Critical Health News

Rosacea: More Than Skin Deep

Rosacea

Rosacea is a distressing and psychologically debilitating skin condition that affects an astounding 16 million or 5 percent of Americans. If you believe recent reports from the National Rosacea Society (NRS), the figures may be even worse. In a Harvard Medical School study, NRS researchers found a prevalence rate for rosacea of 16 percent in Caucasian women and an overall rosacea incidence of nearly 10 percent ina total population that also included Hispanics, African-Americans, Asians and Indians.

Rosacea, a Latin term that can be defined as “rose-colored”, shows up as redness on the cheeks and nasal area, although it sometimes involves oily skin, at which point it acquires the moniker “seborrhea”. In some especially unfortunate patients, blemishes and pustules can form and the skin around the nose can become thickened. Even more disturbing is rosacea that affects the eye, a condition that can result in ocular dryness, grittiness and a burning sensation. Still, despite it’s appearance, rosacea is best thought of not as a skin or eye problem, but rather as a circulatory one. This should be obvious, as the dilated blood vessels that are the featured characteristic of the rosacea patient, are located, not on top of the skin, but rather in the blood vessels located in the deeper tissues below.

Still, dermatologists and estheticians, as well as their patients, address the surface of the skin as the main target of therapies to alleviate the distressing ruddiness of rosacea. If you go to a skin care professional to treat the condition, more than likely, you’re going to leave with a prescription or suggestion for a topical cream or lotion, most often an antibiotic and occasionally an anti-inflammatory steroid. Sometimes laser therapy is suggested and occasionally exfoliation and skin peels are used. Recently, a pharmaceutical company called Foamix announced, with great fanfare, the results of a study on a new product called FMX 103, that showed a “statistically significant” reduction in lesions and pustules of rosacea patients. FMX 103 is a patented foaming, retooled version of minocycline, an old-time antibiotic that has been used to treat various skin conditions for 50 years.

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Beta Glucan for Wounds, Dry Skin, Cancer & More

Beta Glucan

For the most part, dietary fiber is pretty bland stuff. It’s indigestible, not very reactive and, when dissolved in water, it's known and prized for its ability to thicken gels without interfering with the chemistry of foods, medication or skin care products.

An exception to its ordinarily inert nature is my all-time favorite source of fiber, a fascinating biochemical called Beta Glucan (BG). Beta Glucan is produced in copious amounts by all plants, bacteria, yeast and fungi. Unlike other forms of fiber, Beta Glucan (a type of cellulose and one of the most common substances in the natural world) reacts quite readily with biological cells. In particular, Beta Glucan reacts with the “macrophages”, one of the most prominent players of the human immune system. In fact, Beta Glucan is, according to Dr. Arcie Mizelle, possibly “the most ubiquitous macrophage activator in nature”.

Technically speaking, Beta Glucan is a long chain of glucose molecules. Pieces of glucose molecules (also known as blood sugar) can transform from a source of quick energy, to an incredibly beneficial health tool, when they’re linked up into a long chain called a “glucan”. (They can also be a source of trouble when the body loses its ability to handle glucose molecules.) Once the little nuggets of glucose are strung together into a biochemical necklace, they can no longer be used for energy or stored as fat. Rather this new “glucan” structure can be arranged into a shape (scientists have dubbed “beta”) that becomes one of nature’s most important medicines in helping strengthen the body’s immune system, lower blood fats and lower cholesterol. It also supports skin health, anti-aging and wound healing.

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