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DERMATITIS AND VITAMIN DEFICIENCY

Many skin conditions have their origin in a vitamin deficiency, especially a shortage of vitamins B and E, and because this young man's condition had become chronic, I had to use some special herbal and homoeopathic remedies. I used Symphosan, containing Symphytum officinalis, witch hazel St John's wort, Golden Rod, Sanicle, Houseleek and Arnica montana, and that combination was of great help. I also advised that he should refrain from using coffee, tea or chocolate, and suggested a substitute coffee, e.g. Bambu. However, I discovered that because of his condition, he suffered from severe stress and emotional problems, and therefore I prescribed Stress B-Vite, a supplement from Healthcrafts. His stressed condition was certainly a detrimental influence on his skin problems and I suspected that he was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Stress had made him allergic to heat, noise and pollution, and he had lost much of his self-esteem. All factors that aggravated his condition.

This young man, because of the tranquillisers he had taken to reduce stress, had lost a lot of the benefit from the vitamins, minerals and trace elements in the prescribed supplements. No wonder the skin, which is the outward sign of our inner health, showed that there was a problem. Action was essential, not only dietary, but also in the form of supplements and help in reducing stress. A healthier lifestyle, and the ability to relax should help to restore most, if not all, of those overspent units, but if the pattern does not change, then one should not expect to see great improvements.

The patient with the Dermatitis medicamentosa problem went from a severe depression into a decline with his personal relationships, developed feelings of acute embarrassment, and was often totally exhausted. He increased his smoking and drinking, which of course only made things worse.

Stress, one of the major problems in this day and age, weakens the immune system, increases the risk of illness, and further lowers resistance to stress itself. In all skin problems where stress is a factor, it is wise to take extra nutrients, such as: the B Complex group of vitamins (which include Thiamin (Bj), Riboflavin (B2), Pantothenic Acid, Pyridoxine (B6), Folic Acid, and seven other vitamins) are vital allies in combating stress and depression.

The B Complex group is responsible for mental health, a healthy nervous system, efficient digestion and a clear skin. Our need for B vitamins increases with the amount of stress in our lives. B vitamins are water soluble and cannot be stored by the body. There is a greater likelihood of deficiencies occurring within this group than with any of the other vitamins: it has been estimated that up to 70 per cent of the population in Europe and the United States of America suffer such deficiencies, as a result of the refining of grains and sugar.

As much as two-thirds of our daily calories are provided by foods which have been largely, or entirely, stripped of their natural B vitamins. While some of these are replaced by the manufacturers, such 'enrichment' replaces only a small part of what has been removed. Frozen meat can also lose much of its B vitamin content in the water and blood which escapes during thawing. Our ability to make our own B vitamins is impaired by antibiotics, so remember to increase your intake of B vitamins if your doctor prescribes a course of antibiotics.

This group of vitamins is further depleted by taking sleeping pills, smoking, alcohol or use of the contraceptive pill. It is essential therefore to ensure that the diet contains plenty of foods rich in B Complex vitamins: wheatflakes, muesli, porridge oats, wholemeal bread and biscuits, cottage or other cheeses, eggs, bananas, nuts and raisins, meat, liver, green vegetables, pulses, beans, rice, and dried fruit. A B Complex supplement can prove helpful, especially if you are under a great deal of stress or unable to eat a balanced diet that contains an adequate supply of B Complex vitamins.

Working alongside the B Complex vitamins, vitamin C is essential in the production of anti-stress hormones. Without adequate supplies, the body is unable to convert normal hormones into these stress beaters. Also a water soluble vitamin, it is easily destroyed by modern food processing and needs to be replaced or replenished daily. Levels of vitamin C are also depleted by smoking, alcohol, the contraceptive pill and stress. Vitamin E, a fat soluble vitamin, is found in the oil from nuts, seeds and grains. As well as maintaining healthy blood vessels, vitamin E protects the body's nervous system - vital at a time of stress. Specially formulated stress supplements such as Healthcrafts' Stress B-Vite are available, providing a balanced formulation of B Complex vitamins, vitamin C and a range of nutrients which help the body to cope with the pressures and strains of modern living.

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