Balancing Your Hormones & Blood Sugar To Get Rid Of Acne with Emilia Papadopoullos

Adult acne can be stressful both mentally and physically and is usually treated topically or with intense prescription drugs. But underlying issues such as gut health, hormones, and stress play a huge role in our skin health. 

Today we are taking a deep dive into skin health with Emilia Papadopoullos, who uses her education in nutritional therapy and training with the Institute of Functional Medicine to help people with stubborn acne finally achieve clear skin and regain their confidence through diet and lifestyle changes.

What We Discuss:

✨The connection between skin and hormones in the gut

✨What blood sugar has to do with skin health

✨Why it’s so important to eat (nearly) first thing in the morning

✨How PCOS affects the skin

✨Why women need to support their testosterone

If you are someone who has always struggled with your skin and it feels like you have tried everything then this episode is for you! Watch our interview below:

Emilia Papadopoullos developed an interest in skin health from an early age as she developed chronic acne in her teens and was later diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Unable to clear her skin through medications and skincare, Emilia entered the world of nutrition, which finally helped her understand what her body needed to naturally rebalance her hormones and achieve clear skin.

Alongside her nutritional therapy qualifications, Emilia has done additional training with the Institute of Functional Medicine. She now successfully helps people with stubborn acne finally achieve clear skin and regain their confidence through diet & lifestyle changes. 

You can learn more about Emilia at her website.

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Transcript:

Christine Garvin 0:02
Hey, everyone, welcome to this week’s episode of hormonally speaking, this week, we’re talking about a topic that so many of us out there in the world are really focused on, particularly if there’s something going wrong with it. And that is our skin right? Having had acne as a teenager, really until my probably early to mid 20s. I certainly know how frustrating the acne world can be. And then, you know, unfortunately, for some of us that had acne when we’re young, we seem to develop rosacea later in life, which is what I did, too. So you know, working with acne, I think, obviously, traditionally, has been this sort of like kill kill kill approach from the external perspective or taking medications that really, unfortunately can do some damage right to your system. So today, we’re going to talk about skin health, how that’s connected to your hormones to your gut and lots of other places. So you can really get to the root cause of your acne, and not just not just try to like, kill your skin in the process. My guest today is Amelia Papadopoulos, who developed an interest in skin health from an early age as she developed chronic acne in her teens, and was later diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome otherwise known as PCOS. Unable to clear her skin through medications and skincare. Amelia entered the world of nutrition, which finally helped her understand what her body needed to naturally rebalance her hormones and achieve clear skin. Alongside her nutritional therapy qualifications. Amelia has done additional training with the Institute of functional medicine. She now successfully helps people with stubborn acne finally achieve clear skin and regain their competence through diet and lifestyle changes. You can find her at Amelia nutrition.co.uk. And on Instagram, she is at Amelia nutrition. Welcome. Hello. I’m so glad to have you here.

Emilia Papadopoullos 2:05
Yeah, I’m really excited to be on here and just talk about all things skin and hormones.

Christine Garvin 2:10
Yes, yeah. So good. So before we dive into that connection, that I think a lot of people, you know, may not know about the skin and the hormones in the gut. Let’s talk about how you find, you know, found yourself doing this work in the first place.

Emilia Papadopoullos 2:25
Yeah, so I first developed acne when I went through puberty, so it’s probably around the age of 1213, which I guess is seen as pretty normal, but it never really went away. It wasn’t horrendously bad in my teens. It wasn’t until I got to about age 20. And then it really flared up. And it was that typical kind of adult acne where it’s kind of like a beard of spots that you’ve your line. I couldn’t fix it at all with topical treatments. I did start eating healthier started to change parts of my diet, but it was just getting worse. And then I looked into Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and thought Why didn’t I know about this before how so many symptoms went to the doctors did kind of had to fight for ultrasound and some blood tests because I wasn’t. Although I had like changes in hair growth and acne. I didn’t really struggle with weight gain or weight issues. And I hadn’t tried at this point to have a baby. So I didn’t have any issues. Well, I didn’t know if I had any facilities. Yeah, yeah. But yeah, I got a ultrasound had some blood testing. I had high testosterone had cysts on my ovaries, and then they kind of went off the other symptoms, and diagnosed me with PCOS. And then I went and saw a functional medicine practitioner. And we worked on all the underlying imbalances. And my skin cleared up pretty quickly. And it just stayed clear. And then from there, that’s how I ended up. Yes, studying nutrition and functional medicine and doing the same for other people.

Christine Garvin 4:03
Nice. So when you said you had symptoms of PCOS before you went in, you know, besides the acne and hair changes, what other symptoms did you have?

Emilia Papadopoullos 4:17
Yeah, so again, it was things I didn’t really know weren’t normal. So my cycle could be anywhere from like 32 days to 40 days, which is getting quite long, but they were regular is in a sense of I never thought I missed a period even though it might be 40 days. Yeah. So I didn’t know that wasn’t normal. And my periods were generally quite light, which I thought was a good thing. So they’d be like, two days max. And they wouldn’t be heavy at all. Again, I just thought that was a good thing. Sure. Yeah,

Christine Garvin 4:53
compared to all your friends are having these like horribly heavy periods, right? And we’re just like complaining about it. You’re like, it’s no big deal. No.

