Although currently there isn’t any cure for Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) a chronic inflammatory skin disease, research is and will continue to be done in order to find out more about this debilitating skin condition. Many a study has been conducted on the relations between certain food groups and the impacts they bring upon our bodies.
It is very common that HS patients often refer to foods as ‘triggers’, mostly from specific food groups that can send our bodies swirling into a HS ‘flare’ and throughout this article I will discuss the most commonly and considered the most relevant food triggers and the reasoning and why’s behind how they can, indeed, affect HS.
So, does what we eat really matter? The answer in short is yes! But as we know, each patient is individual in what may effect or ‘trigger’ their HS into ‘flare’, that being said it should be understood that all of these different triggers from each individual may be different to one and other, but at the same time they may both be from a certain specific group of foods.
Whilst attempting to put HS into remission the foods you eat can be extremely relevant, so which catagories of food have been found to promote the grounds for the presence of HS?
Here I will go into the 3 most relevant FOOD GROUPS that can impact upon HS.
More specifically ‘Brewers yeast’, ‘bakers yeast’ or wheat yeast. Yeast is considered the most relevant of food groups to consider ridding from your diet with many diseases.
In 2013 a small study conducted on a number of patients with HS found that 100%… 100% of those patients that were tested were found to have an immune response to yeast. Strangely enough it is also the same immune response also seen in Crohn’s disease, it is averaged that approximately 30% of HS patients suffer from an inflammatory bowel condition as well, which has lead to questions by some researchers of whether HS could even be a possible external manifestation of IBD.
Within the study the subjects were asked to remove yeast completely from their diets and results showed that within one year 100% of those patients had infact gone into remission and saw improvements with HS. It was also noted that after the study the patients that re introduced yeast to their diets then began to relapse into flare, the ones who stuck at being yeast free completely continued on into remission. Link below. 100% is not a figure to be ignored.
Yeast is also found in what most consider to be ‘healthy foods’ so a close look at diet may be needed should you wish to eliminate it completely. So… What are yeast containing foods?
Most breads and some baked goods, such as muffins, biscuits, croissants, cereal and cinnamon rolls they all contain yeast, as does alcohol, especially beer, wine, and ciders, premade stocks, stock cubes, and gravies. vinegar and foods containing vinegar, such as pickles or salad dressing, aged meats and olives, mushrooms, fermented foods such as ripe cheeses and sauerkraut, dried fruits as well as blackberries, grapes, strawberries, melon and blueberries (the white mist you see on the skin of grapes ect… that’s a yeast!) buttermilk, synthetic cream, and yogurt, soy sauce, miso, and tamarind, tofu… anything that has been opened and stored for an extended period of time, basically anything that is alcohol, fermented or baked is out!
#2 SUGAR – HIGH GLYCEMIC FOODS
When you eat foods high in sugar you in turn raise your insulin levels, but its not just sugar that raises these insulin levels, all food that you put into your body will be used by yourself to create insulin, some foods promote more insulin than others. Insulin is a hormone, and when your insulin is raised it throws out all your other hormone levels and it kick starts a process that promotes conditions for HS to be more active.
The proper function of insulin depends on you actually using up the energy it produces through exercise. If you consume more energy in the form of carbohydrates than you expend though exercise, then your glycogen stores will become full and unable to accept more glycogen.
To stop insulin from pushing more glycogen in, the stores become insulin resistant, meaning that they become less responsive when stimulated by insulin.
However it is not healthy to have these excessive levels of glucose floating around in your bloodstream. Your body has to come up with some solution to deal with it. Therefore it responds by pumping out higher levels of insulin, in order to cram as much glucose into the stores as possible.
The result of raised insulin is that your sebum production will head through the roof.
Sebum is the oil that is responsible for blocking your skin pores. It is produced by the sebaceous glands in your skin, and insulin stimulates them to be active. The more insulin you have, the more sebum production there will be.
This makes it inevitable that your pores will get blocked and then it’s only a matter of time before flares start. Similar insulin resistance can also lead to other illnesses like metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, strokes, pcos, and obesity, very valuable reasons to cut high glycemic foods from your diet!
What are the high sugar – high glycemic foods? Again there are a few foods/items here you usually wouldn’t associate with sugar but its not just sugar, it’s high carbs or any food that spikes insulin production like artificial sweeteners and fatty foods. skipping breakfast can lead to a spike when you do eat later in the day, overeating large meals should be avoided. Menstruation can also effect your sensitivity to insulin as do some birth control, even some vitamins & supplement’s can cause insulin to rise as can corticosteroids, asthma medications and even some anti depressants.
White bread or bagels, Corn flakes, puffed rice, bran flakes, instant oatmeal, Short grain white rice, pasta, macaroni and cheese from mix, Russet potato, pumpkin, pretzels, rice cakes, popcorn, saltine crackers. Melons and pineapple and of course candy, Soda and sweet fruit juices.
I always remember as a kid my Gran would always comment ‘not to eat too much chocolate or you’ll end up with spots!’ and I never really took much notice as you do as a child, being older now and researching the way I do I now know that it is an element of the truth, so why?
One of the primary reasons anything dairy can be linked with HS flares is that it contains the growth hormone IGF-1 and this very much like insulin spikes your insulin effects dramatically, leading to more sebum as mentioned above causing rapid inflammation and blocked pores. Recent research also indicates that the presence of steroid hormones in dairy products could be counted as an important risk factor for various cancers in humans. (Link below)
Milk is derived mainly from lactating cows which are pregnant, now we all know that pregnancy comes with a whole barrel full of hormones, to which 60+ are passed through the milk and into our bodies. now remember some of these cows may be on antibiotics too! Hormones within our bodies need to work together at a certain balance with each other, and when one level is off it spirals the whole network. Dairy increases estrogens in the body due to it containing more estrogens from continuingly pregnant female cows. At the same time, milk naturally contains androgenic properties, so it also raises testosterone in the body too. Now, while all of us have different hormone situations going on, there is no logical research that suggests anyone needs to take in any excess hormones…