Supple And Fresh Skin Is A Result Of Healthy Gut, Say Experts
Not only dermatologists and nutritionists, but even ancient Ayurvedic scripts state that a healthy gut is the source of a healthy body.
As teenagers, when we raced to see our grandmother with complaints of acne or uneven skin, she would constantly reiterate the importance of maintaining a healthy and clean gut.
Gut health begins with the growth of good microorganisms. If one is lacking good microorganisms in the gut, the whole body gets affected. Rajan Choudhary, a Food Technologist, elaborates that skin-related problems such as skin irritation or severe acne problems can often be related to gut health and the diet needs to be looked into. This condition can be improved if there is an intake of pre and probiotic foods.
But how does one ascertain that the gut is healthy! Choudhary presents instances of people suffering from fungal infections regularly or who complain of itching on the skin often. “These problems are directly related to gut health. These skin conditions show that the outermost layer of the skin, called the epidermis, is lacking in obtaining good bacteria from the body. When there is a lack of good bacteria, it automatically leaves room for bad bacteria to grow, leading to infection,” says Choudhary.
The food technologist further adds that even acne is an outcome of this same problem, wherein bad bacteria starts to feed on the skin. “So, the skin needs to have a good layer of micro-organisms which will act as a protective layer for the skin against bacteria,” he adds.
In fact, current research also links skin conditions with gut health. In a paper by the National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), titled, ‘Gut-Skin Axis: Current Knowledge of the Interrelationship between Microbial Dysbiosis and Skin Condition’, it has been observed that one of the many similarities between the gut and skin is the high cellular turnover rate. “The skin and the gut are the two major niches that host microorganisms. The intestinal tract harbours a diverse collection of bacteria and fungi. Many of these microorganisms are essential for metabolic and immune functions. Hence, diet can have a vital role in the maintenance of particular skin diseases. When the food ingredients impair the intestinal barrier, it leads to gut bacteria that enter the bloodstream.”
The direct correlation of good gut and healthy skin is proven beyond doubt. In fact, the interaction of the microorganisms and the body “is important to maintain stability in skin functioning,” states the same report.
The gut microbiome is a vast collection of bacteria, viruses and fungi which are responsible for our immunity and metabolic functions. Gut flora is a major contributor when it comes to breakdown of the complex carbohydrates and for production of components like Vitamin K. “It protects against potential disease-causing organisms,” states the paper.
What Can One Do To Keep Gut Health In Check?
While natural foods containing probiotics are essential for gut health, other foods rich in prebiotics are equally important. The food technologist asserts that probiotics are not medicine that can be overdosed or that will cause long-lasting damage, nor can one consume them in excess quantities.
“Indian foods such as curd, yoghurt, and some prebiotic supplements like legumes, oats, bananas and berries, that are rich in fibre are crucial for the body. Even though there are various packed pro and prebiotic supplements such as the prebiotic cookies and probiotic curds, they are good options to explore to improve gut health and see direct results on the skin,” informs Choudhary.
He believes that a huge population in India is highly focused on consuming milk more than curd, which is the supreme source of probiotics for a healthy gut. Throwing some light on the importance of prebiotics, Choudhary elucidates that they are nutrients which when consumed through food become the medium for good microorganisms to grow inside the gut and shield against bacteria.
“Foods rich in fibre, such as cereals, bananas, onions, and garlic, should be consumed by people. There are food supplements packed with prebiotics that can be taken by people without a prescription. These supplements are good for people with low immunity and stomach problems. They can easily take one to two probiotic capsules daily, depending on their age. People under the age group of 15–18 years can consume one or two probiotic capsules without any recommendation,” the food technologist shares.
An accumulation of various studies and the advice of professionals go on to prove the gut-skin relationship is inversely proportional. If the gut continues to function optimally by being the breeding ground for good bacteria, it will send fighting organisms to the skin, keeping acne and other skin problems away.
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