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What is the ‘Gut Skin Axis/Connection’?

Words: Alex Peters

Sometimes your skin is having problems and no matter how many different cleansers you try or how much money you spend on serums, nothing seems to be helping. When this happens, it’s usually the case that the issue is an internal one. The call, as they say, is coming from inside the house. 

Our skin is often described as a barometer for what’s going on inside our gut. The gut, particularly the ecosystem of bacteria known as the microbiome that resides in our gut, is the backbone of our health and is increasingly being linked to everything from our immune system to our mental health. The gut is where hormones are metabolised and enzymes are detoxified, where pathogens are neutralised and neurotransmitters are produced. The functions it performs play a vital role in maintaining homeostasis throughout the body and so when the microbiome is out of balance, it can cause major repercussions. (1) Basically – there is no good health without gut health.

Because of its importance in the body, the gut is in constant dialogue with both our brain (the gut-brain axis) and our skin (the gut-skin axis). Our skin is the largest organ we have and also one of the major systems through which our body gets rid of toxins and waste. This means that when our gut is unbalanced or experiencing issues such as leaky gut or digestion problems, it can show up on the skin as irritation, inflammation, or congestion. 

An Imbalanced Gut Will Manifest on the Skin

Many skin conditions and disorders are linked to the health of the gut and its microbiome, although the connection isn’t always immediately clear. While some connections are obvious – you consume a food you are allergic to and develop a rash – others are more subtle. A recent study found that people with rosacea are significantly more likely to have small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), a condition involving inappropriate growth of bacteria in the small intestine, than those without rosacea. (2)

Another study found that the likelihood of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) was significantly higher in patients with eczema as well as in patients with depression (remember the gut-brain axis). Meanwhile research has also shown that up to 40 percent of people with IBS experience external issues with their skin and other parts of the body.(3)

Leaky gut (or intestinal permeability) is believed to be one of the biggest culprits of skin issues (4). The condition occurs when the delicate lining of the gut has been irritated or damaged which allows endotoxins to enter the bloodstream, instead of being destroyed. When this happens, not only are fewer of the essential nutrients needed for skin health absorbed, but the liver also has to deal with all the extra escaped endotoxins (5) and becomes overwhelmed. To support the liver, the skin steps in and helps eliminate the toxins and waste that need to be expelled. 

How Probiotics Can Help Keep Skin Healthy

As we have seen, if you are after healthy, glowing skin your best bet is to address your gut health and make sure your microbiome is balanced and harmonious. There are many factors that influence our microbiome and its microbial biodiversity including our environment, diet, other people, and our interactions with nature. Everytime we eat a meal, play outside, pet an animal, or even kiss someone, we are changing the composition of our microbiome. 

Things like stress, poor diet and sleep, and antibiotic treatment can all have a negative impact, disrupting the gut microbiome and, in turn, affecting skin health. But the good news is, if your microbiome is out of whack, there is something you can do to help. Introducing beneficial bacteria back into the gut by taking probiotics is one of the best ways of restoring balance. Studies are finding very promising results when it comes to using probiotics to prevent and treat various inflammatory skin conditions, including eczema, acne and dermatitis. (6)

Probiotics Inside Gut-Skin Axis

Byome’s Gut-Skin Axis has been formulated with a unique blend of probiotic strains which work to improve gut health and promote healthy, glowing skin. Combining Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus indicus, and Bacillus pumilus, each capsule supercharges your microbiome with beneficial bacteria, that also synthesise high levels of bioavailable antioxidants (carotenoids and vitamin B2) straight in the gut where it is immediately absorbed. When taken daily, these antioxidants work to prevent breakouts and premature ageing, even skin tone, and restore luminosity and hydration.

The probiotic strains and their benefits:

  • Bacillus subtilis supports overall gut health and targets digestive issues. It has the unique ability to synthesis vitamin K2 which aids the skin’s healing process by supporting the skin’s natural barrier function. (7) 
  • Bacillus indicus produces carotenoids (beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, and astaxanthin and zeaxanthin) which are rich in antioxidants. These antioxidants help protect the body against free radical damage to slow down premature aging, and guard the skin against sun damage and formation of dark spots. (8)
  • Bacillus pumilus produces riboflavin (vitamin B2) which helps protect the skin’s structural integrity, reducing inflammation, speeding healing, and preventing dry, cracked skin. What’s more, it also improves zinc and iron absorption, which are essential vitamins for acne-prone skin. (9)

Antioxidant-rich Probiotics vs Supplementary Antioxidants 

Antioxidants are substances that defend cells in the body against damage caused by free radicals and they also aid in maintaining the health of the cells and in repairing DNA. Antioxidants can be found in all sorts of food particularly fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene. It’s actually pretty easy to take in plenty of antioxidants through diet and vitamin supplements. 

Unfortunately, just because you are consuming a lot of antioxidants it doesn’t mean your body is getting the amount it needs. It takes heat to release antioxidants from foods and fat to escort them through your digestive system. (10) Without both of those factors, your body can’t use the carotenoids you take in. What this means is that you could eat a kilo of tomatoes and think you are getting enough antioxidants but they’re simply not getting through to the cells and organs that need them. 

