Bacteria are everywhere, on your bed, your phone, your fingers, your food, and your face. But, don’t worry! Many of them are actually good, and we need them to survive and stay healthy. Like a symbiosis, we provide these microscopic allies shelter, and in turn, they keep us safe.
Our gut microbiome is the number one promoter of gut health, and it serves as a powerful anti-inflammatory tool. However, when out of balance, it can lead to inflammation which has a tremendous impact on autoimmune diseases and overall health and wellness.
How Does the Gut Microbiome Affect Autoimmune Diseases?
The Microbiome is a set of healthy bacteria that live in our gut. Our Microbiome houses approximately one trillion bacteria per gram of fecal matter. This helps our body break down difficult-to-digest foods.
In addition, it contributes to our immunity, educating our immune system to do its job. But, when out of balance, the Microbiome can promote autoimmune diseases, causing inflammation.
According to a recent study at Yale, the small intestine’s bacteria can migrate to other organs and trigger an autoimmune response, whereby the immune system attacks our own healthy tissue. Researchers discovered that they could suppress autoimmunity in experimental models by suppressing the growth of bad bacteria, thus, mitigating its effects on the immune system.
After blocking the pathway that leads to inflammation, they were able to undo the effect on autoimmunity, uncovering new ways to understand the relationship between the gut and autoimmune diseases.
Now we can say that the root cause of many autoimmune diseases is leaky gut, a digestive issue that affects the lining of the intestines. Leaky gut often occurs due to a poor diet, especially one low in probiotics that feed our healthy gut bacteria.
How Does the Skin Microbiome Affect your skin?
There’s no doubt that poor microbiota has a negative effect on gut health. But, it doesn’t end there. Our body is a complex system. When something fails, another part is affected. Hence, researchers have found a strong correlation between our Microbiome and our skin, leading to autoimmune conditions like psoriasis.
However, if we start to pay attention to our lifestyle, our diet, and the products we put in and on our body we can reverse this situation. Taking care of our gut health is both easier and more complicated nowadays.
While it is true that now there are more options at our disposal and although we have ready-made fermented vegetables, yogurts, drinks, cheeses, and a variety of organic produce, the quality of our food, has declined over the years. The good news is you can actively filter out what doesn’t help and ramp up on what helps your body thrive. It’s just a matter of understanding what works and what doesn’t.
How To Improve Your Gut Microbiome
Luckily, there’s a way to combat leaky gut and repopulate our Microbiome with friendly bacteria. Here’s a list of what you should do to improve your gut flora.
Eat Your Greens
Your mom was right. Vegetables are amazing for overall health, but did you know they’re packed with prebiotics? Prebiotics are the food that probiotics (healthy gut bacteria) like to feed on.
So, emphasizing the consumption of vegetables -especially those richer in fiber, such as asparagus, artichokes, onions, or leeks can go a long way. The richer in fiber, the richer in prebiotics!
Probiotics are rich in beneficial bacteria, such as Lactobacillus or bifidobacterium, which can be found in fermented foods such as plain yogurt and kefir, fermented vegetables, such as sauerkraut, pickles, and kimchi. And it can also be found in sourdough bread and fizzy drinks like kefir water and Kombucha.
In addition, you can also consume probiotic supplements. But, note that not all strains of probiotics produce the same effects, which is why you should always consult a specialist.
Antibiotics do certainly heal many infections, but they are not selective and can be disastrous to your Microbiome. This does not mean that if your doctor tells you to take an antibiotic, you shouldn’t. Still, you can reduce them by being more selective with your food. So, when you buy meat and dairy products, ensure they have not been raised with antibiotics and choose organic options. And if you must take antibiotics, take a probiotic to replenish your bacteria.
Your Skin Is Not An Exception
Our skin is much more than an external envelope; it is our largest organ. It protects us from the external environment. Consequently, it is exposed to microbes, toxic substances, the elements, and more. However, in its protective functions, your skin also needs allies: the skin microbiome.
Like your gut microbiome, the skin microbiota comprises various microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and even parasites. These microorganisms colonize our skin as soon as we’re born through the birth canal.
The skin microbiota varies from one person to another, depending on age, sex, immune system, pH, temperature, and other variables. And its main function is to protect our bodies, synthesizing antimicrobial peptides and lipids and destroying bad bacteria.
As you can imagine, a poor skin microbiome can lead to countless skin conditions, including acne, psoriasis, eczema, and even allergies. So, how do we improve our skin microbiome?
Give Your Skin a Break
Environmental factors play an essential role in our skin microbiota. Contrary to popular belief, frequent washing may deteriorate our skin microbiota. The use of soaps with high pH can deteriorate the existing microbiota and favor harmful bacteria.
Similarly, creams, lotions, cleansers, deodorants, and perfume can also impact your skin flora, especially with prolonged use of antibacterials or alcohol. So, even if your favorite influencer says their 12-step skincare routine has helped them tremendously, be wary of falling into marketing traps and go easy on your skin.
Introduce probiotics into your skincare routine
If you’re going to utilize products, choose natural, unscented, and hypoallergenic options. And if you can get your hands on prebiotic and probiotic skincare products, don’t hesitate to add them into your routine.
Improve your diet
As you’d imagine, no microbiome is healthy without a proper diet, and your skin microbiome is no exception. Therefore, I created a Free E-book where you may find out exactly what to eat to improve your microbiome to reduce and prevent inflammation-related skin conditions.