Emilia Papadopoullos 5:00
Yeah. Yeah, so it was those that they were symptoms. I didn’t know that were. Yeah, possibly showing that I had maybe like low levels of estrogen, high levels of testosterone, some insulin issues. But also there was things that you don’t think about as well, like I’d get so hangry I almost felt like I was having. Well, I guess if I went periods without food, I’d get so shaky, angry, just needed to eat like a sap, I had loads of cravings. I didn’t struggle from a weight gain perspective. But I don’t know whether that would have been something that, you know, maybe happened further down the line, or when we did blood tests, I did have high insulin high HPA one see.

Christine Garvin 5:45
Yeah, I just want to cut in there really quick, because I think that’s an important point, that people automatically will look at larger people and think that they have some health issues, and they will automatically look at thinner people and think that they don’t have health issues. And that is not the case, right? We can’t see what’s going on inside of the body based on what’s happening on outside of the body. You know, and it can be it’s frustrating on both sides, right? When people are trying to get help and support from their doctors. Because if you’re larger than they’ll say, just lose weight, you know, and if you’re smaller, they’ll be like, nothing’s wrong with you. Yeah, like, yes, there is actually you know, so, you know, I think this is where when we get into specific testing around things like this, like, you can certainly have high blood sugar, you can certainly have, you know, I think that a lot of people don’t realize, like hypothyroidism, because weight gain is supposed to be, you know, a part of that that’s not necessarily the case. There’s plenty of women with low functioning thyroid, or even subclinical hypothyroidism running around out there that are thin, you know, so don’t judge a book by its cover, essentially. And, you know, I think that’s so so important for people to take in, you know, to their doctors to is really advocate for themselves to get these tests done, because that’s going to show you a whole lot more than just this, like they’re looking at you and diagnosing you based off of that.

Emilia Papadopoullos 7:13
Yeah, definitely. I agree. And I think with a lot of the people that I work with, a lot of women do have a diagnosis of PCOS. And I’m definitely seeing a lot of like lean pictures of PCOS. It’s not that everyone’s struggling with, like weight gain or struggling to lose weight. Yeah. So Yeah. And it’s interesting, because it is usually when you do those blood tests that insulin is high. I guess we’ll talk about that. Yeah,

Christine Garvin 7:39
yeah. Well, let’s dive into that. Because I think I love talking about blood sugar on here. I love talking about it in general, because it really does underlie so many issues, right? And particularly with hormones, like, you know, you just no matter what your hormonal issue is, if your blood sugar is wack, it’s, it’s going to be part of that spectrum. Right. So yeah, let’s talk about what with PCOS, you, you know, tend to see and how the blood sugar impacts that.

Emilia Papadopoullos 8:12
Yeah, so I tend to do blood tests that will just look at a lot of different things. Because even if you just look at blood sugar, you know, put in a full picture. Yeah, but insulin tends to be high. And then fasting, glucose will be high as well. HBO wants to be another thing that raised. And this is impacting your hormones, because when these, when these are high, they can contribute to inflammation. And they can drive that testosterone up as well and contribute to testosterone becoming that more potent form of DHT, which isn’t great from a PCOS perspective, and also an acne side as well. Yeah, and I see, even if someone hasn’t got a diagnosis of PCOS, from an acne side, it’s really common to have those insulin levels high. And it’s going to contribute to like blocked pores, increase in sebum production, I suppose you kind of just think of what happens through puberty, especially as a teenage boy. That’s the kind of picture you tend to see when these insulin levels rise. And that then affects things like testosterone, you get all your skin, you get changes in hair growth. Yeah, and it’s a big driver and voices

Christine Garvin 9:22
can drop. Like that. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I find it you know, an interesting thing that at least here in the US, insulin is not a regular marker that a doctor will check right? They will check your blood sugar, your fasting blood sugar. And then if you’re lucky, your HPA once see, right, you know, I have to often nudge clients if they’re getting that done through their doctors to ask for that and some doctors are afford and some aren’t. Insulin is rarely even a thought that crosses their mind. So that’s something you have to ask for, you know, when I do comprehensive labs on my clients say Same thing insulin is on there, because your blood sugar can look just fine. Your HB one C can actually look just fine. Or bordering, you know, and then you see that insulin number and you’re like, Okay, this is where we’re really seeing it. I don’t want to say early, necessarily, but we’re seeing what this path is gonna go down for your blood sugar eventually. So really just your glucose, you know, your fasting glucose isn’t giving you that much information, because I feel like it can look good, kind of for the longest, at about, you know, I have a client still she she tests, you know, around 85, which is really, you know, here that’s like prime optimal area, but then her HBO and see shows the truth of what’s happening here like 5.7 5.8, you know, so. So yeah, that’s something that, you know, at least here, I don’t know, if the same is true in the UK that you have to definitely ask for that insulin to be tested.

