Gut health affects our entire body. Literally, all of it. From our immune system to our mental health, body fat percentage to our digestion, the microbiome (the trillions of friendly bacteria living in your gut) impacts all aspects of our wellbeing, yes, even your skin health!
Ever wondered why after you devour that entire family sized block of ‘Marvellous Creations’ you wake up to find that a family of zits have set up camp right on your forehead? Well, as the biggest organ in the human body, the skin acts as a window to what is going on inside and if your digestion and gut are struggling then your skin is likely to show it.
So, if you are looking for a way to clear up your skin, research suggests that probiotics should be the first line of attack.
So, what exactly are probiotics?
Probiotics are currently defined by the World Health Organization as “live microorganisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host”. Probiotics, or, “good bacteria” are thought to balance the ratio of good vs bad microorganisms in the body, helping our bodies to function at their peak.
Their popularity has skyrocketed over the last few years due to their reported ability to aid in the treatment of digestive issues, which in turn can help relieve feelings of depression, fatigue, low immune function, allergies as well as loads of different skin issues.
How do they effect the skin?
According to Dr Frank Lipman, “The gastrointestinal tract and skin are both organs of detoxification. We need a healthy microbiome in the gut to break down food, absorb nutrients, and eliminate toxins. When our gut flora is not healthy, and there are more bad bacteria than good bacteria, a lot of problems can arise — including chronic inflammation, which is a cause of acne and other skin problems.”
Research suggests that probiotics can positively influence our skin health by maintaining the intestinal barrier, reducing acne-inducing sebum production, encouraging nutrient absorption and minimising inflammatory or immune activity due to bacterial overgrowth. Not only that, but early studies suggested that probiotics can also help fight the signs of ageing. Now that’s something I can get on board with!
How to get that glow?
You can start by upping your intake of probiotic foods. Fermented foods such as yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut and kefir all consist of many different cultures of good bacteria, including the most dominant strains – Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria. Start with one tablespoon or a ¼ of a cup of probiotic food or drink and increase slowly.
Alternatively, you can choose to go the pharmaceutical route and try a probiotic supplement. If you choose to pop some pills, Dr Amy Myers suggests one dose of 30 billion CFU (colony forming units) per day for the maintenance of everyday health and recommends a dose of 100 billon CFU a day if you are experiencing specific skin or gut issues (or if you are taking a course of antibiotics). Make sure you consult with your health care professional before supplementing with higher doses.
So, friends, if you’re at your wits end with your skin problems and you’ve tried just about everything else I urge you to give probiotics a shot. Your gut and your skin will thank you – trust me!