BY DIETITIAN MARIKA DAY (www.marikaday.com)
Evidence is emerging that our gut, more specifically our microbiome plays a role in many diseases and conditions.
The Gut-Brain axis is a well know connection, but more recently the Gut-Skin axis has started to draw some attention. It is true that the gut may play some role in the development of acne. Interestingly, knowledge surrounding the gut-skin axis (or connection) has been around for more than 80 years, there just hasn’t been a significant amount of research conducted until recently.
Stress, either psychological, emotional, physical or dietary stress can lead to alterations of the gut microbiome. These changes can loosen tight junctions within the intestinal wall leading to intestinal permeability or a leaky gut. When the gut becomes leaky; compounds which previously couldn’t enter the gut wall and blood stream are allowed entry. This subsequently sets off an inflammatory response both systemically but also via the skin in some acne-prone individuals. This process is demonstrated in the below image.
Recreated F.ACNE image inspired by source: Bowe, Whitney P, and Alan C Logan. “Acne Vulgaris, Probiotics and the Gut-Brain-Skin Axis - back to the Future?” Gut Pathogens 3 (2011): 1. PMC. Web. 30 Aug. 2018.
It is through this gut-mediated inflammatory response that we can identify relationship between gut health and acne.
Many people with acne also suffer from hypochlorhydria, a lowered level of stomach acid. These low levels of acid may allow for migration from the colonic bacteria into the small intestine, creating a state of dysbiosis, commonly known as SIBO. This bacteria in the small intestine can compete for nutrients and impair the absorption of fats, protein and carbohydrates as well as many other nutrients and vitamins, potentially leading to nutrient deficiencies and increased inflammation.
Probiotics are one way that we may be able to provide a gut mediated treatment approach to acne. However, in the F.ACNE reset we discuss how not all probiotics are created equal. We will also discuss how these nutrient deficiencies may influence your acne and what steps you can take to improve your gut to improve skin.