The frustration of struggling with rosacea, acne, atopic dermatitis, or psoriasis is exhausting for many. Currently, topical creams and ointments are available in addition to oral treatments, offering some relief. But, a growing body of research suggests that these skin conditions may get started in the gut – otherwise known as the digestive system. It is hard to imagine that the microbe level of the gut can affect your skin, but stick with me as I take you through a short journey of the gut-skin axis and how your diet, ability to deal with stress, and environmental factors play a role.
What is the gut microbiome?
The gut is part of the immune system. The two are closely linked with 70 to 80 percent of a body’s immune system found in the digestive tract.
Within the gut’s microbiome, there are up to 1,000 different species of bacteria, with each type performing its own function. A mix of good and bad bacteria helps with proper digestion, heart health, regulation of metabolism, managing hormone levels, and dispensing toxins. The optimal gut microbiome balance can be disrupted by illness, toxins, stress, and poor diet. This leads to gut dysbiosis, which creates all sorts of digestive, mood, and skin issues that can make life very unpleasant.
But wait, there’s more!
Did you know that there is a microbiome on your skin? This population also has many functions, such as healing wounds, limiting exposure to allergens and UV radiation minimizing oxidative damage and helping keep the skin barrier intact and well-hydrated. Your skin’s microbiome can also become disrupted, and that’s when the problems start!
The gut-skin axis.
If you or a loved one suffers from any of the skin ailments mentioned earlier, there is a strong likelihood that gut dysregulation may be to blame because they are more closely connected than many realize. When your gut’s microbiome is unbalanced, it can impact your skin health and vice versa. Scientists call this connection the gut-skin axis. Research into this phenomenon is ongoing; however, all indicators suggest a strong correlation between the digestive system and skin.
One 2018 study indicates that the chronic inflammatory skin condition, atopic dermatitis, can be managed via the gut immune system with the use of probiotics. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6021588/
In the meantime, there are ways you can support a happy, healthy gut now to alleviate skin eruptions or at least calm them. These are best practices that I recommend:
- See what’s going on in your gut using a GI Map. Click HERE to schedule a consultation call to find out more.
- Take a gut health supplement, which provides prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics.
- Eat fermented foods that contain probiotics.
- Eat prebiotic fiber.
- Avoid sugar and unhealthy sweeteners.
- Limit unnecessary antibiotics.
- Reduce stress.
- Get enough sleep.
Are there other ways to manage the gut-skin access? There sure are. Whole foods are the way to go. Choose raw foods, like fruits and vegetables, nuts and grains, and prepare meals at home with lean protein where you can control what they contain and how much of it. This might take a little bit of planning, but I know you can do it.
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