A few weeks ago I went to see the facialist Pamela Marshall, who runs Mortar and Milk, on the advice of my friend Madeleine.
Pamela used to be a journalist and she is a maternal, no-nonsense American who looks a lot like Diane Keaton. She has a very holistic whole-body approach to skincare and wants to know pretty much everything about you before she even touches your skin. She’s not a fan of retinol. Don’t even get her started on the snake oil that is eye cream.
Looking at the distribution of congestion on my skin and my complaints about non-specific redness, (it’s not rosacea), around my nose, Pamela wondered whether I might have leaky gut syndrome. I laughed at the silly name! Ha. Leaky gut.
She recommended a mad-sounding probiotic and a few weapons-grade serums and sent me on my way, with a hug (“I’M A HUGGER!”)
I googled leaky gut later – you, I’m sure, already know what it is, but if you don’t, it’s a term people use if they believe that bad shit, literally, can leak through a failure in your gut wall lining into your blood stream and give you e.g. zits and a red tramp nose.
It also turns out to sit somewhere between crystals and Statins on the scale of Things People Get Upset About and you only need to say “leaky gut” for people to start jumping up and down screaming “But SCIENCE” at you. That’s normal, though: I am learning that there is nothing more divisive or enervating than even the mere mention of alternative health stuff.
I was offended at the suggestion that I had a leaky gut as I pride myself on having very modern diet. Though it’s true my gut has never been amazing and has definitely been jumpy since I contracted some disgusting thing in Namibia when I was 19, which believers in leaky gut would point to as a cause of any… leakiness.
A change in diet over the last few years to minimise meat and dairy and maximise vegetables and all that other fermented crap like Kimchi and Kefir and vinegar and sauerkraut you are supposed to eat has seen it behave much better. And, as you know, I will try absolutely anything to improve my skin.
I am nearly at the end of my first tub of the recommended probiotic, called Ultimate Flora Critical Care 50 Billion something-or-others. The “50 Billion” made me laugh afresh, it’s like my kids talking about numbers (“What is 50 billion minus 6?”).
I don’t think Pamela is in league with the company that makes the pills and I bought them with my own money and really, honestly, I can confidently say that I have noticed a marked deflation of my lower stomach and I have not been eating less or differently or doing any
more exercise. I have not noticed any terrible side effects yet, such as thrush or spontaneous combustion.
I can’t tell yet if it is having any effect on my skin, which is okay at the moment but not amazing. But Pamela did say give it – and the serums – three months. I will report back.
How about you? How leaky is your gut on a scale of one to ten?
Better a leaky gut, I suppose, than a leaky brain… though surely that is only a matter of time.