Emilia Papadopoullos 10:59
Yeah, I don’t think I’ve ever had it. I’ve asked for it. I’ve never had it back from a doctor. So it is something that we have to do separately, especially if there’s not like a family history of diabetes, or any really prevalent diabetes, or diabetes or cardiovascular symptoms. Sometimes it can be hard to even get the glucose in through the doctors. So yeah, it’s sometimes it’s a lot of the stuff that we need to get done privately.

Christine Garvin 11:26
Yeah, yeah. So would you recommend if someone’s had acne for a long time, or say, I think a lot of women that I know that, you know, they had maybe acne when they were younger, and then it went away, and now it’s coming back as they’re in their 30s? And 40s? Would you say start off with taking these tests?

Emilia Papadopoullos 11:46
Yeah, it tends to be, blood tests tend to be the thing that I do most. Now, just because you can see so much out of one test. And from a hormone perspective, it’s really good to see what’s happening with your hormones. But without seeing things like blood sugar balance, and inflammation markers, and maybe getting an idea what’s happening with your stress levels, you don’t really know why your testosterone is high, or your estrogen is low. So I do think it’s a really good place to start. And, yeah, it’s just, it’s such a big driver for hormone imbalances to have issues with blood sugar levels. And often, you can be eating really healthy, but your insulin can still be off balance. And that can be coming from things like stress, whether you’ve got a genetic disposition that puts you more at risk of like metabolic imbalances, all of those things. So yeah, I’d see a lot of people who are eating healthy, we test their blood sugars, and they’re still not good. So do you think it’s a good place to start?

Christine Garvin 12:47
Absolutely. So when, well, let’s talk first about some of the dietary changes that you know, may need to come into play, but also based off of what you’re just saying, I’m curious, what you recommend when they are eating really well. And you’re trying to like figure out, okay, so this is something else going on is kicking up your insulin. So what do we do about that, but let’s start with dietary approach first.

Emilia Papadopoullos 13:13
Yeah, so I think it’s quite easy, you’ve got a lot of options that you can do from a blood glucose insulin perspective. So if you’re, you have no idea where to start, I’d say a good place is increasing your vegetables, and your fats and your protein, because they’re going to help keep blood sugar stable when you eat and kind of reduce those spikes that can be happening, which then kind of exacerbate the whole process. So your healthy fats, things like things like oily fish, avocado, oil, olive oil, all those sorts of things are going to be really good and make sure that you’re adding them to food never have, like carbohydrates on their own. So that’s a big thing. So if you haven’t something like toast for breakfast, the easiest thing to do is just add an egg on top or add some avocado on there. Even if you’re just going to put peanut butter on there. I personally don’t like that. I find it to dry. But it’s gonna it’s gonna Yeah,

Christine Garvin 14:10
yeah, slow it down active. Yeah. So it’s

Emilia Papadopoullos 14:13
focusing on adding things to your diet, rather than thinking I need to cut out all the sugars first. And I think when you’ve got to a place of, I’m not just having these plain carbohydrates on their own, then you can look at kind of reducing things. So if you wanted to reduce your portion of carbs after that, or just swap it if you’re having things like white rice, you can swap over to brown rice, that’s quite an easy swap to do. Use things like key unlocks, it will have a higher protein content than other refined carbs that you can eat. So yeah, I think those are simple things that you can do. And then after that, once you’ve kind of got on top of cravings, because you’ll find when you’ve added things like proteins and fats, and maybe swapped to complex carbs or things like brown rice, you don’t crave as many foods because you’re not happy. needs blood sugar, like drops and spikes. And then you can start taking out things like, I don’t know, a Diet Coke or some chocolate, that sort of stuff.

Christine Garvin 15:11
Absolutely. And, you know, the big plus, along the lines of what you’re doing here is that your energy is also going to increase, right? Because people don’t realize how tied up their energy is in those blood sugar swings, you know, so it’s like, if you’re just like, up and down throughout the day, suddenly, you’re gonna be like, Oh, I feel more just like, consistent energy. You know? For me, that’s always the most exciting when some, when a client’s like, oh, yeah, I like I noticed that I actually have more energy, you know? And it’s like, yes, because things are working in your body in the way that they’re supposed to. And it’s getting the fuel that it needs, you know, which, like you said, protein and fats, and really, you know, starting to build your, you know, each meal around those, and get enough of those, and then, you know, fill the rest of that with carbs of whatever, you know, form to start and then kind of get sort of healthier and healthier over time. That’s, you know, that’s what it feels our body. Really, yeah,

Emilia Papadopoullos 16:11
yeah, yeah, it’s amazing for energy. And I do think it’s a really good thing to do, because then people might have more motivation and energy to make other changes, because they start to feel so much better with something that’s quite simple. But the other thing is that it affects mental health. So you might find that if you’re going on a bit of a blood sugar rollercoaster, and you’re having maybe toast and coffee for breakfast, and then you have a sugary snack at some point as well, those drops can make you feel really anxious or stressed. And that’s kind of contributing to the whole issue as well, if you’re thinking about hormones, like sex hormones, and yeah, things like cortisol, you want to make sure that that blood sugar stable to get that in place. And there’s a huge impact on like skin, mental health stress. So again, it’s really good from that aspect as well, to get that blood sugar stable.

