The Healthy Skin Show 010: How Your Skin Health Is Tied To Your Whole-Body Health w/ Kiran Krishnan

We’re increasingly realizing that your skin does not exist in isolation. Its health is tied to the health of the rest of your body, particularly your gut. But how can you take care of your gut’s biome in a way that is healthy both for it and for your skin?


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Kiran Krishnan is a microbiologist who studies this connection. He 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 at the University of Iowa. Additionally, he is 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 Labs that makes MegaSporeBiotic, one of my all-time favorite probiotics that I use with chronic skin clients (as well as those with chronic GI issues).

Today we talk about new ground-breaking research that is ongoing in the skin rash world.

Kiran’s research has revealed many connections between your skin’s health and the health of your gut’s biome. We get deep into how our skin is part of a complex and extensive system. This was a very enlightening conversation for me and it will be for you too!

Have you used probiotics to address a condition with your skin? Let us know how it went in the comments!

In this episode

  • The latest research and scientific breakthroughs concerning chronic skin problems
  • How your skin’s health is dependent on so many other parts of your health, particularly your gut
  • The two most important components of your skin’s health and how you can keep them healthy
  • Why it’s a good thing to have certain bacteria all over your skin


“Skin is your biggest reflection of the health of the inside of your body.”  [3:27]

“What we’re coming to understand is that there is an amazing ecology on your skin’s surface and that ecology determines so much of what happens to your skin and how it reacts to the world around you. In the large part, that ecology is controlled by the ecology in your gut.” [4:17]

“If you know that if you eat sugar or certain carbohydrates and would break out or you’d get a rash, that comes from those bacteria producing higher levels of ammonia or unfavorable gasses that would actually affect your circulatory system and cause an inflammatory reaction in the skin rather than that repairing action that butyrate does.”[14:38]


Follow Kiran Krishnan on Instagram

Interested in trying Megaspore? CLICK HERE to create a profile and purchase some!

Watch Kiran's talk in the Eczema & Psoriasis Awareness Week!

The Healthy Skin Show 010: How Your Skin Health Is Tied To Your Whole-Body Health w/ Kiran Krishnan

010: How Your Skin Health Is Tied To Your Whole-Body Health w/ Kiran Krishnan FULL TRANSCRIPT

Jennifer:              All right. Welcome everybody to the Healthy Skin Show. I have a really special guest. I've actually been looking forward to this interview for quite some time. You may remember my guest from the Eczema And Psoriasis Awareness Week. His name is Kiran Krisnan and he is a research microbiologist and has been involved in the dietary supplement and nutrition market for the past 18 years. He comes from a strict research background having spent many years with hands on R and D in the fields of molecular medicine and microbiology, at the University of Iowa. Kiran established a, Kiran established a clinical research organization where he designed and conducted dozens of human clinical trials in human nutrition. He's also the co founder and partner of New Science Trading, a nutrition, nutritional technology development and research company and you probably will recognize this. Most notably is the cofounder and chief scientific officer at Microbiome Labs, which they make one of you guys make one of my favorite probiotics, mega Spore Biotic. We can talk about that, but thank you so much first of all for agreeing to come back and doing a talk. Yours was by far, by the way, for anybody who didn't check out the Eczema And Psoriasis Awareness Week. Kiran's talk was the number one most watched talk of the entire event.

Kiran:                    Wow. That is awesome. Thank you so much and thank you for giving me the opportunity. This is, this is what I love to do. I love sharing this kind of information. It's all about you know, educating and empowering people to be able to help themselves. Right? For the longest time we are, we were so dependent on our one doctor that we interface with and what that doctor knows and their understanding of things became the limitation for what we could do to help ourselves. But now with programs like yours and the kind of information you're putting out there, people are empowered. They can take their health and their wellness in their own hands. So I'm honored to be a part of it. So thank you so much.

Jennifer:              You're welcome. And I think a big part of this is that there's just not a lot of good quality information out there about chronic skin conditions. So I think one great place to start, because you are so heavily into research, you're like that's your wheelhouse. Can you give us a little bit of an update of what's going on in the skin world? Like what research out there is going on that our listeners might be like, wait, people are doing research on this. Like what's going on? You know, cause like we don't hear anything about this stuff anymore. It's like you only hear about it if it's, I don't know, something from a big, big company. But there's a lot of cool research and I know you guys are doing some research. So tell us what's going as far as skin, gut, probiotics, that kind of stuff in the research world.

Kiran:                    Yeah. So the biggest thing is that we now know what the great deal of certainty that this skin isn't its own independent organ, that it's affected primarily by things that it counters on the outside, right? So we used to think like if your skin is itchy or there's a rash or you had eczema, psoriasis, it was, there was something wrong with the outside layer of your skin. And and then, there was something in the outside environment that was bothering that layer of your skin. So let's put lotions and creams, basically treat everything from the outside in. Because we only saw skin from the outer layer and we didn't really understand and grasp how the inner layers of skin really controlled everything on the outside. And the bigger picture is that skin is your biggest reflection of the health of your inside of your body.

