Effect of Meals, Snacks and Food Stuffs on Facial Redness and Flushing
Many rosacea sufferers — and physicians — incorrectly assume that flushing post-meal is due to a gastrointestinal disorder, stomach dysfunction, H. Pylori, leaky gut syndrome and/or food allergies. For most cases, this is not correct. This is a simple physiological reaction of the stomach and intestine to ingestion of food stuffs within the meal. To explain, once food reaches the stomach and intestine, the proteins, amino acids, fats, oils, and other food stuffs stimulate the complex nervous system and hormonal system — the “Enteric Nervous System” — that regulates gastrointestinal function and communicates with the rest of the body through neurotransmitters and hormones:
It’s very simple — the minute food reaches the stomach and intestine, the Enteric Nervous System monitors this and activates DILATOR nerves and DILATOR hormones to ensure blood flow increases throughout the entire body to ensure that each cell receives the proper amount of nutrients and oxygen. Thus, facial flushing is a natural response to meals, snacks and even small amounts of food stuffs. It’s just an exaggerated response in the facial, neck and upper chest region for rosacea sufferers, just like any flushing stimulus.
In all simplicity, the key to attenuating the flushing response is to reduce the meal size and slow down the digestion and absorption of individual food stuffs.
Pre-Treatment with Fiber Reduces Facial Flushing to Meals and Snacks
Eating smaller meals (the size of your hand) multiple times a day is recommended by the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association for better overall health. What Gastroenterologists found is that by reducing the amount of food, the vascular dilator response is greatly blunted because the ingested particles don’t need to travel in large concentrations. Inadvertently, this reduces facial flushing and rosacea flares.
However, it is very hard to stick to these multiple small meals and snacks. The best tip for those who eat multiple food stuffs in large portions is to take a fiber supplement 10 to 15 minutes prior to eating. At clinical doses, many forms of fiber form a viscous gel in the intestine that reduces the concentration of sugars, carbohydrates, fats and oils — this significantly reduces the nerve and hormone dilator response of the Enteric Nervous System. More importantly, fiber greatly delays ingestion and absorption of meal food stuffs (i.e. instead of quick absorption into the blood stream within 30 minutes the food is released slowly over three to four hours) — this also greatly reduces the nerve and hormone dilator response of the enteric nervous system.
Taken together, taking clinical doses of fiber before any major meal should significantly reduce dilation of facial blood vessels and attenuate subsequent rosacea flares.
Fiber Intake Prior to Meal: Types of Fiber and Doses
Inulin (Specialized Fiber Choice)
Inulin is one of the types of prebiotic fiber, which means that it causes significant, favorable changes to your colon’s bacterial population. This is important, as these digestive bacteria play a major role in how well you absorb nutrients and even produce hormones related to anxiety and appetite.
Inulin can be found in chewable capsule form as Fiber Choice, which is 100 percent soluble fiber.
Takeaway: Inulin reduces ingestion and absorption of food and helps maintain healthy gut bacteria which reduces inflammatory dilator substances.
Fiber Content of Fiber Choice Capsules: 3 grams per 2 capsules.
Another common soluble fiber is methylcellulose, which is made from cellulose, an important structure in plants. It differs from psyllium because it is non-fermentable, meaning that it’s less likely to contribute to bloating and gas.
Methylcellulose is most commonly found on the shelves in products like Citrucel with SmartFiber, which is 100 percent soluble fiber and found in powder form. It’s also sold as a thickener and emulsifier in the culinary world. Because of methylcellulose’s chemical structure, it only dissolves in cold liquid and not hot (so don’t try to sneak some into your hot tea).
Takeaway: Less likely than psyllium to cause bloating and gas.
Fiber Content of Citrucel with SmartFiber Powders: 2 grams per scoop.
Fiber Content of Citrucel with SmartFiber Capsules: 1 gram per 2 capsules.
Psyllium, which is also called ispaghula, is made from the seed husks of the plantago ovata plant. Psyllium contains 70 percent soluble fiber, which means it can help increase fullness and slow digestion. It also contains some insoluble fiber, so it passes through the gut relatively intact, providing bulk and helping to keep you regular.
Besides the overall good feeling of being regular, research has shown that psyllium — most commonly found as Metamucil — can ease the painful symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, hemorrhoids, and anal fissures.
Takeaway: Eases painful symptoms of IBS and Crohn’s disease.
Fiber Content of Metamucil Orange Smooth Powder: 6 grams per 2 tbsp.
Fiber Content of Metamucil Fiber Capsules: 2 grams per 5 capsules.
Wheat Dextrin (Benefiber)
Wheat dextrin, most commonly sold under the brand name Benefiber, is a manufacturing byproduct of the wheat plant. It’s tasteless and can dissolve in both hot and cold liquids. It can also be used in cooking. Like most soluble fibers it also helps regulate your digestion and stabilize blood sugar.
Benefiber contains only soluble fiber, so it’s helpful to people trying to manage their blood sugar, such as people with type 2 diabetes. It also contains less than 20 ppm of gluten, so it meets the requirements to be labeled gluten-free.
Takeaway: It’s gluten-free and can be added to food when cooking.
Fiber Content of Benefiber Powders: 3 grams per 2 tsp.
It’s generally recommended that adults consume 25 to 35 grams of fiber per day. Most Americans only get about half of that amount. Fiber’s value to athletes and health conscious individuals is centered on its important role in digestive support.* If you’re not consuming enough fruits and vegetables to meet your fiber needs, adding a teaspoon of Fitness Fiber to your favorite, beverage, protein shake, oatmeal, or bowl of cereal gets you 5 grams closer to meeting your goal – with only 10 additional calories.
Beyond The Basics
- Contains a blend of several different fiber sources
- 5 g of fiber per serving
- Only 10 calories
- Unflavored versatility
- Mixes easily
Fiber Blend (Polydextrose, Digestion Resistant Maltodextrin, Inulin, Partially Hydrolyzed Guar Gum, Psyllium Seed Husk, Gum Arabic).
This is an excellent blend of five fiber types. You can slowly work your way up to two tablespoons of several capsules 10 to 15 minutes prior to meals.
Before You Begin Taking Fiber Supplements
Increasing your dietary intake of fiber is generally considered safe for most people, but if you are experiencing gastrointestinal problems besides occasional constipation, you should discuss fiber supplements with your doctor first. You should not experience bloating or gas unless you start off too quickly. For portable use you can carry capsules or cuplets. Please remember to take with at least 8 to 12 ounces of fluid — the more fluid the better — because this increases the concentration of the thick gel that forms in your intestine.
After finding your right dose you should notice a significant reduction in facial redness and flushing from foods, snacks and even sodas and coffee… just give it time to work and form a gelatinous material.