Christine Garvin 17:02
Absolutely. And I just want to add on to that, because it’s such a big thing right now. Right. And it’s being talked about more, I think, recently, in terms of how it’s impacting women’s bodies, but intermittent fasting has become such a huge thing, right. And so, I don’t wanna say so many women, but there’s definitely a decent amount of women out there that are waiting until like 12, or one have their first meal of the day, and they get up and they drink coffee. And you know, that’s like, Okay, on intermittent fasting. And it’s like shooting your cortisol up, you know, first thing in the morning, you’re not giving your body any fuel. And, you know, I actually was just reading this, this one, I think she’s a carnivore, and she was talking about how, you know, she basically couldn’t lose weight, even though she was eating strict carnivore and doing intermittent fasting. And then she realized for her just like literally eating first thing in the morning, change that all around, you know, so no matter what dietary approach you take, you know, it’s so important for our blood sugar stability in that cortisol stability. And excuse me, to get, you know, the first meal of the day in within like the first hour of you waking up, in my opinion.

Emilia Papadopoullos 18:14
Yeah, yeah, it’s something I see a lot in clinic as well. And even if someone isn’t hungry, I just try and get them to eat a little bit as protein. And I think a lot of people are actually surprised that it kickstart so digestion, just by eating something in the morning, and if you are gonna have those bigger set meals, so breakfast, lunch and dinner, you just stick to three and you don’t snack, you are still getting, you can still get like a five hour fast between meals rather than doing. Yeah, that huge, overnight fast. And it’s it’s worse, I guess, if you wake up pre stressed, and then your your job is stressful, and you’ve sat in traffic, and you’re even more stressed and stress, you have an eight since 6pm. Last night.

Christine Garvin 18:56
Right? Right, right. And really, you know, for a cycling woman’s body, I find that like 12 hours is plenty to give your body a break from food, right? So if you eat six or 7pm, and then you don’t eat again until you know 7am That’s a nice break, you know, so and and, you know, so much of the research has been done with intermittent fasting has been done on men’s bodies. And it’s just different when you have hormones that basically stay the same throughout the month, you know, versus these ups and downs and what our body needs to feel safe in order to cycle properly. Right. So okay, so let’s go back to oh, I wanted to actually ask you to talk about, you mentioned about DHT, which I’ve talked about on here before, but I’m not sure that everybody knows that and understands sort of how our hormones metabolize and how they can go down these different pathways. So could you share that?

Emilia Papadopoullos 19:58
Yeah, so I I suppose if you’re doing, you can test it in blood, you can see your DHT levels in blood. But a lot of people might be more familiar with it on a Dutch test where you can see that, like, kind of when you look at your androgens, you can see those two different forms of, you’ve got testosterone on one side, and then you’ve got this DHT form on the other side. And you can’t have you can’t actually have low levels of testosterone, but high levels of DHT, which can be confusing. If you test on, you do a blood test, and you’re not looking at DHT, you have loads of possible and and then you think but I’ve got all these symptoms of testosterone, it could be that it’s going down that pathway, which is more potent. So yeah, you can still get those symptoms of increased facial hair or body hair, you might have hair thinning, and things like acne or oily skin, like you said, the the deeper voice as well. So it’s, it’s a five alpha reductase enzyme that’s converting these androgens down this pathway, which is so much more potent.

Christine Garvin 21:01
And do you have a recommendation on what can help not push down that pathway or push on that five B pathway instead?

Emilia Papadopoullos 21:10
Yeah, so zinc is a really important one, you might want to go a bit higher on a zinc dosage for a short period of time to really like focus on that enzyme and block it and make sure it’s going down to testosterone and just help to regulate testosterone levels. Things like green tea, and matchyour. I’m a massive fan of because I think they’re quite easy to add in to your diet. And then things like salt Palmetto is a herb that can be used as well commonly, and lycopene. So just getting people to increase like tomatoes, tomato puree, these can all help to kind of help with healthy testosterone levels and block that pathway. But interestingly, you can do it topically on the skin as well. I mean, you’re always you always want to focus internally. But yeah, there are certain topical things that you can do to help with reducing that conversion within the skin. Oh, I didn’t know that. So things like again, zinc V five. And linoleic acid is another good one. So might be why Evening Primrose can be beneficial.

Christine Garvin 22:18
Interesting. Yeah. When you think about zinc is well known for being helpful for the skin. Right? I mean, healing for the skin, all those interesting, I never knew that. It could actually do the conversion there on the skin. Fascinating. Yeah. Okay. So we’re I definitely want to end up getting, you know, into talking about more herbs and things like that. But let’s go back to the, you know, what you mentioned earlier, sometimes women are really eating a clean diet, you know, or a diet that suits their bodies well, and they still are having, you know, the the high tea issues, the high blood sugar issues. So, what do you do in that case? And what are some of the ways that you know, that they need to support themselves?

