(Leaky Gut) psoriasis starts in the colon and so does the healing

Warning! lots of (good) reading!

This is an article I read after talking to a naturopath earlier today in concern of my husbands P. She told me she also once had P for about 3 years, she go it after taking antibiotics for a blatter infection.. after 2 sessions of colonics her psoriasis healed up. She told me that everyone is different and that same thing might not work for everyone but thats why a naturopath treats everyone tailored to their psecific needs. One patient she saw with very bad psoriasis had a diet consisting almost entirely of meat and potatoes so changing his diet WAS the answere. Another patient she had just needed to eliminate tomaoes (but no other night shade vegetables). So this is a copy of an article found on the net I did not just ad a link because I don't think its aloud... enjoy!

Your Colon and PsoriasisOverview

Recent studies have suggested that the health of the intestine and colon greatly affects psoriasis. "Leaky gut," also known as dysbiosis or intestinal permeability, is often associated with constipation, diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). These imbalances may not only cause psoriasis to flare up, but also exacerbate a host of other autoimmune and inflammatory conditions. One chiropractic physician and psoriasis specialist, Dr. John Pagano, insists that psoriasis originates within the intestinal tract—and so does its remedy!

A good place to begin healing from the inside out is by learning how your intestinal tract works and to identify problems there that can affect the overall health of the body. We hope to teach you what you need to know about leaky gut and Dr. Pagano's concepts as they apply to psoriasis and skin health.

Basic digestive tract anatomy
Our digestive tract begins with the mouth and stomach, continues with the small and large intestines, and ends with the colon. Good digestion begins with chewing your food well before swallowing, and eating slowly. Stomach, or gastric, health is very important as it begins the breakdown of food particles before they enter the intestines. You may think the intestines are simply tubes for digested food to pass through, but in fact the intestinal tract and colon have very specific and important jobs that greatly influence our health and skin in many ways!

The small intestine averages 15-20 feet in length, and is divided into three sections: the duodenum, the jejunum, and the ileum. The small intestine digests and absorbs various nutrients from food as it passes over microscopic finger-like projections(called villi) lining the intestine walls. Each section plays a role in the breakdown and absorption of nutrients such as vitamins and minerals, proteins, and carbohydrates. In addition to absorption of nutrients, the small intestine (with the help of the pancreas) is responsible for manufacturing enzymes needed to utilize the sugars, amino acids, fats, and minerals you absorb, as well as protecting you from absorbing non-useful substances and toxins.

After food passes though the small intestine it enters the large intestine, where remaining nutrients are absorbed, then passes through the colon where any remaining water is reabsorbed before finally exiting the body as fecal matter. Healthy tissue in both the small and large intestines is crucial for an ideal filtration system. Intestines that are healthy allow useful particles into the system, while keeping harmful toxins out. An individual with a healthy colon and intestinal tract should have one to three soft and formed bowel movements daily!

Leaky gut
Leading research indicates that one of the major contributors to psoriasis—some believe the actual cause of psoriasis—is a condition called intestinal permeability or leaky gut. With leaky gut, it is believed that the walls of the intestine become thinned and inefficient at filtering. Large particles of waste material toxins enter the circulation and eventually the bloodstream. These toxins flow through the body, confusing and weakening the whole immune system and wreaking havoc with inflammatory conditions such as psoriasis. Additionally, if the system is not eliminating toxins properly through the intestinal tract, it will be forced to eliminate them via other organs such as the skin, exacerbating numerous skin conditions like psoriasis. A 1985 study of patients suffering from eczema, psoriasis and other dermatological conditions found that "passive permeability of the small intestine is normal in the majority of patients with atopic eczema and psoriasis" (Hamilton, 1985).

Causes of leaky gut
Not only are gastrointestinal disorders uncomfortable, but they also affect the body's ability to absorb and process nutrients, filter toxins and keep the body well hydrated. Chronic constipation, diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) often lead to leaky gut, due to distention and thinning of the intestines over time. These conditions appear epidemic in the United States. The Mayo Clinic estimates that the numbers of Americans suffering from IBS, which includes constipation and diarrhea, may be as high as one in five. With such high incidence of this condition, you may wonder what Americans are doing wrong to be suffering in such high numbers. Many researchers believe that the typical American diet, high-stress lifestyle, and over-consumption of both over-the-counter and prescription drugs contribute greatly to IBS.

