Your Skin & Gut Connection: The secret to Healthy Looking Skin

by Edison de Mello, MD, PhD

It probably comes as no surprise to you that the largest and second-largest organ in our bodies – the skin and gastrointestinal system respectively – are intrinsically connected and dependent on each other for optimal functioning. Studies investigating the so-called gut-brain-skin axis began in the early 1930’s. The hypothesis was then, and continues to be today, that stress by itself or combined with a poor diet decreases the good gut bacteria and causes the overgrowth of the bad bacteria. This compromises the +integrity of the gut lining causing toxins to “leak out” from the gut and into the bloodstream, causing inflammation. Take food allergies/sensitivities as an example. In addition to bloating and other GI-related symptoms, food allergies often present with skin rashes. Acne, rosacea, premature wrinkles, and a host of other dermatological conditions can be the first sign of imbalanced bacteria that can subsequently lead to decreased hormone metabolism. Stress and emotional health play such a big part on the health of our skin, that a new medical specialty called psych-dermatology is growing at a very fast pace. Like integrative medical doctors, psych-dermatologists are applying their knowledge to try to understand how our GI health and emotions affect our skin. So far, the strongest culprit continues to be inflammation and its effect on the immune system.

Since the health of our skin is a window into the health of our inside, balancing our gut bacteria (microbiome) is undoubtedly the most effective first step to having good and healthy-looking skin. The symptoms of bad bacteria overgrowth can easily show on our faces. This is because the overgrowth of bad bacteria increases the immune response in the gut and produces cytokine, a chemical that promotes inflammation. Cytokines are known to destroy the lining of the gastrointestinal system, allowing pro-inflammatory molecules to enter the bloodstream and cause havoc. Oral probiotics have been shown to improve intestinal barrier function and reduce inflammation.

The secret? Probiotics.

The skin plays an important physical barrier to safeguard the internal organs and keep out pathogens and other toxins. In addition to a healthy diet, which should include fermented vegetables, such as kimchi ,miso, and others, taking probiotics has been shown to strengthen the skin’s barrier and help repair the damage caused by atopic dermatitis, acne, chronic ras,h and other skin conditions. It helps prevent wrinkles by optimizing the gut elimination of toxins and free radicals that can cause skin damage and early signs of aging. In addition, an impressive body of research has also shown that probiotics, not only help moisturize the skin and repair sun damage, but it is also an excellent adjunct in the treatment of rosacea, in the healing of scars and burns, and to help prevent flare ups of eczema and psoriasis. Studies have also shown that probiotics 

can lessen the likelihood of infants developing these conditions and to lessen the symptoms in children who already have these conditions.

Taking a good probiotic, such as our Flora Plus, is essential to having that healthy glowing skin that men and women alike desire. Adding fiber rich foods, drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day and exercising 3-4 times a week for at least one hour will not only slow down the aging process, but it will also help the probiotics work even better.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dr. Edison de Mello is board certified integrative Physician by the American Board of Integrative Medicine and also as a psychotherapist by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. He is the founder and Medical Director of the internationally renowned Akasha Center for Integrative Medicine in Santa Monica, CA. His motto that defines Akasha is “To Meet our Patients Before We Meet their Disease.” His vision to help change both the way medicine is practiced and how supplements are manufactured inspired him to Co-found Akasha Naturals.