Enzymes for Young and Beautiful Skin, Part II
Even if you start out with a fabulous complexion, your skin will go through changes over the course of your lifetime. Hormone fluctuations, sun exposure, allergies, and infections can cause skin to become oily, dry, or break out in blemishes or rashes.
The good news is that these conditions respond quite well to enzyme therapy. Let’s take a look at two of the most common skin problems, dryness and oiliness.
Skin has its own natural moisturizer called sebum, which keeps it soft and pliable. As you get older, however, sebum production slows down and your skin is more likely to become dry and lose its elasticity.
Among my patients, I’ve noticed that an inability to digest fats and a deficiency of essential fatty acids (EFAs) can aggravate dry skin. When the body doesn’t thoroughly digest the fats you eat, they form a coating over food particles. This interferes with hydrolysis, a process that uses water to split the chemical bonds in substances such as carbohydrates and proteins. Hydrolysis is vital to the complete digestion of foods.
The breakdown of fats is the responsibility of an enzyme known as lipase. This enzyme does its job with the help of bile—produced by the liver and delivered via the gallbladder. If you don’t produce enough lipase, you will have a deficiency of EPAs, which leads to dry skin.
EFAs—linoleic acid, alpha linolenic acid, and gamma linoleic acid—are the primary sources of energy for cells. They also build hormones and contribute to the integrity of nerve tissue. Plant seeds, such as walnuts, almonds, and pine nuts, are loaded with EFAs because they are nature’s most efficient energy storehouses.
EFAs are especially important to skin health because they not only lubricate the skin, they also protect skin cells against water loss. The more water your cells retain, the more likely your skin will remain smooth and supple. Adequate absorption of EFAs is necessary to maintain the structure of cell membranes throughout the body, but especially in the skin, hair, and nails.
Unfortunately, years of negative associations between dietary fat, weight gain, and heart disease have led people to believe that all fat is bad. As a result, most people’s diets don’t supply nearly enough EFAs. Yet numerous studies have shown that when people take EFA supplements, their skin becomes soft and smooth, their nails harden, and their hair becomes healthier and shinier.
To Banish Dry Skin
To heal and replenish dry skin, I recommend the following strategies:
• Take a liver detoxification enzyme formula, a thyroid enzyme support formula or supplement, and a full-spectrum vegetarian digestive enzyme.
• Increase your consumption of EFAs: raw organic nuts; seeds, especially ground flax seed or flax seed oil; fish oil supplements; and cold pressed oils such as olive oil or canola oil.
• Increase your consumption of foods that contain zinc, which helps process essential fatty acids. The best sources of zinc are oysters, crab, chicken, turkey, beef, and lamb. (Remember that the proper digestion of these foods is necessary to free zinc for use by the body.)
Unlike dry skin, which produces too little sebum, oily skin produces too much. This kind of skin tends to have a shiny appearance with enlarged pores. If your skin looks shiny when you first wake up in the morning, it’s probably oily. A sheen that develops later in the day may result from environmental or other factors.
The primary causes of oily skin are heredity and hormonal imbalance. The good news about this skin type is that it doesn’t show the signs of aging as quickly as dry skin. The bad news is that if you don’t care for it properly, it is highly susceptible to clogged pores and acne.
While enzymes don’t reduce sebum production, they do promote optimal digestion, which can help prevent acne breakouts. Efficient digestion also ensures absorption of nutrients that can aggravate oily skin when undigested, such as riboflavin (vitamin B2).
Banish Oily Skin
To keep oily skin healthy and acne-free, I recommend the following strategies:
• Take a full-spectrum vegetarian digestive enzyme and a liver enzyme detoxification formula.
• Include lots of nutrient-rich leafy green vegetables and fresh fruits in your daily diet.
• Increase your intake of riboflavin from sources such as beans, nuts, wheat germ, and nutritional yeast.
• Limit your consumption of fats, sugars, salt, and dairy products.
• Avoid junk food, especially chocolate, soft drinks, and alcoholic beverages.
• Refrain from cooking with oil and from consuming oils that have been subjected to heat, whether in cooking or processing. If you wish to use oil in your salad dressing, choose cold-pressed canola, olive, or flaxseed oil.
• Drink at least ½ ounce of water per pound of body weight each day to hydrate the skin and flush out toxins.
If you follow these recommendations, you will have skin that is more healthy, vibrant, and youthful.