Gut health and its relevance to skin disorders
Angela Hodgkiss- Angelique Day Spa and Skin Clinic
Over the past 20 years research has come leaps and bounds in recognising the colon as a major player in overall health. Important discoveries are being made every year on the incredible effects of maintaining a well balanced gut microbiota. Some microbes produce vitamins our bodies don’t possess the genes to make, break down our food to extract nutrients, teach our immune systems how to recognise dangerous invaders whilst leaving friendly species alone, and even produce helpful anti-inflammatory compounds that fight off other disease causing microbes. Friendly bacteria stimulate immune system tissue around the gut, increasing the production of pathogen –fighting antibodies.
At the moment there is an estimated 1000 different types of bacteria growing in the colon, twice the number previously thought. The number of bacteria is in the trillions and at least 10 times the number of cells in our whole body. So when companies sell probiotics that have 5-10 million in one pill or a yogurt drink, it makes you realise just how small that is in comparison.
Our natural bacteria is acquired at birth and during the first 12 months of life this bacteria will permanently colonise the colon tract. This bacteria is crucial to complete health. The bowel is a complex organ and has 4 very important functions: transporting and secreting, nutritive absorption, hormonal secretion and immunologic function.
Disruption of flora can happen in many ways. Medications, high sugar or GI foods and poor hygiene can all compromise the flora. This can cause inflammation, poor digestion, colon disease (chrohns), leaky bowel syndrome and hormone imbalance. Signs of a weak gut also include bloating, constipation, food intolerances, allergies, ridged fingernails, fatigue, depression, arthritis, histamine reactions, irritable bowel syndrome, autoimmune conditions such as, coeliac, thyroid and diabetes and propensity for obesity. Chronic fatigue syndrome sufferers have abnormal levels of a specific gut bacteria.
When looking at the skin we need to remember what we see on the surface is a reflection of what’s happening in the body. Epidemiological evidence confirms there is a definite association between the gut and skin disorders including acne, rosacea, eczema, dermatitis and vitiligo. Evidence links gut health with acne. Hormones, stress, poor eating and even allergies are all aggravating pathways to acne. Once the internal inflammation has begun the acne is very hard to control.
Constipation also has a huge relevance to the pathogenis of acne. Studies show significantly lower levels of fecal concentrations of good bacteria such as lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium in cases of constipation as well as intestinal permeability was significantly higher compared to healthy subjects without constipation. Constant or chronic constipation alters the intestinal microflora causing inflammation, which will effect hormonal secretions and the immune system. Depression and constipation are also a link to acne and the same goes for diarrahea.
Rosacea studies have shown a link with celiac, gluten intolerance, chrohns, Helicobacter pylori infection and irritable bowel syndrome. All these conditions are inflammatory which compromise the immune system and upset the endocrine system. So perhaps gut tune ups and lymphatic drainage should be a choice of treatment.
To maintain good bacteria living in the gut:
Probiotics- practitioner only supplements, yogurt (especially greek), kefir, miso, sauerkraut, tempeh. Probiotics act as anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agents that help eliminate the toxins and free radicals that cause damage and early signs of ageing. They strengthen the skins barrier function and increase and uphold moisture in the skin. Probiotics have shown to improve acne, rosacea and psoriasis and greek yogurt can even be applied on skin twice a week for improved results.
Prebiotics- are substances that create a suitable environment for probiotics to flourish. Our skins microbiome is recognised by our immune system as normal. If we are exposed to harmful organisms the microbiome react by providing an inhospitable environment to the foreign matter or creating by products that stimulate our immune system. They can provide defence mechanisms that our bodies have not even evolved yet to do for itself. By recognising what should be on our skin the t cells in our skin can also develop antibodies to build pathogens so our skin is ready to defend itself. Natural sources of prebiotics include: dandelion greens, chicory, raw onions, leeks, garlic, raw Jerusalem artichokes, bananas, avocados, peas, wholegrain and sprouted grain breads.
At Angelique we offer DMK Regul 8 which is a combination of Pre biotics, Probiotics and so much more. Please read additional blog for more detailed info about Regul 8 or pop in and see us.
Sources: Womens health mag, Gay Wardle APJ, Belinda Carli, Florence Barret-Hill and Reika Roberts – professional beauty, Gut instincts Matoyla Kollaras, spa and clinic