Suffering from a skin condition like acne, rosacea, eczema or psoriasis? Have you tried everything, but nothing seems to help?
Remarkably, the solution may be found in your gut.
Your skin can say a lot about your health. Understanding the 'gut-skin' connection may be the key to improving your skin by addressing your digestive health first.
Understanding the Gut-Skin Axis
Both your digestive tract and skin contain trillions of bacteria. These bacteria are called Flora. If there is an imbalance in your gut flora, it can cause inflammation in the body, which is one of the underlying causes of skin concerns.
Interestingly, the gut-skin axis also communicates with the brain. The brain’s nerves send and receive messages. When there's a problem in your body, naturally, a signal is sent to your brain. So, if there is an imbalance in gut flora, it can effect both your skin and brain health. On the other hand, if your brain is triggered by feelings of anxiety, stress, or sickness, sometimes the end result is an unpleasant skin or gut condition.
Find the Connection between your Gut & Skin
Skin and gut conditions are frequently associated with one another. Here are a few examples:
- Rosacea is commonly associated with SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth), which is a condition where there is an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine. SIBO is a common underlying factor in IBS (Irritable Bowel Disease). Research has shown that more individuals with rosacea test positive for SIBO, in compared to those who do not have skin concerns. Remarkably, they found that once SIBO was corrected, skin concerns also cleared up.
- Inflammatory skin conditions like atopic dermatitis/eczema, psoriasis and rosacea are associated with and IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease). The link may be due to similar pathological causes, which reside in the gut flora/microbiome.
- Acne and Celiac disease. People who suffer from Celiac disease have been known to also suffer from acne outbreaks. When people stop eating gluten and are diagnosed for celiac disease, their skin can become clearer with less outbreaks.
A Naturopath 's Approach to Healing Skin Concerns
Not surprisingly when it comes to healing your skin, you need to heal your gut first. With the help of your Naturopathic Doctor, you can restore balance within the gut-skin axis. Here are some common suggestions:
2. Avoid foods that will damage your gut & skin. Your Naturopath may recommend an anti-inflammatory diet (based on IgG food sensitivity testing), strict avoidance of gluten in cases of celiac disease, or therapeutic diets for SIBO and IBS including the low FODMAP diet.
3. Re-balance your gut flora. This may involve the use of antibiotics or herbal antimicrobials to kill off excess bacteria in the small intestine, or 'bad' bacteria found in the large intestine. It may also involve supplementing with specific probiotics that help to improve both your skin and gut health.
3. Use food as medicine to heal yourself. These foods can help to improve both gut and skin issues.
- Bone Broth: rich in collagen and amino acids which are amazing for healing your skin and gut.
- Fermented foods: such as kimchee, sauerkraut, kefir or yogurt provide an abundance of probiotics that are great for you skin and gut.
- Cod Liver Oil: this nutrient dense fish oil contains skin-healing vitamins (including vitamin A, omega 3, and vitamin D)