The Healthy Skin Show 011: The Role Of Probiotics When It Comes To Skin Health w/ Kiran Krishnan

Welcome to part two of an incredible and mind-blowing interview I had with microbiologist Kiran Krishnan. Here we continue our conversation about the link between the gut and the skin and the role that probiotics can play in maintaining a healthy microbiome.

If you haven't listened to part one with Kiran, please head here to listen to it first!

Want to try out some MegasporeBiotic as described by Kiran? Get A Bottle HERE!


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My guest, Kiran Krishnan is deeply involved in the nutrition and dietary supplement market. He has a strict research background having spent many years in research and development in molecular medicine and microbiology. He is also the co-founder and partner in his nutritional research and development company Nu Science Trading. Most notably he is the co-founder and chief scientific officer at Microbiomes Lab where he makes MegaSporeBiotic, one of my all-time favorite probiotics.

In this part of the interview, we talk about how we can use probiotics as a natural defense to ward off bad bacteria from our skin. In fact, you can apply many probiotics directly to your skin to help with many issues and we discuss how to best do that. The right probiotics can even help you tackle certain more difficult-to-control issues like candida overgrowth.  

Have you had success using probiotics to treat a chronic skin issue? Tell me about it in the comments!

In this episode:

  • How good bacteria on your skin will provide a defense against the bad bacteria you don’t want there
  • Just what spore-based probiotics are and their unique benefits for you
  • Kiran’s dos and don’ts for applying probiotics topically to make the good bacteria on your skin happy
  • Coconut oil's role as an antimicrobial and how it can kill both helpful and harmful bacteria
  • What makes candida overgrowth so hard to get rid of and how probiotics can help


“One of the things that we know about the skin is there’s a couple of classes of important bacteria that keep the skin healthy. But once you start to get an overgrowth of a bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus you end up with eczema, dermatitis, and so on. So it's just a matter of switching the types of bacteria that are growing on the skin.”  [17:36]

“You know who wants sugar on your face? Fungus. Fungus will love the sugar on your face, so be careful with that. A lot of people suffer from fungal overgrowths on their skin…. You want to be careful of using sweet things, because that’s what the fungus likes.” [28:29]

“Candida overgrowth is a symptom of other issues going on. It’s an opportunistic fungus. The moment your immune system and the rest of your microbiome is suppressed for whatever reason, it will start blooming and overgrowing.” [29:42]


Listen to Pt 1 of my talk with Kiran here!

Why Coconut Oil Isn't Good For Your Skin (article)

Follow Kiran Krishnan on Instagram

Get MegaSporeBiotic HERE

011: The Role Of Probiotics When It Comes To Skin Health w/ Kiran Krishnan {FULL TRANSCRIPT}

Jennifer:              You know, it's interesting. So I want to share this testimonial by the way, cause I think this is really helpful. So after your talk, this woman, Kara had actually shared this during the Eczema and Psoriasis Awareness Week. She said that after listening to your talk about applying probiotics topically and, I definitely think we should talk about that. Two applications later, over 24 hours and her baby's itching is significantly less. It's not a miracle fix, but over time I think this is really gonna help. He is sleeping with no mittens tonight and that hasn't happened in much of his seven months of life.

Kiran:                    That is so amazing to hear. And it makes like all of the research and travel and hours of reading papers and studying the stuff worth it just for that one story. Right? It's so amazing. And, and, and it's true in the way we even thought about it because we work with these unique strains of probiotics. So these are the bacillus endospores. Most of the other probiotics people would have access to, can't do this kind of stuff because they don't have the capability of functioning on the outside and on the inside and all these unique things. Now the way I even thought about that, these, that, these particular probiotics can even help on the outside of the skin is because in nature, if you were walking around in, you know, in the forest or in the desert, your body would become saturated and colonized with a lot of these types of bacteria.

Kiran:                    And, and throughout the course of human evolution, our ancestors who were smart enough to live and eat live in dirt and eat dirt, they were basically covered with these types of bacteria. And these types of bacteria play a unique role of inhibiting the overgrowth of certain pathogenic bacteria, even on the skin. And we actually did a small internal test. This was just in our lab where we took these particular probiotic spores and put them on a cell phone. So if you've ever swabbed your cell phone, you'll know that it is a horrifically contaminated thing, right?

Jennifer:              I've heard it's pretty filthy.

Kiran:                    Yeah it's filthy, It's picking up everything from everywhere. And these, these bugs just sit on the cell phone. So we actually added these spores cell phone and then we, and then we checked the surface area of the cell phone for the next two, three weeks.

