Research suggests that acne, rosacea, psoriasis and eczema may be attributed to an unhealthy gut. But what does the gut have to do with your skin? In the past, the digestive system was considered anything but complex. When asked to describe the digestive system and how it works, it was outlined as one long tube that food passed through. This food would then eventually excrete from our bodies. Now the topic of gut health and our digestive systems are garnering more research within the medical communities. In the last twenty years, numerous studies have recognized the complexity of the gut. These studies have linked gut health to many ailments and bodily issues. Some of these include the immune system, your mood and mental health, your skin, autoimmune diseases and even cancer. This post will focus on what is gut health, and how it affects your skin and what you can do to improve it.
Signs of Bad Gut Health
Any person has between 300- 500 different bacteria species residing in their digestive tracts. These microorganisms in your intestines are called microbiomes. Some of these microorganisms are harmful but many are beneficial for our bodies to remain in a healthy state. A diverse range of microbiomes is optimal for gut health.
So what changes the dynamic of a once healthy gut? Many things---but, most commonly, it can be attributed to eating processed foods and excess sugar, lack of sleep and high stress levels. This can lead to an unhealthy gut and an increase in bad bacterial species. In return, our skin, weight, brain and heart may be affected. Some telltale signs of an unhealthy gut are stomach ailments. This includes diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating and heartburn. Other ailments that are linked to an unhealthy gut are fatigue, weight gain, skin irritations, food intolerances and autoimmune conditions. But let’s focus on the skin.
How it Affects the Skin
So how can an unhealthy gut directly affect your skin? The skin being the largest organ on the body, looking at it, according to research should tell you what’s going on inside your body. It is believed that acne, facial redness, eczema, psoriasis, dry skin and rosacea are direct links to the gut. Also, according to the New York Times, Best Selling author, Dr. KellyAnne, the skin and the gut have a lot in common. She writes about in her blog post,For Better Skin, Look to You Gut, how there are many similarities between the gut and the skin. According to Dr. KellyAnne, they both:
.Take part of keeping pathogens and toxins from entering the body.
.Have many nerves and blood vessels
.Communicate with your immune, nervous and hormone systems.
.Should have a diverse microbiome and they both must work in conjunction with you as the host for the best health possible and beautiful skin.
What are Cytokines and Do They Affect the Gut?
Other research suggests that when gut health is poor it will produce pro-inflammatory cytokines. Cytokines come from two Greek words. "Cyto" means cells and "kinos" means movement. Cytokines can be difficult to understand without getting too deep into science. But they are an important concept to understand when discovering inflammatory conditions and immune-related concerns and infections. They are cell signaling molecules that help cells communicate with one another in immune responses. Or to put in simply, they are small proteins that act as a messenger between cells. This is important because they carry vital information that impacts many things in our bodies. There are several families of cytokines. Each family is produced differently and behaves differently. They all have different activities and individual responsibilities in the human body. When they don't behave as they should, or are over-produced and inflamed, they result in health problems and disease. Cytokines are made by the immune system to keep infections at bay. So one ailment attributed to overproduced and/or inflamed cytokines is a constant cycle of gut imbalances. Bad gut health causes inflamed cytokines and inflamed cytokines cause bad gut health. Unfortunately, this results in many things including skin issues. The inflamed response in your gut shows on the skin. Hormonal fluctuation shows as acne and rosacea. Immune conditions show as lupus eczema, psoriasis and rosacea.
Another gut issue linked to common skin conditions is leaky gut syndrome. Medical Professionals have been on the fence about leaky gut. Is it real? It is fake? As of late, many medical professionals have in fact agreed that leaky gut syndrome is a real condition. Leaky gut is when the tight junctions of the intestinal walls become loose. This allows for bacteria and toxins to pass from the gut into the bloodstream. This may cause widespread inflammation and may also trigger the immune system. Poor gut health is a known cause of leaky gut syndrome which both according to research trigger skin ailments.
How to Improve Gut Health
In the last decade or so, many medical professionals believe improving your gut health is the key to improving skin conditions. To improve your gut health, there needs to be a wide range of bacterial species in the gut. To get this, your diet must be changed by eating diverse foods. Diverse microbiota in your gut is considered healthy. Diverse foods will contribute to diverse microbiota. As stated a leading cause of poor gut health is unhealthy foods. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains, beans and fruit should be the first step in improving your gut health. Also, you should eat fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi and tempeh. These foods contain bacteria that is good for overall health and gut health. Even more so, lowering your intake of artificial sweeteners are linked to gut health. Eating foods rich in polyphenols like dark chocolate, red wine, green tea, broccoli and blueberries should help too. Lastly taking a probiotic and increasing your omega 3 and 7 intakes are linked to a healthy gut.
Omega 3 and 7 and How it Helps
An article in Medical News Today, reports on how Omega 3 helps with gut health. The article states that people who ingest a healthy range of Omega 3 fatty acids are prone to have more bacterial diversity in their gut. This leads to overall health and wellbeing. It's also reported that Omega 7 helps. Omega 7 is a little known fatty acid. Yet it does wonders for health. It is used for immune support, cholesterol health, skin health and gastrointestinal health. This fatty acid has been shown to improve the gastric mucous membranes and help with excess acidity, ulcers and indigestion. Studies have also shown that it may help protect the stomach lining. Remember when the lining of the gut is leaking, it will lead to gut issues and eventually, inflammation of the body and skin. Omega 7 is also known to help with unhealthy mucous membranes in the body. Unhealthy mucous membranes are reported as the cause or many popular digestive issues. Sea buckthorn happens to be the world’s most potent sources of this Omega 7 fatty acid.
Angela Rightout is an enthusiastic, innovative writer with extensive experience in content writing, journalism, videography and social media. She earned her bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from Loyola University Chicago. She is passionate about well-researched content.
Angela enjoys writing on a broad range of topics from health and wellness to food, technology, entertainment and news.