How the Skin-Gut Axis Impacts Your Health

Our gut or intestinal microbiome, which is the complex and dynamic bacterial community within our bodies, is a growing area of interest when it comes to human health. Gut microbiome imbalances have been linked to a number of skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema and rosacea. This connection between the gut and skin is known as the skin-gut axis.

A new study published in the journal of Frontiers in Microbiology proposes that the skin-gut axis can assist our gut bacteria by reaping benefits from sunlight. Sunlight is thus a potentially one way to help boost our gut bacteria.  

As it is already known that sunlight produces vitamin D within our bodies, it wasn’t too surprising that the participants of the study who had a low vitamin D ended up with normal levels after they had been exposed to relatively low levels of UVB light.  But interestingly, the study showed that both the alpha and beta diversity of the study’s participants microbiota were also improved in response to the UVB light exposure. This gives new insight into the fact that vitamin D appears to play a rather important role in gut health over and above promoting healthy bone growth.

It’s also important to note that darker skin tends to absorb less sunlight, so people with darker skin need to get more sun exposure than lighter-skinned people to restore their vitamin D levels. 

Researchers believe that going forward, people with both skin and gut disorders may thus benefit greatly from vitamin D screening tests and subsequent treatment with UVB exposure or supplements. 

The discovery of the skin-gut axis also serves as a diagnostic tool for practitioners because people who suffer skin disorders often too suffer from gut disorders such as IBS, SIBO and leaky gut syndrome, and vice versa. This is to say that the balance of the microorganisms in our gut are hugely important for healthy skin. 

Caring for Your Skin-Gut Axis

Boost your vitamin D levels naturally by getting midday sunlight exposure a few times a week. 10 to 20 minutes for light skin and 30 to 60 minutes for darker skin. Go sunscreen free for at least the first 10 minutes to ramp up your vitamin D production.

Diet is another major player when it comes to gut health with processed foods, sugar, low fibre, GMOs and alcohol all having a negative impact on your microbiome. Focus on eating a fibre-rich diet with quality protein, healthy fats and a wide variety of fresh produce. Include bananas, onions, garlic, apple skins, beans, chicory root and Jerusalem artichoke.

Stress, lack of restful sleep, environmental toxins and antibiotic use are also culprits disturbing the skin-gut axis.  To give your gut extra support, use quality probiotics and prebiotics to help rebalance your gut bacteria.

As a Doctor of Naturopathy and Homoeopathy, finding a holistic approach to healing is what Dr Alain Sanua does best. Talk to him today about naturally restoring your skin-gut axis for optimum wellness.


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