4 skin nutrients prove to be effective.
Ever wonder if nutritional supplements marketed for beauty or aging skin actually work?
As a health coach for menopausal women, I get asked this on the regular. So I delved into it.
Many of these products highlight ingredients thought to hydrate and moisturize the skin—because dry skin highlights fine lines and wrinkles.
But are they backed by science?
Here’s a research review that answers that question. It’s a meta-analysis, meaning that researchers took multiple studies and then calculated the average results. This is considered to be one of the most reliable ways to analyze scientific evidence. After reviewing 66 studies looking at supplements for skin health, 4 were found to boost the skin’s moisture content when taken orally:
Collagen is a protein that builds connective tissues and supports skin elasticity. Collagen production declines with age, and collagen is broken down by exposure to sunlight. Collagen peptides or collagen hydrolysates were most used in these studies. I teach my Anatomy and Physiology students about collagen and aging skin every semester.
Ceramides are fatty acids that are produced in the sebaceous glands and help to strengthen the protective skin barrier. They are waxy lipid molecules that are a main component of the stratum corneum layer of the skin. Together with cholesterol and saturated fatty acids, they prevent water loss from the skin and provide a protective barrier from invasion by microorganisms.
Hyaluronin is more commonly called hyaluronic acid (HA). It’s a glycosaminoglycan (a long chain of sugars with amino groups) that is a building block for connective tissue and is well known for holding moisture in the skin. It maintains an open space in the basal layer of the skin to assist in skin turnover. In other words, HA helps you create new skin while simultaneously plumping up and hydrating skin. Juvaderm is a biosynthetic cosmetic filler, you’ve probably heard of it, used to replenish HA and eradicate skin wrinkles.
Procyanidins are a category of flavonoids found in many fruits and vegetables—especially apples, grape skins, berries, and tea. They have antioxidant properties to fight free radicals that contribute to the signs of aging.
Other supplements did not have enough evidence to show efficacy—including Lactobacillus fermented food, astaxanthin, and turmeric.
After being asked about this so often, I developed a supplement protocol for thin, dry, and aging skin. This can be found at our Fullscript dispensary at the following link: https://us.fullscript.com/protocols/btreacy-a-protocol-to-improve-aging-skin
The other issue we frequently get asked about is hyperpigmentation of skin. This is frequently due to sun damage and dry skin. A physician friend of mine with a background in chemistry, biochemistry, cosmetic medicine, and Harvard trained orthopedic surgeon developed a line of products that lighten the pigment changes of aging skin. His products are available at this website: https://skinsurrection.com/
Aging is inevitable, but the health and beauty of our skin truly respond to the nutrients we put into our bodies.
In collaboration with licensed physicians, age management is what I do for a living after a 30 year career in medical practice. You can age gracefully. The largest organ system in your body is your skin, and there are ways to keep it healthy. Learn more here .
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Sun Q, Wu J, Qian G, Cheng H. Effectiveness of Dietary Supplement for Skin Moisturizing in Healthy Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Front Nutr. 2022. [ link ]