When an individual fails to have regular daily bowel movements (one to three per day), feces sit and putrefy in the colon, causing the pressure and discomfort commonly known as constipation. Constipation can be much more serious than its obvious symptoms. Numerous substances intended to be removed from our system may be reabsorbed with a variety of consequences, as Elizabeth Lipski, PhD eloquently explains in her book, Digestive Wellness. As stool stagnates in the intestines, toxins are often reabsorbed into the system, causing increased inflammation in the body. The inflammation can present in other places with results such as asthma, joint pain, and skin conditions like psoriasis!

Constipation can be caused by a number of factors, the most common being lack of adequate fiber in the diet. Not consuming enough water can also cause constipation, as well as not listening to your body's signals to eliminate. The pattern of "holding it in," a negative emotional pattern often learned in childhood, can linger subconsciously into adulthood.

Diarrhea is characterized by loose, unformed and watery stools. It can occur frequently or sporadically in reaction to certain foods or exposures. This condition is often accompanied by dehydration as the colon is unable to absorb water from the stools before they are eliminated. Extended bouts of diarrhea can lead to malnutrition because the intestines are unable to extract and break down nutrients from what passes through. Diarrhea can be caused by a host of problems, including stress, poor diet, food allergies or sensitivities, and intestinal bacteria, parasites, viruses or other pathogens. Common and often-missed celiac disease, a severe form of wheat/gluten intolerance, also causes chronic diarrhea. Unfortunately, gluten is hidden in many packaged foods and condiments! More widely known, lactose intolerance is another digestive problem that is easier to identify and manage by simply avoiding dairy or by supplementing with the digestive enzyme lactase. When the intestines are constantly in overdrive with purging, the normal beneficial flora of the intestines are also purged. When defenses of the intestinal lining are weakened, it likely becomes inflamed and inefficient in its many critical functions.

IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
IBS is an umbrella term used to denote the painful symptoms of fluctuating constipation and diarrhea, though it does not really present an explanation or identify a root cause of the problem.

Candida (also termed systemic yeast or candidiasis) of the intestines is caused by an overgrowth of yeast colonies in the intestine, and is common in those with constipation, diarrhea or IBS. Many people have Candida and are unaware of it. Symptoms not only include physical problems such as increased intestinal distress and fatigue, but also mood disorders like depression and irritability. Candidiasis can also contribute to leaky gut and a host of other inflammatory conditions, including psoriasis. Though the typical Candida patient is female—often linked to use of oral contraceptives—it can affect anyone from overuse of antibiotics or a high-sugar diet. If you suspect that you suffer from Candida, consider seeing a holistic practitioner for an evaluation, which may include a detailed survey or advanced stool testing. You can also learn more about this condition by reading Digestive Wellness, by Elizabeth Lipski.

Any one of the conditions mentioned above can cause great intestinal upset and increased inflammation in the body. Unfortunately many patients suffer from more than one of these conditions at a time, and some lead into each other in a cyclical pattern of inflammation and suffering. Psoriasis sufferers are particularly vulnerable to these intestinal maladies, and because of the internal inflammation are often plagued with increased discomfort. Dr. Pagano believes not only in dietary adjustments, but also consideration of chiropractic manipulations to indirectly improve the nervous system's control of intestinal tract function.

Intestinal permeability (leaky gut) testing options
One method of determining whether you suffer from "intestinal permeability" is a fairly simple test using two laxative-like substances, mannitol and lactulose. Both substances are ingested, and after a certain amount of time your healthcare provider tests your blood for amounts of each substance. If blood levels are elevated to a certain degree, you have leaky gut. Your physician may order a urine test instead of testing blood levels. You may attempt to request such testing from your primary care physician or gastroenterologist, but the concept of leaky gut or intestinal permeability is usually better understood by holistic practitioners and often dismissed by conventional medicine.

Another method of testing for dysbiosis is through an advanced digestive stool analysis, performed exclusively by a specialty laboratory such as Genovix Laboratories (formerly Great Smokies Diagnostic Labs). This specialty testing needs to be arranged between a healthcare provider and the lab, to obtain a collection kit for the patient—who then collects and mails a stool specimen to the lab. The provider also needs to be skilled in interpreting the results for an appropriate treatment plan. Oftentimes the lab will offer educational assistance to providers new at this.

