KEY NUTRICOSMETICS INGREDIENTS
Like the myriad of interconnected processes taking place inside your body, the nutrients that you consume work together to support optimal beauty. Of course, not all nutrients are created equal. The most popular nutricosmetics ingredients function both as key beauty building blocks and supporters of other nutrients and their roles in the body. A look at some of the top nutricosmetics on shelves reveals a powerful mix of these beauty-boosting ingredients, which work better together to turn back the clock from the inside out.
Collagen is a beauty buzzword and the star of the nutricosmetics category. As the most prominent protein in your body, and a nutrient that is not readily absorbable from foods, collagen strengthens hair, skin, and nails; reduces fine lines; and may also help support healthy, strong joints and bones. But not all type of collagen function the same way in your body. Types i and iii support healthy hair, skin and nails by tightening and firming tissue, while type ii promotes healthy joints, bones and cartilage. Many targeted beauty supplements combine collagen with vitamin C, lysine, or hyaluronic acid, ingredients that help your body produce more collagen.
Keratin, a protein that protects and strengthens skin, hair and nails, is a more recent addition to the nutricosmetics landscape. The newfound ability to create keratin that is bioactive and functional in the body means that formulas with “solubilized” keratin are hitting shelves; they’re touted for their ability to bind to hair, boosting volume, strength and shine.
Resveratrol, found mostly in red-grape skins and grape seeds, combats free radical damage, mainly by fending off harmful UV rays. New research indicates you may get the most protection by pairing a supplement with a lotion; grape flavonoids also help prevent UVA and UVB damage when applied topically. Resveratrol offers secondary actions to repair cells as well.
Produced naturally by the body (and found in plants and minerals), silica is most concentrated in skin, hair and fingernails, where it enhances collagen production to help strengthen hair and nails and keep skin supple and wrinkle-free. Supplementing with bioavailable, plant-derived silica can help make up for age-related loss of collagen production and keep concentrations high in your key beauty areas.
Also called vitamin H or vitamin B7, biotin is a water-soluble, B-complex vitamin produced naturally in the intestine. Biotin is a key ingredient in hair and nail strengthening formulas because it aids in metabolism of protein, fats, and carbohydrates and is believed to be associated with hair and nail growth.
A hydrating, gel-like molecule, hyaluronic acid holds a thousand times its weight in water, drawing moisture from the air to fill wrinkles. For this reason, many experts tout this natural substance-. It is now available in serums, creams, masks, gel caps, and liquid supplements. It is the ultimate ingredient for turning backs the hands of time by hydrating skin and helping to reduce fine lines.
Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is a fatty acid found naturally in the body and in a small amount in some foods. It’s a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound that supports and replenishes other antioxidants to boost their power. As one of the few antioxidants soluble in both water and fat, ALA disarms free radicals almost anywhere in the body- from watery substance such as blood to fatty substances such as cholesterol. ALA also helps keep blood sugar stable, preventing some of the aging effects of mis-managed blood sugar levels.
Vitamin C is a potent anti-ager and a foundational nutrient in regimens that target beauty from within. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for collagen synthesis, as well as an important source of free-radical fighting antioxidants that prevent cellular damage and inflammation that otherwise leads to visible signs of aging. It’s particularly helpful when taken at doses significantly higher than the daily reference intake (90 mg for men and 75 mg for women), says Michael Janson, MD, author of a review of anti-aging supplements published in Clinical Interventions in Aging.
The state of your skin is a reflection of your inner health, and one look in the mirror may be able to help you pinpoint common deficiencies. Here’s what your complexion could be telling you about your wellness.
Research from the Yale School of Medicine shows that deeper wrinkles may also indicate lower bone density, which increases fracture risk. The reason: Skin and bones share the same building block proteins, including collagen ( in fact, bones are comprised of 36 percent collagen), which keeps skin taut and wrinkle-free.
Take 6,000 mg collagen, including types I and III ( for younger skin with fine lines 2,000 mg is more appropriate) daily and eat foods containing lysine, an amino acid that helps your body build collagen and absorb calcium. Lysine-rich foods include fish, egg whites, and legumes. It’s also important to supplement with vitamin C, which has been proven to help collagen formation in the body.
Skin pallor could signal various concerns, including anemia or hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). If you have hypothyroidism you also may notice yellowish skin or orange palms and soles, thought to result from impaired conversion of beta-carotene to vitamin A.
If anemia is causing your pallor, your medical practitioner will check your levels of vitamins B6, B12, B9(folate), iron, and vitamin C; deficiencies may require large-dose treatments to get you back on track. If hypothyroidism is the culprit, as part of a comprehensive thyroid-stabilizing diet you’ll want to incorporate vitamin D (1,000-2,000 IU daily), iron (15-30 mg elemental iron daily), and selenium (400mcg daily).
The pesky discolorations, also known as melasma, appear on the face, nails, hands, or even hair, and signal increased melanin production. Aging and sun exposure are common culprits, but another possible cause is insufficient vitamin B12, a nutrient that helps regulate body’s pigment production and location.
