I usually write articles about different digestive issues and challenges that arise out of the gut, but today I decided to write about something that most of us women (and men) are trying to fend off with the aging process! That is wrinkles. Yes, getting rid of wrinkles begins in the gut. How can that be you say? Well, let’s get started.
Our Digestive System
Many people don’t think too much about what happens after they eat their meals. Unless you suffer from digestive illnesses, most of us don’t pay any attention to what we eat, where we eat or how much we eat. The most we think about our food is whether or not we will gain weight with what we eat. Putting food into the “good” or “bad” categories is about the most we think about it.
However, our body and stomach is not the ‘dumb bucket’ we think it is. Our digestive system is busy cleaving proteins to get the minerals out, producing enzymes to digest food, manufacturing hydrochloric acid to break down food further for digestion and absorption plus a myriad of other digestive processes to assist in the functioning of our body.
The stomach is preparing to propel the food into the intestines so nutrition can be absorbed into the bloodstream. This nutrition from our small intestines properly digested is where the nutrition gets from the bloodstream into our cells so we can have energy, so our hormones work properly, our heart and nervous system work properly and all our organs get what they need, including the skin.
This is a cursory explanation but you can see that after you eat food there is a lot of chemical processes that are taking place beyond our knowledge.
How Do You Get Wrinkles?
Our faces often reveal our age. For some, it may be harder to determine. Whether our faces age gracefully or not is determined by many factors.
As we age our skins protein content is diminished. The skin also loses hydration due to the depletion of ceramides which are the protective barrier for the skin. The hyaluronic acid which keeps the skin supple through hydration is another skin element that is lost due to the aging process.
Harmful oxidation increases with age so damaged cells cannot be repaired as easily. Contact with the environment via air, pollution, chemical and radiation stressors accumulate over time. Photoaging via the sun is cumulative and over time shows up as wrinkles and spots.
How Is The Gut Involved?
Our gut and our skin have a lot in common. They are both barrier organs protecting us from environmental toxins. The nerve endings on our skin are the same as in our gut and are in communication with our brain. There is something called the microbiome of the skin. If you are a reader of my blog you are educated about the gut microbiome. Well now, welcome to the skin microbiome!
This microbiome is protective of the barrier function of our skin as with the gut. Dysbiosis is a disorder of the balance of microbiome in our gut and we can also have dysbiosis of the bacteria on our skin leading to many skin afflictions. Leaky gut is a problem when the small openings of the gut become larger allowing for molecules to enter the bloodstream that should not be there. You can have leaky skin too where the protective microbial barrier of the skin is altered allowing for substances to get through the skin and the bloodstream.
The skin and the gut interact with each other, and because of this, they both can influence the health of each. For instance, SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) in the gut has been associated with those suffering from rosacea, a disease of the skin. If you have IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease), you may also suffer from psoriasis or rosacea. If you or your teenager suffer from acne, there is a good chance there is a gut dysbiosis involved.
What You Eat Matters For Your Skin
Now that we know that the gut and the skin communicate, the health of your gut can determine the health of your skin including wrinkle formation.
Foods that harm the microbiome and age your skin are:
- Sugar – sugar is an inflammatory food that causes an imbalance in the microbiome and can result in leaky gut, gut dysbiosis, and inflammation. When sugar is combined with proteins, the result is AGEs or advanced glycation end products which are damaging to skin’s elastin and collagen resulting in wrinkles and sagging.
- Wheat products
- High glycemic carbs
All for the same reasons as sugar.
Foods That Prevent Wrinkles: Foods that nourish the microbiome
- Fermented veggies – promotes friendly bacteria
- Yogurt – fermented, friendly bacteria
- Green tea – contains polyphenols which are great for skin integrity.
- Fish – healthy fats help the skin look radiant by helping circulation and reducing inflammation.
- Berries – phytonutrients increase circulation to the skin creating a glow.
- Avocados – good fats nourish all cells including skin cells making them perform better and plump them up.
- Honey – anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial.
- Bone broth – for collagen formation
- Water – chronic dehydration starves cells including skin cells of water resulting in less plumpness.
- Probiotics – for good microbiome health for your gut and your skin.
- Omega 3 fatty acids – to protect the integrity of all cell membranes including the skin creating a soft and smooth appearance.
- Zinc – heals damaged skin so it can recover from injury and that includes wrinkles.
- Collagen– is responsible for the support of the skin helping to keep wrinkles at bay as well as sagging.
All of these used together will create a beautiful environment for smooth, glowing skin!
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If you enjoyed this article, please leave a comment!
Linda is a Functional Medicine Health Coach