Steps you can take without testing
Dr. Pagano will most often suggest that patients simply begin their healing with a detoxification program, with strict adherence to a psoriasis diet. This method eliminates accrued toxins from the system and helps avoids further exposure to foods, toxins or irritants that have confused the system. In time the intestines will heal and repair themselves. After that, improved skin is expected.

In his book Healing Psoriasis: The Natural Alternative, Dr. Pagano explains the process:

In these types of diseases, therapy should begin with internal cleansing, regardless of which disease it is. When the procedure is followed, the body can concentrate its efforts on rebuilding more quickly than if it had to destroy the "enemy"—i.e., the accumulated toxins—before starting reconstruction. It follows, then, that the more effective the internal cleansing, the quicker the disappearance of psoriasis.

Edited March 3, 2011 at 1:37 am

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24 replies. Join the discussion

I'm so sorry your husband's intestines leak. He should see a gastroenterologist immediately. A perforated intestine can lead to sepsis and death.

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@RforM, thanks for the article!

@iceskater, a highly permeable intestine is not the same thing as a perforated colon. The latter is a life threatening condition, the former is actually a known condition for sufferers of autoimmune disease. What leeches through the intestinal lining are microscopic fragments of protein and such. With a perforated colon much bigger things, like bacteria, escape.


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My mistake. I skimmed over the post and saw all those problems. I thought that was what had been discovered in his system. Glad he won't get sepsis.

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Okay, now I've read the article. Two of my co-workers have Chrohns disease, and definitely they avoid gluten, lactose and yeast.
Its hard to find a restaurant that meets their needs at lunch time, but the group is pretty good about going along with their restrictions. I wouldn't trade my illness for theirs for anything in the world. Its very hard on them.

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Thanks Lazza for clearing that up so promptly! My husband will be making an appointment with the naturopath on monday, its been great doing the diet but we feel that there is more to it and speaking to a professional is important. She charges $120 an hr and thats nothing compared to the $100 bottles of ointment the derm always prescribes that do little more than lighten the liesions. And the $700 we recently spent on a home UVB lamp that i think is hardly helping him, and I don't like the idea of skin cancer, that would be worse than P!!! Anyways talking to this doc was great she does so much for her patients learing everything she can about the person. I forgot to mention one patient she had with P was very unhappy stressed and had bad anxiety so she treated that problem first and the psoriasis began to heal faster.. she combines many treatments and takes the time to get to the root of the problem.

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Awesome article, and thank you for the posting! I recently read a well-researched article about the dark side of wheat and gluten intolerance online and have added that subject to my line of research. Although I was diagnosed with IBS a few years ago, and see my providers regularly, no one's ever discussed gluten or its potential problems with me. I will be asking for her opinion on Tuesday when I see her! Since I've often encountered subjects that doctors and other pros aren't familiar with, I rely on doing my own research and welcome posts like this one. And after seeing Michael Chiklis on tv talking about gluten, I'm thinking I need to be gluten-free, so I'm working on that goal, regardless of what she says. But I'm poor enough that I can't afford to throw out food I already spent money on, even knowing it could be hurting me. Oh well, I'm wiser now and will shop better now.

Since I'm still a newbie to the subject of damaged villi, I have a question for you. I haven't seen it addressed anywhere yet, maybe the answer is right out there, but I'm going to save myself time and ask you if you have the answer. Can damaged villa be diagnosed by colonoscopy? I'm thinking it would be pretty easy to visualize it after the colon being cleaned out so thoroughly. I'm 54, haven't had my baseline scope yet, but getting scoped stem-to-stern is up after we're done with my current sinus problem and upcoming surgery for that. Ah, another day, another surgery, another new thing to adapt into my life. But, BUT! that means I HAVE a life, and I should have been dead so many times by now it isn't funny. Or maybe it is...yeah, it is something I can laugh at every day I wake up!

Peace, and Thank You AGAIN,


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To RforM:
What wonderful, detailed information about our digestive tract and leaky gut. Before P and PA symptoms my trouble began with abdominal pain (after eating) and although the gluten sensitivity test was negative (probably falsely so as I had been gluten free a couple weeks) I eliminated gluten and had lots of stool sample checks for parasites etc. Nothing showed up, but stayed with the gluten free and ultimately dairy free as I continued the quest to find out what was going on. Was never told I had Candida, but from research think that was certainly possible too. (Doesn't help that I've probably been in perimenopause when this started several years ago as I'm now 51) Anyway, I love that you gave specific tests that would check for Leaky Gut and like you, believe healing the gut is the key. Wish I could find a naturopath doctor here in Southwest Florida-Ft Myers or Naples. I'm beginning to think I'll have to take a day off work and drive a couple hours to find one! I've been reading Pagano's book too.

