One of the most common misconceptions about gut health is that it is only linked with our digestive system and while you are correct in thinking that digestion is one of its main jobs, did you know that 70% of our immune system is in our gut too?
Colds, flus and helping us fight infections might jump to mind when we think about the immune system, however, it also has a huge role to play in preventing inflammation, supporting skin repair and healing in the body. Our immune system also keeps our microbiome healthy i.e. the good gut bacteria, which influences everything from our happy hormones to the production of vitamins to fighting infections.
Did you know that our skin also massively impacts the health of our gut microbiome? Our skin is the largest organ in the body and actually has its own skin microbiome too. If we are constantly exposing it to toxins + chemicals (from our skin care/our environment) or if our skin barrier is not healthy from poor nutrition, this will have a knock on effect on the health of our gut!
So, with this in mind, let’s think about skin conditions - they can be red, itchy, hot, swollen or we could say ‘inflamed’. Research has shown that those with rosacea and acne, were 10x more likely to have an overgrowth of bad gut bacteria (called SIBO) compared to those with no skin issues and as a nutritional therapist and herbalist, the first thing I will address when I see clients with skin complaints is their gut health.
The goal is to support both; skin health + gut health. Luckily, the same lifestyle tips apply whether you are striving for that healthy skin glow or aiming to beat the bloat!
Tips for skin + gut health;
- Eat the rainbow. I’m sure you have heard this one before but the way to think about it is that each colour feeds a different type of bacteria in our microbiome! The goal is to have as many different fruits + vegetables in your diet as possible. Foods like bananas, garlic, apples, asparagus, oats and leeks are particularly good as these contain prebiotics aka your microbiome’s favourite type of food!
- Reduce exposure to toxins; everything we come in contact with must be broken down by our gut (reminder if our gut is over worked this can reflect in the skin!). Firstly, look at the skincare products you are using. Most women use up to 12 different chemicals when getting ready in the morning! I encourage my female clients to use natural deodorants, reduce hairspray + perfumes and look at their skincare products.
This is where the Sasta microbiome serum comes in, as not only is it in a base of Aloe vera (a wonderful anti-inflammatory, skin healing herb) and hyaluronic acid (the holy grail for helping skin retain moisture) it also has a special ingredient called Ectoin. Ectoin is a POSTbiotic i.e the waste left behind after your body digests both prebiotics and probiotics. Healthy postbiotics include nutrients such as vitamins B and K, amino acids, and substances called antimicrobial peptides that help to slow down the growth of harmful bacteria.
- Manage stress; this might seem like an obvious one but in times of stress our immune system is suppressed. If you are constantly picking up infections or find your skin is slow to heal or bruises easily, this could be a sign that your immune system is not working the way it should. I know that managing stress is easier said than done, so I find using supplements as an additional tool for immune + stress management really beneficial. My two go to’s are vitamin C and magnesium, as these will support energy, high stress levels, immune system while also focusing on skin repair too!
- Sasta microbiome serum
- Biocare Vitamin C powder
- Nutri Nua Magnesium Citrate
Aisling Fox (AOK Nutrition)