Is your gut health causing your skin condition?

We know that our gut microbiome’s influence extends beyond the gut, and in fact contributes to the function OR dysfunction of other body organ systems. One distant organ known to have a particularly complex connection with the gut is the skin! We refer to this bidirectional connection as the GUT-SKIN AXIS.
 
Our skin is a wonderful communicator of what is going on in the body. If your skin is inflamed, irritated or congested… chances are that your gut is trying to tell you something.
 
The skin and gut are in constant conversation via the gut-skin axis which is why many skin conditions actually have similar symptoms to gut conditions. Which is why when our gut is out of balance, inflamed, leaky or irritate the first place we see symptoms of this is through the skin.

Here's what the research is saying...

Up to 40% of patients suffering with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) show the skin as being the most commonly affected organ. (1)
 
Up to 40% of acne sufferers have hypochlorhydria, which has been linked to increased intestinal permeability (leaky gut) and small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).
One study also showed SIBO is 13 times more prevalent in acne rosacea patients and the correction of SIBO in these individuals led to marked clinical improvement (3).
 
In disrupted intestinal barriers (Leaky Gut), intestinal bacteria as well as intestinal microbiota metabolites gain access to the bloodstream, accumulate in the skin, and disrupt skin homeostasis.
***DNA of intestinal bacteria has been successfully isolated from samples of patients who have psoriasis (O’Neill etal., 2016).
 
 
Intestinal permeability can mean that our body is unable to absorb and utilise essential nutrients, minerals and vitamins that are all components of strong, healthy skin. Further more, if our gut is Leaky this too can cause our skin to be ‘leaky’. The main function of the skin is to act as a physical, chemical and antimicrobial defence system. Studies show that both stress and gut inflammation can impair and decrease the protective function of the skin which increases the severity of skin conditions (4).
 
There is no denying that to heal the skin, we need to look into gut health first. Let’s go into some specific conditions that shows links to the state of the micro biome and gut health

Let's look at some skin conditions in more details.

ROSACEA
 
A chronic inflammatory skin condition, characterised by redness and flushing over the cheeks and nose. Studies show that Rosacea is closely associated to intestinal dysbiosis (imbalance of bacteria in the intestines). As we mentioned earlier that patients with SIBO were 13 times more likely to present with Rosacea, and when treated their skin symptoms cleared (3).
We also know that Rosacea can be triggered by diet: In specific hot and spicy foods, caffeine and alcohol as well as stress!
 
PSORIASIS
 
This is a chronic autoimmune condition which presents as dry, cracked, scaly and patchy skin. For me personally, I saw this most on my upper arms and legs. Psoriasis and Eczema have both been linked to Intestinal permeability (leaky gut). Endotoxins leak through the gut wall and causes inflammation through the body. The first place we see this present is usually via the skin (our largest organ).  
 
ACNE
 
It is essential to understand the underlying cause which could be either hormonal or digestive OR the combination of both.
The gut plays a key role in how oestrogen is metabolised (I recently wrote a blog on oestrogen dominance, explaining this process). In summary, when elimination pathways for oestrogen are slowed down due to constipation or an overburdened liver, oestrogen metabolism can be compromised resulting in excess oestrogen = hormone imbalance.
 
Oestrogen dominance can present as acne, premenstrual bloating, cramping, mood swings, sugar cravings, headaches, slow metabolism.
 
Along with the hormonal side of acne, gut disorders such as leaky gut and SIBO are closely linked to acne. SIBO is 10 times more prevalent in patients with acne and we know stress-induced leaky gut contributes to local skin inflammation, see in people with acne. (5).
 
ECZEMA
 
This chronic skin condition can present as itchy, dry, patchy or red skin and can cause immune stress. While there are thought to be countless triggers, the underlying issue is often leaky gut, food allergies and intolerances.

OUR TOP TIPS FOR GLOWING SKIN

🌻 Check your bowel movements!
Our bowel motions tell us so much about our gut health! We should have consistent and easy bowl motions at least once/day.
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When we are irregular and find it hard to pas stools toxins begin to build up through the body as they can’t be eliminated efficiently. Our skin, our largest organ tends to be the next best route of elimination for these toxins. Vice Versa If we have frequent and loose stools we then are not absorbing the essential nutrients and minerals that our skin needs to thrive!
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TIP: try our LYG BALANCE powder to restore your bowel motions. The slippery elm in the Balance powder can help bulk your stools and encourage bowel motions. Make sure you drink heaps of water with this!
 
🌻Feed the good bacteria in your gut!
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It is so important to keep the balance in our microbiome (our inner ecosystem) for a healthy and happy gut! When we focus on eating beautiful and diverse ranges of whole foods our gut bacteria thrive which directly impacts our skin health! When we look after our gut bacteria and keep them diverse and happy it protects us by eliminating pathogens, toxins, reduces inflammation, increases nutrient absorption and increases the immunity! .
Focus on including foods that are rich in skin-loving nutrients such as zinc (pumpkin seeds, grass fed read meat and organic chicken), Vitamin D (mushrooms & salmon OR some natural sunlight each day), Vitamin A (bone broth, livers, eggs), amino acids such as L-glutamine (in our balance powder or slow cooked meats and broths).
All of these will help protect and strengthen the gut lining which is essential for skin health.
TIP: When you sign up for our LYG box you will go through our 30 day nutrition challenge which we will give you some tips on how to eat for GREAT gut health.
 
🌻Reduce your stress! .
 
We have heard of the gut-brain axis.. well there is also a gut-skin-brain axis. Our skin cells are activated by stress and in effect produce stress hormones and inflammatory markers. This can show up as red inflammation and breakouts on the skin. .
TIP: Remind yourself every single day to breathe deeply. Whenever you feel overwhelmed or stressed take a few deeeep breathes into your abdomen. This is priceless.
 
🌻Include Fibre rich foods such as fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds!
 
These are nutritional powerhouses and incredible for skin health as the fermentation process in our intestines produces short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) such as butyrate. Butyrate is key to decrease inflammation and protect the gut lining.
 
 
🌻 Include fermented, probiotic rich foods!
 
Fermented foods actually increase the bioavailability of nutrients in foods, not to mention the amazing content of probiotics and healthy bacteria they provide the gut!
 
If you are new to introducing these, start slow i.e. 1 tsp a day and then slowly increase.
 
 
🌻 Avoid or Reduce inflammatory foods!
 
When it comes to skin, we know that inflammatory foods are trigger foods. In 99% of cases I see many women see improvements by just reducing/ avoiding foods such as:
  • dairy
  • gluten
  • refined sugar
  • vegetable oils
  • artificially enhanced foods
 
 
Personally, I suffered with psoriasis on my upper arms and legs. It wasn’t until I avoided dairy and introduced the LYG products that it completely cleared. I had tried so many different things such as skin creams, steroids etc but nothing worked until I focused on my gut health. This was where Love Ya Guts originated.

REFERENCES

1: Huang BL, Chandra S, Shih DQ. Skin manifestations of inflammatory bowel disease. Frontiers in Physiology 2012;3:13.
2: O’Neill, C. A., Monteleone, G., McLaughlin, J. T., and Paus, R. (2016). The gut-skin axis in health and disease: a paradigm with therapeutic implications. Bioessays 38, 1167–1176. doi: 10.1002/bies.201600008
5: Bowe WP and Logan AC ‘Acne Vulgaris, Probiotics and the Gut-Brain-Skin Axis- Back to the Future?’ Gut Pathogens, (2011) 3(1):1.