Top 10 Natural Nutrients for Youthful, Healthy Skin
Your skin is an outward reflection of your inner health and highly vulnerable to damage from external factors such as changes in the weather, air pollution and the sun’s UV rays too. In today’s increasingly toxic society, your skin can soon become overloaded, so it’s no wonder that dull, dry, itchy skin, premature signs of ageing and unexplained rashes become the norm. Skincare companies will promise you that the answer lies in a miracle pot of cream, but we’re here to tell you that it’s not quite that simple.
There’s so much you can do to improve your skin, and creams can certainly help, but for truly optimal skin health, you need to start within.
Here we identify the top 10 nutrients to nourish your inner glow:
1. Vitamin C – Oxidative stress, from sources such as air pollution and the sun’s UV rays, is a significant factor contributing to the ageing process and general degeneration of the skin. You can help to protect your skin against oxidative damage by increasing your daily intake of antioxidants. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, and being water soluble, needs to be regularly supplied by your diet. Vitamin C is also essential for the formation of collagen and elastin, the connective tissues that maintain the skin’s structure and elasticity, hence why it is a particularly crucial nutrient for healthy, glowing skin. You can also supplement with collagen directly, for an added skin boost.
2. Zinc – This essential trace mineral is found in every single cell in your body, and is needed by more than 100 different enzymes. Skin cells are particularly dependent on zinc – the top layer of your skin is concentrated with up to six times more of the mineral than is found in the lower layers. Zinc has antioxidant activity, is anti-inflammatory and is important for skin regeneration, healing and repair.
3. Biotin – Generally regarded as one of the B complex vitamins, biotin is often referred to as the ‘beauty’ vitamin. It is a water-soluble nutrient that must be consumed daily in small amounts to maintain optimal levels. You’ll often find biotin listed as an ingredient in expensive face creams, however it’s much more effective when consumed orally than when applied topically. Studies have shown that biotin may help to protect skin from acne, fungal infections, rashes, severe dryness and cracking. A true biotin deficiency is rare but it’s worth making sure that you get a small amount in your diet every day. Supplementing with a low daily dose of biotin can help you to achieve this.
4. Astaxanthin– This powerful compound is a carotenoid with known antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. It is found in rich supply in marine organisms such as shrimps and crabs, and fish such as salmon and sea bream. Research has shown that astaxanthin may help to prevent or minimise the harmful effects of UVA –induced skin photo-ageing such as skin sagging or wrinkling1,2.
5. CoQ10 – This important substance functions as a vitamin and is both antioxidant and energising. Levels of CoQ10 in the skin decrease with age and with exercise, and several reports have identified anti-ageing effects of CoQ10 in skin, such as wrinkle reduction3-7.
6. Omega 3 & 6 fats– Just like a car engine needs a steady supply of oil, so does your skin, in the form of omega 3 and omega 6 fats. Unless you eat plenty of nuts, seeds and oily fish however, chances are your skin isn’t getting enough of the beneficial oils it needs to stay smooth, supple, hydrated and moisturised. Omega 3 is best supplemented in the form of pure and stable fish oil, whilst a good source of omega 6 fats is starflower oil, which can also be supplemented in the diet.
7. Maritime bark extract - Rich in polyphenols with super strong antioxidant properties, Maritime bark extract has been shown in studies to improve skin firmness, skin elasticity, skin fatiguability and reduce wrinkles.
8. Citrus & rosemary extract - Studies have found that the combination of citrus and rosemary extract helps to protect the skin by resisting sunburn, reducing wrinkle depth & improving skin elasticity.
9. Vitamin D – Also known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’, this nutrient has an important role to play in helping you to achieve that ‘inner glow’ through its known anti-inflammatory activity. Supplement with at least 1,000 IU vitamin D3 daily.
10. Water - Healthy skin relies on optimal hydration; which in short means drinking more water and less tea, coffee and alcohol. There’s much debate over how much water we need to drink on a daily basis and obviously this varies according to individual variation and activity levels. As a general rule, you should aim for around 6-8 glasses daily. Since most people aren’t drinking anywhere near that however, even upping your intake a bit will help.
1. Lyons, N. M., O’Brien, N. M., J. Dermatol. Sci. 2002, 30, 73–84.
2. Suganuma, K., Nakajima, H., Ohtsuki, M., Imokawa, G., J. Dermatol. Sci. 2010, 58, 136–142.
3. Hoppe U, et al. BioFactors 9: 371-378,1999.
4. Passi S, et al. BioFactors 18: 289-297,2003.
5. Ashida Y, et al. Food Style 21 8: 52-54, 2004.
6. Ichihashi M, et al. In: The 5th Conference of the International CoQ IO Association, Kobe, Japan, p. 88, 2007.
7. Terada T, et al. The 5th Conference of the International CoQ IO Association, Kobe, Japan, pp. 156,2007.
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