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We hear it a lot: “your gut is your second brain!” But what does that really mean? How does your second brain (gut) affect other aspects of your body such as your skin and your first brain, lol! Your gut holds a lot of power, physically, mentally, and psychologically. You know the vibes… listen to your gut.

ROLE OF YOUR GUT

So what does your gut really do for you? How does your gut impact your body? Your gut microbiome is the foundation of your health. Good gut health happens when you have a good balance of good and bad bacteria, and yeast in your digestive system. Since 80% of your immune system is in the gut (and the majority of your body’s serotonin is too), when your gut isn’t healthy, your immune system and hormones can’t function properly (Parkview, nd).

TLDR: the role of your gut is to support your immune system and hormones to function properly. If your gut is imbalanced and your immune system isn’t working properly, your serotonin and hormones won’t either, making it more challenging to stay healthy.

ALL THE GUT AXIS

First of all, what is an “axis”? An axis in terms of your gut and other organs is the bidirectional link between the two (De Pessemier, B., Grine, L., Debaere, M., Maes, A., Paetzold, B., & Callewaert, C. 2021). There is the gut-skin axis and the gut-brain axis as your gut is the foundation of your skin and brain health! Part of the reason why your gut is considered your second brain is because your gut holds a TON of power.

GUT-SKIN AXIS

The gut-skin axis is the bidirectional influence between your gut microbiome and your skin. Diet can play a vital role in the maintenance of particular skin conditions. When those food ingredients impair the intestinal barrier, it may lead to gut bacteria entering the bloodstream. This is why it is important to keep your gut barrier healthy as your gut/intestinal barrier plays a crucial part in protecting any bacteria from entering your system to help avoid inflammation in the gut (De Pessemier, B., Grine, L., Debaere, M., Maes, A., Paetzold, B., & Callewaert, C. 2021).

Gut inflammation may be a root cause for many skin conditions including: acne, psoriasis, rosacea, and dandruff, to name a few (De Pessemier, B., Grine, L., Debaere, M., Maes, A., Paetzold, B., & Callewaert, C. 2021).

However, as we’ve mentioned, it is a bidirectional influence meaning your skin conditions may also affect your gut. For instance, 7–11% of patients with IBD also suffer from psoriasis (Huang, 2012).

GUT-BRAIN AXIS

There’re a ton of sayings you may have heard of and not realize that it comes from science! Have you ever had a "gut-wrenching" experience? Do certain situations make you "feel nauseous"? Have you ever felt "butterflies" in your stomach? We use these expressions for a reason. The gastrointestinal tract is sensitive to emotion. Anger, anxiety, sadness, elation — all of these feelings (and others) can trigger symptoms in the gut (Harvard Health,2023). As mentioned already, the axis is a bidirectional link. So as much as your brain can affect your gut, your gut can also affect your brain.

A couple of examples of your gut affecting your brain is any experience of anxiety or depression. Studies have shown direct correlations from a damaged gut barrier and one’s mental health (Appleton, 2018).

So with this emphasis on your gut and understanding why your gut is considered your second brain, it is in your best interest to prioritize your gut health. Less gut issues > less stress! Less stress > less gut issues > less brain and skin issues! You get it?! A simple note to keep in mind is if you’re feeling or experiencing any skin conditions or mentally feeling a little off… start by connecting with your doctor if possible! But while you’re waiting for that appointment, try doing a little gut reset!

 

DISCLAIMER: THIS POST DOES NOT CONSTITUTE AS MEDICAL ADVICE. THIS POST IS NOT MEANT TO TREAT, CURE, PREVENT, OR DIAGNOSE CONDITIONS OR DISEASES; AND IS MEANT FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES. AS ALWAYS, PLEASE CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE TRYING ANY NEW TREATMENTS OR SUPPLEMENTS.

 

 

The importance of Gut Health: Parkview health. Parkview. (n.d.). https://www.parkview.com/blog/the-importance-of-gut-health

De Pessemier, B., Grine, L., Debaere, M., Maes, A., Paetzold, B., & Callewaert, C. (2021). Gut-Skin Axis: Current Knowledge of the Interrelationship between Microbial Dysbiosis and Skin Conditions. Microorganisms9(2), 353. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9020353

The gut-brain connection. Harvard Health. (2023, July 18). https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/the-gut-brain-connection

Appleton J. (2018). The Gut-Brain Axis: Influence of Microbiota on Mood and Mental Health. Integrative medicine (Encinitas, Calif.)17(4), 28–32.

Huang B.L., Chandra S., Shih D.Q. Skin manifestations of inflammatory bowel disease. Front. Physiol. 2012;3:13. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2012.00013.

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