Beauty really does start from the inside and it is so wonderful that gut health is now getting the recognition it deserves when it comes to skin health.
Firstly and most importantly a healthy gut ensures that the beauty-giving nutrients and antioxidants you are eating are being absorbed which means that you have all of the building blocks you need for healthy collagen production, skin regeneration and a defense system against free radicals.
An unhealthy gut can lead to nutritional deficiencies of key skin regenerating and collagen boosting vitamins especially proteins, fatty acids and B vitamins.
Our gut flora is linked to directly to the microbiome of our skin.
A lack of the good guys in the gut can create inflammation, affecting the integrity and protective function of the skin. This can lead to a drop in the microbial power of the skin to fight infection and can create inflammation.
Interestingly, research shows that small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), a condition involving inappropriate growth of bacteria in the small intestine, is ten times more prevalent in people with acne rosacea, and that a correction of gut flora can create a marked improvement in this particular skin condition.
A healthy gut also keeps hormone levels in check and ensures that the body’s detoxification system is efficiently removing excess hormones such as estrogen and testosterone.
Probiotics and prebiotics minimise the transit times of these hormones through the body which ensures that they do not have any of their undesirable effects such as excess skin sebum production or insulin resistance and weight gain.
One of my inside beauty tips is to stop feeding the “bad guys” in your belly.
The bad flora in your gut does really have a field day on sugar, dairy and processed grains. These can play havoc with hormones, promote insulin resistance and create free radicals which zap your body of beautifying nutrients, accelerate ageing and promote excess sebum production which leads to acne and break outs.
If you can starve the little critters by reducing your intake of foods such as dairy and sugar and increase your consumption of greens, probiotics and collagen, your skin will start to thank you.
By having good digestive health, your skin can glow and you can rid yourself of many of the common skin issues plaguing society today.
The first thing to remember about the digestive tract is that it contains 70-80% of our immune system. Many skin issues are immune or inflammatory-related e.g. eczema, psoriasis, acne.
It is also where a great deal of nutrient absorption occurs and healthy skin is dependent on getting the right vitamins and minerals into our bodies. The balance of gut flora can make or break this system.
Gut flora is the term given to the millions of microorganisms living within our digestive tract and can include bacteria (e.g. Lactobacillus, Streptococcus), yeasts (e.g. Saccharomyces, Candida) and viruses.
These guys can take up a whopping 2kg of our body weight but they are oh so important. They play a vital role in digesting foods, absorbing important vitamins and minerals, and expelling toxins.
Our gut flora is established before we are even born and grows as we move through birth and are exposed to the wide variety of microorganisms in the world.
Many things we do can affect the balance of this flora. In today’s modern world the two biggest factors are poor diet and medications. Fortunately, studies show that by recolonising the gut with new flora via probiotic foods and supplements, many skin disorders can be dramatically improved.
Eczema is the subject of the greatest number of studies showing the benefits of probiotic supplementation.
Probiotics have been shown to help alleviate this skin condition by altering the immune response and potentially stopping the development of an allergic reaction.
A recent review of studies showed that a mixture of prebiotics and different strains of probiotics was highly effective for treating eczema symptoms. Studies have also shown how probiotics can alleviate eczema by boosting cellular antioxidant capacity and reducing inflammation.
By introducing probiotics into your diet during pregnancy and breastfeeding, you can also help to decrease the incidence of eczema in your newborn.
The World Allergy Organisation began recommending the use of probiotics in pregnant and lactating women after analysing more than 28 studies and concluding that the evidence was definitely in favour of probiotics for eczema reduction.
Getting the balance of gut flora right can also help improve the quality of mucous membranes which are responsible for absorbing many of the key nutrients necessary for healthy skin.
These include zinc and vitamins A, C, D and E. Combined with a healthy diet and an organic skincare routine, the addition of probiotic foods and supplements can help to make your skin the best it can possibly be.
Bottom line - the gut and skin connection is real, and for beautiful glowing skin you need to tend to your gut health.