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.
Angela O'Donovan says
I believe you are on the right path. As someone with a couple of autoimmune diseases I’ve read lots from crazy one day cures to long term deprivation.
Leaky gut is a big one, linking nicely with Microbione. I’ve just sent off a sample re Microbione. Takes 6 weeks but at least the clock is running.
I tried Kimchi. Ugh. Kefir milk is nice but I don’t seem to keep it up.
I should be a shareholder in Solgar. Vitamin D my saviour.
Angela O'Donovan says
MicrobioMe..why don’t I reread
re-reading is for losers
Ha ha – I had some interesting digestive issues in Namibia when I was 19 too so I sympathise! Probiotics deffo help. Raleigh?
Indeed Raleigh! Expedition 99E xx
99c for me. I’d like to go back and see if my school is still standing. Google earth suggests not. x
we missed each other by months! I think you must have built the school that we went on to build a loo block for – remind me where it was again?
Mine was Mukundu… i think the other one was Mpezo or I may have made that up?!
I think mrs hunch is a fan of this. she uses it to clean stuff with….. jokes x #zoflora
Can I suggest that before shelling any serious doah on probiotics, that it’s worth reading a summary of UCL’s Probiotic Viability study?
Basically, most oral probiotics aren’t as great as advertised in terms of how many live probiotics are in the product and how many survive the digestion process. Some are basically useless.
I have sebhoerric dematitis on my head and I skim read a book called Candida Albicans which advised my to take vsl3 probiotics. Since I started taking them my skin condition has gone and I have had no spots ( I normally get spots especially when stressed). All hail obscure and expensive probiotics!
all hail THEM!!
But what about the serums?? Do tell.
I will! But I want to give them a chance to do their thing before I send everyone off in search of them…
Sarah Robson says
I swear by Symprove. A liquid probiotic swallowed first thing (not the most delish, but not the worst). It’s really sorted out my skin & digestion.
Symprove is expensive and yucky tasting but is meant to be the very best probiotic
Oooh can you go into her views on retinols just a little bit, I’m intrigued. I’d be happy about this because I bought some from The Ordinary, didn’t like it and couldn’t see the point. But I have residual guilt from not going on with it. Any chance you could relieve that guilt?
Ha ha! Well basically people who don’t like retinol – which as I’m sure you know works by increasing cell turnover, which slows down as we get older, making our skin look “old” – say that cells only have a limited number of times in our lifetime that they can renew, so you are basically borrowing future youth to use up now.
Beyond that I’m not sure what they think he consequences are … will all people who use retinol suddenly age wildly when they get to 65 like that dude in Indiana Jones and the last crusade?
Personally I don’t think retinol is as essential as, say, a good moisturiser, regular exfoliation and sunscreen. I know, so fucking boring.
Thank you! That’s so interesting.
I hope you get the results you want, I’m sure you will 🙂
Have any of you tried Symprove?
I’ve tried Symprove. I already have a pretty good gut so I was just curious but I notice an improvement in my skin. You get used to the taste and by the end I kind of liked it. Its expensive but it does seem they have a different approach that allows the bacteria to survive through your stomach. The key is to take it when you first wake up and not eat a single thing. Not even a cuppa, for the first hour. Because its the triggering of your stomach acid etc in your digestive system that kills the bacteria. So I think symprove is sort of like probiotic ninjas. they get in and they get the hell out before your stomach knows what’s going on.
Hormonal contraceptives post kids seemed to wreck my skin. All better once stopped! X