The following article comes to us courtesy of the great Jonathan Wright, MD, one of the icons of alternative and integrative medicine. Dr. Wright publishes a print newsletter, “Nutrition and Healing”.
Guest article by Jonathan Wright, MD
If there are enough essential faty acids in your blood, your skin will rarely be dry, unless you have one of the other health problems noted above. If your skin is dry, the rest of your body cells aren’t getting enough essential fatty acids either, which means you have a much higher risk of developing many other health problems over time.
Dry, flaky skin is never caused by a deficiency of commercial skin crèmes. It is very frequently caused by a deficiency of essential fatty acids.
That’s because essential fatty acids are a big component of the outer membrane that keeps water inside each cell, rather than allowing it to escape to the outside world, leaving dryness behind. Both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are needed in sufficient quantities to maintain moist skin.
Most individuals with dry skin won’t have it all in four to eight weeks if thy start eating enough fish (salmon size or smaller to minimize mercury exposure) and—at the beginning, especially—taking either 1 tablespoon of fish oil daily, or (no kidding) 5 of the 1,000 milligram fish oil capsules there times daily, along with vitamin E as “mixed topcopherols” 400 IU twice daily.
(If 5 capsules three times a day seems a bit much, it’s OK to use 3 capsules, three times a day. It’ll take a little longer to work, though.) the fish and fish oil are of course sources of omega-3 fatty acids. (No, this doesn’t go on forever, just to start!)
There is much more omega-6 fatty acid in what we eat every day, so less of this supplement is needed. To start, however, take one 300-mg capsule of GLA (gamma linolenic acid) twice daily, until the skin is no longer dry.
At that time, both the extra fish oil and GLA can be gradually reduced. If the dry skin starts to return, increase again. Everyone finds their own “balance point” of how much fish, fish oil, and GLA is necessary to maintain moisturization from the inside out.
Other Hidden Causes of Dry Skin
Although this works for most of us, dry skin can also be due to an undiagnosed thyroid weakness or a hidden non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Weak thyroid prevents the essential fatty acids from being used properly, and hidden non-celiac gluten sensitivity prevents the essential fatty acids (and other fat-soluble vitamins, such as A, D, E, and K) from being absorbed from the intestines, so they can’t get to the skin adequately.
Rarely, there’s a problem with processing essential fatty acids that can be corrected with 5-10 milligrams of biotin (also called vitamin H), available in all natural food stores.
(If you suspect any of these three problems, check with a physician skilled and knowledgeable in nutritional and natural medicine. You can find one on-line at The American College for Advancement in Medicine website.)
One such risk is accelerated cognitive decline over time, as brain cell membranes must have enough omega-3 fatty acids for optimal function. There are many other risks of suboptimal essential fatty acid nutrition, too.
Remember; dry skin is never caused by a deficiency of commercial skin crèmes.
Dr. Jonny Comments:
I absolutely agree with Dr. Wright, and his recommendations for omega-3 supplementation are spot on.
However that said, once you’ve taken care of dry skin nutrition, it doesn’t hurt to protect it, moisturize it and smooth it with the finest, organic, non-animal tested skin care products.
The DaVita line we carry has been carefully chosen for its fair price, stunning ingredients, and careful attention to formulation. In combination with proper diet and supplementation, these products offer one of the best and most affordable external skin care on the market.