Hello there Paleo Hackers -
I went VLC on the Paleo Diet 1 year ago and I loved it, save for one symptom: very dry skin. My hands looked like scales, I got dandruff, and I developed painful cracks at the corner of my mouth (Angular cheilitis). I recently discovered the names of the cracks and wonder if this was due to a candida overgrowth?
I am insulin resistant and hypoglycemic. I've been in the 80-120 gram range with carbs on Paleo for the last 3 years without any problems with Candida. I've read some about the PHD, but it's not for me. I simply feel better without rice and starchy vegetables.
Because of the insulin resistance, I cannot lose weight. I love going ketogenic. I woke up around 3 weeks in and felt like the lights were fully turned of for the first time. It was amazing.
I do have an office job, but I'm very active otherwise with weights, pilates, bootcamp videos, hiking and running.
Any suggestions on this dry skin issue? Should I try to push through it with probiotics and anti-fungals? Have any of you done that successfully?
When the Angular Cheilitis got so bad I could barely open my mouth I broke down and ate a cup of rice. I went away instantly. Within minutes, I got full elasticity back. It was very bizarre.
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Dry skin can be a sign of not eating enough PUFAs.
When I went low carb (ketosis level) I suffered from extremely dry skin once the weather became cold. I had bleeding cracks on my hands, dry skin around my eyes, and yes, terrible dandruff. But what I wasn't aware of was that I was also drying from the inside: I became asthmatic, had dry eyes and my digestive tract was not functioning well. These were just odd symptoms that coincided, I thought.
Like you, I read PHD, but I followed through by eating a bit of starch each day, and all my dryness symptoms disappeared. I understand you are apprehensive to do this with your metabolic issues, but I think you should consider it, regardless.
According to Paul Jaminet, if you're not producing healthy amounts of mucus, your frontline defence against all kinds of infections will be compromised. Cracked, dry skin will leave you open to whatever pathogens you make contact with, and internal dryness can be even more dangerous.
Now what I'd like to know is, can I go very low carb and adapt to it without the dryness? I'll be eating starches until I can figure this out...
There are several reasons you could have extreme dry skin. Sometimes it's even an combination of several things. But beside drinking enough water, taking your daily fish oil/cod liver oil, eating enough fat... I can say with most certainty it's your need for vitamin k-mk4. Mk4 is a kind of vitamin K2, which is mostly found in goose/duck liver, and also in egg yolks, and Gouda cheese. This vitamin is so important for skin and bone health as it works together with many other vitamins and minerals in ways we humans haven't even come to understand fully yet. It's a fairly newly discovered vitamin, that people take in supplement form for cardio/bone health, yet after only a week's use people see their cracked skin on hands and knuckles (or anywhere else on the body) go away completely. I don't use the supplements, but make sure I eat a lot of natural mk4 containing foods. I really see the difference. I no longer need to rub lotions and creams every single time I wash my hands or take a shower.
Paul Jaminet and I discussed my past issues with angular cheilitis and periorial dermatitis. He said it is usually caused by malnutrition. I told him I had super supplemented with l-glutamine and it healed in a month. He told me glutamine acts as carbs in the body, and I would have done just as well by eating a potato.
Just like yours healed by eating some rice.
I think you should actually read the PHD book and then decide. I've been through a lot of self-diagnosing and it's mental. Absolutely mental.
Paul Jaminet himself also battled candida, and here's the funny thing: candida can feast on ketones as well as sugar. You cannot be too low carb, otherwise things may get worse.
When I get dry and chapped skin or lips, I take vitamin C which usually helps. It can be hard to get vitamin C when going low carb because you're probably avoiding fruits and juices and such. You can take pills, but I think that vitamin C is better obtained from food. Kumquats are a good option if you can find them, you eat the whole thing including the peel and they are loaded with vitamin C without a lot of carbs.
Something else that helps my digestion and skin is eating raw garlic. It is a natural anti-fungal and can help to fight candida. I will eat a whole garlic clove and chase it down with something like red wine. This can be a little rough the first couple of times you do it but you can get used to it :-).
I started paleo originally as a treatment for candida overgrowth as I am allergic to yeast. I'm confused as to why you think this could CAUSE an overgrowth. As long as you are not eating too much fruit, cured meats, or molds like mushrooms, the paleo diet should not be the cause for candida issues. If you still think this is the issue, try taking oregano oil supplements 1 time a day and build to 3 times a day in between meals.
Iron deficiency can cause angular cheilitis. Why do you think it's yeast? I never heard of candidia causing dry skin before...
Personally I have super dry skin, and it's made worse by air con, low humidity weather, hard water, alcohol, household cleaners, etc