Kiran:                    And so, you know, it, it really has changed the paradigm on how we look at what is causing all of this rampant issues with eczema, psoriasis, acne, rosacea, you know the, the list goes on and on and, and it starting at earlier and earlier ages as well. You know the number of babies that are born with eczema is really astounding. And that's something that never happened in the past. You know, we didn't have one or two month olds with eczema, this alarming rate. So we know that there's something going on with, with how we're feeding the skin and we have to remember that the skin is fed from the inside. How we're feeding the skin, how the immune system is treating the skin and then the outcomes that we're seeing in the outside world. So what we're coming to understand is that there is an amazing ecology on your skin surface. And that ecology determines so much of what happens to your skin, how it reacts to the world around you. And then in large part, that ecology is controlled by the ecology in your gut.

Jennifer:              So the gut microbiome and the skin microbiome, they talk?

Kiran:                    They talk exactly. Yeah. So we have to think of ourselves as, as and I always say this like a walking, talking rainforest, right? We are a very complex ecological system. We have all of these niche ecologies that all have to communicate with one another in order to function properly. So if you look at a rain forest if everyone, anyone's ever been in there, you've got many layers of ecology in a rain forest. You've got, you know, the ground level thing that that happens right below all of the surface bushes and shrubs and all that. You've got the shrubs, you've got the short trees, and then you've got the tall canopy at the very top. And there are animals that only live in the canopy. You know, they live 50, 60 feet above the forest floor, but their lives are dependent on what's going on in the ecology below. So think of our skin as the canopy ecology in our rainforests. But much of what happens to the skin comes from the soil, the roots, the grounding that occurs in the gut.

Jennifer:              And so one of the things that I also wanted to clarify for people, so if you're listening to this and you're at the beginning of your journey, it's important to realize that because I get questions about this. Does it matter what type of skin issue I have? You know, you talk about these connections to the gut, but maybe my skin condition isn't considered autoimmune. So does it really mean that what's going on in my gut is affecting this, this outside? Like they have a really hard time understanding that. And I think sometimes it's a little scary to think that there are other things underneath the skin that are causing the issues. Cause like you said, we traditionally look outside in and you're asking people to look inside out as well.

Kiran:                    Yeah. And we're, and the, and the reason I'm asking people to do that is that's the new understanding in the, in the most advanced scientific communities that are studying this topic, we're starting to understand that that that skin of course grows from the inside out. Like most people know that already. Your top epidermal layer is a layer that was pushed out from, from the inside, you know, and the screen grows from inside out. So the, the stuff that appears on the very top surface is stuff that was inside, you know, several millimeters inside your body previously. And this fed from capillaries and an immune system and your nutritional delivery system also from the inside. So, even if it's not auto immune, meaning there isn't an immune component to it necessarily, like acne for example. Acne is not an autoimmune condition, but it is an inflammatory and an infectious condition and it's becoming very clear that acne is, is actually driven by the gut.

Jennifer:              Mmmm..

Kiran:                    You know, and we're doing a study on that right now.

Jennifer:              So can you tell us like is there any insights or any interesting things that have popped up in some of the research that you are doing with skin related issues and the microbiome? Cause you just, I feel like you are the encyclopedia. You're like this walking encyclopedia of micro-biome information. Is there anything that, you know, maybe we haven't quite seen published yet or just you don't have to, you don't have to tell us the, you know, the details of like how everything ends, but is there any insights that people should maybe keep in mind as more research is being done and delivered to us?

Kiran:                    Yeah, absolutely. So there, there are two major components to your skin that, that are really important that basically dictate what your skin looks like, what type of bacteria growing on your skin, the hydration level of the skin, how easily it ages. All of these things are dictated by the lipid dome. The lipid dome is, is considered the fat, the structure, of the fat in the skin. Uand then the sebum, the sebum is the stuff you can score it out of your pores if you know, remember,uwe all love doing that to our, to our black heads and all squirting up the speed. All right. Yeah, yeah. The sebum is like this pus, like stuff that actually contains all of these immunoglobulins and all, all of these really important immune system components to it. And it helps protect the skin against,uunfavorable organisms taking over and causing a problem.

Kiran:                    Like in the case of acne, you end up with a certain type of P acnes that is allowed to overgrow in the, in the follicles of the hair itself. And the sebum content is dysfunctional. So it's not preventing that bacteria from actually establishing itself and growing. So, so the, the impact of the skin and the, the overall appearance of your skin and the function of your skin is dependent on the lipid dome and the sebum. And as it turns out, both the lipid dome and the sebum is dictated by what's happening in your colon. You know, there's a few, which is, which is really mind boggling to think about it, right? Because we've all grown up in this era where, where the bodies sectioned off into silos.