Kiran:                    There were virtually those, virtually nothing else growing on there. So somehow these probiotic bacteria were warding off any other microbes that are trying to take over in that space. And so one of the things that we know about the skin is there's a couple of classes of important bacteria that keep the skin healthy. But once you start to get an overgrowth of a bacteria like staphylococcus aureus, you end up with eczema, dermatitis, and so on. So it's just a matter of switching the types of bacteria that are, that are growing on the skin. Now these spores, because they know how to compete against those type of pathogenic bacteria. The idea was if these spores were on your skin, they would somehow ward off though those types of bacteria and as it turns out we've seen that over and over again in numerous cases.

Jennifer:              And so, so, okay, so you're saying that because there's certain strains that can crowd out and control what is growing, we could then utilize, and this is what we sort of, we started to touch on this toward the end of our discussion in the eczema and psoriasis, but event, but I think it's good to talk about this now. So we could theoretically, like you said, we could work our way from the, in the outside in using probiotics to help rebalance and crowd out the bad bacteria. But then we could also use the probiotics from the inside out to send to produce these byproducts like butyrate and other small chain fatty acids, but specifically butyrate that can then move its way out to the skin to work from the inside out. So we have this two pronged approach essentially.

Kiran:                    Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, exactly. And the reason is because there's different communities on the skin. So your epidermal layer has a different skin, a bacterial community than a couple of millimeters in, you know, where your hair follicles are, where the where the, the little pouches, the vesicles are in the subdermal area. All of those areas have slightly different types of bacterial communities. And so looking at this two-prong approach, we're basically going after all of the bacterial communities at once so that even, even if we are improving one, but the other one is completely disruptive, the improvements might take much longer because it, you know, the, the change might take longer to reflect in all layers. So going at it with a two-prong approach we've seen in general in people with severe psoriasis and eczema, we see in general in clinics that, that that tends to give better results faster.

Jennifer:              And so let me ask you a question cause this is something that people have asked me, do spore-based bacteria. So in that case like are spore, is there a reason why spore-based bacteria or spore, how would you describe them? They are spore-based bacteria. You know, cause MegaSpore is an amazing product. And, and what I've mostly gotten testimonials for is MegaSpore. I personally take it, I use it in a lot of clients and I've had a lot of success with it. But is there something about it because it is a spore probiotic that maybe gives it an edge for helping with these sort of things, whereas a non-spore form might not be as effective.

Kiran:                    Yeah, absolutely. And it's all in the word. So the fact that they are spore base and that is the correct way to classify them, a lot of times people will confuse them as soil base, but they're not soil-based because typically soil base organism products are homeostatic soil organisms. These are so a lot of people will call soil-based also, HSO'S. HSO is homeostatic soil organisms or soil-based organisms are organisms whose job and function is predominantly in the soil. You know. So what they do in the soil is they fix nitrogen for the roots of the plants. They break down plant matter they breakdown, decaying animal matter. They do all these wonderful things for the soil to bring life to the soil. These particular spores exist in the soil, but what they're doing is they're sitting in the soil and using the soil as a vector to get from host to host.

Kiran:                    Their natural home is in us and to some degree on us as well, you know, so and because they are a spore, that's what's really interesting about them. They've got this armor-like coating around them, which is basically like a protein calcified armor, like coating that allows them to exist in the outside world indefinitely without being killed by UV radiation and desiccation, all these other things that would kill normal gut bacteria. And then that also allows them to enter through the gastric system, which is a very harsh system for most probiotic bacteria. So we've tested 98 99% of all probiotic products we've tested and we've tested 40 of the top, all just dying the stomach, right? They don't, they don't make it to the site of action alive. They don't have the capability and stability to survive through the stomach acid. And so the spores make it through and then they are by nature really strong competitive bacteria and they compete against pathogenic bacteria.

Kiran:                    And, and in fact they've been used for that in the prescription world since 1952. Right. So two-thirds of the world. Yeah, it's, it's amazing. We first discovered these types of strains. We said, okay, who's been using these because their, their properties are so mind-boggling. And then you look and Sanofi-Aventis and all these major pharma companies have had spore-based probiotic products in the prescription market since 1952 in Europe, Latin America, Southeast Asia. They've been using them to treat dysentery. They've been using them to treat a chronic upper respiratory infections. All of these kind of infective inflammatory conditions, they've been using them as a prescription treatment for those without side effects, which is a benefit of it. Right. and so we said, wow, these must have some tremendous effects in the body. And that's why we, we, we jumped on the spores and we started really studying them to figure out what they do. But yeah, being a spore, that's the key. So people want to look for spore-based probiotics and that's what MegaSpore is. It's the first multi-spore kind of high dose spore-based probiotic.

