Friday, November 9, 2012

Skin, Nails, Tongue – Health Surrogate Markers

So I noticed today that the appearance of my tongue has improved. My tongue used to be covered with some (very slight) white patches, and it looked a bit like it would rot away and fall apart in some time – gross, I know, so I did look to often at my tongue… :-) But now my tongue looks pale red and uniformly so, with a little bit more white in the back.

Hmm, it is only a optical improvement, yet I take that as a positive health thing.

Again, I blame it on my paleo diet.

While we are at the topic of "skin" in the mouth, what has gone for good are aphthous ulcers / canker sores in the mouth (which I had from time to time).

And this in addition that my skin no longer suffers acne. From the various skin improvements, acne is the only one I have clearly linked to (pasteurized) milk and dairy as a cause.

And two years ago I noticed for the first time something my skin doctor called "hemangiomas" (might as well be "vascular lesions"), very small, about 1 to 2 mm, give or take (about 1/20 to 1/10 of an inch), red dots on the skin, from blood vessels. She said they would get slowly worse over the years, but they improved a tad bit over the last two years – but it is too early to call.

And the skin around the "front corners" of fingernails used to peel off easily, so the top layers of skin around my finger nails had a tendency to be missing in action – and that has improved much as well with a paleo diet.

And while we are at nails, the appearance of my nails has improved a little bit over the last two years – almost no more "mountain ridges" across from side to side (beau's lines?) – but the grooves on the length of the nail plates (in growth direction) are still here, but maybe a tad bit weaker. And the problems with hangnails have improved much as well. Cuticles and white spots are no longer noticable, but were not a huge problem in the first place.

Then, I had about once or twice a year an armpit rush, which seems to have gone by eliminating dairy and eggs from my nutrition.

So related to only skin there are more than half a dozen surrogate health markers for me, some moving slowly (e.g. hemangiomas), some moving fast (mainly acne), some were seldom (e.g. canker sores), some a constant bane (again mainly acne).

While I traced down only one skin problem clearly to an identified cause (with acne and dairy), I suspect that the other skin problems might have been caused by dairy too (maybe with cereal grains being a problem in one or the other instead of dairy, or maybe in addition to dairy).

So if you have health problems and want to start a paleo diet, you should make an inventory of your little health problems, and then you can see if they improve – things like improvement in areas such as mood are important to notice too, but acne and canker sores are so much more objective. Then you can do a challenge with dairy, or with cereal grains, or whatever you removed from your diet, to see if the things get worse again.

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