Emilia Papadopoullos 23:00
Yes. So I think if that’s happening, so someone’s come in, and their diet is, like, perfect. And then we’ll get that result is when you need to look at the full the full picture. So the gut microbiome can contribute to imbalances in insulin and blood sugar regulation. Stress is a big driver of it as well, inflammation. So again, with inflammation, you want to be thinking what’s causing inflammation. And again, that could be coming from the gut microbiome, it could be a genetic disposition that you might be more prone to. Again, it can be stress, it could be underlying infections, it could be a lack of beneficial bacteria damage to the gut lining. So all these things could be contributing to it. And that’s when you need to zoom out and, and look at all those things and kind of tick off what’s not causing it and then focus on what possibly is.

Christine Garvin 23:51
So do you utilize gut testing in that process?

Emilia Papadopoullos 23:55
Yeah. So I will often combine like a blood test with a stool test, because I think the more you do stool testing, the more you can kind of maybe take an educated guess of what’s happening from a group perspective. But there’s a lot of times where you think you know, what’s going to come up and then you do a stool test, and you’re like, well wasn’t expecting to see

Christine Garvin 24:14
me all the time. I’ll be like, Yeah, I’m pretty sure that there’s h pylori going on, and then it does, it doesn’t show up on the test, or vice versa, you know, like with some of the opportunistic bacteria. So I get that, you know, you’re like, well, that’s why testing is helpful, right? Because otherwise we’re just guessing.

Emilia Papadopoullos 24:33
Yeah, definitely. And you get so much information from doing like a comprehensive stool test as well. You’re looking at inflammation within the gut, which is going to affect hormones and your skin so it can manifest in the skin as well. If you’ve got issues going on from a gut side. Yeah. And just looking at those levels of bacteria. So a lot of the time it’s not that someone’s got an infection necessarily. It could be that they’ve got high levels of beneficial bacteria, but when they get to those levels of The levels that they’re in, they start to cause an issue, right? So you can call out all of that. And then the thing I really like as well is when you get to see an insight to people’s digestive function. So looking at those products of protein breakdown, you can see that and that’s really important for seeing if someone’s actually getting, because you can be eating really well. But if you’re not digesting and absorbing, you’re not getting the benefit. So that’s another thing that can happen. If someone’s eating really healthy, or not seeing benefits, that you’re not actually absorbing it,

Christine Garvin 25:31
yet, not bringing it down absorbing it, that’s, you know, I think half the issue for a lot of people out there that are eating healthy already. And they’re like, I don’t understand, you know, it’s like, well, it’s what you it’s what you digest and absorb not just what you eat. And what did you just say that I wanted to? Oh, about the beneficial bacteria, I thought that was a really good point, too, because people think, Oh, I just want as much of the good bacteria as possible. And that’s not true, either, right? Because good guys can become bad guys, essentially, if there’s too many of them, right. And so our microbiome is such a balance. And we really want to see what’s happening in there. So that we can bring things more into a balance instead of just like high levels and low levels of these different things, which is I’m sure what you see a lot on on testing, too, as I do, yeah. And also, you know, I love that you said this word several times, and I think it’s important to always come back to is talking about inflammation, because inflammation really underlies every disease, you know, and all the things that you’re talking about is, hey, let’s work on essentially on the inflammatory responses that are going on and calm those down. And it’s like everything in the body works better when the inflammation comes down. And these are the different ways that you can get inflamed really.

Emilia Papadopoullos 26:58
Yeah. And it’s such I suppose you can see it more maybe if someone’s got, like more progressive, inflammatory acne, they’ve got really inflamed cysts, you can kind of, you know, attach the inflammation. It’s more easy to kind of see it, but maybe from a PCOS perspective, if someone’s not suffering with really bad acne, because that can happen as well. Not every woman with PCOS has acne, right.

Christine Garvin 27:23
Even a Varian cysts, they don’t always have them too. So yeah,

Emilia Papadopoullos 27:28
yeah. So it can be hard maybe to kind of process that I’ve got inflammation when I don’t have that. Yes, visible pain or redness that you can see. But yeah, you can see that in a blood test as well. So the markers like ESR, CRP, high sensitive CRP, things you can get tested to see where you’re at from an inflammatory perspective, but then also you can see it in the gut. So it might be the secretory, IGA is really high, how protective is really high, they will give you insight as well to inflammation, absolutely such

Christine Garvin 28:03
good stuff. Because really, when you’re working on, you know, this one area, in this instance, which we’re talking about acne, you’re really impacting all the systems in the body from a beneficial perspective, right? Because those inflammatory markers, you know, can be pointing to inflammation in different parts of the body, you know, like, especially like, we look at that hot, you know, the high sensitivity one, it’s like, okay, so there’s probably some heart inflammation going on here. So there’s just like, all of these benefits to taking this approach, even just beyond you’re handling your acne, right? You’re like really healing your body?

