Understanding & Improving your Skin-Gut-Brain Axis
Hi & Welcome to the next blog of Holistic Skin Wellness.
I’m Pallavi- I specialize in treating chronic skin issues holistically with the help of herbs, homeopathy, nutrition, and lifestyle upgrades.
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Your body is incredible. Yes, that is true; the human body is a complex network of interconnected systems and vital organs that work tirelessly to maintain health.
I have been treating chronic skin issues for many years, and most of the time, the patients have been to multiple western treatments with limited success & they always ask why their Skin never heals.
So, I tell them that Your Skin may not be healing as it is trying to express the deep-down flaw in their other body systems.
You must be aware that Skin – gut, and brain are highly interconnected & each of their healing is interdependent.
So maybe it is something wrong with your gut or brain & your Skin is the one that appears visibly affected!
I have written this blog for many of you who are dealing with a chronic skin issue may not be aware of the intricate relationship between skin – gut, and brain.
Let me explain:
You would likely have experienced hormonal or Stress breakouts of acne or puffy cheeks and under-eyes after a night of overindulging in sweets and alcohol.
Most skin conditions are inflammatory responses to a stressor (it can be a psychological, physical, or emotional stressor or trigger which is expressing itself on the Skin.
The link between gut, brain, and skin health has been around for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. More than 2000 years ago, Hippocrates famously said, “All disease begins in the gut.”
Ayurveda (also called the “Science of Life & the “Mother of All Healing.”
Even Ayurvedic literature, written thousands of years ago, explains that Gut health is critical to preserving overall mental & physical health.
Your gut microbiome is a mixture of trillions of different species of bacteria and yeast.
It influences your immune system, digestive function, mood, hormonal balance, intestinal integrity, and much more.
We also know that 70 to 80 percent of the body’s immune activity resides in the gut. The gut contains over 100 trillion microorganisms from a thousand different species, with 10 times more microbes than human cells and a hundred times more genes than our human genes.
A hundred trillion is a nearly inconceivable number, but to put it in perspective, the number of stars in the Milky Way is estimated to be between 100 and 400 billion. That means you have between 250 and 1000 times more bacteria in your gut than stars in our galaxy.
Entirely new areas of study have emerged, like psychodermatology, which is the study of the relationship between mental health and skin health; neurodermatology, i.e., the study of the connection between neurological health and skin health; and psychoneuroimmunology, which studies the interaction between our psychology and our nervous and immune systems.
The Skin is an incredibly sensitive organ. It presents the most extensive interface with our environment, it’s exposed to a broader range of stressors than any organ, and that is happening 24 * 7 throughout our entire life. The Skin is very well-innervated, and we have many nerve endings there. It sends a high volume of signals to the sensory cortex in the brain.
A long list of skin conditions is associated with chronic stress like Psoriasis, atopic dermatitis or eczema, alopecia, urticaria, herpes simplex, vitiligo, lichen planus, and acne.
So, by now, you would be able to appreciate that any skin issues, whether acute or chronic have some gut & brain connection.
This means that it is crucial that you take a good care of your Skin-Gut & Brain association.
Now, let’s learn the Suggestions for improving your Skin-Gut & Brain Axis.
Let’s talk about what this means from a practical viewpoint.
The Skin, gut, and brain are integrally connected in an intricate web of cause and effect.
1: Diet: A nutrient-dense, balanced diet is essential for healing our body.
Of course, that’s just as true for the Skin- gut-brain axis.
Vitamins, biotin, traditional fats, and long-chain omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for the proper function of each of these three systems.
On the other hand, anti-nutrients and toxins in the Western diet, like seed oils, trans fats, refined carbohydrates, and sugar, are harmful to the health of the Skin- gut-brain axis.
Nutrient-dense, whole-food diet is critical as the gut, brain, and Skin need at least 40 micronutrients to thrive. These are vitamins, minerals, trace elements, and phytonutrients.
2: Omega-3 fats are found in oily fish, nuts, seeds, and Brussels sprouts and in high quantities in the human brain. Studies in humans and animals show that omega-3s can increase good bacteria in the gut and reduce the risk of brain disorders.
3: Fermented foods: Yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and cheese all contain healthy microbes such as lactic acid bacteria.
Fermented foods have even been shown to reduce inflammation, support the absorption of many nutrients & even support the immune system.
4: High-fiber foods: Whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables all contain prebiotic fibers that are good for gut bacteria. As per studies, Prebiotics can even reduce stress hormones in humans.
5: Polyphenol-rich foods: Cocoa, green tea, olive oil, and coffee contain polyphenols, which are plant chemicals that are digested by gut bacteria. Polyphenols increase healthy gut bacteria and may improve cognition.
6: Avoid Stress:
Stress can cause the production of local proinflammatory factors, such as cortisol and critical hormones in the fight-or-flight stress response.
So, Stress can have a real negative effect on your skin, brain & gut health.
So try and avoid Stress.
Practicing meditation & yoga for at least 20mins every day helps a lot.
7: Quit smoking. Cigarette smoking is bad for you in many ways, and studies show it can cause inflammation and disturbs your skin & gut microbiome.
8: Exercise. Physical activity is helpful for your overall health, and it can also change your gut microbiome in a good way. That benefits your skin microbes, too… eventually benefiting the Skin – gut-brain association.
So, this marks the end of today’s episode.
Today, we learned about the Skin -gut-brain axis in detail, how strongly these three are interconnected, and how you can improve this axis, benefiting your Skin, gut, and brain.
Always remember holistic wellness is the key to overall health, so how can your skin be any different?
Holistic skin wellness and healing is the thing we all should learn about.
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