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Boost Gut and Skin Microbiota Health through Time in Greenspaces

— May 10, 2024

Research shows being in nature can improve skin and gut health.

It’s hard to find any bad news when it comes to spending more time in nature. No matter what the study in question may be looking at, and no matter where the research is done, the results tend to come back the same over and over again – getting out into greenspace is a good thing for humans to do. Yet another study is now echoing those findings, and this one has to do with skin and gut microbiota health. Those might not be elements that would be expected to have anything to do with how much time a person spends outside, but that’s the interesting thing about the study – even areas of the human body that wouldn’t seem to be impacted by nature can be just that.

Many people are aware of the importance of healthy gut microbiota in humans. There are many important functions performed by this part of the human body, including extracting energy from food and protecting the body from pathogenic invaders. To say the least, having a healthy gut is an important part of maintaining positive overall health.

Typically, it’s the things that are put into the gut that are generally given the credit or blame for the health of the gut microbiome. In this study, however, it was seen that spending time in greenspace may be able to help improve the diversity and composition of the gut microbiota in a way that might not have been expected. There was a total of 20 different studies across 35 countries brought together to perform this interesting analysis.

Boost Gut and Skin Microbiota Health through Time in Greenspaces
Photo by Chris J Mitchell from Pexels

While the study is exciting and it speaks yet again to the value of greenspace, it does need to be tempered with the realities that often come along with research. Overall, the evidence is modest at this point, due to a variety of factors. There are limitations in the way the study was designed and completed, and potential biases that may enter into the mix. No study is perfect, but this one does seem to come along with its share of limitations that should be factored into how the results are interpreted.

Of course, with a finding this interesting, there is sure to be more research done moving forward. When those further studies are completed, it will become easier to determine whether or not there is a proven link between the gut biome and greenspace, and how those two may be connected.

For the average person, the takeaway from this study is just the same as the takeaway from so many others before it – get outside more. It’s always good for people to spend time outdoors, whether it’s for gut health, anxiety and depression, physical activity, and on and on. While the science of it all is interesting, and certainly can be explored for those who are into that kind of data, it’s not necessary for most people to know the details. Getting outside into greenspace is a good thing and everyone could use more of it.


Greenspace exposure boosts gut and skin microbiota health, study finds

Greenspace and human microbiota: A systematic review

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