how-to-improve-gut-microbiome

How to Improve Gut Microbiome

6 min read

jAN 10, 2024 - by FELIX TAJANKO
LIFE STYLE
how-to-improve-gut-microbiome

How to Improve Gut Microbiome

6 min read

jAN 10, 2024 - by FELIX TAJANKO
LIFE STYLE
The gut microbiome is a complex and dynamic ecosystem that plays a pivotal role in our overall health. Its functions span from facilitating nutrient absorption and moderating the immune system to even influencing our mental state and skin quality. It is crucial to nurture this intricate microbial community in order to maintain good health. In this article, we will delve into practical ways to improve gut health, how to recognize signs of an unhealthy gut, and uncover the link between gut health and skin.
The gut microbiome is a complex and dynamic ecosystem that plays a pivotal role in our overall health. Its functions span from facilitating nutrient absorption and moderating the immune system to even influencing our mental state and skin quality. It is crucial to nurture this intricate microbial community in order to maintain good health. In this article, we will delve into practical ways to improve gut health, how to recognize signs of an unhealthy gut, and uncover the link between gut health and skin.

How to Improve Your Gut Health

The gut microbiome consists of trillions of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microscopic life forms. These microorganisms are engaged in a symbiotic relationship with the human body, affecting everything from metabolism to immune function. We have the power to proactively shape the microbial diversity and composition of our gut microbiome by modifying factors like diet, environment, genetics, and lifestyle.
A simple yet effective method to support your gut’s community of microorganisms is to keep yourself properly hydrated. A well-hydrated environment supports the growth and function of these beneficial gut microbes, which are essential for gut health and overall well-being.1 Additionally, water is necessary for the proper functioning of digestive enzymes, which are responsible for breaking down food into absorbable molecules for the body and the microbes in your intestines.
Improving your gut health can be achieved by following the microbiome diet or incorporating intermittent fasting for skin
, along with adding probiotics to your diet. Probiotics, also known as "good" or "beneficial" bacteria, are live microorganisms that can provide several health benefits when consumed in sufficient quantities.2 While similar to the naturally occurring microorganisms already found in the human gut, they are typically less diverse and consist of specific strains of bacteria or yeast, such as Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Saccharomyces. You can consume probiotics via a probiotic supplement or fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha.
Another way to boost your microbiome is with prebiotics, which are specialized plant fibers that act as nourishment for the beneficial bacteria in your digestive system. These include inulin, fructooligosaccharides (FOS), and galactooligosaccharides (GOS).3 By taking both probiotics and prebiotics together or consuming foods that contain both (like some types of yogurt), you can seed your gut with healthy microbes and feed them so that they flourish.4
In addition to dietary considerations for supporting your gut’s microbiome, there are also a number of lifestyle factors that can influence the diversity and function of these microbes.
  • Antibiotics can disrupt the gut microbiome by killing not only the harmful bacteria but also the beneficial ones.5 It is recommended to seed your gut with probiotics during and after the use of antibiotics to encourage the new growth of beneficial bacteria and to avoid a microbiome imbalance.
  • Regular exercise has also been shown to positively influence the gut microbiome.6
  • While moderate alcohol consumption might not significantly impact the gut microbiome, heavy and chronic drinking can lead to dysbiosis and harm the gut lining.7
  • Regular sleep patterns and adequate sleep are beneficial for maintaining a healthy gut [8]. Be sure to get 7-9 hours of sleep, ideally on a similar schedule from night to night. Exposing yourself to light in the morning and reducing artificial light at night can also help regulate your circadian rhythm and encourage a healthy microbiome.
  • Smoking can lead to increased harmful bacteria and decreased beneficial bacteria. It can also exacerbate conditions like inflammatory bowel disease.9
  • How to Improve Your Gut Health

