Think your gut health and skin health aren’t connected? Think again! The connection is real, and it’s called the gut-skin axis. In case you need a little convincing, you might have seen this connection in action when a food allergy caused someone to break out in hives.
To understand this gut-skin axis a little better, let’s look at what the gut and the skin have in common:
- Both the gut and the skin work as “bodyguards” to keep pathogens from causing harm to the body.
- Both the gut and the skin communicate with the brain through the neuroendocrine messaging system. This is why the gut-skin axis is also referred to as the gut-brain-skin axis. (Mental health conditions like stress and anxiety also affect the gut and the skin, big time.)
- Both the gut and the skin have their own, intricate microbiome systems that impact overall health.
Examples of Gut-Skin Axis in Action
- Rosacea & SIBO (small intestine bacteria overgrowth)
- Psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, rosacea & IBD (inflammatory bowel disease)
- A subset of celiac disease (dermatitis herpetiformis) shows up as skin issues
- Acne and dysbiosis
- Acne and diet
Probiotics Save the Day
People have turned to probiotics to influence gut health for a long time, but let’s take a look at how probiotics (in the gut) influence skin health.
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG has been found to help with atopic dermatitis.
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus has been found to help with eczema.
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus SP1 has been found to help with acne.
- Bifidobacterium breve has been found to offer UV protection.
- Lactobacillus paracasei NCC2461 and Bifidobacterium longum have been found to strengthen the barrier function of the skin.
- Kefir (with probiotics) has been found to promote wound healing.
The 5 R’s to a Healthier Gut-Brain-Skin Axis
If your gut health isn’t perfect, follow these 5 steps to help balance your gut-skin axis for healthier, clearer skin:
- Remove. Get rid of anything that could be causing inflammation (sugar, stress, etc.)
- Replace. In this step, it’s important to replace enzymes that properly facilitate digestion and absorption.
- Reinoculate. Good bacteria is reintroduced to the gut.
- Repair. The gut gets repaired by a diet high in vitamins, minerals, and nutrients (specifically zinc, antioxidants, fish oil, and glutamine)
- Rebalance. Think about how stress and sleep affect your gut and skin, then make adjustments to create calmer, more restful environment for yourself.
In the Kitchen
A healthy gut-skin axis starts in the kitchen with a well-rounded diet full of these goodies:
- Vitamins A, C, E, and D. Carrots, broccoli, kale, spinach, citrus fruits, kiwi, mangoes, nuts, seeds, eggs, salmon, milk, cheese, yogurt, and many more!
- Anti-oxidants. Dark chocolate, blueberries, strawberries, kale, beetroot, apples, carrots, to name a few.
- Omega-3 fatty acids. Mackerel; salmon; chia, hemp, & flax seeds; walnuts; avocado, so chow down!
- Protein, phosphorous, potassium, zinc, selenium, copper. Lean meats, beans, nuts, fish, dairy, bananas, leafy greens. Yum!
Skin health is so much more than simply using the right serums (as important as that is). It’s about a holistic approach to a whole body and whole mind that is happy, healthy, and well-nourished.