Thanks again for all the info.

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Hey all, I read Dr. Pagano's book "Healing Psoriasis" a couple of years ago and keep it by my bedside so I can refer to it from time to time. It took a little while to follow all his instructions; it's easier when you change your diet gradually, but I'm now nightshade-free and gluten-free and all my lesions are fading away! The nightshade restriction took care of my rosacea and my blistering hands; but last September I went gluten-free and within 2 weeks my elbows and legs were clearing. My scalp is the holdout, but it is clearing as well, and I'm not nearly so itchy. I read that it can take from 9-12 months for your intestines to heal completely, and then you can relax the restrictions a bit without upsetting your system. The bonus is that since going gluten-free I have so much more energy! I never did the colonics, but probably would have had faster clearing if I did. I still put lactose-free milk in my coffee every morning, and still have my red wine at night. These are all food items that Pagano recommends eliminating from your diet, but I consider them my treats. I'm trying to go caffeine-free now. I did it when I was pregnant, so I know I can do it. All I'm saying is, it's daunting to have to restrict all your favorite foods all at once; it's best to do it gradually. Although your naturopath sounds wonderful, I was able to do this on my own without spending any extra money. The doctors wanted to put me on Enbrel; I just felt they were looking at it from the wrong angle. It all starts from the inside. Heal thyself!

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@Desiree, I had IBS for years before coming down with psoriasis. But now it is better, and I think I know why.

Overhauling my diet (dairy free, gluten free, loads of raw fruits/veggies) improved my IBS symptoms tremendously. During this time I started on probiotics, which probably helped some too. I then took a several different Candida-killing supplements; not sure if they did much. But then something happened about 3 weeks ago. After suffering with a brief cold my lungs got congested. One morning it felt like a wet tennis ball was in my right lung. Not only did it make my breathing labored but it also made my chest and back (!) hurt. I thought my only recourse was to go to the doctor and have him prescribe antibiotics. But I didn't want to go through that hassle and took matters in my own hands.

And so I looked to my collection of supplements and picked out olive leaf extract, which I had been taking in light doses to combat Candida. I decided to up my dosage (..still not a heavy dose) and, you guessed it, my lung cleared up in 24 hours. And just to be safe I thought I should take olive leaf extract for another week to ensure that whatever was creeping around in my lung was dead and gone.

So why am I telling you this? After one week my psoriasis had improved, noticeably. Now after 3 weeks it is even better still. And even better still, my IBS is gone. Totally gone. My bowel movements these last 3 weeks have been the best in years.

Olive leaf extract is fairly cheap, and its safe ... you might want to give it a try. Take 3 capsules each day. Look for olive leaf extract with 15+% oleuropein, the active ingredient.

IMHO, olive leaf extract is killing some sort of pathogen(s) in my gut. I am hoping that with these pathogens gone my "leaky gut" can start to heal.


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@wolfmiester, unfortunately Florida no longer licenses naturopaths (..btw, I live in Fort Lauderdale). The best alternative is an osteopath.


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Im so sorry to hear about not being able to find a naturopath! thats so strange, here in Canada BC the city I live in, Victoria, there's about a dozen to chose from! I really love how passionate my naturopath is about others health its very refreshing.

Thank you all for your shared experiences, I think the more "real" stories people hear the more inspired they will be (after all that IS what this website is called!)

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This is the link to the web site I got the info from, funny I did not post the link because I thought that was not aloud but it is the opposite! I got an email from inspire team saying I need to post a link to avoid copyrite? my bad...

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QUOTE: "Dr. Pagano will most often suggest that patients simply begin their healing with a detoxification program, with strict adherence to a psoriasis diet"

Yes, a detoxification program is the very first step.

Followed by a strict adherence to diet.

May not work for others, but that is what cleared me.

I can't have colonics. But I do other things like: dry skin brushing, steam rooms, salt baths and massages. Hope to start rebounding soon too.

I like naturopaths because as you say: they treat everyone tailored to their specific needs.

Thanks for posting.

