Thousands of years after Hippocrates—widely referred to as the father of modern medicine—suggested that “all disease begins in the gut”, modern science continues to unearth ever more evidence of the intricate relationship between our guts and our overall health . Many of us may be aware of the connection between our gut and our mood, for instance, but did you know that your gut can also affect the health and appearance of your skin? Though it may come as a surprise, the gut and skin are actually very closely interconnected through what is known as the gut-skin axis, and mounting research suggests that the appearance of the skin can oftentimes reflect the state of your gut.
How does the gut affect the skin?
The main way that the gut affects skin health is through the gut microbiome. The gut microbiome, a diverse ecosystem of billions of beneficial microorganisms, plays an essential role in regulating the body’s immune response. This, in turn, affects the health of many other organ systems in the body, including the skin. Specifically, growing research suggests that the gut microbiome plays a central role in the development of many inflammatory skin diseases, such as atopic dermatitis and psoriasis , .
The gut can also affect the progression and severity of acne. One of the ways this can occur is due the emotional stress that acne often causes. This stress negatively impacts the gut microbiome, ultimately leading to widespread inflammation in the body . This can then worsen acne symptoms, since acne is an inflammatory disease. Aside from the gut affecting skin health through the gut microbiome’s complex interactions with the immune system, gut microbiota can also affect the skin more directly. For example, when the intestinal wall is imparied, gut bacteria can enter the bloodstream and disrupt the skin microbiome when they travel to and accumulate in the skin .
Since the gut plays an important role in the development of inflammatory diseases and can thus greatly affect the health and appearance of the skin, you might be wondering what you can do to keep your gut as healthy as possible. The key lies in diversity. Generally speaking, a diverse gut microbiota is associated with a stronger immune response and better health overall . Conversely, diminished diversity in the gut microbiome is correlated with all sorts of problems, and a recent study even concluded that “low intestinal microbial diversity during the first month of life was associated with subsequent atopic eczema” in infants.
So, how do we make sure our gut microbiomes remain the flourishing, diverse ecosystems they are meant to be? Read on to find out!
How to keep your gut healthy
Study after study has shown that the gut microbiome is greatly influenced by diet , , . Since a diverse microbiome is a sign of a healthy gut, one of the most important steps you can take for better gut health is to minimize consumption of processed foods and instead mainly eat diverse, nutritious whole foods. Eating plant-based whole foods is a great way to increase your fibre intake, which is essential for thriving gut microflora, which in turn work to keep your gut healthy.
Though supplements on their own can never replace a nutritious, vitamin-rich diet, high quality fibre supplements can be another great way to increase your daily fibre intake. If you find it difficult to naturally consume enough fibre in your diet, you may want to consider taking such a supplement, like Acazen. Acazen is Alpinia’s specially formulated acacia-gum fibre supplement and is 100% vegan and gluten-free. It’s also odorless and tasteless, making it quite versatile in how it can be used.
Aside from eating for your gut, there are several other important ways you can holistically manage your gut health, such as through regular exercise, getting enough sleep, and minimizing daily stress as much as possible. Check out the following article to learn more about holistic gut health management!
Keeping your gut healthy is important in and of itself, and we hope that understanding the gut-skin connection can be yet another motivator to care for your gut.
Image Sources & Licensing Info:
- Holding blueberries: https://unsplash.com/photos/tS4BsMGO2T8