Gut-Skin Connection: How Your Digestive System Impacts Your Skin’s Health
Your skin is part of the integumentary system which consists of your skin, nails, hair, & exocrine glands. It works in partnership with all your other body systems, including your digestive system. One of the main functions of your integumentary system is to protect your body from outside threats.
Since your skin works so closely with other bodily systems, it’s no wonder it can easily be affected by dysfunction found elsewhere in your body! The gut-skin connection is real! Any disruption or alteration of your gut microbiome (community of bacteria and fungi that live in your gastrointestinal tract) can impact your skin (and body) tremendously.
Gut problems can affect digestion and lead to inadequate absorption of nutrients which, over time, may create nutritional deficiencies. Nutritional deficiencies weaken your immune system and in turn make your body more susceptible to disease. Poor gut health has been linked to chronic inflammation, skin disorders, & autoimmune diseases, to name a few.
Signs of an Unhealthy Gut
Skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, and acne can be related to your gut issues. Inflammation and a damaged gut lining may trigger or make you prone to certain skin conditions.
Bloating & Gas
Gas is a natural metabolic by-product of digestion. However, if you’re experiencing severe bloating and gas, it may be cause for concern. A sluggish digestive system can be an indicator of poor gut health and may be the reason why your body is producing excessive gas.
Constipation and/or Diarrhea
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, or SIBO, occurs when there is bacterial overgrowth in your intestinal tract. This gut disorder can cause constipation, diarrhea, bloating & gas.
When your digestion is not functioning optimally, you aren’t absorbing enough of the nutrients your body needs. Therefore, you may feel fatigued if your body isn’t receiving the proper nutrients required to feel energized.
SIBO and other gut issues can damage your intestinal lining and cause the walls to become permeable. This is often referred to as ‘leaky gut syndrome’. When your intestines have increased permeability, bacteria and toxins can easily enter your bloodstream. Leaky gut has been linked to an increased risk of autoimmune disease.
Food sensitivities are also another cause of leaky gut syndrome. Food sensitivities can damage the lining of your gut and cause your intestines to become ‘leaky’.
How to Improve Gut Health
Digestion begins in your mouth. By chewing your food slowly and thoroughly, your saliva has the chance to start breaking it down, making the food easier for your digestive tract to process.
Stress can impair digestion and slow it down. It can also cause GI problems such as indigestion, heartburn, and an upset stomach. Reducing stress will help improve your digestion and your overall well being.
Supplement with Probiotics
Reinnoculating your body with beneficial bacteria found in probiotics will help you restore balance and promote healthy gut flora.
It’s important that you get adequate hydration! Liquids help your body throughout the entire digestive process. Staying hydrated will enable things to move smoothly along your digestive tract and improve overall digestion.
Eliminate Trigger Foods
Keep a food diary and eliminate foods that trigger gas, bloating, abdominal pain, and/or diarrhea. Also, rule out any suspected food allergy or intolerance by getting allergy testing done.