Maintaining a balance between good and bad bacteria in the GI tract is very important for its many health benefits. Research is showing probiotics can affect the health and appearance of the skin.
Consuming probiotics, also known as “good bacteria,” which is similar to the trillions of microorganisms that already live in the body, might help to prevent or treat certain skin conditions, some studies suggest.
The benefits of probiotics is that they introduce healthy bacteria to the gut, thereby creating a barrier to reduce inflammation. According to Dr. Whitney Bowe, a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, there is compelling evidence that probiotics hold promise for treating acne and rosacea.
The Big Four
As more research emerges, here are four skin conditions that seem the most promising for probiotics, according to Dr. Bowe:
ACNE. Studies done in Italy, Russia and Korea have found that probiotics from food or supplements can increase the rate of acne clearance. If taken with an antibiotic for acne, the antibiotic is better tolerated. Some studies of probiotic strains found to be effective in the treatment of acne include Lactobacillus, L. acidophilus, and B. bifudum.
ROSACEA. Often referred to as “adult acne,“ this inflammatory skin condition causes facial redness on the nose, chin, forehead, or cheeks, as well as small bumps or pimples. Studies suggest probiotics help control flare-ups and symptoms, according to Dr. Bowe.
ECZEMA. Finnish researchers looked at pregnant women who took probiotic supplements (containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG) for two to four weeks before giving birth, and also after delivery if they were breast feeding, or added the probiotics to infant formula for at least six months. They found the probiotics reduced the odds of eczema in babies who had a strong family history of the itchy skin condition.
ANTI-AGING. The use of probiotics to protect skin from the effects of aging is an exciting, new era that show much promise. Research is ongoing, according to Dr. Bowe. She stated there is mounting evidence that probiotics help build collagen, the main protein in skin that affects tone and texture.
Increased numbers of good bacteria also help to hydrate the skin, while reducing sun damage and wrinkles, according to Dr. Bowe.
In my experience, I find that many patients take probiotics, but few actually take the correct strains and amounts to be beneficial.
What I Use In My Practice
Here’s what I recommend to my patients to repopulate their GI tract with the proper amount and strains of probiotics. It’s a two-step plan which is extremely popular.
Initially, I start my patients on Diamond Nutritionals’ Ultra Probiotics, one packet a day for two months. This professional grade product delivers 225 billion bacteria to the GI tract with each dose.
After two months, sometimes longer depending on individual needs, I switch my patients to Diamond Nutritionals’ Probiotic Formula, one capsule a day for maintenance. Probiotic Formula contains 20 billion bacteria per dose.
Of course, along with probiotics, it is important to follow a healthy diet and exercise regimen for any medical condition(s) one may have, as well as for primary prevention. As always, it is important to seek your doctor’s advice.