The Gut-Skin Axis Is How Gut Bacteria Can Relieve Skin Allergies
7 minute read
Skin allergies can be a nuisance. Depending on the cause of the reaction, allergies are not always easy to avoid, especially when the cause may be unknown.
Most people don’t realize that the secret to treating skin allergies and other common diseases may lie in their gut. The health of your skin and every other part of your body is affected by the health of the bacteria living in your gut. Improving your gut microbiome can also lead to benefits in a lot of places more than just your digestive system.
Beauty Is Beyond Skin Deep
The discovery of the gut-brain axis has allowed us to understand how emotions and moods can impact digestion and vice versa. In the same way, the discovery of a gut-skin axis allows us to see that these same gut bacteria can also influence the health of your skin.
The idea that your gut and skin communicate is not so far-fetched when you think about it. Hives are a common result of food allergies and certain foods you eat are known to cause acne breakouts. Once you look at it this way, there is a clear line of communication between your gut and your skin and an imbalanced gut microbiome can negatively influence skin health.
The trillions of bacteria living in your gut are known to play a role in digestive health as well as immunity. Any disruptions to the delicate balance of microorganisms can cause digestive discomfort and put you at risk for serious diseases.
What was not known and recently has been discovered is that these bacteria also have a special relationship with specific viral detection systems.
Recent studies found that there is a link between a viral detection protein, gut microbes, and allergic reactions. When bacteria are deprived of a certain gene responsible for detecting viruses (MAVS), skin allergies develop. T
he presence of these microbes in your gut causes increased intestinal permeability, which means bacteria can migrate and trigger allergic reactions like eczema.
This new discovery is important to the development of skin allergy therapies and gives us more insight into the functions of our gut community. Up until recently, we were unaware that these virus-detecting proteins played a role in the balance of gut bacteria.
Understanding the factors involved in maintaining a healthy gut environment is critical to our overall health and the health and of our skin.
The Gut-Skin Relationship
Your gut and your skin have a great deal in common—Both serve as lines of defense against pathogens trying to get in from the outside world, and both have roles in the neuroendocrine message system, receiving and sending messages from the brain to parts of the body.
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Another important similarity is the fact that your gut and skin both host bacterial communities, and it is these communities that protect us from pathogens. The bacteria living on your skin keeps pathogens from the external environment out, and the bacteria in your gut prevent pathogens and toxins from entering the bloodstream and reaching important organs.
Several studies have found links between gut health and skin allergies or conditions. The development of rosacea, a condition causing small, red bumps on your face, has been linked to small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.
Essentially, an imbalanced gut causes our internal defenses to be down. With easily permeated walls, pathogens can pass into the bloodstream with ease and travel anywhere in the body. Poor gut health is linked to heart inflammation, liver disease, mental health problems, and now we know it affects skin allergies too.
The good news is that by correcting gut health, we can reverse many of these conditions.
Boosting Gut Health
The most efficient way to boost gut health and restore a healthy balance is with probiotics. Probiotics help restore bacterial communities so they can continue to protect you from within. Probiotic food sources include yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, and other fermented foods.
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If getting your hands on these foods is difficult or you don’t like them, a high-quality probiotic supplement is an effective way to promote optimal gut health. Not only do probiotics help to enhance digestion, but they also work to support the health of your entire body.
Because most of your immune system lives within your gut, a strong and healthy gut community can promote optimal health.
Poor diet, lack of exercise, stress, bad habits (smoking and excessive alcohol consumption), as well as aging all contribute to the decline of your natural gut community.
The key to a good probiotic supplement is to choose a brand that has been clinically proven to be effective. You want a supplement that offers millions of live cultures, and as many different species as possible.
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Every bacterium produces different benefits, so more will always be better. Certain strains work to control inflammation while others produce beneficial nutrients.
The Bottom Line
Understanding how the gut and skin work together helps us to better take care of our bodies. With both organs responsible for protecting us, it only seems right that they work together and influence each other.
And we should make sure we take care of both. Probiotic support helps boost gut health, which in turn will promote healthy skin and encourage the mitigation of skin allergies.