Take 1,000 mcg vitamin B12 daily to restore skin’s original hue. Also eat vitamin B12-rich foods, including sardines, salmon, and yogurt. Supplementing daily with 2 mg astaxanthin, a natural carotenoid from micro-algae, can also regulate melanin production.
Hormones and irritating products aren’t the only culprits behind breakouts. Redness and irritation may be signals that toxins have overloaded your organs or that your digestion is off-kilter.
Avoid sugars, refined carbs, red meat, and overly processed foods, which tax the liver and attack your skin‘s collagen. Instead, choose detoxifying green tea, green-food smoothies, probiotic-rich fermented foods and enzyme-packed papaya and pineapple, which “help clean up areas of inflammation when eaten between meals and not with other foods,” says Alan Datter, MD, a New York-based holistic dermatologist, founder of holisticdermatology.com, and Delicious Living advisory board member. Dr. J’s Natural – SIMPLE DETOX and SIMPLE CLEANSE are supplements products that are clinically proven to help get rid of all the toxins in your gut, kidney, liver and overall colon. Many of the customers and patients benefit from these two dietary supplements to help them with a CLEAN start says Jacqueline Nguyen, Pharm.D, a clinical pharmacist and formulator for Dr.J's Natural and a holistic pharmacist for over 17 years.
SEVERELY DRY SKIN
While climate and season play a part, another common reason for perpetually dry, flaky, uncomfortable skin is fatty acid deficiency. This imbalance can be difficult to restore, according to Dattner. “Getting the right oils into your body can take months because they go into all of the cells,” he says.
Drink plenty of water (at least eight glasses daily) and eat fluid-dense fruits, vegetables, and beans to support the liquids in your skin cells. Then load up on enough cold-water fatty fish, such as salmon, and fish oil supplements to obtain 3,000 mg fish oil daily. Be sure to assess your lifestyle, too. Your environment, health status, and exercise routine can help you determine your appropriate intake. Supplementing with and applying hyaluronic acid topically also is key to infusing moisture.
LIVING FOR BEAUTY
One major perks of taking care of your beauty from the inside out? Your overall health gets a boost as well. Certainly the lifestyle modifications that support beauty-- a nutrient-dense diet, beauty sleep, working out, staying hydrated--- keep your body healthy and fit. And if you’re seeing early signs of aging in the mirror, it could be signal that your lifestyle needs a tune up. “Studies show skin damage often reflects a person’s health and vitality,” says Alan Logan, ND, coauthor of Your Skin, Younger (Cumberland House, 2010). Consider recent studies of twins, which found the younger-looking twin had healthier habits, less stress, and fewer medical problems—and ultimately lived longer.
Fall to get a restful night of sleep and you miss out on more than sweet dreams… those skipped hours of snoozing are a prime anti- aging period. “That old adage—gets your beauty sleep—is real,” says Amy Wechsler, MD, author of The Mind-Beauty Connection (Free Press, 2008). During sleep, your body produces human growth hormone (HGH, aka the anti- aging hormone), which rebuilds and rejuvenates skin cells. But when you’re anxious and losing sleep, the levels of the stress hormone cortisol skyrocket, disturbing the hormonal balance needed for a healthy complexion. Excess cortisol can also attack collagen, causing inflammation-related issues, from joint pain to acne. You can get back on track in a matter of days if you aim for eight hours of quality sleep nightly, says Wechsler. And if you can’t fit in eight hours, aim for an extra half hour per week or take 20-minute naps. Don’t be surprised if you notice radiant, and more resilient, skin as a result.
FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH
Water: Is it the untapped the fountain of youth? “There are hundreds of theories on aging and disease. But I believe that the one thing that transcends all of these, the final common pathway, is intracellular water,” says Howard Murad, MD, author of The Water Secret (Wiley, 2010). While staying hydrated can support your cells, the solution isn’t necessarily drinking the traditional eight glasses of water a day, a recommendation based on research from 1945, according to Murad. “You can utilize foods for water,” he said, getting H2O in its “structured” form in beans, fruits and vegetables, which also harbor the nutrients that will help boost intracellular water and collagen production. His program and products has also pinpointed the most promising skin-protective, collagen-boosting nutrients: glucosamine, Vitamins B and C, lipids and amino acids. After all, the water that protects your cells may be his key to healthy aging, but “water is just water unless we add nutrients to it.”
FIT AND GORGEOUS
If you want to live longer and better, break out those jogging shorts. A recent study determined that people who exercised had longer leukocyte telomeres- the parts of white blood cells that shorten with age and eventually lead to cell death. Regular exercise improves circulation (giving you a gorgeous glow), reduces inflammation, and releases endorphins, stress fighting neurotransmitters. Another reason why exercise may stave off aging is because it naturally increases hormone levels. “As you age, your hormone levels drop, and that changes your body composition, your energy levels, and your quality of life, “ says Vincent Giampapa, MD. “Exercise is the easiest, least expensive way to balance your hormones. Twenty minutes of aerobics followed by 40 minutes of weight training or yoga actually changes your testosterone level, your DHEA level, your cortisol level your thyroid hormone level, as well as a number of other hormones”, But as you get older, you’ll need to do it more and more to see benefits, he says. So if you’re in your 30’s, aim for exercise three times a week; in your forties, four times a week; and so on.