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Skin and the Gut

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Could good gut health could equal healthy skin?

Approximately 80% of the bodies immune system lies in the gut. A healthy gut is responsible for breaking down foods and nutrients to be used as fuel, absorbing water for hydration, cleaning up and purging toxins that we don't want throughout our bodies.

A breakdown in gut health means overall health will decline, including that of your skin. What if your skin is ailing even when you think your gut is perfectly fine? Could changes to your digestive system positively affect your skin even when you are healthy? According to recent research, yes.

Studies done ten years ago showed that teen acne was often paired with bad breath, constipation, acid reflux and complaints of bloating. Eczema is the result of an allergic immune response that can often be tied to inflammatory gut responses.

The gut contains both good and bad bacteria, and simply put, when the bad bacteria outweighs the good you will be sick, the opposite and you are healthy. An overproliferation of bad bacteria leads to inflammation throughout the entire body. Skin disorders such as acne, rosacea, and others, are caused by inflammation.

Overall, gut health is controlled by diet. Diets high in inflammatory foods such as sugar and heavily processed foods put excess stress on the digestive system by not properly feeding the natural flora found in the gut that breaks our foods down. The overuse of prescription drugs like antibiotics wipe out both the good and the bad bacteria, making it easier for pathogens to set up residency and grow. It can take months to cultivate proper gut bacteria even after a short course of antibiotics.

Research needs to be done to solidify our knowledge on how strong the connection is between the gut health and skin health. Conditions like acne likely need more than a diet change to control the issue, but improving one's diet may help reduce the bodies inflammatory response.

To help stabilize the flora in your gut, diets high in vegetables, legumes, fermented foods like kombucha, fiber-rich, and even probiotics will help. Clean fruits and vegetables to remove pesticide residue, don't take antibiotics when they aren't necessary and avoid painkillers that can irritate your gut.

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