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Reply to mzdezi57

Wheat and gluten are very bad for IBS, even if you don't actually have an official allergy / intolerance to them.

Wheat seems to be the big one.

Doctors normally say there is no connection.

But it is pretty well widely known in the alternative natural medicine side of things.

In fact, my doctor urged me to eat things like wheat bread - turns out is was one of the worst thing I could have eaten with IBD.

Wheat also flares up my P - so there is the gut connection as mentioned in the original post.

Also a lot of people with IBS & IBD have probelms with dairy, even if they don't actually have an official allergy / intolerance to it.

Something like this may help:


But you can often tell yourself by your reaction.

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Like Lazza, I am also taking Olive Leaf Extract


On the website it says: "Some people occasionally experience what is known as the Herxheimers Reaction or "Die-Off" Effect. This is a detoxification reaction (rather than a side effect), which occurs due to the rapid effectiveness of the extract in the killing of large numbers of offending microbes in your body". So I am guessing that is what happened to Lazza with his IBS.

But I only take it in winter as a protection against flu.

Normally I am OK flu wise (the juices and raw food are great for protection) but with all the swine flu around, I decided to add an extra precaution in the form of Olive Leaf Extract.

This year I am experimenting with Vitamin D drops, as my naturopath has advised that is the best protection against flu.

I presumed that I would be OK for Vit D, as I go out in the sun without sunscreen. But my naturopath said that even people who live in hot areas can be deficient. Getting a blood test next week to check levels, as I don't want to overdose to toxic levels.

Loads of people having success with using Vit D for P, so that is another idea to thrown into the mix.

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What a a very interesting article, I have suffered IBS for many years. I can go months symptom free then something all of sudden triggers it of. I take Protnix for Gerd which helps and eat a pretty bland diet. So reading the article makes sense in connecting it to skin and joint issues. Thanks for posting something that's food for thought, no pun intended.

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To Lazza,
I wasn't aware about Florida and naturopaths, but I must say back when I lived in Michigan one of the best doctors I had over the years was an osteopath.

Anyway, I found your comments about Olive Leaf really interesting too. It certainly sounds worth trying!

Thank you!

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Thank you everyone for your replies and for reading the article. I have a theory about leaking gut and all the food sensitivities and "triggers". I belive that antibiotics are a BIG problem for our guts, killing bacteria, letting room for candida and just causing inflamation. Other things like over the counter pain meds and caugh meds also contribute to leaky gut. Once you HAVE leaky gut thats when the real trouble starts, things like Gluten and dairy that are hard to digest get through the intestinal walls and your body builds up antibodies toward them and causes inflamation. Alcohol is already poison to our bodies so when it is also not being filtered properly because of leaky gut it will seem like a possible "trigger" as well. SO all these things may very well seem to be the problem because your P flares when you have them but really its the fact that they are getting through and affecting your P. SO PLEASE start taking the steps to heal your leaky gut.. nothing to loose but maybe 6 months to a year of eating a tailored diet. If you can not afford a good naturopath doctor then google a good website that can take you through it step by step..

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I agree that diet can play an important role, but I would not say that it is the trigger (necessarily) for everyone with p. My niece is only 6 and has it. My sister has fed her a great diet . . .organic foods, plenty of fresh fruit and veggies. Hard to believe she's developed a leaky gut so early in life, especially given her healthy choices. However, how knows-- could be all of a sudden she has developed an intolerance to something-- but the idea of a leaky gut doesn't seem to fit.

This is my other thought. If I only have p in the winter, then how would diet play into this? Seems like if diet were the issue it would be year 'round . . .or no?

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@RforM, I used to be skeptical about this leaky gut business but now I am a believer. After all, what could have made me dairy (casein) sensitive after 50 years of consuming dairy w/o issue? For me the best answer is leaky gut. My irritable bowel syndrome eventually caused my colon lining to "leak", and casein started to seep through. Dairy wasn't the enemy per se. My poor intestinal flora was/is the enemy. Thankfully I now realize this and the action I am taking is healing my gut. I now believe it is possible that someday I will be able to consume dairy again, although I certainly wouldn't consume it in quantity (..by choice; there are better foods out there!).

@MsE, you are right: your six year old niece probably doesn't have a leaky gut. Yet it would be interesting to see, through testing, if she has any food sensitivities. I believe MadCat, another NPF poster, developed psoriasis at a very young age. She credits diet for her full remission.


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