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How Digestion Affects the Skin: Gut Health For Better Skin

close up with girl smiling with healthy skin

In our previous post on inflammatory skin problems, we discussed a little bit about the gut-skin connection. Here, we will go deeper into the impact of digestion and how to improve your gut health for better skin.

The gut-skin connection is one of the most established and well-recognized relationships in the body by practitioners of all types. Today, even many dermatologists understand and acknowledge the relationship between gut inflammation and skin problems, which often occur together.

The Acne & Digestion Relationship

Recapping on one important study, we find an undeniable relationship between people who suffer from acne and those with digestive issues. This particular study on 13,000 teenagers found that those with acne always had some form of digestive trouble. Furthermore, the study discovered that people with gut inflammation were 37% more likely to have acne and other inflammatory skin problems.

Digestion, Stress & Skin Health

There are plenty of other studies that have observed similar correlations. Some have even discovered an additional strong link between physiological stress and skin problems. This demonstrates the strong correlation between stress and the corresponding impaired digestion, which eventually has an effect on the skin.

We know that digestive function is affected and ruled by the Central Nervous System (CNS). Specifically, a sub-branch of the CNS known as the autonomic nervous system. When stressed, the body goes into a sympathetic state, which shuts down digestion. So we see that there is an undeniable connection between stress and poor digestion. In fact, it is the number one cause of bad digestion. We simply cannot digest food when stressed.

Further research now tells us that the sequence of stress to poor digestion makes its mark on the health of our gut bacteria, ultimately affecting the skin.

black and white image of stressed girl laying in bed
To summarize, science has confirmed that:

1. The gut microbiome affects the immune system and vice versa. This means that the gut microbiome can either improve inflammatory skin conditions or cause them.

2. There is an interconnected relationship between psychological stress and our gut microbiome.

3. The health of the gut, nervous system, immune system, and skin are all interrelated.

What can be done about it?

If your immune system and gut is compromised, then it’s likely you have an overgrowth of bad bacteria. The good news is that with this information, we can utilize specific beneficial bacteria like Lactobacillus acidophilus to improve all of the areas. Lactobacillus acidophilus is most abundant in breast milk, raw milk, and fermented foods. This is one way to improve gut health for better skin.

Fermented foods are rich in probiotic bacteria, which regulate the gut microbiome and mucosa, strengthen the immune system, relax the nervous system and decrease inflammatory skin issues. In addition to improving our overall health, we can utilize probiotic-rich foods as a tool for achieving clear, healthy skin.

Kimchi dish for gut health
©Yun Seon Hong

Fermented Foods Improving Digestion & Gut Health For Better Skin

Fermented foods are powerful. They contain hundreds of trillions of probiotic bacteria in just a single serving. Fermented foods are especially helpful when any of the discussed areas have already experienced some level of damage.

When first starting out with a probiotic protocol, you’ll want to take things slow. Going overboard with probiotic foods, in the beginning, might cause things to get worse before they get better. This is caused by an immediate die-off as probiotics out-crowd the pathogens. The result can be unpleasant symptoms like aggravated digestive issues, skin problems, and migraines.

To prevent symptoms, take things slow. Spend time healing and sealing the gut lining and bringing down inflammation of the intestinal tract. This way, as pathogens die-off and toxins are released, they can be properly escorted, rather than recirculate through the body with a broken digestive and detoxification system.

Not All Fermented Foods Are Created Equally

Not all fermented foods are created equally. Some are pasteurized, use vinegar, or contain amino acids like tyramine, arginine, and histamine. These molecules cause a vasculature effect.

For example, excess tyramine intake can increase blood pressure. Too much histamine can cause an allergic response and also promotes blood flow. Any of these amino acids in excess can cause migraines as well.

Fermented sauerkraut for gut and skin health
Foods highest in Tyramine:
  • Smoked, aged, or pickled meat
  • Most cheeses, especially Stilton
  • Yogurt and sour cream
  • Soy sauce
  • Tofu
  • Sauerkraut
  • Peanuts
  • Brazil nuts
Foods highest in Arginine:
  • Dairy foods
  • Wheat germ
  • Peanuts
  • Nuts
  • Chocolate
Foods highest in Histamine:
  • Vinegar
  • Beer
  • Sake
  • Wine

To reap the benefits of probiotics without the side affects, you can make your own. This way you can control the pH. Also, avoid foods in vinegar that are high in histamine. You can utilize strain specific probiotics, which are native to the human gut, like Custom Probiotics.

In addition to eating fermented food to boost your gut health for better skin, be sure to focus on improving your immunity. This can be done through good sleep, plenty of rest time, fun, laughter, and plenty of time outdoors. Lastly, work to decrease and control your reactions to stress, which will improve your digestive health and skin.

Have you tried making fermented foods yourself? Let us know your experiences in the comments below. 

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5 thoughts on “How Digestion Affects the Skin: Gut Health For Better Skin

  1. Hi, thanks for reading! We recommend seeking advice from your doctor about the supplement.

  2. Hi there. That’s a great article. It would be very helpful. I also suffer from digestive problem which cause pimple and dull skin. Both pimple and dull skin disappeared when I have a good food with good digestion. I also found a positive result with less pimple and bright skin with Probiotics treating digestive problems here is What do you think about this supplements? Thank you for your great article and please keep sharing .

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  4. Thank you!!

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