In the past few years there has been a growing interest in gut health, and at the forefront of that interest comes a lot of discussion about something called a probiotic. Most people have heard of probiotics, whether from one of their health care providers, commercials on TV, or on the internet, the talk of probiotics seems to be all around us. There is a great amount that can be discussed when talking about probiotics and how important they are in order to maintain a healthy gut, but I would like to specifically talk about one less common use for probiotics, and that is to help maintain healthy skin.
First, let’s briefly discuss what probiotics are. Probiotics are bacteria that aid in maintaining the natural balance of organisms (micro flora) in the gut. This is important because these organisms then help combat growth of harmful bacteria, and help to promote a healthy digestive system. Many people do not have a proper diet, and so this along with increased stress, consumption of medications, alcohol, and sugary foods are all things that suppress the good bacteria in the gut that is essential for good gut health. Some food sources where you may find probiotics are yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir, soft cheeses, tempeh, buttermilk, and sourdough bread. A more common way to get the appropriate amount of probiotics is through supplementation, which usually comes capsule form.
What many people are unaware of is that healthy skin often starts in the gut where our vitamins and nutrients are absorbed. Since our skin needs many nutrients to be healthy, if our gut cannot absorb these nutrients properly then our skin will suffer as a result. Conditions such as diarrhea, constipation, and leaky gut syndrome can all weaken the intestinal flora and affect what can be absorbed in the gut. These conditions also alter the messages that the gut sends to the body. This is very important because the messages that the gut sends to the body interact with the skin, and if these messages are not being conveyed properly the skin will not be healthy.
It is important to remember that your skin is the largest organ of your body, and acts to help filter your liver and kidneys, so probiotics may not be the cure for everyone. If these organs are not functioning properly and they are trying to release unwanted toxins, this can cause aggravation to several skin conditions such as: acne, psoriasis, eczema, dryness, inflammation, rashes, and much more. So, additional supplementation may be needed to help support these organs along with supporting the gut.
Even though supplementing with probiotics can have a positive effect on the skin, it is important to remember not to neglect the other important things that make our skin healthy. Consuming a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water, getting an ample amount of sleep, and having a daily cleansing routine are all key parts to keeping your skin healthy.
Aside from keeping the skin healthy and helping with skin conditions, probiotics are helpful with a great amount of other health related issues. They can help with allergies, diarrhea, constipation, immune function, cholesterol, high blood pressure, bacterial growth, irritable bowel syndrome, and much more.
As with all supplementation there is a chance of experiencing negative side effects when taking probiotics. Although the side effects of ingesting probiotics are rare, in some cases taking probiotics may be harmful, especially in a person who is critically ill. It is best to speak with your healthcare provider first before starting a new supplement.
Make sure to talk to your Total Health Systems provider to get additional information about probiotics and about how they can benefit you!