Emilia Papadopoullos 28:41
Yeah. And it’s something that I think can be a positive with having acne, I know that will be really hard for someone to hear if they have acne, active acne now, and I’m thinking, how the heck is it so positive? You can see that there’s something happening topically on the skin, and it forces you to dive deeper. Whereas someone who’s maybe more prone to something like cardiovascular disease, you don’t have that warning sign, you might just one day have a heart attack? You don’t know.

Christine Garvin 29:12
Yeah, that’s a really good point. And yeah, and I think that’s, you know, it’s definitely a mindset shift that we have to make. But when our bodies are, you know, under duress, and they’re letting us know, that really gives us this opportunity to make the changes that need to be made. Versus Yeah, not knowing, you know, and I mean, sometimes, for myself, I’m, like, so tuned into my body, sometimes I’m like, I wish I wasn’t, because it’s like every little thing, I’m sure they’re similar, right? Like, once you’ve gone through this, you’re just like, Okay, I’m sort of hyper vigilant, but I do know right off the bat if something isn’t good for my body or isn’t working for my body, you know, and so, what I tell my clients all the time is develop that relationship with your body because it does want the best for you? It is letting you know that something’s off so that you really do have this opportunity to work with it now before it gets worse, you know, again, I know that’s hard when nothing bad has ever happened to you like, I get it. Now you’re just like, but I feel fine. You know, it’s like, well, yeah, but this is probably going to happen down the road. And I get it. So sometimes people need a wake up call. But you know, I, if you can get there before having the wake up call life is so much easier.

Emilia Papadopoullos 30:30
Yeah, definitely.

Christine Garvin 30:32
Yeah. So let’s talk about the stress component. And what you recommend for your patients that do you see that that’s part of the issue?

Emilia Papadopoullos 30:43
Yeah, it’s a hard one, I guess it’s a hard one with all chronic disease, but I think when acne is because people are so you know, your your appearance makes such a difference to your self esteem and how you interact with other people, there is a huge issue with skin conditions and the mental health side. So having that skin condition in itself is very stressful. People with any skin condition really are more prone to things like anxiety, depression, a can affects their intimate relationships, they can have social withdrawal, they just don’t want to be seen. So it’s, it’s definitely a hard one, there’s the things that we’ve spoken about, that you can do from a nutritional standpoint. So working on the stress response, maybe we’re supporting adrenals. And putting some of those calming, herbs in things like magnesium can be really, really nice just to support the stress response. But then also combat, I think this is where it’s really good to combine like all the therapies. So you know, if you can speak to a therapist, I do often encourage that someone tries to speak to a therapist just to talk through how they’re feeling. And also things like CBT can really help with your thought processes. So you might go out, it was definitely something I was doing. When I had really bad skin, I didn’t want to go out because I thought everyone’s just gonna stare at my skin, and they’re gonna be thinking, God isn’t her skin really bad, looks really painful. Whatever else they could possibly say. But it doesn’t it like you don’t know if people actually thinking that EBT can help with changing your mindset, which then helps to reduce stress, which will help with inflammation and hormones. Because it’s really hard to get these balanced. Yeah, when you’re when you’re really, really stressed. But then also, if you’re working topically on the skin, you can help to reduce some of that inflammation. And that can help from a self esteem perspective as well, because you’ll see, you’ll see benefits quicker when you’re combining all of them together. So yeah, I think the combination of working on your mental health, I mean, if you can’t afford to see a therapist, there’s other things that you can do, like just things that you enjoy meditation, yoga, deep breaths, even, like positive affirmations can help with that thought process as well. So those are things that you can do.

Christine Garvin 32:59
Yeah. And I always tell people, you know, it’s, it’s a huge component of any health issue, right is the trauma that we have stored in our bodies, you know, the belief systems, all those kinds of things. And so I do think it’s so helpful if you’re able to work with a therapist, that you really feel connected to, and that can truly support you in the process, right? Because doing that alongside the dietary changes, the supplements, and all of that is going to give you such a, so much more success, really, because you know that people don’t always understand that trauma that’s kind of stuck in the body, you know, can consistently run our stress system kind of keep us in this more fight or flight response all the time. So it’s really hard to get into our calming parasympathetic nervous system without actually kind of rooting out that trauma.

Emilia Papadopoullos 33:57
Yeah, and I suppose when you’re talking about the hormone pathways, as well, if you’re stressed and you’re trying to balance hormones, it’s so

Christine Garvin 34:06
good luck. I know. That’s why always I mean, people are always like, why are you talking about stress stuff all the time? Why are you don’t mind cortisol all the time, because you have to tackle cortisol. If you’re going to work on your sex hormones, you know, people, kind of like you said earlier, you know, people want to jump to maybe hormone testing or seeing where their testosterone is at. And it’s like, yes, that’s useful information. But that’s kind of what’s happening up here because of everything that we need to get at that’s down here. Right? It’s like we need to get in here and change the course of things and that’s going to be what impacts your hormones rather than trying to go in necessarily right off the bat and test your hormones and be like, okay, you know, and you know, depends on the individual it’s I won’t say that don’t ever go in early and test hormones but you really getting the foundation so in place that we’ve talked about today, and using a lot of the blood tests that you talked about, that’s really the places that we want to start and really support the body from those perspectives.

