Want glowing skin?  Focus on your gut!

Want glowing skin? Focus on your gut!

The secret to radiant, youthful skin may be found in an unexpected place—your gut. The link between gut health and skin appearance is increasingly recognized, highlighting the complex relationship between our gut microbiota and skin health. This intricate connection has been coined the skin-gut axis. Leveraging the skin-gut axis to optimize your skin relies on nurturing the ecosystem of microbes residing within your gastrointestinal tract, known as your microbiota.

Let's take a closer look at how a healthy gut can significantly influence your skin’s health and appearance.

The Science Behind the Gut-Skin Axis

Microbial Metabolites

The gut microbiome produces small molecules, called short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), through the fermentation of dietary fiber. These metabolites play pivotal roles in maintaining gut barrier integrity, reducing inflammation, and regulating metabolism. For instance, butyrate is an SCFA that helps maintain the health of gut cells and reduces systemic inflammation, which is beneficial for skin health. Additionally, recent research points toward SCFAs positively altering the composition of the skin microbial community and barrier integrity.1 

Dysbiosis and Inflammation

An imbalance in the gut microbiota, known as dysbiosis, can lead to increased gut permeability which is often called leaky gut. This allows harmful bacterial products, like lipopolysaccharides (LPS), to enter the bloodstream. The resulting systemic inflammation can accelerate skin aging and contribute to skin conditions such as psoriasis and other inflammatory conditions.2 

Eat for a healthy gut & glowing skin

Understanding the connection is one thing, but taking actionable steps to improve gut health can lead to noticeable improvements in your skin. 

An easy way to do right by your gut is to focus on getting prebiotics, probiotics, and phytonutrients in your diet everyday. We refer to these as the “3 Ps.”

Prebiotics (fermentable fiber & starch)

Fiber serves as fuel for beneficial gut bacteria, leading to the production of SCFAs like butyrate, which supports gut lining health and reduces systemic inflammation. At Biolounge, the guideline is to consume 40 grams of fiber daily, split between soluble (found in oats, beans, nuts, chia & flax seeds, and fruits like avocadoss) and insoluble fiber (found in whole grains and vegetables). This helps maintain a balanced, health-promoting gut environment.

Key Takeaway: Strive for 8-10 plants a day and 30 different plants per week to maximize fiber intake and fiber diversity. Consider supplementing with a soluble-fiber supplement like Florasophy as an added boost. 

Probiotics (fermented foods)

Regular consumption of fermented foods introduces beneficial bacteria into the gut. Incorporating a variety of these foods, such as yogurt at breakfast, kimchi at lunch, and kefir in the evening, can enhance microbial diversity and decrease inflammatory markers, as shown in a recent study conducted at the Sonnenburg lab at Stanford.3

Key Takeaway: Eat at least 3 servings of fermented foods a day. Examples include kefir, yogurt, fermented veggies like sauerkraut or kimchi, or kombucha. 

Phytonutrients (polyphenols)

Polyphenols are potent plant compounds that protect against environmental stress and pathogens. They benefit gut health by interacting with gut flora to produce bioactive compounds. These interactions help reduce inflammation, boost immune function, and enhance gut barrier integrity.4 Including a diverse array of colorful plants in your diet maximizes these benefits.

Key Takeaway: Practice “eating the rainbow” by consuming 5 different colors of plant-foods a day. Here is a great resource on how to add color, which equals phytonutrients, to your diet. 

Consistency is key! Making these dietary changes a regular part of your lifestyle can lead to sustained improvements in both gut health and skin appearance. Remember, your gut is your ally in achieving beautiful, healthy skin from the inside out!

  1. Trompette A, Pernot J, Perdijk O, et al. Gut-derived short-chain fatty acids modulate skin barrier integrity by promoting keratinocyte metabolism and differentiation. Mucosal Immunol. 2022;15(5):908-926. doi:10.1038/s41385-022-00524-9
  2. Di Vincenzo F, Del Gaudio A, Petito V, Lopetuso LR, Scaldaferri F. Gut microbiota, intestinal permeability, and systemic inflammation: a narrative review. Intern Emerg Med. 2024;19(2):275-293. doi:10.1007/s11739-023-03374-w
  3. Wastyk HC, Fragiadakis GK, Perelman D, et al. Gut Microbiota-Targeted Diets Modulate Human Immune Status. Cell. 2021;184(16):4137-4153.e14. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2021.06.019
  4. Role of dietary polyphenols on gut microbiota, their metabolites and health benefits - ScienceDirect. Accessed April 23, 2024. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0963996921000880