    The gut microbiome consists of trillions of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microscopic life forms. These microorganisms are engaged in a symbiotic relationship with the human body, affecting everything from metabolism to immune function. We have the power to proactively shape the microbial diversity and composition of our gut microbiome by modifying factors like diet, environment, genetics, and lifestyle.
    A simple yet effective method to support your gut’s community of microorganisms is to keep yourself properly hydrated. A well-hydrated environment supports the growth and function of these beneficial gut microbes, which are essential for gut health and overall well-being.1 Additionally, water is necessary for the proper functioning of digestive enzymes, which are responsible for breaking down food into absorbable molecules for the body and the microbes in your intestines.
    Improving your gut health can be achieved by following the microbiome diet or incorporating intermittent fasting for skin
    , along with adding probiotics to your diet. Probiotics, also known as "good" or "beneficial" bacteria, are live microorganisms that can provide several health benefits when consumed in sufficient quantities.2 While similar to the naturally occurring microorganisms already found in the human gut, they are typically less diverse and consist of specific strains of bacteria or yeast, such as Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Saccharomyces. You can consume probiotics via a probiotic supplement or fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha.
    Another way to boost your microbiome is with prebiotics, which are specialized plant fibers that act as nourishment for the beneficial bacteria in your digestive system. These include inulin, fructooligosaccharides (FOS), and galactooligosaccharides (GOS).3 By taking both probiotics and prebiotics together or consuming foods that contain both (like some types of yogurt), you can seed your gut with healthy microbes and feed them so that they flourish.4
    In addition to dietary considerations for supporting your gut’s microbiome, there are also a number of lifestyle factors that can influence the diversity and function of these microbes.
    • Antibiotics can disrupt the gut microbiome by killing not only the harmful bacteria but also the beneficial ones.5 It is recommended to seed your gut with probiotics during and after the use of antibiotics to encourage the new growth of beneficial bacteria and to avoid a microbiome imbalance.
    • Regular exercise has also been shown to positively influence the gut microbiome.6
    • While moderate alcohol consumption might not significantly impact the gut microbiome, heavy and chronic drinking can lead to dysbiosis and harm the gut lining.7
    • Regular sleep patterns and adequate sleep are beneficial for maintaining a healthy gut [8]. Be sure to get 7-9 hours of sleep, ideally on a similar schedule from night to night. Exposing yourself to light in the morning and reducing artificial light at night can also help regulate your circadian rhythm and encourage a healthy microbiome.
    • Smoking can lead to increased harmful bacteria and decreased beneficial bacteria. It can also exacerbate conditions like inflammatory bowel disease.9
    • Signs of Poor Gut Health

      Poor gut health, often stemming from an imbalance in the gut microbiome, can manifest through various symptoms. These symptoms may indicate an imbalance in the gut microbiota, known as dysbiosis, which can lead to more serious health issues if not addressed.Dysbiosis can impact not just the digestive system but also other aspects of health, indicating the broad influence of the gut microbiome. Below are some of the symptoms you can expect with poor gut health:
      • Digestive issues such as constipation, bloating, diarrhea, or abdominal pain are some of the most immediate signs of poor gut health.
      • Frequent infections and autoimmune conditions since a significant portion of the immune system is located in the gut.10
      • Decreased mental well-being, such as mood swings, mental health disorders, and chronic fatigue, can arise with poor gut health due to the gut-brain axis.11
      • Similarly, the gut-skin axis suggests a strong connection between gut health and skin, and poor gut health from ultra-processed foods and added sugar can result in acne, eczema, rosacea, itchy skin, and rashes.12
      • Other signs indicating potential gut health issues include food intolerances, unexplained weight changes, and bad breath unrelated to dental health.
      • Signs of Poor Gut Health

        Poor gut health, often stemming from an imbalance in the gut microbiome, can manifest through various symptoms. These symptoms may indicate an imbalance in the gut microbiota, known as dysbiosis, which can lead to more serious health issues if not addressed.Dysbiosis can impact not just the digestive system but also other aspects of health, indicating the broad influence of the gut microbiome. Below are some of the symptoms you can expect with poor gut health:
        • Digestive issues such as constipation, bloating, diarrhea, or abdominal pain are some of the most immediate signs of poor gut health.
        • Frequent infections and autoimmune conditions since a significant portion of the immune system is located in the gut.10
        • Decreased mental well-being, such as mood swings, mental health disorders, and chronic fatigue, can arise with poor gut health due to the gut-brain axis.11
        • Similarly, the gut-skin axis suggests a strong connection between gut health and skin, and poor gut health from ultra-processed foods and added sugar can result in acne, eczema, rosacea, itchy skin, and rashes.12
        • Other signs indicating potential gut health issues include food intolerances, unexplained weight changes, and bad breath unrelated to dental health.
        • What Foods Affect Gut Health Negatively?

          Certain foods can negatively impact gut health, often leading to reduced microbial diversity and an imbalance in the gut microbiome.
          • Processed foods, high in preservatives, artificial colors, and flavors, are particularly detrimental as they lack the fiber and nutrients necessary for a healthy gut flora.
          • A high intake of sugary foods can create an environment that promotes the growth of harmful bacteria and yeasts, such as Candida, while simultaneously diminishing the good bacteria, leading to dysbiosis
          • Excessive consumption of red meat and high-fat foods, especially those with unhealthy fats like trans fats, can also negatively affect gut health by promoting inflammation and harming beneficial gut bacteria.
          • Artificial sweeteners, often found in diet sodas and sugar-free products, may disrupt the gut microbiome and have been linked to changes in glucose metabolism.
          • Lastly, foods high in saturated fats, commonly found in fried and fast foods, can increase gut permeability, leading to conditions like leaky gut syndrome.
          • Overall, a diet that minimizes processed, high-sugar, and high-fat foods while avoiding personal allergens or intolerances is crucial for maintaining a healthy gut microbiome diversity and composition.13

            What Foods Affect Gut Health Negatively?