Emilia Papadopoullos 35:11
Yeah, definitely. And stress is going to have a huge impact on how well you’re absorbing those nutrients to create healthy hormones as well. So it’s not even that it’s just like you’re creating cortisol instead of things like progesterone. And because they’re not safe to have a baby, yeah, that’s what your body’s really thinking. So why would they? Why would it make things to make you have a baby when you’re not in an area that’s safe to reproduce? But yeah, you won’t, if you’re stressed, it kind of shuts down the digestive system. So you’re not going to be absorbing the things that you need to even make hormones? Well, it’s not that you’re not going to have any will have them. Right, right. Yeah, you’re not going to have those raw materials as much as you need.

Christine Garvin 35:51
Absolutely. And I always tell people, you know, whether or not you want to have a baby is kind of a revelant. Right? That the word real? Yeah, that sounded weird when it came out. But it’s, it’s we want our bodies to feel like we’re trying to get pregnant, you know, like, it’s like, I totally get you not wanting to get pregnant, I have been through that my entire life, you know, but the point is to make your body feel that way, because that is how your menstrual cycle is going to work properly to be, you know, safe, secure, have all the materials that you need, you know, and have the communication between your brain and your ovaries working really well, that whole feedback loop. And yeah, that’s not going to happen. If your body thinks that you’re running from a saber toothed Tiger, you know, like, if you think evolutionary wise, that is our bodies, we’re going to shut down that process of being able to hold and grow life if we’re trying to protect our own life. And so when we’re caught in this stress response all the time, it’s like, your body’s like, Oh, we’re freaking out. We’re just trying to keep you alive right now. You know, so. Okay, so let’s, I know we’re coming up on time. But let’s really quickly talk about any other herbs are nutrient supports that you know, you haven’t mentioned, that you feel like are really helpful when it comes to acne?

Emilia Papadopoullos 37:13
Yeah, I think a big one is definitely did talk about it a little bit, but your essential fats, so they’re going to be really important for reducing inflammation within the skin that help with just the skin cell cycle and making sure that you’ve got a healthy skin barrier, and regulating oil production. And then it also helps from a hormone side as well. And it’s not just omega three, you definitely want a lot of because it can be hard to get that perfect ratio from a diet perspective. So definitely do like a higher dose of Omega three, but also think people can be scared of omega six, because they don’t want to throw off that ratio. Again, it’s something you can test. So you can see where you’re at with your omega six and Omega three ratio. But Omega six is really important for skin barrier production. Yes, skin barrier health. And when you combine them, it can be really nice to just help reduce inflammation. So yeah, those good forms of omega six are really beneficial for reducing inflammation. So yeah, if you’re not eating fish, or you don’t, you’re vegan, you can get a vegan Omega three that you can take, you just might have to take a few more capsules to get the equivalent of a fish oil. But yeah, that’s really important. I’d say majority of my clients have been put on some sort of Amiga supplement to help with skin.

Christine Garvin 38:32
And then as you really quick before you go on, so when you’re talking about the Omega sixes, you know that most of us get dietarily You know, through the oils and things that are we’re cooking our food in, but you’re also maybe talking about other things like there’s a couple of different ones, right that are particularly good for skin. And I’m trying to think of the ones that say like

Emilia Papadopoullos 38:58
Evening Primrose. Yeah, like Evening Primrose. Yeah,

Christine Garvin 39:01
and boards. Yeah, that’s what I was like. Yeah, there’s Yeah, yeah. So those are kind of the specific ones that you’re focusing on rather than say, like, obviously, I know you’re not trying to say canola oil or whatever. But, yeah, these specific skin Omega sixes that are really supportive to skin essentially.

Emilia Papadopoullos 39:20
Yeah. And also things like sea buckthorn oil, different Amida that it’s higher in, but yeah, a really nice one for reducing inflammation. And you can Yeah, take it topically. Yeah, I mean, not topically orally, if you’re going to use it topically or if you’ve got any skincare it’s very orange stain, but it’s so orange. So yeah, I’d say do it from a dietary perspective. Yeah. And you can add it to foods or it does come as a capsule as well but that can really help with moisturizing the skin and reducing inflammation.

Christine Garvin 39:55
I know some people will recommend doing you know Say fish oil for the first half of your cycle and Evening Primrose or borage seed for the second half that luteal phase? Do you recommend doing that? Or doesn’t matter? Can people take it at any time?

Emilia Papadopoullos 40:15
Yeah, I suppose I typically tend to probably stage it as I put in Omega three first, because I find it works really well for reducing inflammation. So a high dose of Omega three. And then when we’re kind of getting through a protocol, maybe want to do a little bit more topical support. I then put in evening primrose. But, but yeah, I don’t really I don’t tend to cycle it. But I know that some people do. And it can help in that way. But generally, I just say my go to is more. So omega three, and then I’d use them together throughout the cycle.

