What does the gut and brain have to do with skin health?
For decades the gut-brain connection has been known and researched but only now is it finally getting some well deserved attention. The health of our gut affects the health our brain and the health of our brain affects the health of our gut so it would only be common sense to deduce that the health of our gut affects the health of other organs - like our skin!
John H Stokes and Donald M Pillsbury, dermatologists 80 years ago, first suggested the connection between gut, mood disorders such as anxiety and depression and skin conditions such as acne (1).
They suggested, way ahead of their time, that emotional states like depression and anxiety, etc, might alter normal gut intestinal microflora causing an increase in intestinal inflammation and intestinal permeability (leaky gut) which would contribute to systemic or whole body inflammation. One of the remedies proposed by them was to use the bacteria lactobacillus acidophilus, a common bacteria found in cultured and fermented dairy foods at the time, which they used with some success.
So if our gut is so important to brain health, I think it's safe to assume it would be important to skin health since it's the largest organ we possess!
Let's talk about what to do to nourish our gut and keep our microbiome in balance.
1. Create a healthy gut environment for your microbiome to flouish. Eat bone broth and collagen powder. And avoid processed junk food.
2. Feed your microbiome with fiber by eating lots of fruits and vegetables with their skins on.
3. Reduce your load and better manage your stress. Yes, easier said than done but our lives are way way too hectic. Learn to say no. Put your phone down. Read. Be quiet. Pray.
4. Avoid artificial sweeteners for healthy skin and for many other reasons!
5. Eat probiotic rich foods like fermented cabbage, yogurt, kefir and kimchi. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can leave positive effects on your gut as well as your skin by first colonizing in the gut and then crowding out harmful bacteria that has taken over the gut.
6. Get sleep! Lack of sleep is stressful on the body because when we sleep our body repairs and rejuvenates so without good sleep good health may be compromised. And try to get to bed early because the best sleep is what you get before 12-1 am.
If you're struggling with skin-related issues that aren't responding to high quality skin care products look to the gut as a possibility!