Anyone who has met The Sharp Aesthetic Clinics’ dermal therapist Diane Lehto will know what we mean when we say she is enthusiastic and passionate about holistic skin health! In this article, she explains her own experience with gut health, skin conditions and wellbeing. To learn more about Diane’s unique approach to looking and feeling great, book a complimentary consult with her in our Brisbane or Ipswich clinics.
Microbiome. Gut health. Good Bacteria. Bad bacteria. When did this all start? I don’t even recall exactly when I first heard about it, but I think the father of medicine, Hippocrates was onto something here!
Nobody was talking about maintaining a healthy gut environment or microbiome when I was growing up. Flash forward to 2020, isn’t it ironic that it is now as ubiquitous as seeing fast food ads on television?
My microbiome journey began when I experienced a terrible bout of gastritis. It was the most uncomfortable thing I have ever been through; it was painful and it was a big wake-up call for my own dietary habits. I must admit, my diet wasn’t the best at that time; I was always highly stressed, was always getting sick, had terrible, lacklustre skin and breakouts. I always felt tired and I couldn’t understand why. After being assessed, I was handed a FODMAP dietary eating plan, and prescribed medication that was designed to help decrease the amount of acid my gut was producing, while allowing it to heal.
I left the hospital feeling a bit lost. I felt like I didn’t know enough, and nobody really explained what causes these issues. I wanted to prevent and treat the multifactorial, underlying root causes.
Wanting more answers, I went back to my GP and saw multiple health professionals who helped me realise the answer was right in front of me all along; it was my diet and stress levels. It all made sense; I ate crap, and so I felt like crap. I did this to myself!
“All disease begins in the gut.”
I reasoned that - if ‘all disease begins in the gut’ and I don’t have any underlying conditions or diseases - with some patience, I should be able to heal my gut through the use of good probiotics, eating healthy unprocessed foods, reducing my daily intake of fat and processed sugar - and cutting down on alcohol. Stress also plays a huge part on the microbiome, and can affect our immune system - and even post surgery recovery. You can read more about the effects of stress on the gut and skin in my article here.
I know for a fact that I will never go back to the way I ate before gastritis. I don’t ever want to feel like that ever again - and who doesn’t want to feel good!
So do we all need probiotics?
It is always important to speak with your doctor or health professional before taking any kind of medication or health supplement to see if it is right for you. Especially if you have an immune deficiency, or are being treated for an illness. I always believe it is also important to discuss with your health professional regarding any probiotics you intend to take. Always look for a good quality trusted brand that has been backed by research and clinical data. Different probiotics do different things, and you can get them through supplements or pre or pro biotic rich foods. Our clinics offer a particular probiotic that is suitable for everyday use, as well as after surgery and antibiotic use.
In general, unless you are stress-free, 100% living the healthy eating life, there is going to be times in life where you may have been ill, not eating well, run down, and where you simply feel yuck! And let’s be honest, we are only human so we will have times like this. So probiotics can certainly help you feel much better if your gut biome is impacted by these factors.
There are more clinical trials and studies being conducted into the world of the microbiome than ever before, and although there’s so much information already out there, we still are only at the tip of the iceberg in terms of the connection the microbiome has over our daily lives.
From the research that is currently available, medicine is realising that an unhealthy microbiome can lead to a whole range of illnesses. There is no coincidence that the advent of fast food, excess alcohol, caffeinated drinks and overuse of antibiotics has come with a range of chronic complaints including bloating, skin conditions, weight gain and low energy levels. Scientists are now looking into not only gut microbiome, but the oral microbiome and its impact on high blood pressure and diabetes.
Scientists are also looking into the impact of pollution, combined with UV radiation, and UV light on the skin’s micro flora. Research suggests that this puts a high amount of oxidative stress on the skin, and can accelerate the ageing process. Skin is after all the largest organ on our body, so it totally makes sense. The air quality is not as good as it use to be, especially in the big cities.
Good microbiome care works on the inside - and the outside!
There are some great skincare probiotic products on currently on the market to help balance a healthy skin microflora, such as Synergie Dermiotic which helps to boost and strengthen the skin’s integrity, while helping to address the underlying cause of skin conditions, such as oil, congestion, inflammation, redness and hydration. Stay tuned to watch this space explode in the next few years.
I am very excited to see what scientists are able to discover in the fascinating world of microbiome and gut health, and can’t wait to bring these developments into my care of our patients’ skin - so we can maintain optimal health, inside and out.