How Gut Health Affects Our Skin

The first sign something in our gut is off balance is what’s going on with our skin. Learn more about the relationship between some of our most significant organs.

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Our gut microbiome comprises a vast collection of bacteria, viruses, and fungi that all work together to ensure our bodies are functioning correctly. They control how food gets digested, what cells go where, and even the function and dysfunction of other organs. One of these distant organs to have a particularly intimate connection with the gut is the skin! Research has given us some answers to how gut health affects our skin both negatively and positively.

When something in our gut isn’t balanced, our skin is usually the first place we notice it. Sometimes the signs are obvious – like when someone who is lactose intolerant drinks milk and breaks out into hives and rashes or develops acne – but other times, it’s not so easy to spot. Research shows people with skin conditions like eczema and rosacea are ten times more likely to grow harmful bacteria, and people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are 34 percent more likely to develop skin inflammation. However, there is a long list of ways our gut health impacts our skin.

How Gut Health Impacts Skin Health

Our gut helps transform the foods that we eat into the cells that eventually make up our skin. For those cells to be healthy and work properly, our gut needs to be fully functional. Let’s look at some ways our gut bacteria positively and negatively impact the health of our skin.

The gut creates short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) by fermenting fiber during digestion. These SCFAs play a lot of different roles. One is creating anti-microbial cells in our skin that protect us from inflammatory issues like staph infection or acne. Another is by building up our immune system and protecting us against the development of arthritis and allergies. The low-fiber, high-fat foods in a Standard American diet change our gut microbiome’s makeup, resulting in a deficiency of SCFAs, which is why we recommend a regular intake of the high-fiber foods listed below.

A healthy gut microbiome will also help you retain water in your skin, resulting in a more hydrated, youthful appearance. On the other hand, an imbalanced gut microbiome can result in dry, rough-looking skin.

Additionally, our gut is responsible for how efficiently our skin heals itself. Sending the right bacteria to our skin speeds up the healing process for ailments ranging from cuts and scrapes to eczema and psoriasis. Sending the wrong bacteria to our skin can cause redness and inflammation, often slowing down our healing response time.

Studies have also shown that a healthy gut can help protect our skin against UV radiation. That’s right! It increases our skin’s protective barrier against the sun. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wear sunscreen, however.

Now that we know some of the ways our gut health affects our skin health, let’s dig into how to get our gut into shape to ensure glowing, healthy skin!

4 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Gut Health

Everybody is different, but our diets play a prominent role in the health of our gut microbiome. It is important to eat the right foods to facilitate healthy bacteria growth. There are certain prebiotic-rich, probiotic-rich, and high-fiber foods we recommend eating to ensure healthy gut microbiota.

1. Eat high-fiber, prebiotic-rich foods like garlic, onions, leeks, asparagus, and bananas to feed the healthy bacteria in your gut. Please consult your physician before making any significant dietary modifications.

2. Incorporate probiotic-rich foods or fermented foods, like sauerkraut, kefir, yogurt, and kombucha, to ensure the bacteria in your gut are well-rounded. It is also beneficial to take a probiotic supplement to begin restoring your gut microbiome. Bonus: probiotics help to reduce bloating and improve the health of your digestive system.

3. Avoid processed foods and refined sugars as they cause inflammation. They also suppress good bacteria and promote the growth of harmful bacteria, throwing your gut microbiome off balance.

4. Avoid stress and anxiety! The hormones released when you are in a state of stress negatively impact your gut.

Our skin is the largest organ in our body, and it is significantly regulated by our gut health. This is why it is essential to keep the gut-skin axis healthy and fully functional. It is also crucial to note that our gut health plays a prominent role in our overall health and wellness. Consider reaching out to one of our physicians in Greenwood, IN for a more detailed list of delicious and healthy foods, dietary guidelines, and nutritious recipes that help support your gut microbiome!

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