Skin health and gut: The close relationship
True beauty comes from within: At least as far as the skin is concerned, this old adage seems to be right. Because according to recent studies, our intestinal bacteria also have a say in the skin’s health. So to speak, skin health and gut flora walk hand in hand.
Often a glimpse into the face reveals whether someone took care well of themselves lately, or not.
Whether we ate unhealthily, slept little or smoked a lot: our skin is the most common organ to show the truth. It then looks pale, dull and somehow tired, tends to pimples or is dry and tense.
But not only our general habits leave traces on our skin. The condition of the intestine can obviously affect the health of the skin.
For example, doctors identified changes in the intestinal flora (microbiotics) and the intestinal barrier in patients with skin diseases. In addition, it usually comes to interactions with the psyche, as well.
The vicious cycle
Some researchers even speak in this context of a possible “gut-brain-skin axis” (Good-Brain-Skin Axis). They are a connection between the psyche, the gut and the skin. As a result, skin problems lead to a chain reaction:
1. Mental factors, such as stress burden the intestinal flora
2. An unhealthy diet additionally weakens the intestinal flora
3. The intestinal barrier becomes more permeable to foreign substances and germs
4. Increasingly, the release of inflammatory substances and free radicals takes place
5. Skin problems are triggered and skin aging is accelerated
6. People with skin diseases experience acute relapses
7. Skin problems burden the psyche – the vicious circle starts from the beginning (especially in skin diseases)
Good to know: The combination of the psyche, intestine and skin seems to be much more pronounced in persons with skin diseases than in healthy people.
They have not fully recorded the exact relationships still, thus, this requires further research.
Intestinal flora and skin diseases
What many do not know is that skin diseases are often very closely related to changes in the natural intestinal flora.
Scientific research has shown that patients with chronic skin ailments, such as rosacea, atopic dermatitis and psoriasis (see Natural Home Remedies for Psoriasis) often suffer from dysbiosis:
In atopic dermatitis, the so-called atopic dermatitis, the problem is a false reaction of the immune system, which is directed against harmless foreign substances.
Often there is a hereditary predisposition. Whether this ultimately leads to the onset of the disease, apparently also depends on our intestinal flora. Researchers have studied the intestinal flora of babies.
In fact, it later turned out that the neurodermatitis lacked in the first months of life “good” intestinal bacteria such as lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. Instead, harmful germs, such as Clostridia, Escherichia coli and Staphylococci spread early in their intestines.
Cleanse your intestines
The current study also suggests that the intake of probiotics could counteract the development of atopic dermatitis. Rosacea, like atopic dermatitis, is a disease which misguides the immune system.
Recent researches have proven that rosacea patients often colonize the small bowel with colon bacteria. Accompanying symptoms are in many cases bloating, abdominal fullness and other bowel problems.
In patients with acne, the intestinal flora often exhibits changes, too. For example, there are less good lactobacilli in their intestines than in people with healthy skin. Furthermore, they appear to suffer more often from constipation.
In patients with psoriasis, other inflammatory processes in the intestine are detectable as well. As a result, the intestinal barrier is permeable more frequent.
This, on the other hand, causes the intestinal flora to get out of balance more quickly. The resulting inflammatory processes in the body could, in turn, spur the skin disease and, thus, lead to acute attacks.
Although we nowadays have the knowledge that skin diseases are often associated with a disturbed intestinal flora, in the development of psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, etc., numerous other factors play a role.
Therefore, it is not yet exactly clear how the mechanisms of action functions or what causes it and what is the end result.
Support the intestinal flora: That’s how it works
Who strengthens his intestinal flora, also does something for his skin. In order for our beneficial intestinal bacteria to feel well and multiply diligently, they need the right nutrition.
The tiny animals love soluble fiber (so-called prebiotics). One can encounter them, for example, in black salsify, parsnip and Jerusalem artichoke. However, our intestinal population also thrives on fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.
Furthermore, probiotics can help to rebalance the intestinal flora. Because they contain the beneficial intestinal germs and can, thus, specifically support the troop of “good” bacteria.
In addition, you should avoid any food as much as possible that harms the intestinal flora: A one-sided diet with lots of white flour, sugar and stress (see Tips For Stress Reduction), for instance.
Why a healthy intestinal flora is so important
As we know today, our intestinal flora (microbiota) has many effects on our health and well-being. If it gets out of balance, it can lead, for example, to digestive problems and increased susceptibility to infection, thus, chronic diseases (see The Low Inflammatory Diet & Best Foods For Chronic Diseases).
Finally, the beneficial bacteria in the intestine are also involved in the maintenance of the so-called intestinal barrier, which, among other things, protects against pathogens.
What’s more, is that recent research also points to a connection between a disturbed intestinal flora and various health problems. This includes critical illnesses from asthma to allergies to obesity, diabetes, depression and autism.
Dysbiosis – What is it?
