Do you have itching, raw skin from eczema or psoriasis? What about problems with acne or rosacea?
Put down the skin cream and read this...it could change your skin - and your life.
There is a growing body of research that suggests a direct connection between gut health and skin problems such as eczema, rosacea, psoriasis and other skin problems - even acne. In fact, there is a scientifically established gut-skin axis.
Furthermore, there are studies on skin problems and how prebiotics can help!
Gut health and skin issues doesn't stop at humans, either. Animals can also be affected, too.
In this blog we will explore:
- Gut health & skin problems: Humans & animals
- Inflammation, the immune system & gut health
- Diet is just one aspect of gut health
- The gut-skin axis
- Prebiotics: A solution for skin problems?
- Prebiotics & acne
- Prebiotics & eczema
- Prebiotics & psoriasis
- An easy way to boost your prebiotic intake
Gut health & skin problems: Humans & animals
Skin problems and gut health aren't just a human issue. It can affect animals, too.
A few years ago, our one year old cat, Tilly, developed horrible skin problems. She couldn't stop itching and her skin was a mess.
Fast-forward two years and 14 different vets, numerous horrific medications, lotions and potions, expensive and limiting food and procedures - with little to no improvement.
The last vet we saw at the veterinary university - an expert in skin conditions, informed us that after much testing, Tilly would never be cured, and that it was an auto-immune condition.
We were at our wit's end watching poor Tilly suffer, and feeling absolutely helpless - but I knew there was a root cause going on, I just didn't know what.
At this same time, I had discovered the missing link for my own health issues such as weight, sleep, bloating and mood. As an avid researcher, I found that these issues were all linked to gut health, and in my research I also discovered information about the gut-skin axis.
The A-ha moment!
All of a sudden it made sense that Tilly's skin problems were most likely connected to her gut health.
With my own experience in improving my gut health with prebiotics, we luckily found a homeopathic vet who was very aware about the connection between gut health and skin problems. With some probiotics and prebiotics, Tilly was quickly on to the road to recovery. Yay!
As you can see, we've gone from a poorly kitten, to one very gorgeous, healthy girl, after we realigned our focus to her gut health and worked with a vet who knew the score!
If interested, you can read about my story and that of my two friends and what we did to improve our gut health here.
Inflammation, the immune system & gut health
The gut and the skin are both organs of elimination, meaning they help to remove waste and toxins from the body.
When the gut is not functioning properly, toxins and other harmful substances can build up in the body and cause inflammation, which can manifest as skin problems such as acne, rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis.
In addition, the gut microbiome plays a crucial role in regulating the immune system.
When the gut is healthy, it helps to keep the immune system in balance, preventing it from overreacting and causing inflammation throughout the body, including the skin.
You can find out more about prebiotics and immune system function here.
Diet is just one aspect of gut health
Foods these days are sadly laced with toxic chemicals, whether it is additives and preservatives, herbicides and pesticides - you know it!
Even organic food most likely will have some contamination with the water (such as fluoride, chlorine and heavy metals) used to grow the produce. Sugar has a negative impact on gut health, too.
And then there are the toxic PFAS 'forever chemicals' widely used in cosmetic brands such as lipstick, mascara, eyeliner and more. And that's just the tip of the iceberg with personal care products. (That's a whole blog in itself!).
As your body absorbs these toxic chemicals they ultimately can (and do) affect your gut health and overall health and well-being - including your skin.
Gut health, hormones & neurotransmitters
Furthermore, the gut microbiome also influences the production of certain hormones and neurotransmitters that can affect skin health.
For example, imbalances in gut bacteria have been linked to increased levels of stress hormones, such as cortisol, which can trigger skin problems like acne and eczema.
Gut health is connected to skin health - and is scientifically proven
The gut-skin axis refers to the relationship between the health of the gut and the health of the skin. The concept is based on the idea that the gut and the skin are connected through a complex network of interactions involving the immune system, the gut microbiome, and other factors.
Research has shown that skin problems like acne, rosacea, and psoriasis can be associated with changes in the gut microbiome, suggesting that the health of the gut can play a role in the development of these conditions.
However, the skin-gut axis also suggests that skin conditions themselves can impact the gut microbiome!
For example, individuals with skin conditions may have an altered skin microbiome, which can contribute to inflammation and affect the immune system. This can trigger a cascade of events that ultimately impact the gut microbiome, leading to further inflammation and a disruption in gut health.
In addition, the skin-gut axis highlights how the health of the skin and gut can be influenced by similar factors, such as stress, diet, and environmental factors. For example, a diet high in processed foods and sugar can contribute to inflammation in both the skin and the gut.
Prebiotics: A solution for skin problems?
While prebiotics are primarily associated with gut health, there is growing evidence suggesting that they may also positively impact skin health.
Prebiotics are non-digestible fibers that feed the beneficial bacteria in our gut, known as probiotics. By consuming prebiotic-rich foods or taking prebiotic supplements, we can help support the growth and activity of these beneficial bacteria, which can have a positive impact on our gut health. And since the gut and skin are connected through the gut-skin axis, prebiotics may also benefit the skin.
