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The following is an excerpt from the book MicroMiracles
by Ellen W. Cutler, DC with Jeremy E. Kaslow, MD
Published by Rodale; October 2005;$15.95US/$21.95CAN; 1-59486-221-4
Copyright © 2005 Ellen W. Cutler, DC with Jeremy E. Kaslow, MD

Skin Is The Window To Your Inner Health

The skin accounts for about 10 percent of the body's weight, making it the largest of the body's organs. It isn't there just for appearance's sake, although it certainly plays a central role in how we look. Perhaps more important, it provides essential protection from the environment in which we live.

New skin cells form in the basal layer, the deepest layer of the epidermis. They start out perfectly round but flatten as they travel upward through the remaining layers. At the end of their journey, when they reach the skin surface, they slough off (desquamate) in a process known as exfoliation. Many people use exfoliating products to accelerate the shedding of cellular debris.

The primary component of skin is a structural protein known as collagen, which accounts for about one-quarter of all the protein in the body. Under a microscope, collagen looks like three chains wound together in a tight triple helix, with each chain consisting of more than 1,400 amino acids. Collagen fibers form short cables that give skin its smoothness, elasticity, and strength. They also support soft tissues, connecting them to the skeleton and internal organs.

A number of factors determine the tone, texture, and resiliency of your skin. Perhaps not surprisingly, much depends on genetics, hormone levels, and skincare habits. But digestion, nutrient absorption, waste elimination, food sensitivities, and toxic reactions influence skin health as well. All of the latter can improve with enzyme therapy.

Actually, the skin is loaded with naturally occurring enzymes. While they all work together synergistically, each enzyme group serves a very specific function. For example, some are antioxidants that defend the skin against damage by free radicals, which are by-products of various biochemical reactions. Others support exfoliation by facilitating the shedding of dead skin cells.

It isn't just these skin enzymes that determine skin health, however. In fact, the combination of digestive enzymes, systemic (metabolic) enzymes, and food enzymes carries primary responsibility for nourishing skin and connective tissue. Without sufficient enzyme activity, for example, the body can't extract beta-carotene from foods and convert it to vitamin A, an essential skin nutrient.

Digestive enzymes are particularly important because they break down food and facilitate the absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream. The entire body receives optimal nourishment, and the skin glows with ageless radiance.

Unfortunately, the body's ability to produce digestive enzymes diminishes over time, and the enzymes themselves become less active. Without enzyme supplementation, neither the body nor the skin receives adequate nourishment. Many of the changes that we attribute to aging -- including dry or discolored skin, sagging, and wrinkles -- are actually by-products of enzyme deficiency or the collagen loss that it causes.

While a balanced, wholesome diet with plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits is important for skin health, even the most nutritious foods won't improve the skin's appearance if the body can't utilize the nutrients. What's more, all of the body's tissues and organs suffer in the absence of adequate nourishment, which takes a toll on the skin, too.

We spend huge amounts of money on cosmetic products and procedures to restore and enhance the skin's appearance, but the real "secret" of fabulous skin is optimal digestion and nutrient absorption. By supporting both processes, enzymes help repair and rejuvenate skin from the inside out.

Enzymes also help minimize free radical damage, enhance detoxification, and preserve the proper balance of intestinal microflora. These are the cornerstones of radiant health and therefore radiant skin.

Copyright © 2005 Ellen W. Cutler, DC