Ever thought your skin is ageing faster than it should be? It might be down to your gut health! We turned to skin expert and Plenish friend Dr Nigma Talib to share her insights into the digest-aging connection with an exclusive from her book, Younger Skin Starts In The Gut.

The Digest-Ageing Connection: 

Think of your body as performing like a symphony orchestra: when everything is in time, it makes beautiful synchronized music; if, however, one member of that orchestra goes out of sync, they’ll play out of time and start to skip beats too (like your gut and skin). Eventually you’re making a horrible noise rather than beautiful music—until the conductor gains control again. That’s also what happens with the gut; for example, if you’re not digesting food correctly, the by-products that form as food ferments in the gut damages the gut bacteria and affects the gut lining (causing a problem called leaky gut). If leaky gut occurs, you absorb fewer nutrients and it becomes easier for bad bacteria to adhere to the bowel wall. At this point, the good bacteria start to be crowded out, and this causes even less nutrient absorption and further problems with fermentation. The problems just keep escalating, unless you, the conductor, take control again.

Why pour gut health causes aging: Malabsorption and maldigestion reduce the supply of vitamins, minerals, proteins and antioxidants your skin needs to thrive.

Possible results: Poor collagen renewal and hardening of the elastin fibers, leading to lines and wrinkles; increased inflammation in the skin, which is linked to rapid aging, acne and rosacea; roughness, dark circles and lowered circulation to the skin, which impact on brightness and skin tone.


So how do you know if you are absorbing nutrients when digesting or not?

The process of digestion starts as soon as you put something in your mouth. As you chew, saliva is released and this contains the enzyme ptyalin that starts to break down any carbohydrates you’re consuming. When you swallow, the food passes down the esophagus and into the stomach. Here stomach acids and the enzyme pepsin should be waiting to start breaking down the protein that you’ve eaten. Within a few hours, food moves to the small intestine, where the majority of nutrients get absorbed via enzymes released from the pancreas. Finally, the food moves into the large intestine, where those all-important gut bacteria get to work making nutrients, but also further breaking down any leftover carbohydrates, fiber and even waste products such as dead cells to create vital by-products called short-chain fatty acids. Eventually, when that’s all done and all that is left is waste the body can’t use, the gut sends signals to the brain triggering you to visit the bathroom.

In the mouth: Many of us eat too quickly—we eat on the run, at our desk while fielding phone calls, or we snatch something seconds before we fly out of the door.

In the stomach: Not chewing food also slows things here. As food hits receptors in the cheeks and tongue, the brain starts to analyze exactly which of the macronutrients—protein, carbohydrates or fat—is in the mouthful that you’re consuming.

Hypochlorhydria—aka low stomach acid

If you have gas, bloating, burping after meals, a feeling that food just sits in the stomach, heartburn, bad breath, foul-smelling bowel movements and a regularly upset stomach, then it’s possible your stomach acid levels are low.

In the small intestine: When food moves to the small intestine, enzymes excreted by the pancreas take over the task of digestion—these are lipase, which acts on fat; amylase, which breaks down carbohydrates; and protease, which breaks down protein.

In the large intestine: Here it’s the gut bacteria that do the majority of the work and where we produce many of our B vitamins and vitamin K, so it’s clear that if your bacteria is out of balance, the levels of the nutrients you produce might be lower than optimum.

Stop, chew, chew, chew and take control of your body (orchestra) again to get in sync.

For more on skin health with Dr Nigma, click here.

For more on gut health, click here.

To pick up our digestion aiding probiotic water, click here.

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