The Biome’s of Things
This is the first in a series of emails that will be about WELLNESS TRENDS.
The intestinal, or gut, microbiome is best known, but other areas of the body, like the mouth, skin and vagina, have their own as well.
Call it a sign of the times: Microbiomes—the network of bacteria, fungi, viruses and other microorganisms (or microbiota) that our bodies play host to—have been getting more attention of late.
Though they’re known for aiding digestion, their role in healthy immune function may be what’s currently boosting their reputation. A recent study by the Chinese University in Hong Kong found that a microbiome imbalance was linked to the severity and length of the immune response in patients who had contracted the virus.
In today’s post we are going to focus on the Gut and the Skin Microbiome.
THE GUT MICROBIOME
While popular awareness of the gut microbiome has been growing for the past decade, a broader understanding of the skin microbiome and how it connects to the gut is in its early stages in conventional medicine.
Those of us in Natural Functional Medicine have been shouting as loudly as we can that the health of your inside is connected to the health of your outside and vice versa. Our environment holistically affects every cell in our body.
There is a movement that suggests that all the cleaning of things, have further disrupted our Microbiome’s and that we should adopt the concept of human Re:Wilding.
GUT MICROBIOME TESTING
If you are having Digestive or Skin issues, we have the tests and technology to see if you have a balanced microbiome. These tests provide data on whether you have an overgrowth of bacteria, fungi, and parasites.
The tests are also very specific and can tell which species is in the high or low range and by how much. These tests are however simple to do at home. You can ordered the kits from a Doctor like me.
The reports from these tests also provide great information and actionable solutions for you to follow to improve your gut health. A healthy gut means a healthy brain, a healthy immune system, glowing skin and more.
If you want to check the health of your Gut Microbiome please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org or check out my lab page
A properly functioning skin microbiome, composed of bacteria known also as skin flora, is critical to skin’s health: It fortifies the skin’s barrier, trapping moisture, shielding against infection and environmental aggressors and reducing inflammation. When the microbiome is lacking in good bacteria, the skin’s barrier function is compromised. The result is what some call “leaky skin”, like the term “leaky gut.”
When skin becomes dehydrated, all those irritants, allergens, pollutants and pathogens are able to penetrate the skin barrier and trigger inflammation,
Inflammation can manifest in various ways, showing up as acne, eczema, psoriasis or accelerated aging. It’s often the cause of what people identify as “sensitive skin.” According to a 2019 Frontiers in Medicine study, 60 to 70 percent of American women and 50 to 60 percent of American men report having skin issues.
WHAT CAUSES SKIN PROBLEMS
Diet, chronic stress, poor liver detoxification and environmental factors like UV light and pollution all impact the skin’s microbiome, as do skin-care products.
Today in the Zoom era we have never used so many products and yet our skin has never been worse. It might suggest that one we are using too many products and two that stress, poor diet and therefore poor gut health has had an impact.
The more we interfere with our skin microbiome by cleansing and layering skin care, the more we get rid of those essential nutrients for it to function properly.
Over cleansing and over exfoliating can have particularly detrimental effects. They strip the skin of the healthy fats our microbiome needs to survive and thrive.
Mechanical face brushes and grainy exfoliants are also major disruptors. Using too many products with highly active ingredients, like retinol and various acids, can also pose a problem.
CLEAN SKIN PRODUCTS
A number of brands have made supporting the microbiome a central tenet of their formulations. A test by MyMicrobiome, a company co-founded by microbiologist Kristin Neumann, examines whether products maintain the skin’s balance.
A quote I found interesting that I thought I would share with you.
“This might sound weird coming from a skin-care company, but the very best thing you can do for the health of your microbiome is to do as little as possible.”
THE GUT-BRAIN-SKIN- OTHER AXIS
This is the concept of what is commonly referred to as the gut-brain-skin axis holds that these systems are interconnected. I would also say that the mouth is the entry way to the gut and has its own Microbiome. The Oral Microbiome. The Mouth gives us clues as to the state of the digestive tract. In TCM they always look at the mouth and tongue for signs of what could be going on in the rest of the body.
DIET AND LIFESTYLE
We know that a Poor Diet and Poor Habits can impact our microbiomes. Sugar, ultra processed foods, alcohol, and commonly used medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, can determine whether our bacteria is healthy, or the opposite. We also know that stress, real or perceived has a huge impact on the health of the microbiomes.
“A recent study [of 647 participants in Germany, published in the British Journal of Dermatology] showed that if you alter your diet you can actually directly change the microbes in your skin,” says Bowe. “The science surrounding the microbiome will change the entire way we think about the skin and take care of it.”
WHOLE FOOD SUPPORT FOR SKIN
Last but not least, Here are my top skin picks from the top rated whole food and plant product companies Standard Process and Mediherb
- Collagen C. This formula is rich in Collagen and a key skin antioxidant Vitamin C.
- Regenerplex: For General Skin Health. Support for fine lines and skin elasticity.
- Dermaco: Support for Chronic Skin Conditions like eczema, acne and psoriasis
- Gotu Kola Complex: Promotes Inside and Outside Tissue repair and healing
- AF Betafood: For Dry Skin
I did a popular post a few weeks ago that talked more about skin conditions (Answers to Skin Questions) and how to best support various issues. Here is the link if you want to dig a little deeper.
I hope this information has been helpful and answers some of your questions.
Technology and the personalization of health is on a fast track. The Data gathered will give us insight into how we can be proactive and prevent chronic disease.
The BEST solutions however will be slow wellness😀. Daily health choices connected to Nature.
Have a healthy week