UPDATE FROM MY NATUROPATH

Alright, so my last skin update was at the end of my 3-week elimination diet/ clear skin diet/ detox, which was given to me by my naturopath to help improve my liver function (because I had acne in the “liver area” of my face) and see if I had any food sensitivities that were contributing to my acne. If you haven’t read my last diet update you can read that here.

After I finished the diet I had a follow-up appointment with my naturopath and she told me that it looked as though the diet helped a little, but she didn’t think I had any food sensitivities (because I was still getting new breakouts even after the diet). Thus, she said that the next step was to do blood and stool testing to see if there was something going on in my gut or with my hormones. The blood test was quick to get the results back, but the stool test had to be sent to the U.S. to be analyzed so it took about a month for the results to be sent to my naturopath.

So, now I’m going to show you the result of my blood and stool tests and re-state the interpretation that my naturopath gave me. First off, the blood test was totally normal; indicating that my acne is most likely not attributed to my hormones or any food sensitivities. From the results below, you can see that high sensitivity CRP, DHEAS, testosterone, insulin and free testosterone are all within the normal limits (my result in the middle, normal range on the right). DHEAS, testosterone and insulin are all hormones, with DHEAS and testosterone being male sex hormones (or androgens). Abnormal insulin or androgens could be a reason for developing acne, however because they are normal they most likely are not contributing to my acne. High sensitivity CRP indicates high inflammation in the body – which could indicate a food sensitivity – however system inflammation was low for me.





Now, the stool test is where it gets interesting. Personally, I really was not excited to do this test, but I’m so happy I did because it finally gave me the answers that I have been looking for. Just a bit of background info, I had to take 3 samples (1 sample for 3 days in a row), so all the indicators have been tested a total of 3 times. The stool test tests 3 different components of the gut: 1) parasites, 2) gut bacteria; and 3) yeast. Starting with parasites, as you can see form the image I had no parasites other than “rare” for Blastocystis Spp. However, my naturopath said we don’t need to worry about that because that parasite is harmless at very low levels (“rare” is the lowest level, above “not detected”) and it would take very high levels for me to experience any type of symptoms.

Next, was the bacteriology culture. This tested for expected/beneficial flora, commensal (imbalanced) flora and dysbiotic flora (the bad bacteria). From the image, I have quite a bit of good bacteria (which is good), but also quite a bit of imbalanced bacteria. These imbalanced bacteria, at high enough quantitates, can exhibit dysbiotic (negative) effects. When going over this result with my naturopath, she said that I shouldn’t have this much bacteria in my gut; and it looks as though I have small intestinal bacteria overgrowth (or SIBO).

Lastly, when looking at microscopic yeast, the normal range is between “none” and “rare”, however, my results showed that I had “many” (the highest category). Thus, my naturopath told me that this result is not normal; and I have a yeast overgrowth in my gut. However, because it was microscopic yeast and not cultured yeast, they could not isolate what kind of yeast it is (i.e. Candida).


Overall, my naturopath was very pleased with the result of my stool test because we were able to figure out that I have a bacterial and yeast overgrowth in my gut, which can both contribute to the development and progression of my acne. This also makes sense of why the diet I was on previously helped a little bit, but not completely. Part of the diet was that I was not allowed to have any sugar or gluten (wheat products), so that probably helped manage my yeast (yeast feeds off sugar). However, the diet was also pretty high in fibre, which was probably worsening my SIBO (fiber feeds gut bacteria). It also makes sense why my acne has been getting worse ever since stopping the diet, because I have been eating a vegan diet that’s pretty high in carbs and fiber, which has been feeding the yeast and bacteria. Additionally, I had to go on antibiotics after the diet, where while I was on the antibiotics my skin improved a bit, then got worse after (because antibiotics don’t kill off yeast, thus allowing them to thrive after clearing the bacteria).

After discussing the results with my naturopath, she put together a treatment plan in order to address my SIBO and yeast overgrowth.


The plan consists of 3 parts:

1) Weeks 1-4:

- Natural antibiotic (2 capsules, twice a day)

- Digestive enzymes (1 with lunch and 1 with dinner)

- Biofilm disruptor (3 sprays in the morning and 3 at night)

- Friendly bacteria/yeast probiotic (1 capsule before bed)


2) Weeks 5-8:

- Digestive enzymes (1 with lunch and 1 with dinner)

- Grapefruit seed extract (5 drops in water morning and night)

- Biofilm disruptor (3 sprays in the morning and 3 at night)

- Friendly bacteria/yeast probiotic (1 capsule before bed)


3) Weeks 9-12:

- Digestive enzymes (1 with lunch and 1 with dinner)

- Probiotic (1 capsule with dinner)


The idea is that the enzymes will help aid in digestion and the natural antibiotics will help clear some of the bacteria overgrowth. Further, the friendly bacteria/yeast probiotic will help crowd out the bad bacteria/yeast. Lastly, the probiotic at the end is meant to help repopulate the gut with good bacteria (because it's also not ideal to have too little gut bacteria).


In addition, throughout the three parts, I will be following a low-FODMAP diet. This diet is a low fiber, low sugar diet that is meant to reduce the number of foods that feed gut bacteria. This includes eliminating foods that have sugar, foods that are fermented, gluten-containing products and high-fiber foods. This should also help with my yeast overgrowth as well by being low sugar and low carb. Because a lot of fruits, grains and vegetables are now allowed, I will also be re-introducing meat and fish back into my diet (organic, antibiotic and hormone-free animal products). I am told to follow this diet for a total of two months.

Overall, the naturopath was really excited with this result and is quite confident that this is the reason behind my acne and this treatment plan should clear it up. I am really happy that something came up in my test results that can help explain why I’m getting acne, because I was really starting to lose hope. I saw a medical doctor and dermatologist in addition to the naturopath and none of them even entertained the idea that something else could be going on with me to explain my acne – even though I told them that this acne came on suddenly and I’ve never had acne to this extent before. They also told me to consider birth control or accutane, which I really didn't want to take because I had no reason to take birth control (my menstrual cycle was normal) and I had heard so many horror stories about accutane. I’m really grateful that my naturopath took the time to figure out what it is that’s going on with me internally, because I knew in my heart of hearts that my skin was trying to tell me something.

I wanted to post about my journey with my naturopath because I want to raise awareness about how naturopathic medicine can help with digestive, dermatologic or other conditions; as well as highlight the way that naturopathic medicine is focused on getting to the root cause, rather than addressing the surface-level symptoms. It was really important for me to figure out why this acne is happening to me in the first place. Obviously, I want to clear it, but I also wanted to know how it even started and why it kept getting worse regardless of what cream, cleanser, or product I was using. If you can even partially relate to my story or are experiencing similar symptoms, I would highly recommend seeing a naturopath to get your insides checked out.

Have you had a similar experience with your naturopath before? Has my experience made you consider seeing a naturopath for yourself? Let me know in the comments!