Jennifer:              And I'll just share personally and you know, this is a true story. Like I had gotten really sick and I'll never forget, my friends at Rebel Health Tribe had sent me a bottle. It was my first experience and, and Joe was like, you gotta try these. And I was like, I can't swallow those pills cause I can't swallow pills. I have like a fear from being a kid. And he's like, no, no, no, I'll just empty it into like a shake or something, you'll be fine. So I ended up getting very bad diarrhea. I have no idea what, I don't know what happened, but really bad, and I took it and within two days it, I was like back to normal. Like I had a really bad stomach bug and I was just like back and feeling great. It really, really helped. And that was what had changed my mind.

Jennifer:              And then I also continued that when I developed my eczema on my hands. That was when I really started making it a bit more vigorous of a product because I could add it to food, I could eat it easily. So it's great for kids and whatnot. I mean obviously you have to do, I tend to tell people like to start with a lower dose, like maybe even do a quarter capsule, especially if you're really sensitive, start with a quarter and like slowly work your way up. But the idea of applying it to the skin, when you had said that was so interesting to me, cause I've read a lot of articles about that and of course people are just talking about, Oh, just put some yogurt on your face or on the rash and I'm like yogurt. No, and the bacteria, it's interesting too, the bacteria in your skin don't break down.

Jennifer:              They don't break down starches like our gut flora does. They break down fats as you had said. So if for anyone who didn't hear that portion of this conversation, and I think everyone could probably do with a refresher if you wanted to apply like MegaSpore for example, or maybe try, if you just have a probiotic at home and you're like, let me just try this, I can't, how can it hurt? What would be your recommendation of how they should like utilize it? Is there any do's and don'ts and whatnot that you could suggest as a way to apply it topically?

Kiran:                    Yeah, I would, I would say you know, use whatever your favorite carriers. In the case of MegaSpore, it doesn't really matter because it, there's such strong bacteria that even, for example, if you use coconut oil, because coconut oil is a, is a fairly strong antimicrobial. So if you mix most of the bacteria in coconut oil, it's going to kill the bacteria. But with, with MegaSpore it won't kill it. So you can take a tiny bit of coconut oil. Put some of the probiotic powder that you just removed from the capsule and mix it in and just set it on your skin and rub it into your skin. And just leave it on there, you know, for the rest of the day. And you can do that a couple of times a day. You can use Shea butter. I know I view Shea butter as a base and just kind of added it added some amount of the powder to it. There's no real dosing specificity to it. You know, I would start with less, less is more in this kind of case and just take a little bit of powder and just see how your skin tolerates it.

Jennifer:              I'm going to say two. You could also sprinkle some on and then close reclose the capsule. They don't need to be refrigerated. So that's a really big plus. I want to ask you because I've actually had a few people ask me about the coconut oil being used. It's an antimicrobial. So is that, so if, say somebody has like a, I don't know, some sort of just a regular lactobacillus or some sort of thing going on in their refrigerator or something they bought at the natural food store and they mix that with the coconut oil, is it likely to be less effective because of the coconuts antimicrobial properties?

Kiran:                    Yeah, yeah. More than likely the coconut will kill the long-chain fatty acids and coconut oil will kill those bacteria. And then coconut has the long-chain fatty acids are pretty strong antimicrobials. Lauric acid, I, when I was working in the food industry, one of the things that I was helping companies develop was natural, you know, less toxic antimicrobials cause they have to use antimicrobials in some part of the food industry to keep things clean. And one of the things we were promoting was Uloric acid, which is part of the coconut fatty acids that are found in coconut oil and, and it kills everything and kills, you know, good bacteria and bad bacteria, everything. And so, so you want to be careful with coconut oil as well, even if you're just using it on its own on your skin. Because in there, there has to be a microbiome on your skin and if you're using too much of an antimicrobial for too long, you could decimate that, that microbiome and leave room less favorable bacteria to take hold, right?

Kiran:                    So we want to be careful with using it too much. I like I have done this before as well. Use a little bit of extra Virgin olive oil and open up the capsule and put it in because olive oil has all of these amazing antioxidant properties already within them. Olive oil has anti-inflammatory properties. It doesn't have the antimicrobial properties, which is good. And then you put the spores in there and let and rub that into the skin and it it makes a big difference. So you then you'll get benefit both from the olive oil and from the spores themselves.