            Certain foods can negatively impact gut health, often leading to reduced microbial diversity and an imbalance in the gut microbiome.
            • Processed foods, high in preservatives, artificial colors, and flavors, are particularly detrimental as they lack the fiber and nutrients necessary for a healthy gut flora.
            • A high intake of sugary foods can create an environment that promotes the growth of harmful bacteria and yeasts, such as Candida, while simultaneously diminishing the good bacteria, leading to dysbiosis
            • Excessive consumption of red meat and high-fat foods, especially those with unhealthy fats like trans fats, can also negatively affect gut health by promoting inflammation and harming beneficial gut bacteria.
            • Artificial sweeteners, often found in diet sodas and sugar-free products, may disrupt the gut microbiome and have been linked to changes in glucose metabolism.
            • Lastly, foods high in saturated fats, commonly found in fried and fast foods, can increase gut permeability, leading to conditions like leaky gut syndrome.
            • Overall, a diet that minimizes processed, high-sugar, and high-fat foods while avoiding personal allergens or intolerances is crucial for maintaining a healthy gut microbiome diversity and composition.13

              What Foods Affect Gut Health Positively?

              A variety of foods can positively influence gut health by promoting a diverse and balanced gut microbiome.
              • High-fiber foods, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, are particularly beneficial as these foods provide prebiotics.
              • Fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha are packed with probiotic bacteria that further support a healthy gut.
              • Lean proteins, such as poultry and fish, and plant-based proteins, like lentils and chickpeas, support gut health without the adverse effects associated with high-fat meats.
              • Foods high in polyphenols in dark chocolate, green tea, berries, and nuts also benefit the gut. These antioxidants aren't always fully digested in the upper gastrointestinal tract, allowing them to reach the colon, where they promote the growth of beneficial bacteria.
              • Omega-3 fatty acids, present in fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines, as well as in flaxseeds and chia seeds, are known for their anti-inflammatory properties, which can help maintain a healthy gut lining.
              • Incorporating a diverse range of these gut-friendly foods into your diet can lead to a healthier, more balanced gut microbiome, improving digestion, stronger immune function, and overall better health.14

                What Foods Affect Gut Health Positively?

                A variety of foods can positively influence gut health by promoting a diverse and balanced gut microbiome.
                • High-fiber foods, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, are particularly beneficial as these foods provide prebiotics.
                • Fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha are packed with probiotic bacteria that further support a healthy gut.
                • Lean proteins, such as poultry and fish, and plant-based proteins, like lentils and chickpeas, support gut health without the adverse effects associated with high-fat meats.
                • Foods high in polyphenols in dark chocolate, green tea, berries, and nuts also benefit the gut. These antioxidants aren't always fully digested in the upper gastrointestinal tract, allowing them to reach the colon, where they promote the growth of beneficial bacteria.
                • Omega-3 fatty acids, present in fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines, as well as in flaxseeds and chia seeds, are known for their anti-inflammatory properties, which can help maintain a healthy gut lining.
                • Incorporating a diverse range of these gut-friendly foods into your diet can lead to a healthier, more balanced gut microbiome, improving digestion, stronger immune function, and overall better health.14

                  Is There a Link Between Gut Health and Skin?

                  Emerging research suggests a strong link between gut health and skin conditions, referred to as the gut-skin axis. This connection is rooted in their mutual characteristics and interdependencies. For instance, the gut and skin are key sites of immune activity. A well-functioning gut microbiome plays a crucial role in regulating the immune system, helping to prevent excessive reactions that can result in skin inflammation and conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and acne.12 Moreover, the gut microbiome is responsible for breaking food down into essential nutrients that are vital for healthy skin, such as vitamins A, C, E, and D, as well as
                  antioxidants and essential fatty acids. Much like the gut, the skin also boasts its own unique microbiome. When the equilibrium of our gut microbiome is thrown off, it can be reflected on the skin microbiome
                  , resulting in various skin disorders.15 For this reason, it’s important to support and maintain the balance of the gut and skin microbiomes. When choosing skin care products, it's essential to opt for those that won't strip away the beneficial bacteria on our skin. OneSkin’s
                  topical skin care products are gentle enough to avoid disrupting the skin’s natural balance and only, yet effective enough to target the root cause of skin aging and bolster skin health. PREP, in particular, is a gentle daily cleanser that is designed to exfoliate without disrupting the natural moisture barrier and microbiome.
                  OneSkin is also conducting a study on the impacts of OS-01 FACE on the skin's microbiome, which will provide further insights into the connection between skin care products and the skin’s microbiome.

