We all know how important it is to take care of our skin, but did you know there’s a connection between gut health and skin health known as the gut-skin axis? In recent studies, researchers found a connection between the gut microbiome and inflammatory skin issues such as acne, dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis.
Our skin is the largest organ of our body and, similar to the gut, it’s home to an innumerable amount of microbes like bacteria, viruses, and fungi that make up the microbiome. In fact, specific microbes dominate different areas of the skin. The microbiome houses many beneficial bacteria that contribute to supporting health, such as Lactobacilli and Bifidobacterium. However,there are bacteria that can cause inflammation and disease states and imbalances in our microbiome. Two common ones are Helicobacter pylori and Clostridium difficile.
The skin itself is an immune organ, acting as a barrier to keep out pathogens. When there are imbalances in gut health, it can affect how well that barrier works. It’s estimated that over 90% of your immune system is located in your gut, but the immune system is also affected by the microbiome of your skin. Hence, the bi-directional relationship between the gut microbiome and skin, the gut-skin axis.
When we talk about “good” bacteria from food sources or probiotic supplements for our gut health, we’re also referring to them being beneficial for our overall health–including our skin!
How Inflammatory Foods Create Skin Issues
The gut-skin axis relationship depicts how inflammatory foods or food sensitivities can affect the immune system, therefore causing skin issues. When you eat certain foods such as processed foods, gluten or non-fermented dairy products that cause inflammation in the gut, it can lead to acne breakouts or eczema flare-ups. Understanding what foods may cause inflammation for you is key. You can discover which foods may be causing inflammation with a food sensitivity test.
Dietary steps you can take to support your gut health and microbiome
- Remove inflammatory foods such as gluten and non-fermented dairy
- Consume probiotic rich foods such as yogurt, kefir, cottage cheese, sauerkraut, olives, raw vinegars, wheat grass juice, miso, Kimchi
- Consume prebiotic foods such as asparagus, garlic, Jerusalem artichokes, onions, legumes, honey, jicama, peas, chicory
- Include fiber rich foods in your diet such as fruits, vegetables and legumes that produce SCFAs (Short Chain Fatty Acids) that feed the microbiome
The 5 R’s: Naturopathic Medicine’s Steps to Restore Gut Health
It’s best to work with a practitioner, but there are definitely steps you can take on your own such as removing inflammatory foods. Download a free inflammatory food guide and see Dr. Melanie’s most commonly used products for the 5 R’s to Restore Gut Health by visiting our Fullscript page at: https://us.fullscript.com/protocols/dragonfly360-the-5-r-s-for-restoring-gut-health. If you don’t have a Fullscript account, you can create one for free. Creating an account gives you a 10% off coupon and free standard shipping on orders over $50.
Now, back to the 5 R’s. They are as follows:
Get rid of factors that are stressing the gastrointestinal tract such as bad bacteria, candida overgrowth, parasites, inflammatory foods, and food sensitivities. Altering diet and using a course of antimicrobial, antiviral, antifungal, or antiparasitic therapies may be required.
If you are having issues digesting your foods this causes issues downstream in the digestive tract and a disruption in the microbiome. In cases of malabsorption, you may need digestive bitters, digestive enzymes or apple cider vinegar.
Recolonization with healthy, beneficial bacteria. Supplementation with dietary sources of probiotics, along with the use of prebiotics helps re-establish the proper microbial balance.
Restore the integrity of the gut mucosa by giving support to healthy mucosal cells, as well as immune support. There are certain nutrients that can help with this such as l-glutamine, aloe vera, bone both, Vitamin D, and Zinc.
To maintain our health we want to assess the whole body looking at stress, sleep, diet and exercise.
It’s clear that there is a bi-directional relationship between gut health and skin health. If you have skin issues such as acne or eczema, it may be worth considering whether candida overgrowth, food sensitivities, or an imbalance in your microbiome could be disrupting your gut-skin axis function. By making small changes; eating more fiber-rich foods like fruits and vegetables and less processed junk food, you could soon see an improvement in both your digestive system and skin tone!
Curious if your microbiome is out of balance?
A good place to start is to order our comprehensive stool test and/or food sensitivity test. Both of these are at-home test kits that get shipped directly to you. Once you order we will call you to set up an appointment with Dr. Melanie to personalize your gut-skin health.
Gut Zoomer- Our Comprehensive Gut Stool Test: https://dragonfly360.wellproz.com/patient/product/25279
If you haven’t taken our Free Gut Assessment Quiz that’s a good place to start: https://dragonfly360.net/health-appraisal-questionnaire/