Christine Garvin 40:47
Gotcha. Gotcha. And I think it can get complicated for people sometimes to say, you know, this part of your cycle, do this and this part of your site, and they’re like, Wait, what

Emilia Papadopoullos 40:57
is that? And then you end up not taking the benefit?

Christine Garvin 41:00
Yeah. Like, just go ahead and take it the whole time, you’ll be fine. So okay, that cut you off earlier when you were talking about other herbs? Or nutrients?

Emilia Papadopoullos 41:08
Yeah. So I guess, again, it depends what happens from a testing perspective. So we spoke about what’s good for testosterone. There are other botanicals that you can use for like balance and estrogen and progesterone. So I’d say with progesterone, you might want to focus on stress, because that can be a big killer of something like progesterone. So yeah, some of the calming things like chamomile, also a really good one for reducing inflammation and supporting gut health. Magnesium, I guess not herb, but

Christine Garvin 41:40
no nurturers are lying to Yeah, absolutely. It doesn’t have to be all herbs. Well, fine. Most women with PCOS, do you end up having that low estrogen.

Emilia Papadopoullos 41:50
It can go either way. Sometimes I see people with low estrogen, low progesterone, because they’re not ovulating, so they won’t have healthy progesterone levels. But also because testosterone can then aromatize into estrogen, you can actually have high testosterone and high levels of estrogen at the same time. So yeah, some things that are really good if you’ve got high levels of estrogen, which is also going to be inflammatory, and might contribute to things like fibroids and cysts at the same time. Things like broccoli, or your cruciferous vegetables, but yeah, I tend to go more. So for broccoli, broccoli, sprouts, cauliflower, those are really good for helping to promote more healthy versions of estrogen. And to help reduce inflammation as well. Yeah, and then I guess there’s other there’s other herbs like vytex, that people might try. But again, I think you can’t just go in with some of these herbs that say that they’re going to help with progesterone and estrogen, and then not be thinking about why they’re off balance in the first place, you could take loads of vytex. And nothing happens, because it’s further upstream, that it’s actually causing the issue.

Christine Garvin 42:58
Right, absolutely. Because I think a lot of people will jump to an herb that they hear is really good, or even a nutrient that they hear is really good for these things. And it’s like, but you need to find out specifically what’s happening in your body. You know, I mean, for example, going back to the zinc, you know, that is something that you can test for, and you can even see your alkaline phosphatase on a regular panel, right, that that’s low. And that is a big one for a lot of people. And so that’s why I’m such a big proponent of doing these, you know, especially in some of these basic blood tests, we can really figure out a lot and just support those nutrients being uplifted in your body and getting your digestion working well too. Right. And then, and then you can like bring in some of these other herbs, to support you know, once once you’ve got those foundations in place. So yeah, yeah. Well, thank you so much for this amazing, you know, tutelage on skin health and PCOS. I think that, you know, unfortunately, PCOS is definitely under diagnosed, at least here in the States. And that, you know, there really, it’s not, I don’t want to say it’s, it’s not easy, but there are a, there’s a simple path towards actually working with it from the root cause which we’ve talked about today. Right? So I’m definitely not saying it’s easy, because there’s making changes and bringing in changes takes time. And you should work with a practitioner on that. And get really specific, like we’ve talked about today and figure out what’s going on your body. So tell everyone where they can find you.

Emilia Papadopoullos 44:42
Yeah, so I think I’m most active on Instagram. So you can find me on Instagram. I guess if you want to ask any questions, that’s where it’s best to do it. So yeah, my Instagram is Amelia nutrition. And then I do have my website as well. If you wanted to send me an email. All my contact info is on there. Sounds good. Isn’t immediate nutrition got co.uk?

Christine Garvin 45:03
Are you able to work with people outside of UK or just in the UK?

Emilia Papadopoullos 45:08
Yeah, I do work with people outside of the UK, I’d say because I’m based in the UK most of my clients are sure. Okay, based? Yeah, I do. Yeah, we can work around like time zones and stuff. So do you have people elsewhere and we work online? Yeah.

Christine Garvin 45:23
Sounds good. Yeah, we definitely there’s definitely listeners in Europe and the UK on this for this podcast, which I’m so glad you guys are all here. But also, I just was wondering for anybody in the US is looking for somebody. So yeah, I’m same thing. One of my co workers I mentioned to you earlier, she’s in Belgium. And we’re like, navigating the time changes all the time, but you make it work. I mean, it’s not really that bad. During the day, you know, during the week, you can make it happen.

Emilia Papadopoullos 45:53
Yeah, you might just someone ends up being a little bit early or a little bit late. Yeah.

Christine Garvin 45:59
Exactly. That’s it. All right. Well, thank you so much for being here with us today.

Emilia Papadopoullos 46:04
Yeah, thanks so much for having me. It was really fun.

Christine Garvin 46:07
I know it’s good stuff. All right, you guys. I will see you next time.

 

 

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