Research has shown that prebiotics can help to reduce inflammation in the body, which is a key factor in many skin problems.
Find out more about prebiotics by reading this blog 'What is prebiotic fibre?'.
In addition, prebiotics can improve the gut microbiome, which can influence the immune system and the production of certain hormones and neurotransmitters that can affect the skin.
By promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, prebiotics may also help to improve the skin's barrier function, which can help to prevent moisture loss and reduce the risk of skin irritation and infection.
Although more research is needed to determine the optimal dose and duration of prebiotic supplementation for specific skin conditions, studies are providing some evidence for the potential benefits of prebiotics for various skin problems.
Please read on for several studies on prebiotics and acne, eczema and psoriasis, as well as finding out an easy way to boost your prebiotic intake, too.
Prebiotics & acne
Some studies have suggested that prebiotics may be particularly beneficial for individuals with acne-prone skin.
One study found that supplementing with a prebiotic fiber for 12 weeks led to a significant reduction in acne lesions and an improvement in skin quality (1).
In the study, 40 individuals with mild to moderate acne were randomly assigned to receive either a prebiotic fiber supplement or a placebo for 12 weeks. The participants' acne lesions and skin quality were evaluated at baseline and at weeks 4, 8, and 12 of the study.
The results showed that the group receiving the prebiotic fiber supplement had a significant reduction in the number of acne lesions compared to the placebo group, with a 32% reduction in inflammatory lesions and a 29% reduction in non-inflammatory lesions.
Additionally, the prebiotic group had significant improvements in skin quality, with reductions in oiliness and shininess, and improvements in skin hydration and texture.
The researchers suggest that the beneficial effects of the prebiotic fiber supplement may be due to its ability to modify the gut microbiome and reduce systemic inflammation, which could in turn improve the health of the skin.
Prebiotics & eczema
There is evidence to suggest that prebiotics may be beneficial for individuals with eczema, a chronic skin condition characterized by dry, itchy, and inflamed skin.
One study, published in the British Journal of Dermatology, found that a prebiotic supplement improved symptoms of eczema in children.(2)
The study involved 13 children with moderate to severe eczema who were given a prebiotic supplement for 8 weeks. The children's eczema symptoms were assessed using a standardised scoring system before and after the intervention.
The results showed that the prebiotic supplement led to a significant improvement in eczema symptoms, with a reduction in the severity of itching, redness, and dryness of the skin. The supplement was well-tolerated and did not lead to any adverse side effects.
The researchers suggest that the beneficial effects of the prebiotic supplement may be due to its ability to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, which can influence the immune system and reduce inflammation throughout the body, including in the skin.
Prebiotics and psoriasis
There have been several studies conducted on the potential effects of prebiotics on psoriasis, a chronic autoimmune skin condition characterized by red, scaly patches on the skin.
One double-blind randomised controlled clinical trial with 60 patients with psoriasis who were randomly assigned to receive either a prebiotic, a synbiotic (a probiotic and prebiotic), or a placebo for 8 weeks. The results showed that both the prebiotic and synbiotic groups had a significant reduction in psoriasis severity compared to the placebo group. (3)
Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a type of inflammatory arthritis that affects some people with psoriasis, a chronic autoimmune skin condition. There is limited research on the effects of prebiotics specifically on psoriatic arthritis, but there is evidence to suggest that prebiotics may have potential benefits for overall gut health and inflammation, which may indirectly impact PsA.
It's important to note that psoriasis is a complex condition with various contributing factors, and prebiotics alone may not be sufficient for managing all cases of psoriasis.
An easy way to boost your prebiotic intake
Made with soluble prebiotic chicory root fibre (inulin), ió fibrewater is completely clear, has no added sugar, no 'nasty' artificial ingredients and is just 17 kcals per bottle.
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Plus it's approved by the Vegan Society and is gluten-free.
Check out the numerous reviews regarding how ió fibrewater is making a positive impact on people's health - and lives.
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The gut-skin axis is well-established scientifically proving the connection between gut health and skin problems.
If you are challenged with skin problems such as acne, rosacea, eczema and psoriasis, there is growing scientific evidence proving that prebiotics can have a positive impact on gut health and as a result, improvements with skin problems have been achieved.
Therefore, prebiotics may be useful for the management of skin problems, in addition to supporting improved gut and overall health.
ió fibrewater is an easy way to boost your prebiotic intake and delivers precision nutrition in a refreshingly delicious way. As we say at ió fibrewater HQ - 'Go with your gut!'.
1 - 'A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised clinical trial evaluating the efficacy and tolerability of a novel phenolic antioxidant- and prebiotic-containing supplement for management of acne vulgaris', Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 2018, https://www.jaad.org/article/S0190-9622(17)32516-3/fulltext
2 - 'A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of a prebiotic preparation in the treatment of moderate-to-severe childhood eczema ', British Journal of Dermatology, 2018, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5935463/
3 - Effects of Prebiotics and Synbiotics on Functional Constipation and Psoriasis Vulgaris: A Double-Blind Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial, Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 2016, https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/07315724.2015.1080103