The Gut Skin Connection
Updated: Aug 9, 2020
Have you invested more than you care to admit on skin products? Are you questioning the worth of expensive treatments? If you’re deep in the process of managing fine lines and wrinkles, uneven skin tone, dull, rough or sagging skin, rosacea and/or adult acne then maybe it’s time you started looking to your gut.
There is a chance it could be digestion standing in the way of your signs of ageing. We call it 'digest-ageing'. The quick fix offered by antibiotics, treatments and procedures are alluring, however I advocate an approach that offers deep seated results. It begins in the gut!
If you haven’t already done so, for some background on digestive health I encourage you to check out The Gut. Explained. By taking care of your gut you may just overcome some of the skin concerns that’ve been plaguing you, but more importantly, you’ll be doing every other ageing part of your body a favour.
So, how does digestion impact the visual signs of ageing?
1. Ineffective digestion and absorption.
Despite popular belief, we aren’t what we eat, rather ‘what we digest and absorb’. The skin benefits from virtually every nutrient and mineral the diet offers and if not being digested and absorbed, the skin begins to suffer. Lack of Vitamin C, K and E can lead to fine lines and wrinkles. Poor absorption of Zinc could be the cause of adult acne and poor absorption of Iron and B12 might be the cause of dull appearing skin. Lack of Selenium, b vitamins and essential fatty acids might lead to lack of hormone production and subsequent hormonally induced adult acne. Poor absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin D could lead to dark circles under the eyes.
Ineffective digestion and absorption can be the result of poor eating behaviours, bacterial imbalance (keep reading for more), low stomach acid (hypochlorhydria), lack of enzyme secretion and of course ‘leaky gut’ (also known as ‘increased intestinal permeability’).
The lining of the gut is designed to let nutrients flow and to prevent toxins, undigested foods, pathogens and bacteria (otherwise about to be excreted via the stool) to be reabsorbed into the bloodstream. When the lining of the gut is compromised (increased intestinal permeability) it causes nutrients to be lost and toxins to be reabsorbed leading to inflammation.
If you suffer from gas, bloating, food reactivity and/or inconsistent bowel motions it’s a sign ‘leaky gut’ could be the cause of your ageing skin. Leaky gut can be confirmed via testing (I tend to use faecal zonulin) and it can absolutely be treated.
2. Imbalance of bacteria in the gut microbiome.
Think of the gut microbiome as a beautiful, diverse rainforest. The rainforest has tall growing trees, low lying moss and everything in between including gorgeous, flower producing species that provide sanctuary for bees and leaves for sun protection to animals. Just like the rainforest, we want the bacteria in our gut to be diverse. Diversity offers space for health promoting species that work in our favour by producing short chain fatty acids and even certain vitamins. These by-products tend to act as a defence against an overgrowth of health degrading species and even pathogens.
For many reasons, in this day and age health promoting species get crowded out by less favourable species. It can lead to toxin build up and inflammation which is another cause of digest-ageing. More specifically, it can lead to puffiness around the eyes, dry skin, fine lines, wrinkles and even pigmentation.
Dysbiosis can be detected via stool analysis. In my practice I use a combination of MetaBiome and GIT Mapping. Make sure you contact me if you’re interested in either.
3. Poor elimination.
Ultimately, the final stage of digestion is elimination. Right at the end of the digestive process, within our stool is the cumulation of undigested foods, natural waste/the by-products of cellular function and the toxins we’re exposed to within the day. Ideally these are passed daily, if not multiple times a day. If not going to the bathroom daily it can lead to waste being left in the intestines to ferment (a contributor to dysbiosis), it can place pressure on the gut (a contributor to ‘leaky gut’) and it also leads to toxins being reabsorbed and recirculated.
Are you eliminating properly? By properly, I mean a complete bowel motion, not too soft and not too hard, every day of the week. If not, it could be the cause of loss of elasticity (due to break down of collagen) and adult acne.
Are you resonating with any of the above?
Perhaps it is a sign you are digest-ageing and perhaps you should start to treat your skin from the inside out. I encourage you to seek tailored advice.
If you'd like to work with me on a tailored approach, you can speak with me for details of what to do next by booking a Complimentary 15-Minute Consultation.