5 simple steps to optimize your gut for a healthier skin

Acne, rashes and other skin disorders are often signs of physiological imbalance in the body. Nutrient deficiencies, poor gut health, dehydration, hormonal imbalance, liver toxicity can all cause skin disorders

Understanding the root cause of your skin symptoms is the crucial first step towards lasting healing.

Today in this article I am focusing on the gut and skin axis and sharing 5 ways to optimize your gut health for a beautiful and happy skin.

Gut and skin axis

The skin is the largest organ in our body and has three protective layers. Some key functions of the skin include temperature regulation, protection, elimination via sweat, water retention and production of Vitamin D.

Recent and current research have confirmed a bidirectional link between the gut and the skin. Both are large surfaces colonized by microbiota cells, nourished by immune cells and whose function is to be the first line of defence against the outer environment.

In the gut, our bacteria produce and metabolise important nutrients including vitamin B12, vitamin K, and short chain fatty acids (SCFA) acetate, butyrate and propionate. SCFAs play an important role in reducing inflammatory processes in the body including the skin.

On the other hand an imbalance of these bacterias also called gut dysbiosis causes inflammation in the body. This can manifest through inflammatory symptoms or diseases such Rheumatoid arthritis, atopic dermatitis, allergies and other skin disorders. For example gut disorders such as coeliac disease, inflammatory bowel disease have been linked to atopic dermatitis, psoriasis.

Studies have shown that when the intestinal barrier is disturbed, the bacteria escape the gut, pass through the blood and accumulate in the skin. This of course causes disorder and imbalance in the skin’s own microbiome.

5 steps to optimize your gut for healthy, clear and youthful skin

1. assess your gut health

Assess your gut health, by journaling any gut symptoms that you have. How regular are your bowels? Are you detoxifying everyday? 

Do you find it easy to digest your meals? Any digestive symptoms i.e gas, reflux, bloating, constipation, diarrhea? 

If you have symptoms, get the support of a nutritionist, to really understand what is happening in your gut.

2. remove the culprits

Now that you’ve assessed your gut health, time to remove the possible culprits. Are you suspecting your body may be reacting to any particular foods? If so remove them for a few weeks and reintroduce them slowly one at the time four weeks after. 

See how your body and skin react.

Common culprits are dairy, corn, gluten, eggs, processed packaged foods, and added sugar. It has always been controversial whether dairy contributes to acne and certain skin disorders are not. Studies outcomes are often diverse on this topic but anecdotally, removing dairy from the diet has contributed to faster healing.

Dairy contains IGF-1, a growth factor hormone that supports bacteria growth and inflammation. Furthermore dairy products especially milk are often treated with hormones that disturb our own hormones and cause endocrine imbalance. Hormonal imbalance is also a common cause of acne.

3. Simplify the diet, detoxify the body

After removing culprits, it’s time to focus on a gut and skin friendly diet full of antioxidants, immune supporting and skin loving foods.

  • Fibre rich food to support elimination and body’s natural detoxification process.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids rich foods: walnuts, flaxseed, oily fish, chia seeds
  • Polyphenols: they are naturally occurring plant’s compounds widely found in our fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes. In the gut, polyphenols feed our beneficial bacteria and inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria. Their antioxidants effects support skin aging process by reducing uv radiation effects both internally and externally. Green tea, chocolate, berries, cinnamon

  • Hydrating and moisturising foods: Cucumber, avocado, carrots 
  • And of course WATER, a lot of it.

4. pre and probiotics to support healthy bacteria

Pre and probiotics can help you bring your gut into balance if there is dysbiosis. Understanding what type of imbalance you are dealing with, will help you choose the right probiotic and strain,

You can also directly support the skin microbiome with clean and probiotic infused skincare.

 

5. gut and skin friendly nutrients to consider

 

        • collagen

Collagen is the most abundant protein in our body.  It is the building block of our tissue including tendons, ligaments, skin, tissue. 

It contains glutamine and glycine which in the gut supports the integrity of the intestinal wall. A healthy intestinal barrier means the junctions of our intestinal wall are tight and foods cannot escape into the blood and cause havoc in our system.

        • aloe vera

Aloe Barbadensis also known as Aloe Vera is  one of the most popular herbal medicines in the west. It is used to relieve constipation, stomach burn but also topically to heal wounds.

When it comes to its gut health use, Aloe Vera is used to relieve constipation, heal ulcers and support gut integrity in Colitis cases.

        • vitamin a

Vitamin A preformed form Retinol can be found in egg yolk, liver, butter and the carotenoids can be found in mango, carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes and many more fruits and vegetables. Vitamin A is key in the integrity of our epithelial cells both in the gut and the skin. The supplemental dose can support the gut healing process when there is inflammation due to damage made by pathogenic bacteria.

        • zinc

An important vitamin that regulates our immune response, DNA synthesis, wound repair, and supports acid production in the gut.

Zinc helps promote healthy skin and mucous membranes, which boosts wound healing.

In conclusion, understanding the root cause of your skin symptoms will help you heal them faster. If they are gut-related, start using the above steps to support your gut microbiome.

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