Do you know how important your gut health is in relationship to your skin?
So let’s start with why and how your inner Ecosystem is connected to the health of your skin. Gut bacteria. Gut bacteria is crucial in maintaining healthy skin and for the overall health of your body. Your body is composed of trillions of bacteria, some good and some bad. Our guts contain 100 trillion microorganisms, a number that is hard to imagine for such a small area in our bodies! We are made up of about 80% good bacteria and 20% bad bacteria- keeping this in balance is important for our skin and overall health. The good bacteria help to digest nutrients, convert starches into useful energy, and keep candida in check.
When your gut is filled with too much bad bacteria and yeast, the pores in your digestive tract widen. This widening allows toxins to leak into your bloodstream, which creates leaky gut syndrome. Your body detects these large protein molecules as ‘foreign protein molecules’ and moves into attack mode. This will lead to negative outward symptoms, the first of which is inflammation. There are lots of symptoms and issues that are connected to inflammation. We are familiar with fevers, arthritis, and joint pain, but did you know that inflammation is one of the culprits of rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, and acne?
Another common issue of the intestinal tract is small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). This is when the bacteria that belong in our large intestine move into our small intestine. Now what you need to know is that our small intestine is sterile for the most part and contains a very limited number of bacteria. So when these bacteria migrate from the large intestine into the small intestine ~ we get gas, lots of gas, and bloating. Why? Because these little rascals break down your food before it gets to the large intestine (where it is actually supposed to be broken down). Then there is low stomach acid, which creates a vicious cycle of poor digestion, chronic gut inflammation, microbial overgrowth, leaky gut, elevated stress hormones, and lowered nutrient absorption. And guess what one of the main causes of low stomach acid is? Stress. It is hard to say which comes first- low stomach acid or SIBO, but what is known is that they are connected and both need to be addressed.
Lastly, not only is gut bacteria crucial to maintaining healthy skin but also the bacteria living on our skin is important as well. When we treat our skin disorders with antibiotics the microorganisms on our skin are killed off. These microorganisms protect us from the outside world and without them we become susceptible to anything in our environment. Most times when we take antibiotics, they behave as a temporary band-aid and because they also mess with our gut bacteria it can end up as a double whammy of trouble.
How do we maintain a healthy gut? The goal is to reduce systemic inflammation by healing the gut wall and increasing the ‘good guys’! So here are a few initial steps to restore your gut flora:
- Eat plenty of fermentable fibers (starches like garlic, chicory root, dandelion greens, and yams, to name a few) they have a beneficial effect on the proliferation of good bacteria in the lower colon;
- Eat fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi and tempeh, these are foods that natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the food creating lactic acid to preserve the food and creating beneficial enzymes and more.
- Take high-quality, multi -species probiotics, essential for optimal digestion of food and absorption of nutrients and minerals
- Drink bone broth ~bone broth is high in compounds such as collagen, glycine, and glutamine that can transform your health. It is a gut and skin healing superfood.
- Seek treatment yearly or bi-yearly for pathogens, such as parasites, that may be present (watch for our upcoming blog on parasites)
- Take steps to manage your stress: get enough sleep, eat a healthy, balanced diet, and exercise regularly.
Healing your gut may not magically clear up your complexion ~ however, the importance of a healthy gut plays a significant role in the health of your skin.