                  Is There a Link Between Gut Health and Skin?

                  Emerging research suggests a strong link between gut health and skin conditions, referred to as the gut-skin axis. This connection is rooted in their mutual characteristics and interdependencies. For instance, the gut and skin are key sites of immune activity. A well-functioning gut microbiome plays a crucial role in regulating the immune system, helping to prevent excessive reactions that can result in skin inflammation and conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and acne.12 Moreover, the gut microbiome is responsible for breaking food down into essential nutrients that are vital for healthy skin, such as vitamins A, C, E, and D, as well as
                  antioxidants and essential fatty acids. Much like the gut, the skin also boasts its own unique microbiome. When the equilibrium of our gut microbiome is thrown off, it can be reflected on the skin microbiome
                  , resulting in various skin disorders.15 For this reason, it’s important to support and maintain the balance of the gut and skin microbiomes. When choosing skin care products, it's essential to opt for those that won't strip away the beneficial bacteria on our skin. OneSkin’s
                  topical skin care products are gentle enough to avoid disrupting the skin’s natural balance and only, yet effective enough to target the root cause of skin aging and bolster skin health. PREP, in particular, is a gentle daily cleanser that is designed to exfoliate without disrupting the natural moisture barrier and microbiome.
                  OneSkin is also conducting a study on the impacts of OS-01 FACE on the skin's microbiome, which will provide further insights into the connection between skin care products and the skin’s microbiome.
                  Key Takeaways:
                  • Diverse Diet for Gut Health: Consume a variety of plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, to foster beneficial gut bacteria.
                  • Beware of Harmful Foods: Limit intake of processed foods, added sugars, and artificial sweeteners, which can disrupt gut microbial balance.
                  • Probiotics and Prebiotics: Incorporate probiotic-rich foods like yogurt and kefir, and prebiotic foods like garlic and bananas, to support gut health.
                  • Lifestyle Factors: Engage in regular physical activity, manage stress, and ensure adequate sleep to maintain a healthy gut microbiome.
                  • Drug Usage: Limit smoking and drinking to reduce the damage to beneficial microbes.
                  • Gut-Skin Connection: A healthy gut can positively impact skin health, highlighting the importance of supporting your gut for a healthy skin barrier.
                  Key Takeaways:
                  • Diverse Diet for Gut Health: Consume a variety of plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, to foster beneficial gut bacteria.
                  • Beware of Harmful Foods: Limit intake of processed foods, added sugars, and artificial sweeteners, which can disrupt gut microbial balance.
                  • Probiotics and Prebiotics: Incorporate probiotic-rich foods like yogurt and kefir, and prebiotic foods like garlic and bananas, to support gut health.
                  • Lifestyle Factors: Engage in regular physical activity, manage stress, and ensure adequate sleep to maintain a healthy gut microbiome.
                  • Drug Usage: Limit smoking and drinking to reduce the damage to beneficial microbes.
                  • Gut-Skin Connection: A healthy gut can positively impact skin health, highlighting the importance of supporting your gut for a healthy skin barrier.
                  By Felix Tajanko: Felix is studying Bioengineering at the University of California - San Diego and is passionate about scientific writing as well as the research of menopausal endocrinology and microhemodynamics.
                  By Felix Tajanko: Felix is studying Bioengineering at the University of California - San Diego and is passionate about scientific writing as well as the research of menopausal endocrinology and microhemodynamics.

                  Reviewed by Alessandra Zonari, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) and Co-Founder of OneSkin

                  Alessandra earned her Master’s degree in stem cell biology, and her PhD in skin regeneration and tissue engineering at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil in collaboration with the 3B’s Research Group in Portugal. Alessandra did a second post-doctoral at the University of Coimbra in Portugal. She is a co-inventor of three patents and has published 20 peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals.

                  Reviewed by Alessandra Zonari, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) and Co-Founder of OneSkin

                  Alessandra earned her Master’s degree in stem cell biology, and her PhD in skin regeneration and tissue engineering at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil in collaboration with the 3B’s Research Group in Portugal. Alessandra did a second post-doctoral at the University of Coimbra in Portugal. She is a co-inventor of three patents and has published 20 peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals.

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