The Gut-Skin connection
Feeling like your skin is dry, getting irritated easily? Is your skin cracking, red and sore? Tried every product under the sun and still not finding any relief? Perhaps you have patches of eczema, psoriasis, rosacea or dermatitis?
Now is the time to look at your digestive health in relation to supporting your skin.
Our digestive system and our skin are intricately linked, in fact the lining of our digestive system from a cell perspective, is very similar to the cells that compose the outer layers of our skin.
How is our digestive system and skin linked?
This can happen a few different ways:
1. Immune function.
Our gut microbiome, or the bacteria and other microbes that reside in our large intestine communicate regularly with the skin via the immune system. Our gut is linked with the immune system as the gut is a site where lots of pathogens (harmful microbes) can enter the body. Our skin is part of the immune system’s first line of defence so it's role is to ensure no pathogens enter via the skin barrier.
So our gut and the immune system send signals to each other regularly and feed off each other, alerting each other to potential problems.
2. Reducing inflammation.
Our gut microbiome ferments fibre that we eat and the end products of this (short chain fatty acids) go on to reduce inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation on the skin can be shown through redness, heat, itchiness and swelling. The short chain fatty acids released from fibre can assist in the reduction of inflammation of the skin.
3. Leaky Gut.
The lining integrity of our digestive system, in particular the intestines, play a large role on our skin health. If the lining of our intestine is inflamed, irritated or infected, this can lead to particles from our food or even gut bacteria making their way into our bloodstream, through the gaps in our intestinal lining and can accumulate within the skin and disrupt our skin integrity.
4. Food for the skin.
Our skin needs nutrients as does another body system and the most obvious way we acquire nutrients is via the gut and the food we eat!
Optimising our digestive system to support our skin health.
Supporting the skin internally is just as important as looking at the topical approach.
Here are a few ways you can improve your digestion to support your skin health:
Supporting the Gut Microbiome:
- Eating a variety of different foods to feed the microbiome. Our gut bugs enjoy a varied diet just as much as we do and to ensure we are feeding a range of different species, we need a varied diet. Mix up what you eat if you have a regular diet: try adding in some different vegetables, mixing up colours and flavours to create variety.
- Fibre Fibre Fibre - our gut microbes feed off prebiotics which are fibre-rich food. Increasing your fibre content through a mix of fruits and vegetables, wholegrains and legumes is a great start.
How much should you have? Think about 40 different plant based foods, grains and legumes a week.
- Avoid purchasing a broad spectrum probiotic to address all of your gut microbiome concerns. It could be beneficial, however majority of the time it has no effect or could possibly have a detrimental effect. Chat to a practitioner in regards to specific strains which can support your skin directly via the digestive system.
Eating for your Skin:
- Making sure we are feeding our body the nutrients that support our skin is important: foods such as oily fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel), nuts and seeds such as pumpkin and sunflower seeds, fruits and vegetables such as citrus fruits, berries, capsicum, broccoli and cabbage to get you started.
- Make sure you are drinking enough water. Water is particularly important for the skin as the skin cells need hydration. A minimum of 2L daily is vital for skin health.
Addressing Digestive Health:
- if you're experiencing any digestive symptoms such as bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, acid reflux or heartburn these need to be addressed to support the health of the skin. It is much easier to work with a practitioner to address these concerns especially when it comes to changing the diet.
Book a consult now to start supporting your skin. Your skin is worth the changes!