The gut skin axis

FixBIOME OP Dr James Freeman profile photo

The gut skin axis

Medically reviewed by:
Dr James Freeman

SIBO and your skin

As much as we say beauty is skin deep, that isn’t entirely true. Our skin is our largest elimination organ and has a strong relationship with our gut, and an unhappy gut can make a very unhappy skin.

Skin disorders with proven links to the gut include
• Acne
• Psoriasis
• Rosacea
• Atopic dermatitis
• Dandruff

How your gut impacts your skin

Your gut is responsible for more than just your ability to digest and extract nutrients from food. Having poor gut health can be a root cause to multiple inflammatory skin issues, science has found.

Think of your gut like a garden bed. Your garden bed needs suitable soil with the right balance of bacteria to support healthy skin, healthy hair and provide the basis for 70% of your immune system.

Microorganisms inhabit various areas of the body, including the gut and skin. They are important in maintaining homeostasis in your body. Changes to the normal microflora can contribute to the development of various diseases.

How gut imbalances and SIBO or SIFO
can impact your skin

1. Nutrients
Your small intestine is responsible for extracting nutrients from the foods you eat. If you have an overgrowth of bacteria (SIBO) or fungus (SIBO) in the small intestine, you simply are not extracting the nutrients as you should. These nutrients are required for healthy skin (and hair, for that matter). Skin elasticity and collagen will suffer, which will give you a duller-looking appearance.

2. Your skin is body’s largest elimination organ
Your skin is the largest elimination organ in your body. Your gut also plays a large role in eliminating waste and toxins from your body, but when it is compromised, the skin will be forced to compensate, and this will manifest in the mirror.

3. Disruptions to your hormones
The gut metabolizes hormones, creates detoxifying enzymes, neutralizes pathogens, and makes neurotransmitters like serotonin. Impairment to its ability to do any of these jobs can have a systemic effect that will show up in our skin.

4. Leaky gut
SIBO/sifo and gut imbalances often lead to leaky gut. Leaky gut allows toxins and proteins to leak out of your gut and into the bloodstream. This impacts your skin and the immune system. I bet if you will feel well if toxins were leaking into your water supply. The gut can relate to this, but the worst part is you’re leaking toxins into your blood. That can create a chain of problems, some of which manifest in your skin. Unless you clean your gut, it is unlikely for you to have healthy and glowing skin.

5. Chronic intimation
Gut imbalances are associated with altered immune responses. Compromised immunity results to the development of skin diseases like atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, acne vulgaris, dandruff, and even skin cancer.

“Healthy gut, healthy skin”

Studies also show that people who have a healthier gut microbiota may have a healthier fatty acid profile in their skin; hence their skin is more moisturized, hydrated and protected. That can help ward off the effects of ageing and help your skin perform as it should.

SIBO and skin issue facts:
• A recent study reported that SIBO is 10 times more prevalent in acne than healthy controls.
• A recent study showed SIBO is 10 times more prevalent in patients with acne rosacea
• 66% of patients with acne show overreaction to the introduction of harmful bacteria pointing towards increased absorption and therefore SIBO/leaky gut
• Rosacea patients have a significantly higher rate of SIBO compared with controls 46% vs. 5%
• Patients with psoriasis are noted to have significantly reduced biodiversity in their microbiome. A 2006 study showed 21% tested positive for SIBO with appropriate treatment successfully improving skin lesions.
• Imbalanced gut microflora in infants and children is recognized as a health risk factor.