Jennifer:              Because we're feeding the skin with an appropriate type of fat that it needs for those bacteria to thrive. I think that's one of the biggest pieces. Like I see people do, Oh I'm putting like the sugar scrub on my face or I'm doing, I'm not like no, no, no, no sugar. The bacteria on your face and your skin don't want sugar. They want fat.

Kiran:                    You know who wants sugar on your face is fungus. Yeah, fungus will love the sugar on your face. So be careful with that because, and a lot of people suffer from fungal overgrowth on their skin, you know? And so we need to be careful. In an amicable world, we've all used antimicrobial soaps, all of these things, all of that stuff favors fungal overgrowth. And so you want to be careful of using sweet things because that's what the fungus likes.

Jennifer:              And on the last point, last question, cause you just brought this up, it's a good question. If you do have say candida is the issue. I've had a lot of clients who've had candida overgrowth in the gut and they've got lots of skin rashes. I had one client that had it everywhere, super bad in her armpits. Like she was so uncomfortable is MegaSpore. What does MegaSpore, how can it compare to candida , can it go up against candida? You know, what, what's the deal with that? For anybody that's listening, who's not, who's like, can I use that with candida?

Kiran:                    Yeah, absolutely. So the thing about candida is it's, it's always present, right? So candida is a normal part of our microbiome, both inside and outside on us. It's always going to be there. The average human has almost 200 different species of candida in them. So candida overgrowth is a, is a symptom of other issues going on because it's an opportunistic fungus. The moment your immune system and the rest of your microbiome is suppressed for whatever reason, it'll start blooming and overgrowing. Now, like any other fungus, one of the things that makes it hard to get it back under control is because they have these hyphae that basically barb themselves into the surfaces that they're growing into. So, even though you might take like an antifungal that'll kill off the growing fungus, it'll leave this little hyphaes stuck into that part of the skin and the moment the coast is clear, it'll just pop back up again.

Kiran:                    You know, so people keep getting it. They might use antifungals that either topical or oral antifungal and then it'll just keep coming back and coming back. The problem with that is they're not addressing the original cause of the candida overgrowth, which is typically a nutritional issue, an immune issue or microbiome issue or usually all three. So one of the nutritional issues is that those people tend to have high heavy metal toxicity. Heavy metal toxicity can really suppress the immune system and the immune system at part of its job is to control candida. And then it can also disrupt the normal microbiome whose job it is to control candida. Now what we see with MegaSpore, why it seems to really help with candida is of course the spores will directly compete with candida. So they will actually compete for space and nutrients.

Kiran:                    With candida and pop those guys off the surface that they've barbed into and get them going out of the system. The second thing is MegaSpore also increases the diversity of the rest of the microbiome. So it helps bring back other microbes that were suffering for whatever reason, that person, for whatever things that the person's going through that's affecting their microbiome. So as you start bringing back the other microbes as the MegaSpore can actually sit next to the candida and fight it off, you'll start getting that candida under control. A great story of this is one of the very first people that actually took MegaSpore. So my business partner, his name is Dr. Tom Bane. So he's kind of functional medicine, gut focus practitioner. And the first 300 people that took the product were his patients. Right? This is a little over five years ago.

Kiran:                    I remember this one vividly because this happened with like the fourth patient. This patient had severe candida overgrowth and he had all kinds of symptoms because of it. And he had it for years and, and Tom was trying to control him with other things that were available at the time, but wasn't really having great success. He took the MegaSpore the second day he called up the clinic and he said, you know, I'm feeling really good, but I don't know if this is normal, but I'm pooping out pink foam. So his bowel movements turned into just pink foam coming out. Right. And we were like, Oh.

Jennifer:              Okay. That could be a little concerning,

Kiran:                    But he's like, I feel great, but it's just this pink foam where it's that. Okay. Uso we're trying to sit in there and we're trying to figure out, okay, what in the world could this be? Well, he had severe candida, candida overgrowth and, basically what's happening is the spores are going in, getting the candida shoved out of the system. Fungus are like surfactants, so they kind of foamy when you mix them in water. So that's why you see, you know, beer, which is, which is made by, by a fungus, basically has foam at the top. That head of the beer because they produce all of this gas and stuff. So, the fungus is coming out of the system and because the hyphae are actually detaching and leaving, it's actually leaving the spots where the fungus was, are slightly, you know, open, the sores, they're kind of like open source to some degree because a, the candida feeds off of some of the top layer of the skin, wherever it was, it was colonized.

Kiran:                    So some of that skin layers coming off that causes a pink color. And then the candida is coming out as foam. So for like three or four days he'd just kind of pooped out all this pink foam and, and then his, he's, he had completely normal bowel movements and, and for the first time in almost a decade had zero candida symptoms after that, you know, and I'll say that's the only time among even really overwhelmed people with overwhelming candida overgrowth. Did we hear about the pink foam? We see changes in the stool, but that was a very clear indication that the candy are getting out of there, you know, the, when, when the spores come in. Yeah.