The antioxidants produced by our spore-based probiotics, however, are different. While the antioxidants found in food are broken down by the digestive system, our bacterial strains have the ability to withstand stomach acid and survive the journey to the gut in one piece where they then hatch and thrive, making them one of the most bioavailable and potent supplementary antioxidants. (11)

Other Ingredients
It’s not just the powerhouse combination of probiotics that are working hard to give you radiant skin. Gut-Skin Axis also contains a number of other ingredients that bring a whole boatload of benefits. 

Patented Nutricosmetic

A blend of bioavailable ingredients including champagne grape seed, melon, vitamin C and zinc, Patented Nutricosmetic works to tackle dull, uneven skin by targeting collagen degradation, melanin overproduction, and impaired microcirculation. 

Tested under dermatological control for a 60 day period, the key ingredients are clinically proven to:

  • Improve elasticity by 9%*
  • Reduce blemishes by 21%
  • Brighten skin by 26%
  • Improved skin tone by 35%
Acerola Cherry

Acerola Cherry is extremely rich in vitamin C which protects against free radicals and promotes collagen production. Acerola cherry is also an astringent which can help treat skin blemishes, promote skin elasticity, and aid in digestive issues. 

Milk Thistle

One of the most researched medical herbs, milk thistle’s healing properties were first documented by Greek physician and botanist Dioscorides in AD 40. It contains a powerful flavoid, Silymarin, which works to detoxify your liver and as well as fight inflammation, while clinical studies have shown its effectiveness in decreasing acne lesions. (10) 

Magnesium

Magnesium helps lower cortisol levels, stabilising hormonal imbalances and improving cellular processes which may reduce acne and other skin disorders.

When you’re lacking magnesium, the levels of fatty acid on the surface of the skin and collagen levels will decrease. Your face will end up dryer, uneven in tone and prone to wrinkles. Bringing those levels back up will in turn help to bring the life and light back to lacklustre skin.

Magnesium can also help to protect your skin from external damage, as it regulates cellular regeneration and repair.

As with every gut, the skin for each of us is also different. When it comes to probiotics and the positive effects on your skin, it's not an overnight solution but a long term solution. By adding Gut-Skin Axis into your daily routine (treat it as part of your skincare regime), the active ingredients in your gut will do their part to enhance your skin performance.

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References: 

1) Salem I, Ramser A, Isham N, Ghannoum MA. The Gut Microbiome as a Major Regulator of the Gut-Skin Axis. Front Microbiol. 2018;9:1459. Published 2018 Jul 10. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2018.01459 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6048199/

2) Parodi A, Paolino S, Greco A, Drago F, Mansi C, Rebora A, Parodi A, Savarino V. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth in rosacea: clinical effectiveness of its eradication. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2008 Jul;6(7):759-64. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2008.02.054. Epub 2008 May 5. PMID: 18456568. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18456568/

3) Huang BL, Chandra S, Shih DQ. Skin manifestations of inflammatory bowel disease. Front Physiol. 2012;3:13. Published 2012 Feb 6. doi:10.3389/fphys.2012.00013 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3273725/ 

4) Pizzorno J. Toxins From the Gut. Integr Med (Encinitas). 2014;13(6):8-11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4566437/

5) Coates M, Lee MJ, Norton D and MacLeod AS. The Skin and Intestinal Microbiota and Their Specific Innate Immune Systems. Front. Immunol. 2019 10:2950. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2019.02950 https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2019.02950/full

5) Szántó M, Dózsa A, Antal D, Szabó K, Kemény L, Bai P. Targeting the gut‐skin axis—Probiotics as new tools for skin disorder management? Experimental Dermatology. 2019; vol28:11. (1210-1218) https://doi.org/10.1111/exd.14016 https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/exd.14016

6) Cho YH, et al. Production of nattokinase by bath and fed-batch culture of Bacillus subtilis. N Biotechnol. 2010;27(4):341-6. Kolchinskaia ID, Kvasnikov EI, Dryndina LP. Biosynthesis of vitamins and amino acids of Bacillus subtilis and Bac. mesentericus. Mikrobiol Zh. 1970;32(4):419-23

7) Duc, L. H., Fraser, P. & Cutting, S. M. Carotenoids present in halotolerant Bacillus spore formers. FEMS Microbiology Letters 255, 215-224 (2006).

8) Steinert, R. E., Sadabad, M. S., Harmsen, H. J. & Weber, P. The prebiotic concept and human health: a changing landscape with riboflavin as a novel prebiotic candidate? Eur J Clin Nutr, 1-6, doi:10.1038/ejcn.2016.119 (2016). 

9) Reboul E. Mechanisms of Carotenoid Intestinal Absorption: Where Do We Stand?. Nutrients. 2019;11(4):838. Published 2019 Apr 13. doi:10.3390/nu11040838. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6520933/

10) Sy, C. et al. Glycosyl carotenoids from marine spore-forming Bacillus sp. strains are readily bioaccessible and bioavailable. Food Research International 51, 914-923 (2013). 

11) Sahib AS, Al-Anbari HH, Salih M, Abdullah F. Effects of Oral Antioxidants on Lesion Counts Associated with Oxidative Stress and Inflammation in Patients with Papulopustular Acne. J Clin Exp Dermatol Res 2012 3:163. doi:10.4172/2155-9554.1000163. https://www.longdom.org/open-access/effects-of-oral-antioxidants-on-lesion-counts-associated-with-oxidative-stress-and-inflammation-in-patients-with-papulopustular-acne-2155-9554.1000163.pdf