Fact: a healthy gut can help you achieve clear, glowing skin.
This statement might sound farfetched for many, given the distance between the digestive tract and the skin. But it's true. Glowing skin comes from within! If you want to know the secrets on how to achieve flawless skin, then read on to learn more about gut health – and how it can influence your complexion.
The Gut-Skin Axis Explained
Ever wonder why your skin looks dull and blemished – even if you are using the most expensive skincare products on the planet? The answer lies in bacteria – your gut microbes, to be exact.
Before you react and squirm at this, you need to know that not all microbes are bad. Trillions reside in your intestines – and these are known as your gut microbiome. Composed of bacteria, yeasts, and fungi, the gut microbiota can help promote healthy digestion. Most importantly, they can help strengthen the intestinal barrier – thereby keeping the bad germs out of the gut.
So how do your intestinal microbes affect your physical appearance? That's where the gut-skin axis comes into play. According to this tenet, gut health and skin health are interconnected. If the intestinal microbiome is disturbed (also known as dysbiosis), the bad results may manifest on your skin.
Three skin conditions have been associated with gut dysbiosis. They are acne, eczema, and psoriasis. These disorders usually stem from systemic inflammation, which happens when the gut barrier is disrupted.
What Causes Gut Dysbiosis?
A lot of factors may result in gut imbalance – and such can badly affect your skin health. These include:
A high-fat, high-sugar diet may be delicious, but they have unfavorable effects on the gut. Not only does this lead to acne, but such can also worsen the severity.
Lack of sleep may help explain your stomach and skin conditions. According to a study by Floridian researchers, lack of sleep and disturbances in normal sleep patterns may affect the gut bacteria. This explains why flight attendants, frequent flyers, and shift workers often have blemished skin.
High levels of stress may change the blood flow to your gut, which can affect bacteria living there. According to researchers from Ohio State University, stress may decrease the Lactobacilli populations in the stomach, many of which are responsible for gut and skin health.
While antibiotics are very helpful, these drugs do not only kill the bad bacteria. They eliminate the good ones too. This provides the bad bacteria the opportunity to grow beyond their usual numbers. Before you know it, you end up suffering from an upset stomach – and a bad skin day.
According to Mutlu et al, alcohol intake is linked with gut dysbiosis. Apart from disturbing digestive health, microbiome disturbance may lead to complications as well. Research shows that such may lead to the proliferation of Proteobacteria, which releases toxins that are harmful to most organs.
Time and time again, the government has reminded that cigarette smoking is dangerous to one’s health. Apart from raising one’s risk of developing lung cancer and stroke, a study conducted in University Hospital Zurich has shown that it can affect the gut microbiome as well. It can reduce the diversity of the gut microbiome, limiting the growth of good bacteria. The result? Digestive disorders and dull skin, among many others.
How to Keep your Gut Microbiome Healthy – and Your Skin Glowing
Since gut health is closely linked to skin health, the best way to achieve glowing skin is to keep your microbiome strong and healthy. You can do so by following these tips:
To maintain a healthy gut, you need to eat foods that can feed the bacteria living there. The best way to do so is to eat foods rich in probiotics, such as yogurt, tempeh, miso, sauerkraut, kimchi, and Kombucha, to name a few.
If you want to get a fixed, higher dose, then go for probiotic supplements. Choose products that contain L. rhamnosus, L. plantarum, L. paracasie, L. acidophilus, B. longum, or B. lactis as these have been extensively studied. Researches show that they may help boost skin health, all the while improving the gut microbiome as well.
Prebiotics are fibrous sources that serve as food for the gut bacteria. Not only do they help strengthen the microbiome, but they also bring about other benefits. They may help enhance immunity, and may even help decrease the bad cholesterol in the body.
To get your daily dose of prebiotics, make sure to eat foods such as Dandelion Greens, Garlic, Onions, Asparagus, Barley, and Bananas, to name a few.
Prebiotic supplements are available too, though it’s better to pick one with probiotics in it as well. That way, you can help your gut and skin become healthier right away.
More than just improving your cardiovascular health, exercise may help boost your gut health as well. An American study has shown that exercise was able to increase the number of beneficial microbes in the digestive tract. It also helps improve blood flow to the skin, making you glow – quite literally!
It might be hard to get rid of stresses once and for all, but activities such as deep breathing and meditation can help you achieve some inner peace.
To ensure a good night’s sleep, make sure to practice good sleep hygiene practices. Avoid caffeinated drinks, heavy meals, and strenuous exercise at least 3 hours before your planned sleep time.
As has been mentioned, alcohol and cigarette smoking can adversely affect the gut flora – and the skin too. With that being said, it is best to give up these habits – even if you do so little by little. Not only will this reduce your chances of developing cancer, stroke, and other fatal diseases, staying away from these vices may help your skin as well.
Make sure to follow the tips above to have a healthy gut – and radiant skin. Remember: using expensive skincare products cannot guarantee you great skin. Keeping your gut happy, however, can give you that – and so much more.
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While some natural medicines in the form of vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other nutrients can help enhance immunity, such measures should not replace social distancing, quarantining when necessary, or any other recommendations made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention related to the novel coronavirus and Covid-19 infection.
Please remember that even if a patient’s immune system is strong, that patient may still carry and transmit the virus. While this pandemic is unfolding quickly, the prevalence of carriers in communities is currently not known.