Jennifer:              And so we should, we should clarify that if you take MegaSpore, that probably won't happen to you.

Kiran:                    No, it's never happened again. I've been waiting for it again, just because I would, I would love to be able to like get a sample of that and test it. But that was what was cool about that for us was that it was so indicative of some big change happening in the gut, you know, and the guy was feeling great, which was what the best part about it was. But, but he just had this unique you know, foamy kind of poop and but, but he's, his life was changed after that completely.

Jennifer:              And it is amazing when you repattern the gut, what happens? It takes time. I mean, I am, I never make promises of people that, Oh, your rash is going to be gone in a week or two weeks. I, I tend to find that most of the clients I work with, they've tried all these different elimination diets and at the end of the day, like food was not really the problem. It was something, it was a gut issue. You know, there's candida or some other pathogenic bacteria or a just a real dysbiotic state that was not supportive of good health. And so I think it's important if you're listening to this conversation to realize that yes, regardless of what type of skin condition you have, it doesn't have to be autoimmune, by the way. There is a connection between the gut and the skin and there is, I guess, could we, could we call it a cross talk essentially like that they communicate with these signals like a communicate via butyrate and some other inflammatory pathways and things like that. And so your skin is a reflection as you've said of what's going on inside.

Kiran:                    Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. It's called the gut skin axis for a reason. So in, in scientific literature we call it the gut skin axis. And anytime there's a word axis in things, it means that there, it's a two way conversation. And, and, and in fact the gut controls skin in large part. Now, like you said, it doesn't have to be because of just autoimmune conditions. It can be other things including aging. So how fast your skin ages, the appearance of wrinkles, the hydration levels of the skin, the thickness of the skin, which is in youthful. When people are younger and they're youthful, they actually have thicker skin. And as the skin thins, you start to see it looking more translucent and less lively. Right? and in fact, in, in Japanese culture and all that, they have words so that like in Japanese culture they call it Surasa or something or the other, I can't remember the second part of the word, but that's a very big thing the Japanese women are concerned about is the thickness of their skin.

Kiran:                    And that's what gives it that kind of creamy, youthful look. All of those things are controlled by the gut. You know, the, one of the reasons why we're working with the prebiotic now is some of these illegal saccharide prebiotics have studies showing that even just eight weeks of taking it seems true to be able to reduce appearance of wrinkles on the skin, improve hydration of the skin as, as measured chemically. And then you know, also improving the redness of the skin and the thickness of the skin as well. So aging is a, is a major impact on the skin and that is also controlled by the gut in large part.

Jennifer:              Well I just want to thank you so much for agreeing to be back on. I know we've got, we've fortunately got a couple of, this is going to be a continued conversation cause I feel like there's so much more that we can even delve into, but we've got a whole lot for people to unpack and digest and on top of it I just want to share with everyone. We will have some details on this. Amazing. We've got some gift baskets to share with you guys. So I'm looking forward to getting the winners of those gift baskets their prizes. I will talk about that in a few moments, but I just want to share with all of you, if you've been listening to this and you're like, Hey, I want to check out MegaSpore biotic and listen, and this is, this whole conversation was not even meant to be.

Jennifer:              It's not an advertisement. By the way, guys, like this is something I use in a clinical practice. It is, oh, it's different than what's on the market, what you can get in the pharmacy and whatnot. I personally use it. I've had a lot of clients see improvements, so I figured I would share this because it's just, it can be a real game-changer both in internally and externally, so I'm going to share a link as well. If you want to grab a bottle, you can go through THIS LINK and you'll be able to get access to this and to this probiotic that we'll talk about. We've talked about and that will, you know, I hope we can talk about that the next time. It's more about prebiotics and maybe immunoglobulin globulin therapy and all sorts of different fun, stuff that affects the skin. But thank you so, so much for joining us, Kiran. I really appreciate it.

Kiran:                    It's my pleasure. Thank you again for having me, and I would love to do it again, so let's do it again!

The Healthy Skin Show 011: The Role Of Probiotics When It Comes To Skin Health w/ Kiran Krishnan

Jennifer Fugo, MS, CNS

Jennifer Fugo, MS, CNS is an integrative Clinical Nutritionist and the founder of Skinterrupt. She works with women who are fed up with chronic gut and skin rash issues discover the root causes and create a plan to get them back to a fuller, richer life.

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