There is no question that there is a huge focus in our modern society to look and feel youthful. But the aging process doesn’t just affect what we can see; it also changes the cardiovascular, digestive, nervous and musculoskeletal systems.
If you’re concerned about looking and feeling older, you can prevent aging in a number of ways. But among all the tips, tricks, products and treatments, there is an entire industry devoted to anti-aging vitamins for the skin.
Learn about popular anti-aging skin supplements here and find out if they can help you prevent the visible signs of aging.
What are Anti-Aging Skin Supplements?
Products marketed as anti-aging skin supplements, also called “nutraceuticals”, are designed to address the visible signs of aging and may come in tablet, capsule, liquid, or powder form. Ingredients may include single nutrients or a combination of vitamins, minerals, fats, and plant botanicals or extracts.
New research and innovative ingredients are regularly being introduced into the marketplace. With a huge interest in delaying and reversing the signs of aging coming from the Baby Boomer population, the anti-aging industry has exploded over the last decade. The nutraceuticals market is no exception, with sales projected to reach $4.24 billion worldwide by the year 2017.
Why Anti-Aging Skin Supplements?
While aging is inevitable, you may be able to slow the process by ensuring that the nutrients your body needs are available to reduce damage and support tissue repair.
Ideally, you want to obtain these nutrients from the foods you eat. However, since the standard American diet is lacking in fruits and vegetables – a key source for vitamins, minerals and antioxidants – supplementing with anti-aging skin supplements can help fill these gaps in the diet.
Many of the nutrients that you will find in anti-aging supplements are also included in anti-aging skincare product lines. By taking a bi-directional approach – doing on the inside what you are doing on the outside – you can complement your skin care regimen and give your body an added dose of nutrients.
Anti-Aging Skin Supplements Benefits?
A primary benefit for taking anti-aging skin supplements is for their antioxidant activity. As the name implies, antioxidants are “anti” oxidation. In other words, antioxidants slow down the “internal rusting” of our bodies as we age.
Antioxidants work in the body to reduce, neutralize and eliminate free-radicals. In fact, different antioxidants work in different parts of the body to protect various organ systems. That’s why antioxidants are the cornerstone of an anti-aging skin supplement program.
In addition to supplementing the diet and providing antioxidant protection, anti-aging benefits vary and may include supporting collagen and elastin production; increasing or normalizing skin cell turnover; providing anti-inflammatory benefit to the skin; speeding the healing process of blemishes; hydration or plumping the skin; and protection from harmful UV rays.
What are the Best Anti-Aging Skin Supplements?
Anti-aging skin supplements can be divided into five categories: vitamins, minerals, Omega-3s, phytonutrients and probiotics. Here is a list of popular nutrients you may want to consider when supplementing.
Vitamins are essential nutrients found in fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts & seeds, legumes, spices, dairy products and meat.
Extremely important for eye health, vitamin A is also used in the body to support normal skin cell turn over and to repair skin tissue. Vitamin A derivatives, like retinol, are frequently used in topical skin care products to smooth and clarify skin.
Also known as the “stress fighting” family of vitamins, the B-Complex supports healthy nerves, skin, eyes, hair, liver and mouth. Two of the B-vitamins, biotin and pantothenic acid, are essential for smooth skin and lustrous, shiny hair.
Sometimes called ascorbic acid, vitamin C has excellent antioxidant properties. This vitamin is incorporated into an enzyme that helps stabilize collagen. It also promotes the healing of blemishes and discoloration of the skin.
Vitamin E actually refers to a family of eight compounds. Some of the compounds are more potent in terms of increasing the skin’s ability to stand up to the sun’s UV rays. Other members of the family have more antioxidant, cholesterol lowering, and anti-cancer effects.
Dietary minerals are naturally occurring elements essential for health and are found in fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts & seeds, legumes, spices, dairy products and animal sources. Minerals are oftentimes concentrated in dark leafy greens and in the skins of fruits and vegetables.
A trace mineral that works in balance with vitamin C and zinc, copper is essential for the formation of collagen – a protein that helps keep skin elastic and wrinkle-free.
This mineral acts as an antioxidant and is essential for collagen formation. Zinc promotes efficient healing of skin infections, is important for tissue strength & repair and helps normalize sebum production for oily skin types.
Selenium is important for inhibiting the oxidation of fats and protecting vitamin E, helping to keep skin soft and supple.
There are 3 chains of fatty acid chains called ALA, EPA and DHA. Typically, ALA comes from plant sources like hemp, flax and chia seeds. EPA and DHA are found in high concentration in animal sources like cold-water fish and krill oils.
An excellent source of essential fats required for healthy-looking skin, flax seed oil contains the Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA is especially important promote and maintain skin health and hydration.
A primary benefit of fish oil is its natural anti-inflammatory properties. Fish oil also lubricates the skin from within, helps protect against skin cancer and provides joint health properties.
“Phyto” or plant chemicals found in fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, teas, legumes and spices. Phytonutrients are responsible for protecting the plant from harmful oxidation, viruses, bacteria, parasites and insects.
A potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, anthocyanidins help improve vascular health and capillary strength. This phytonutrient also helps prevent cancer cell development.
Like many other phytonutrients, ellagic acid had potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits.
Not only does lycopene protect against heart attacks, but it is also associated with reduced risk of cancer. Additionally, this phytonutrient has antioxidant benefits for the skin.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are included in a group of compounds called “carotenoids”. They protect the skin by absorbing UV rays and quenching free-radicals that may be produced in the skin after exposure to the light. Studies have shown that supplementation can also improve skin hydration, skin lipid content, and skin elasticity. Most importantly, lutein and zeaxanthin may prevent and slow Age-Related Macular Degeneration.
These phytonutrients are part of a group of compounds called “carotenoids”. Some carotenoids convert into vitamin A for use in the skin. Some carotenoids do not convert into vitamin A and, instead, they exert potent antioxidant protective benefits.
A potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, resveratrol’s natural occurrence in wine has been associated with the “French Paradox” – a lower incidence of coronary heart disease, despite higher intake of saturated fats. Resveratrol is also linked to protection against obesity & diabetes and promotes eye health.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that improve the health of the gut, support the digestive system and boost the immune system. Probiotics occur naturally in fermented foods like yogurt, miso, and sauerkraut.
Recent studies show that supplementing with a range of probiotics can help protect the skin from UV radiation and improve skin barrier function. Additionally, certain probiotics can help reduce symptoms of acne.
Fight Aging from the Inside Out
Regardless of your motivation, if you want to actively manage the aging process, one of the best ways is by adding a high-quality anti aging supplement to your daily routine. When combined with a health-promoting diet, professional skin care products, daily use of a sunscreen, you can quell the aging process.
David H. Rahm, M.D. is the founder and medical director of The Wellness Center, a medical clinic located in Long Beach, CA. Dr. Rahm is also president and medical director of VitaMedica. Dr. Rahm is one of a select group of conventional medical doctors who have education and expertise in functional medicine and nutritional science. Over the past 20 years, Dr. Rahm has published articles in the plastic surgery literature and educated physicians about the importance of good peri-operative nutrition.