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  • Unlocking The Gut-Skin Axis: Ayurvedic Tips For Healthy, Radiant Skin

    Unlocking The Gut-Skin Axis: Ayurvedic Tips For Healthy, Radiant Skin

    In recent years, the link between gut health and skin health has garnered significant attention in both the medical and wellness communities. Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of medicine, has long recognized the vital connection between these two aspects of overall well-being. This article delves deep into the concept of the "gut-skin axis", exploring the intricate relationship between the gut and the skin. We will explore how imbalances in the gut can manifest as various skin conditions and how adopting Ayurvedic principles can promote radiant and healthy skin. Let's embark on this insightful journey to understand how gut health influences skin health according to Ayurveda. 

    If your skin is experiencing some troubles, it need not necessarily be related to dirt, dust, pollution, or other external factors. There could be internal causes associated with our health which may reflect on the skin. Our body is an excellent example of the synergy between different organs. While a person may consider skin a separate organ and not related to other organs of the body, there is a vital link between our skin and different organs. In this post, we will reflect on the strong relationship between our gut and the skin, often referred to as the gut-skin axis.  

    The Gut-Skin Axis: A Balancing Act 

    A balanced gut is essential for maintaining overall health, and the skin is no exception. The gut-skin axis refers to the bidirectional relationship between the gastrointestinal tract and the skin.1 According to Ayurvedic philosophy, the digestive system is responsible for transforming food into nourishment while eliminating waste effectively. When this delicate balance is disrupted, it may lead to an array of skin issues. 

    How does gut health influence overall well-being?  

    Multiple studies have highlighted that the gut and skin are related in several ways. Both the gut and skin have an active role to play in regulating the immune system1 and any imbalance in either of the two can lead to an inflammatory response and a compromised immunity. This can lead to skin problems, inflammation, and other medical complications. 

    Modern-day research has highlighted that there is an intimate and bidirectional connection (the microbiome in the skin can have an impact on the gut, and the microbiome in the gut can impact the skin as well) between our gut and skin.1 

    • The nutrients that are absorbed in the gut, which stimulate changes in the body directly, have an effect on skin health.1
    • The microbiota (range of good and bad microorganisms) of the gut can have an effect on the skin. 
    • The release of metabolites (a substance made when the body breaks down food, chemicals, or tissue) can have a distant effect on the skin3.
    • Poor gut health can lead to the weakening of intestinal barriers. This can trigger the accumulation of bacteria in the dermis of the skin via our bloodstream and lead to skin troubles3.

    Thus, having a healthy gut can potentially help in promoting healthy skin, anti-aging benefits, and managing free radicals in the body. 

    READ MORE: Benefits, Uses, And The Best Probiotics For Gut Health

    What does Ayurveda say about the gut-skin axis?  

    The fact that the gut and skin are intimately connected is not something new. The connection between the two has been long identified and recognized by Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine.Maintaining a healthy gut is among the foundational principles of Ayurvedic wisdom.  

    According to Ayurvedic texts, when our digestive fire (agni) burns brightly, we are in a better position to process the food we eat and feel energetic, clear-minded, and enthusiastic. 

    However, if our gut is weak, our body will struggle to absorb the nutrients and remove impurities (ama). Ama accumulation in the gut can lead to poor immunity and other health and skin-related problems. 

    READ MORE: Ama Nidana: Causes + Symptoms Of Undigested Food And Metabolic Toxins

    Skin issues that are linked to gut health 

    Numerous studies in the past have shown a correlation between gut health and skin because several skin problems emerge from gut health problems. Some common gut-related skin troubles include acne, inflammation, eczema,  dermatitis, rosacea, etc. 

    READ MORE: What Is Skin Microbiome And Its Significance?

    Ayurvedic remedies for gut-related skin issues 

    Start your day with warm water: According to research, drinking a glass of lukewarm water4 may have a favorable impact on intestinal movements and can help clear out the digestive tract. This will ensure that there is no accumulation of ama in the gut and that it is completely cleansed. Furthermore, lemon and honey can help enhance a person’s digestive fire (agni). In addition to that, a glass of water can help a person improve their skin as well5. 

    Skincare: Another way to maintain a healthy gut-skin axis is by performing a skincare routine according to skin and body type along with ingredients that are Ayurveda-approved. Using ingredients like neem, aloe vera, tulsi, honey, etc., or ingredients/herbs that are suitable according to your vikriti (current dosha imbalance) may help in keeping the skin moisturized and hydrated.  

    Click HERE to try Ayurvedic Skincare products that hold the potential to revamp your skin!

    Dosha-specific diet: Another practice that a person can explore to maintain healthy skin gut axis is by having an Ayurveda-approved diet. A person should eat a diet appropriate for their dosha type so that it helps maintain the mind-body balance and improve a person‘s gut health. 

    Know your dosha here!

    Maintaining the digestive fire6: As mentioned above, digestive fire plays an important role in maintaining our gut health. Maintaining a proper digestive fire is very important to ensure that the food we eat is getting digested properly and that there is no accumulation of ama in the body. There can be instances where due to improper diet or any other underlying health condition, a person's digestive fire may get diminished. 

    READ MORE: Ayurveda's Take On Occasional Heartburn Or Sensitive Digestion

    Ayurvedic herbs for gut-related skin issues 

    As far as food consumption is concerned, Ayurvedic experts recommend that when a person is experiencing trouble in maintaining their gut health, they must avoid consuming products and ingredients that are difficult for the body to digest, as it can lead to poor digestion and encourage the growth of bad bacteria. 

    Frozen, canned, and processed food items have the potential to slow down the person's digestive system and may lead to discomfort and certain health complications.  

    Some herbs a person can consume to support their gut health include 

    Aloe vera: The enzymes present in aloe vera can also help boost a person's metabolism and promote good bacteria that help in the process of digestion. Along with this, it promotes digestive protective activity. Aloe vera may help maintain healthy skin and deal with skin conditions like dryness, psoriasis, etc.6 

    Wheatgrass7: Another ingredient that a person can consume to reduce poor digestion is wheatgrass. Research has highlighted that wheatgrass has high levels of enzymes that can aid in digestion and help the body break down food and absorb its nutrients. Since the nutrients absorbed by the gut has an impact on the skin, consuming a glass of wheatgrass juice may help detox the skin, deal with dryness-related issues, skin blemishes, etc. Wheatgrass can help clean our intestines and reduce bloating and abdominal discomfort.  

    Amla8: Next on our list is amla. Amla can help a person lower cholesterol level thanks to its anti dyslipidemic activity. It may also help reduce inflammation and encourage the growth of healthy stomach acids that help promote metabolism. Additionally, amla is also associated with reducing a wide range of skin-related problems. 

    References:

    1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7916842/
    2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7916842/
    3. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2018.01459/full
    4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27684632/https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17352748/
    5. Physiological aspects of Agni - PMC (nih.gov)
    6. Pharmacological Update Properties of Aloe Vera and its Major Active Constituents - PMC (nih.gov)Pharmacological Update Properties of Aloe Vera and its Major Active Constituents - PMC (nih.gov)
    7. Mujoriya R, Bodla RB. A study on wheat grass and its Nutritional value. Food Science and Quality Management. 2011;2:1-9.
    8. Jain A, Garg N.Therapeutic and medicinal uses of Amalaki: A review.World Journal of Pharmaceutical Research.2017;6(2):512-524.

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