Researchers have discovered a link between the gut and skin health that could be key to managing atopic dermatitis, a chronic inflammatory skin disease that affects about 10 percent of adults and 25 percent of children.
The new review of research, which was published in the International Journal of Molecular Science, suggests that changes in the microorganisms living in the gut can contribute to how severe the symptoms are for someone living with atopic dermatitis. The research team noted that environmental factors including allergens and pollution also make the skin condition worse, and noted that some people are simply more susceptible to the disease because of their genetics.
What is Atopic Dermatitis?
Atopic dermatitisis more commonly known as eczema. It is a fairly common condition that is characterized by itchy, dry, and inflamed sky. While it often begins in childhood, atopic dermatitis can affect people at any age. The number of cases of atopic dermatitis has risen over the years, especially in the 21st century. Scientists hypothesize that the increase in diagnoses is due to lifestyle changes, including dietary habits that ultimately lead to changes in themicrobiome, or the body’s community of microorganisms and their genes.
Atopic dermatitis is often a chronic disease, though the American Academy of Dermatology notes that sometimes, the disease goes away on its own. When it does become chronic, there are ways for patients to prevent the symptoms of the disease from getting worse; the more severe the symptoms become, the harder the disease is to treat.
Currently, the American Academy of Dermatology reports there is no clear cure for atopic dermatitis, although newer medications can help alleviate symptoms. Understanding the gut-skin link can help alleviate and potentially prevent symptoms however, the research team noted.
Studies, like the ones reviewed by this research team at the University of Sao Paulo and the Federal University de Sao Paulo, show that skin conditions like atopic dermatitis, acne, and psoriasis are often linked to imbalances in the gut, and are often triggered by gut inflammation.
Trillions of microorganisms make up the microbiota of our body. These include bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses. Most of the microbiota are helpful, though some can be harmful.
Typically, the microbiome works in harmony, especially when the body is healthy. If there is a disturbance in the microbiome, dysbiosis occurs, making the body more susceptible to disease.
In the review of research related to atopic dermatitis, the team determined that dysbiosis occurs in the microbiome of theses patients; specifically, individuals who have higher counts of specific bacteria, including Clostridium difficile, Escherichia coli, and Staphylococcus aureus in their gut than healthy individuals.
Alternatively, atopic dermatitis patients have smaller bacteria counts of Bifidobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Bacteroides when compared to people without atopic dermatitis. These types of bacteria are known as short-chain fatty acid producing bacteria. Short-chain fatty acid producing bacteria like environments rich in indigestible fibers. They hold a critical role in keeping a person healthy, scientists believe, by reducing inflammation and regulating immune response. Researchers believe that too little short-chain fatty acid bacteria can cause inflammation in the gut. This inflammation can reverberate throughout the body, including on the skin.
“Besides being responsible for 70 percent of immune system regularization, for maintaining skin barrier integrity and the structure of the gastrointestinal tract, and for controlling nutrient absorption and energy balance, the gut microbiome is directly connected to the skin via what’s known as the gut-skin axis,” said Sabri Saeed Sanabani, a researcher at the Institute of Tropical Medicine (IMT-USP) and last author of the article.
Efforts to correct gut imbalances may include taking probiotics or prebiotics, the research team noted. Additional therapeutic approaches to correct the gut-skin axis, including changes to the diet, can help ensure a person avoids allergens that trigger gut inflammation.
Source: Epoch Times