Physicians speak of dysbiosis when the number of desired bacteria declines, or when the variety of intestinal microorganisms decreases.
Normally, our intestinal bacteria are in balance. This means that the “good” intestinal bacteria can keep the potentially harmful “housemates” in check, and, thus, prevent the spread of unwanted germs.
The problem here is that this balance is very prone to failure. Unfortunately, a variety of factors, such as an unhealthy diet, certain medications or stress can easily harm the intestinal flora.
The following definitely damages the intestinal flora
In order to be able to protect the intestinal flora as good as possible, one must first know what injures the beneficial intestinal bacteria. The list of possible confounding factors is long and includes:
A. Medicines: especially antibiotics, but also laxatives, cortisone, birth control pills, remedies for heartburn
B. Too much sugar (see healthy sugar alternatives)
C. Low fiber
D. Intestinal infections: gastrointestinal flu, fungi in the intestine, parasites
E. Alcohol & nicotine
G. Food intolerance
H. Artificial sweeteners
This is beneficial for the intestinal flora
In order to positively influence the intestinal flora, in addition to avoiding the confounding factors, there are basically two strategies.
First, one can directly eat the health-boosting intestinal bacteria. You can consume these, for example, in the form of yogurt or probiotics.
On the other hand, it makes sense to keep the desired intestinal dwellers with the right food in a good mood and, thus, to promote their reproduction.
Ingest daily beneficial bacteria for the intestine. These include, in particular, lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria. Of course, they occur in lactic acid foods such as yogurt, kefir or sauerkraut.
In addition, there are probiotics that contain corresponding bacterial strains in large numbers, even in the form of tablets or capsules.
Supplying the “good” intestinal dwellers with sufficient nutrition
Soluble fiber, which is indigestible for us humans, is their favorite food. They are especially common in fruits and vegetables. Pectin, for example, one can find mainly in fruit bowls (e.g apple), psyllium husks and flaxseed.
Inulin, on the other hand, is mainly found in Jerusalem artichokes, chicory and black salsify. In addition, so-called bifidogenic polyphenols have positive effects.
These are certain phytochemicals that you can encounter in nuts, berries, apples and onions. They also do promote the growth of beneficial bifidobacteria.
Another method is the transmission of the intestinal flora from a healthy person to a person with a gut issue, whose intestinal flora is severely disturbed or completely destroyed.
This procedure is also referred to as fecal transplantation (Bacteriotherapy). Doctors currently only use it in certain cases for therapeutic reasons.
For example, in diarrheal diseases, which are due to an infection with Clostridium difficile bacteria and do not respond to the usual treatment. They usually occur as a form of so-called antibiotic-associated diarrhea.
Fiber- the best food for your intestines
Fiber doesn’t only satiate us longer, but it also promotes digestion. Especially the water-soluble fiber-forms make fantastic food for our intestinal population.
Because we are not capable of digesting this type of fiber, it reaches the colon untouched. Once there, our little intestinal helpers feast with glee on it.
This is why you should add more black salsify, passing and Jerusalem artichoke to your diet. These vegetables are cook full of Inulin, which is one of the favorite foods of our gut bacteria.
They also love other soluble fibers, such as Pectin, which you can find in abundance in apple peels and linseeds.
It’s recommended for women under the age of 50 to consume between 21 to 25 grams of fiber per day. Men within that age range should eat between 30 to 38 grams of fiber on a daily basis.
I, personally, have adopted green smoothies into my daily diet. They don’t only taste great, but they detox and ward off inflammations.
Thus, chronic diseases, balance your body’s pH level, speed up your metabolism, strengthen your immune system and provide you with many nutrients you don’t get out of other smoothies or juices.
I prepare ours freshly at home, because I do not like juice and smoothie bars for one very good reason: They add preservatives so that the beverage lasts you up to 3 days.
A regular freshly made juice last you 24 hours when nicely stored in the fridge – and it never even lasts that long anyway.
So, I don’t find the sense of drinking up all the goodness, but erasing it at the same time with chemicals, such as preservatives.
Anyway, I wrote an article regarding green smoothies. I also included our favorite green smoothie recipe, so please feel free to try and enjoy:
Dear co-creators. Have you ever wondered why skin health and gut seem to have something in common?
I’m sure you have noticed that too much greasy food, especially animal fat, excessive amounts of sugar, condiments, etc., promoted blemishes and pimples on your skin in the past.
Well, now you know the reasons. They say that our intestines act like our second brain due to nerve cells. Amazing, right?
This impressed me so much that I began to become more mindful as to what I’m feeding my body. I have no regrets, however. On the contrary, I’ve never felt healthier and more energized before.
Let me know your thoughts and experiences regarding this topic in a comment below. I’m always eager to hear from you.
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In the meantime, I’m sending you much love, harmony, happiness and an abundance of all good things.
Never forget that you are beautiful, precious, unique and endlessly loved regardless of what others might say. Thus, keep on shining.