about the immune system and its role in Rosacea. Rosacea is an inflammatory condition resulting in various symptom manifestations, but ultimately can be considered a by-product of an over-active inflammatory response originating in the hosts immune defense system.
As previously discussed, over 70% of the human body’s immune response occurs in or around the digestive tract. Your cells, in a combined effort with other organisms (such as beneficial bacteria), form a mighty army against invading organisms. However, when the balance of beneficial bacteria as compared to non-beneficial bacteria swings in favour of the non-beneficial, problems occur and specifically, problems with genetic expression and the immune response.
Addressing digestive health is, therefore, paramount in any therapeutic address to Rosacea. I have outlined the most common digestive issues in previous newsletters, so my focus today will be on other aspects of life that interrupt or interfere with the normal immune response mechanisms.
Stress aggravates the inflammatory-immune response by stimulating the release of hormones such as cortisol, adrenalin, glucagon and others into the bloodstream. These hormones trigger a cascade of reactions that raise the glucose level in the blood to provide fuel for the muscles to either run away or stand and fight (fight/flight response). This is the body’s response to stress of any kind whether that be physical, emotional or mental.
The fight/flight response is intended to be a rapid and short response to get us out of immediate danger but in modern living one may be in and out of this state continuously.
During such a stress response, there is also a sharp increase in insulin and IGF-1 (Insulin-like Growth Factor 1). These are pro-inflammatory, and the latter has been clinically proven to enhance inflammation in the vascular system via it’s inhibiting effect on the activity of a gene called GAB1.
These hormonal cascades contribute to inflammation and, if chronic (ongoing without a period for recovery), leads to dysregulation of the immune response. This kind of imbalance causes the immune responses seen in allergies and autoimmune disease (where the immune system loses its regulatory mechanisms and begins to attack the body). Many people with Rosacea know or suspect they are allergic to something and/or have other allergy-type manifestations like Hay Fever, Sinusitis, Cyclic Migraines, Eczema, Asthma, Urticaria and chronic fatigue.
In addition to using stress management techniques (see next week’s newsletter), including a number of super-foods in your diet can help to promote a balanced immune response and therefore reduce inflammatory reactions like Rosacea flushing.
Consuming the following foods regularly, organically grown and in their raw state, can help balance the inflammatory response and therefore lessen the severity of Rosacea flushing and allergy-type reactions:
• Bell Peppers
• Brussels Sprouts
• Coconuts and Coconut Oil
• Cold-pressed Olive Oil
• Fresh Herbs: Dill, Lovage, Tarragon, Parsley
• Grass-fed Beef
• Herb Teas: Green (particularly Matcha Green Tea), Tulsi, Oolong, Ginger & Peppermint
• Onions (especially red onion) and Leeks
• Raw Almonds
• Sesame Seeds
• Sunflower Seeds
Aim for a balanced diet by including some protein with all your meals. Since Rosacea is an excessive heat condition, it is advisable for you to eat 50-80% of your fruits and vegetables in their raw organic state.
One last thing this week, on assisting the immune response to return to normal:
Biochemically speaking, laughter reduces the body’s production of cortisol (a stress hormone), which suppresses the body’s immune system. Thus, by laughter, the body’s immune system is left unimpeded by cortisol. In particular, the immune booster, interleukin-2 is allowed to express itself without being inhibited by cortisol.
Furthermore, research shows that when we laugh, our metabolism rate picks-up, muscles are massaged and stimulated, and a variety of biochemical substances rush into the bloodstream. Studies have demonstrated that, after a period of laughing, subjects not only feel momentarily relaxed, but they also have fortified themselves against depression, heart disease, and immune problems.
It has been demonstrated to heighten pain resistance, and restore balance and equilibrium throughout the body. Find the humour in your daily life and laugh often!
Two Quotes This Week’s by the same author:
“Saying Yes to Happiness means learning to say No to Things and People that stress you out”
“Protect your spirit from contamination. Limit your time with negative people”