Jennifer:              Right.

Kiran:                    Right. You've got a skin doctor, a dermatologist, and the dermatologist knows absolutely nothing about the gut, right?

Kiran:                    And then you've got a gastroenterologist who might know more about the gut, but knows nothing about the skin. And, and you know, and, and I don't know if there's any way getting away from that type of medicine because there's so much to know about one given area that people have to specialize. But the problem with that view is that we miss all the connections, right? And so for, for a dermatologist to start to understand that the gut is what's controlling the outcomes of this skin. This dermatologist would have to go through continuing education courses that teach them this new stuff. And we're, we're helping that because university of California Davis is putting out the first integrative dermatology continuing education seminar series, and that's going to be done in October. And it's geared towards doctors, dermatologist primary care physicians aestheticians, anyone involved in the skin world, in the therapeutic skin world, and they've been doing all of these studies on curcumin and probiotics and prebiotics and they want to educate that, that mass.

Kiran:                    And we're supporting one of the, we're one of the big sponsors of that because we think that they, that's so important. So now what you're eating, you know, most people can relate to this, right? So people who suffer from acne flare ups, most of them knew when they were kids that there was something that they would eat that would cause the acne to come. Right. I remember I had friends that would say, Oh, I can't eat that chocolate. I had chocolate I would get acne, I would break out or I can't eat those fries. Like a lot of times greasy stuff, we'll give you a breakout. So we've known intrinsically that eating certain things, putting things into our gut had an impact on our skin. And, and that's not an autoimmune condition. That's not, that doesn't involve the immune system so much. It's a metabolic nutritional connection. The reason is we count on our large our large colon bacteria to produce things like butyrate, short chain fatty acids, right? Butyrate is one of the number one metabolites travels from the colon through your circulatory system and gets into your skin and the bottom layers of the skin and controls the types of fatty acids and lipids that are actually existing in that layer of your skin.

Jennifer:              So, wait. Okay. So let me, let me unpackage this for people for a second. Cause you just blew my mind. You first of all, blew my mind. But I'm not sure if everyone listening is going to be like, they might be like what? So essentially the products of the gut bacteria. So though they're quote unquote waste, I always tell people, I'm like, what's living in your gut also poops essentially, but, but butyrate is something that acidifies the colon, which is good. That's a good thing. We want a good level of a healthy level of butyrate in the colon because it helps prevent growth of candida and other not so friendly bacteria. But you're saying is that waste product can enter the body, travel through the blood stream and make its way to the skin and help dictate what the microbiome on the skin looks like. So if you theoretically have an unfriendly gut microbiome where you're not producing a whole lot of that butyrate, this really important byproduct, then you would essentially wouldn't have like a signal that signal is missing, so to speak. Is that sort of where we're going here? Like.

Kiran:                    You got it

Jennifer:              Okay.

Kiran:                    Yeah you got it. And the thing is, that's actually one of the main control mechanisms. And, and you know, we can't make butyrate ourselves, right? We don't have it in our genetics or our capability to make butyrate. We're actually counting on certain types of bacteria in the gut to do it for us. Now in contrast to that, butyrate the bacteria that make butyrate, they make it from digesting prebiotics and fibers. So they'll take carbohydrates that were not digested in the small bowel. Once it enters a large bowel, they started breaking it down. They make butyrate acetate, [inaudible], and about six or seven other short chain fatty acids. And all of those things have different functions in different parts of your body. For example, some of those short chain fatty acids will go to your brain and we'll actually help energize the brain, revitalize some of the neurons help produce some of the hormones that we need in the brain.

Kiran:                    Some of them will go to the liver and will actually help detoxify the liver. Butyrate itself will actually help your body burn fat and, and improve the satiety signals so you know when to stop eating. It will also energize yourselves so that your cells can actually use stored fat for energy rather than craving sugar. So it does all of these amazing things including traveling to your skin and changing the types of fatty acids and the types of sebum that you end up with on your skin, which changes the types of bacteria you have on your skin, which eventually changes the characteristics of your skin. So in contrast, there's bad bacteria that will take those same carbohydrates and produce gas instead of butyrate and other short chain fatty acids. One of the gases they could produce that is actually detrimental to the skin is ammonia or methane gas, right? So certain people, like if you, if you've if you've known that if you eat sugar or you eat certain types of carbohydrates, you would break out or you'd get a rash that comes from those bacteria producing higher levels of ammonia or unfavorable gases that actually affect your circulatory system and cause an inflammatory reaction in the skin rather than that a repairing action that butyrate does.

Jennifer:              I am, my, my brain is like exploding.

Kiran:                    Sort of like a beautiful blackhead.