Let's Discuss Gut Health + How It Plays An Essential Role In Your Health + Beauty
Gut health. It’s a buzzing beauty topic that is going nowhere any time soon and for excellent reason. Belly bloat, sluggishness and tired tummies may be the first thing you think of when it comes to gut related issues, but the impact of imbalanced insides have some adverse anatomical side effects from skin problems to stress. Our gut is filled with microorganisms from bacteria to yeasts (also known as the ‘microbiome’), that reside in the digestive tract and keeping these happy is the key to good health and potentially great skin. Balance is key when it comes to a happy, healthy gut and making sure you are looking after the right bacteria can have an impact on your whole body, physically and mentally.
Diet & Stress
According to Dr Alia Ahmed, ‘Cortisol and diet can disturb the gut's microbiomes, microbiomes are bacteria within the gut responsible for healing and tissue turnover within the body and skin. Disturbed microbiomes can impair the gut's ability to heal and repair itself, combine this with an unhealthy diet and increased intake of alcohol can increase the severity of skin conditions as the body is unable to regenerate itself, and in turn, causing more stress around the way we look, which feeds into the cycle. A gut reset to kickstart a healthier lifestyle can help to repair microbiomes which can support the body's ability to heal skin conditions and therefore reducing stress.’ Fundamentally, it seems that if we aren’t looking after our gut, that may cause us to look and feel out of sorts, and the catch 22 of eating and drinking non-gut friendly foods which impacts us internally and externally, may well perpetuate a cycle of bad habits.
A great way to look after the diet side of gut health, is with fermented food and drink. You have probably heard of kombucha, kefir or even kimchi and their probiotic properties. It is thought that consuming these types of foods feed the good bacteria in your gut and help to reduce issues such as inflammation and other intestinal issues. If fitting in some fermented food isn’t something you can achieve every day, there are plenty of high preforming supplements that can really boost bacteria health. One of our gut friendly favourites, is ‘Symprove’, which is a liquid supplement that you take each morning on an empty stomach. The water-based formula doesn’t trigger digestion, allowing for it to arrive in the gut untouched by our powerful stomach acids. It is packed full of live and active bacteria, which multiply and then help to nourish the ‘good’ bacteria in our microbiome.
We also love curated food delivery service ‘Kurami’, who cultivate incredible culinary creations that combine ancient grains and modern superfoods, for a medicinal microbiome makeover. These gut friendly meals are carefully prepared and delivered to your door, with options for meals as well as snacks. They are absolutely perfect for a daily pick-me-up for busy individuals or as a springboard for a health boost, beautifying from the inside out.
Kombucha or ‘booch’ is another easy way to boost your probiotic intake. It is a type of fermented tea that naturally contains a plethora of probiotic benefits and a gut-load of good bacteria. We love the brand Equinox; their tasty tipples are not only packed full of health harbouring benefits, but they have a wide variety of delicious flavours too.
It isn’t just physical consumption that can have an impact on the function of our gut, stress and anxiety can play a part too. It has been suggested that Cortisol, (a hormone produced when we are stressed) can negatively impact the productivity of our digestive system. Our bodies effectively need to be relaxed to absorb essential nutrients in the correct way, and the flooding of a ‘fight or flight’ hormone such as this can massively disrupt and inhibit the body from functioning at peak performance. This can lead to further overall issues and deficiencies (which can make us even more stressed, and as mentioned above, can become a vicious cycle). Making sure you take time to eat your food properly, in a calm setting if possible, is a great way to optimise digestion and to keep the microbiome balanced and functioning as it should. According to Harvard Health, the ‘gut-brain connection is no joke’ and can link anxiety to stomach issues and vice versa. Our gut is sensitive to how we feel and negative emotions such as sadness, anger or worry can trigger symptoms.
For overall daily stress relievers, you can try mediation and breathwork or something soothing like an adaptonogenic supplement like Ashwagandha, that is designed to promote peace and calm. Spending a little more time attuning to your own happiness needs may make an incredible difference to the state of your gut and ultimately your internal and external health.
Beauty Comes From Within
Our skin can be like a road map for internal issues, if something isn’t right on the inside, it may well signpost itself outwardly. As much as external aggressors, like pollution or UV rays can impact our skin, internal issues have a hand in our skin’s health too. As Dr Arreni Somasegaran explains, ‘The skin is a strong indicator of your gut health and it's likely to be one of the first places you notice a gut-related issue such as inflammation. The gut can affect the pathways that coordinate skin cell turnover, which affects the skin’s ability to preserve skin moisture, regulate temperature and protection against foreign organisms. “Good” gut bacteria can have a positive impact on skin homeostasis with evidence of improved barrier function and decreased signs of skin inflammation’. So, if you have unexplainable breakouts, desperately dry skin or a mixture of both, taking a look at your diet and how that’s working with your gut, may be a good place to start.
As mentioned above, if your gut is unable to absorb essential nutrients due to poor diet or stress, you may become deficient in certain vitamins and minerals, which may show up as issues with your skin, hair, nails or even teeth. The gut is also where 70% of our immune system resides, so it is no shock that if it is neglected, we will be feeling and looking pretty rocky. According to Science Daily, people with Rosacea or Eczema are ten times more likely to have issues with their gut and it has been noted that there is a probable link with some cases of acne too. Our skin is our largest organ and so noticing any inflammations that may be manifesting on the surface, can most likely link back to a gut imbalance. There is no topical treatment that is more powerful at promoting our most radiant, glowing skin than that of a truly balanced, happy and well-functioning gut.
If you are noticing any changes to your skin, be it inflammation and dryness or redness and breakouts, there is a possibility that there is an issue you can address internally that may help to soothe those symptoms. Feasting on some fermented food, taking time to chill and sourcing yourself a probiotic supplement are all great places to start to tackle internal issues that may be displaying as skin related symptoms.
For any serious skin conditions it is always best to talk to a professional such as a Dermatologist or your GP to cover all bases.