dandruff gut health food sensitivities

There are many symptoms you would be surprised are related to a weak digestive system. It is common to assume you don’t have digestive problems if you don’t have gas or diarrhea but everyone with any physical or mental symptom(s) has a weak digestive system.

Most of my symptoms started when I was a kid so even though I have a potpourri of symptoms, they were my potpourri. I became used to them and considered them normal. Dandruff is one of the most mundane symptoms, it’s no wonder it’s not spoken about ad nauseam in health blogs. Because of its boring nature we view it solely as embarrassing and not a clue to the bigger picture of overall health.

Because of this, I missed the point that my dandruff was trying to tell me something about my body. Dandruff was always something I lugged around with me and kind of made me feel like my potpourri of symptoms (sheesh, how many times am I going to say potpourri?) was a legit mystery – a standalone case where nothing fit together.

Gut health is the glue that fits everything together but no doctors ever told me that.

I have written before on the connection between good gut health and clear skin. We often forget that our scalp is also skin and so good gut health will also reduce and eventually eliminate dandruff. Dandruff is a fungal overgrowth, which occurs easily due to poor gut health. Great, now that we have made the connection to our gut, we are all on board to get rid of our dandruff. Right?

But there is one problem. If people frequently turn to topical remedies for clear skin and acne, people ONLY turn to topical remedies for dandruff. No one takes a second thought to do anything about their dandruff other than Head & Shoulders. To be fair, this is the only solution we’ve ever been given.

Anti-dandruff shampoos only treat the symptom not the root cause. The symptom is dandruff and the root cause is poor gut health aggravated by food sensitivities. That’s why if you stop using anti-dandruff shampoos, your dandruff will come back. These shampoos also have potentially negative health effects as the active ingredients are pretty nasty.

Coal tar, zinc pyrithione, salicylic acid and selenium sulfide are all ingredients used in anti-dandruff shampoos. At best these ingredients irritate and dry out your scalp. At worst, they are ranked as known human carcinogens on Skin Deep, the cosmetic database created by Environmental Working Group. Most importantly, you will have to commit to a lifetime of taking in these chemicals because you will never address the root cause with this so-called solution.

Don’t fear! You know I would never leave you without a solution.

Because dandruff is caused by a fungus, it is most effectively tackled from the inside out. Effective dietary measures include: cutting out sugar and yeasty foods (bread) as well as gluten, adding in antifungal foods such as coconut oil, garlic, oregano, addressing your hidden food sensitivities, supplementing with B-complex and probiotics (acidophilus and bifidobacterium) and drinking plenty of water each day.

You may still include natural, topical solutions as long as you realize they will support your dietary changes and aren’t a solution in and of themselves. Essential oils of tea tree, rosemary and thyme can also be applied topically (mixed with apple cider vinegar or added to a green ranking shampoo on Skin Deep) at bedtime or in the shower.

What I’ve learned is that my symptoms, as much as they feel unsolvable, are not a mystery. While dandruff is not a painful symptom, other than the embarrassment of flakes on my hairline and shoulders, it is a message from my body that something isn’t right. As soon as I began to see my symptoms in this way and took action with my diet, they started to disappear.