Skin is the largest organ in the body and crucially the only organ we have ongoing visual access to. Your skin is a visible reflection of your health and an important indicator of your inner health, in particular, your gut health.

Many skin conditions such as eczema, dry skin, acne and rosacea can be linked to the gut health as their root cause.  As such, addressing gut health is perhaps the most effective starting point in achieving healthy glowing skin, particularly as we age.

So why is gut health so important for your skin?

We rub off millions of skin cells every day and create a whole new layer of skin every 17-42 days. With a healthy digestive tract and efficient digestion, the digestive process will deliver all the nutrients to effect this turnover.

The role of digestion is to break down the foods we eat, process them and consequently absorb the nutrients from these foods, so that our body has all the nutrients it needs to grow, repair and function optimally.  Compromised gut health will inhibit this process and your body will not receive sufficient nutrients. Whilst the body will prioritise life-threatening functions, hair, skin and nail health are considered less crucial and will not receive adequate nutrients if the nutrients are lacking. This is immediately noticeable visually with symptoms such as splitting nails, lack-lustre hair and dull skin.

Healing your gut is crucial to ensure optimal health. In the first instance, limiting sugar and refined carbohydrates and alcohol as well as eating a diet which includes plenty of colourful vegetables and fruits will provide a rich source of nutrients and fibre, as well as good fats found in nuts/seeds, oily fish, avocado.

However, if gut health has been allowed to deteriorate over time, the lining of the intestines can become damaged and inflamed. This allows undigested food proteins as well as toxic waste products to pass through the intestine barriers, which would otherwise be tight junctions in a healthy gut, directly into the blood stream. This is called Leaky Gut Syndrome and if not addressed, can wreak havoc throughout the body; causing an autoimmune response which can result in symptoms such as allergic reactions, food allergies, migraines and fatigue.

One of the most effective nutrients that can be used to help heal this damage is L-Glutamine, an amino acid that can repair and reverse these damaging effects. Alongside dietary changes, a daily supplement containing this nutrient can begin to rejuvenate the lining of the intestinal wall within 12 weeks.

With a healthy digestive system and a good diet, you can look forward to healthy fresh looking skin with renewed energy and vigour.

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May Simpkin, one of the UK’s leading nutritionists, is a UK registered practitioner with a Masters Science degree in Personalised Nutrition. She is an experienced clinician, practicing functional medicine from an evidence base, providing the latest research into nutrition. She is bound by the code of ethics in clinical practice and has met the strict criteria required for BANT, the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy and the CNHC, Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council, which is the council recommended by the UK Department of Health for complementary and natural healthcare services. She is also Chair of the Continual Professional Committee at BANT. In addition, she is registered with IFM, The Institute for Functional Medicine and a member of the RSM, The Royal Society of Medicine. For more information visit or follow May on Instagram: @maysimpkinnutrition or Twitter @MaySimpkin or Facebook

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