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5 Nutrients for Ageless Skin
5 Nutrients for Ageless Skin
Unless you find that elusive fountain of youth, your skin won’t stay smooth and wrinkle-free forever. As the years tick by, the body naturally produces fewer collagen fibers to keep skin supple and less oil to lock moisture into cells. Meanwhile, ultraviolet sun rays, air pollution and other exterior factors are busy churning up free radicals—unstable molecules that damage skin cells and accelerate aging. The result? Wrinkles, age spots and dull, droopy skin.
Although you can’t control all causes of skin aging, you can bolster your body’s defenses to slow down the process. Several studies show that loading up on free radical–fighting antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients can delay development of new wrinkles—and even hide the lines you already have.
But it’s tough to get enough skin-protective nutrients from food alone, says Jeanette Jacknin, MD, a holistic dermatologist and author of Smart Medicine for Your Skin (Avery, 2001). She suggests starting with a complete daily multivitamin and then bolstering your antiaging arsenal with these five supplements. To maintain healthy skin, Jacknin recommends a multi containing the following: zinc, vitamin E (mixed natural tocopherols), vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium citrate, magnesium and selenium.
1. Alpha lipoic acid
What it does: An August 2011 review published in the journal Free Radical Research confirms that alpha lipoic acid (ALA) ups the body’s defenses against photoaging, which is skin cell damage incurred from UV rays. “Taken orally, ALA is very effective at reducing the appearance of wrinkles and increasing the firmness, tone, moisture, texture and radiance of skin,” Jacknin says. “It’s the only antioxidant that can boost cellular levels of glutathione, the most important antioxidant made by the body.”
Dose: 250 mg twice a day
What they do: Studies show that many of these naturally occurring antioxidant pigments—specifically beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene and astaxanthin—have photoprotective and anti-inflammatory properties. The body converts many carotenoids into vitamin A, which is instrumental in maintaining healthy skin, according to the National Institutes of Health. Jacknin suggests a carotenoid mix that includes beta-carotene and astaxanthin, which doesn’t convert to vitamin A but shows great antiaging promise.
Dose: 10,000 to 25,000 IU of mixed carotenoids daily with meals (look for products with 2 to 4 mg of astaxanthin and 8,000 to 25,000 IU of beta-carotene)
3. Coenzyme Q10
What it does: In a review of coenzyme Q10’s antiaging benefits published in the September-October 2009 issue of the journal Biofactors, Japanese researchers determined that this energy-sparking molecule also stimulates production of certain types of collagen and protects the skin’s outermost layer, the epidermis, against oxidative stress (a.k.a. free radical damage).
Dose: 60 to 120 mg per day in divided doses, with meals
What it does: Jacknin says this powerful anti-inflammatory agent scavenges free radicals and stops them from harming skin cells. Research shows DMAE (short for dimethylaminoethanol) also spurs synthesis of acetylcholine, a brain chemical that causes muscles to contract and stay firm. As a result, “DMAE supplements can increase skin firmness and tone and reduce wrinkles and brown spots,” Jacknin says.
Dose: 75 mg twice daily
5. Omega-3 fatty acids
What they do: Abundant in fish, krill and flaxseed, omega-3 fatty acids include docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which help ease inflammation throughout the body. EPA, specifically, guards against photoaging and reduces skin-cell inflammation, according to research published in Experimental Dermatology in July 2011.
Dose: 1,000 mg of fish oil twice a day
By: Melaina Juntti
Melaina is a freelance writer and editor in Madison, Wis., who focuses on natural health and wellness. Her work has appeared in Men's Journal, Delicious Living, Natural Foods Merchandiser, Natural Solutions, Inside Triathlon and Triathlete magazines.
March 1st, 2012