Have you ever felt that what you eat has a direct impact on your psoriasis? Or, when you have digestive woes, do you feel they might be connected to your condition? As it turns out, there might be something to both of those theories. Researchers are taking a new interest in studying the relationship between the gut microbiome and psoriasis—and findings are promising. Here’s what we know so far.

The Link Between Gut Health and Psoriasis

“Our gut can be considered our second brain,” says Danielle Currey, N.D., a naturopathic physician based in Troutdale, Oregon, who herself has both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. “It’s the main component of our immune system. And with psoriasis, there’s a big boost of inflammation and reactivity in our immune system.”

So, how does this inflammation relate to your gut—and back to your psoriasis? “We’re still trying to figure that out,” says Kory Patrick Schrom, M.D., a dermatology resident at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center in Ohio, who has studied the microbiome’s effect on psoriatic disease. “Current research is looking at whether there’s a relative abundance of certain bacteria and potentially even fungi that live in the gut, and how they might implicate the whole pathogenesis of psoriasis.” In other words, organisms in your gut could be causing psoriatic symptoms, but scientists don’t know exactly how yet.