You’d have to be living under a rock to not have at least heard of caught wind of the growing trend of probiotics. While probiotics themselves have existed for a long time, the recent cultural obsession with the health benefits of probiotics has been everywhere. Whether we’re reading about how probiotics will improve skin, or how they help keep our vaginas healthy, the health claims surround probiotic have reached superfood levels.
So, in order to get to the bottom of what probiotics actually do and how they function in our bodies, HelloGiggles spoke with the Microbiologist Kiran Krishnan who’s performed clinical research on different strains of probiotics.
To kick it off, he explained what probiotics are supposed to do:
“Probiotics are supposed to modulate the function of the intestinal microbiome. The intestinal microbiome is the collection of organisms and all the genetic elements that exist in your digestional tract. You have 100 trillion bacterial cells that live in your gut alone, which gives you perspective when you compare that to the mere 10 trillion cells that make up the human body. We’ve got over 3.5 billion bacterial genes that function in our body, so bacterial genes really affect how we look.”
He went on to describe the ways in which filling our gut with good bacteria can affect how we look. “Bacterial genes affect 99% of our makeup and hereditary genes only affect 1%, so 99% of who and what we are comes from our bacterial makeup. So persistent skin issues like acne, rosacea, hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, all of that stuff is a reflection of what’s happening in the gut.”
After confirming that your skin reflects your gut, he also gave us the good news that probiotics repopulate our gut fast:
“If your skin appears to be unhealthy, then it’s a direct indication that your gut is unhealthy. The skin is covered with microbes, we have more microbes on our skin than skin cells. So, it’s something like 15-1, for every one skin cell we have there are 15 bacterial cells.With the right probiotic, you would feel a difference in your body within the first two weeks, and you’d see a difference on your skin within the first month.”
He also told us about how a healthy gut produces the essential Vitamin K2-7, and how it effects the appearance of our skin. He said,
“A good bacteria in your gut produces something called Vitamin K2-7, it’s an essential nutrient, you can also take it as a supplement. It gets rid of calcium that’s binded to elastagen and collagen. One of the reasons people develop wrinkles as they age, is because the proteins elastagen and collagen are supposed to keep the skin tight. What happens over the time is the collagen becomes calcified. Vitamin K2 is the only vitamin known to remove this calcium and restore collagen. You could potentially take Vitamin K2-7 as a supplement, but you’d need a healthy gut in order to absorb it.”