Begin From Within
I am a firm believer that the skin is a reflection of your inner health. Many clients come to me with skin complaint,s with many of them seeking topical treatments. I always end up telling them that a firm foundation in nutrition and cellular function becomes key in treating skin complaints. Many studies show the impacts of nutrient deficiencies on skin health and overall wellness when associated with chronic gut inflammation. And, many studies show positive associations of good skin health with a balanced diet. So, if you are trying to tackle skin complaints, let's begin from within.
Basic & essential nutrients for skin health
Vitamin A: Vitamin A regulates the division of skin cells; helps with repairing UV-damaged skin; and helps maintain the protein content in skin cells and round it. Takeaway: Vitamin A makes your skin look fresh and plump.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant to prevent the degradation of DNA, collagen, and skin elasticity. In order for its antioxidant properties to work, it also needs Vitamin E and Selenium. Vitamin C also works with calcium to help with skin cell division, making this vitamin another way to make your skin look fresh. One more thing, Vitamin C interferes with melanin production, which means that it can help reduce the appearance of dark spots.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D stimulates immune defenses against bacteria on the skin. Simple and easy.
Vitamin B3: There are a few types of B3, and I'm going to cover two of them for skin health. Niacin helps prevent the development of acne and niacinamide reduces hyperpigmentation (aka dark spots).
Zinc: This metal protects the skin against photo damage by absorbing UV and limiting the penetration of that damaging radiation into deeper skin structures, such as collagen. Takeaway: Zinc could prevent wrinkles.
Copper: Copper has 2 great functions in the skin. It acts as an antioxidant in the skin and it also stimulates the maturation of collagen.
Amino Acids: Proline and glutamine directly help with collagen synthesis in conjunction with vitamin C and copper. Studies also show that nitric oxide can help promote collagen synthesis in the skin, and amino acids that can help with that are arginine and ornithine.
Other antioxidants: Lycopene and lutein could work with enzymatic and non-enzymatic processes to prevent free radicals from damaging cellular structures in the skin. Resveratrol is a great anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory, which ultimately prevents the breakdown of collagen in the skin. The only thing with resveratrol is that it's not super absorbable. So, that can be a thing to consider when choosing supplements for skin-focused supplementation.
Diet Essentials for skin health
I'm pretty sure how you're thinking you can incorporate all of those single nutrients into your daily wellness routine. It would be a crazy amount of supplements to buy and take, right? That's where diet comes in. Studies show that a diet filled with fruits and vegetables is positively associated with good skin health. So, get on that plant-based diet, y'all! There are some other pointers that I gotta tell you to further enhance your begin from within journey.
Sugar: When carbohydrates are cooked, a process called the Maillard Reaction takes place. It's when sugars (called advanced glycation end products) become charged compounds that ultimately damage collagen fibers in the ski - leading to signs of aging. Don't worry! There are solutions for this. Foods that may inhibit advanced glycation end products are oregano, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and garlic. Lipoic acid may also help inhibit advanced glycation end products. Thank goodness for natural solutions!
Lipids (aka fats): Monounsaturated fats (such as olive oil, sesame oil, and avocados) can reduce damage from oxidative reactions from free radicals. (Again, free radicals can come from UV rays or from pollutants that the skin is in contact with.)
Calorie restriction: Research shows that calorie restriction without malnutrition delays the onset of aging in animal models. These studies shows increased values in collagen and elastic fibers and prevention of age-related changes in the fat layer of the skin.
Probiotics/fermented foods: Studies reveal that probiotics impact the integrity of your intestinal cells. Gut bacteria create short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) when they consume fibers and sugars from plant sources (pectins, hemicelluloses, gums, fructose, and galactose), which act as fuel for intestinal cells. SCFAs ultimately balance out immune response in the GI tract, which reduces intestinal inflammation. So, why care about intestinal inflammation? High rates of inflammation can reduce the amount of nutrient absorption you get from food. So, if you do not have balanced inflammation in the gut, you could be pooping out essential and basic nutrients that can support your skin.
When a firm foundation is set, I like recommended to patients to consider IV therapy. What's IV therapy? It's when you directly put vitamins and minerals into the blood stream, providing a bulk of nutrition. So, why do it? First, it's effective for people with chronic gut inflammation to replete their bodies of nutrients. Second, it helps make nutritional foundations firmer and allows for faster results in those with healthy gut cells. Additionally, when you supplement with vitamins and minerals orally, most of it becomes metabolized by the liver and excreted. Through direct placement of nutrients into the blood stream, you pass that process and get more nutrition for your buck. There are a variety of IV formulations that can be made for you to reach specific health and wellness goals. So, depending upon your medical history, labs and work-up, and goals, you can talk to your doctor about adding IV therapy with prescribed therapeutic diets, minerals, and vitamins for you to attain wellness quicker.
Cool, I've covered some of the basics to nutritionally maintain skin health. Did you learn anything new? Anything cool? Make sure to tune in for more Begin From Within posts that are coming soon. Expect coverage on goal-specific nutrition, naturopathic lifestyle modifications, and naturopathic topical treatments for common skin complaints and conditions. To find out when posts are up, make sure to follow my instagram.
If you need any professional guidance on what supplements to get or what therapeutic diets to do, come swing by Jupiter Naturopathic Wellness. I can formulate a hyper-personalized wellness ritual geared towards 1) healing inner imbalances and 2) directly targeting the skin to promote skin health so that you get a one-two punch with you treatment. With your personalized treatment plan, I may also recommend IV nutrient therapy and prescribe natural topical treatments to speed up the process of healing your skin and inner imbalances. So, if you're interested in healing from within, check out my booking page for details on how to schedule an appointment with me and what to expect at your first visit.
Until the next time, I hope you enjoy living naturopathically.
- Dr. B
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Nematy, Mohsen, et al. “A Review on Nutrition and Skin Aging.” Iranian Journal of Dermatology, vol. 18, no. 1, 2015, pp. 20–24.
Owczarek, Danuta. “Diet and Nutritional Factors in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.” World Journal of Gastroenterology, vol. 22, no. 3, 2016, p. 895., doi:10.3748/wjg.v22.i3.895.
Park, Kyungho. “Role of Micronutrients in Skin Health and Function.” Biomolecules & Therapeutics, vol. 23, no. 3, 2015, pp. 207–217., doi:10.4062/biomolther.2015.003.
Pullar, Juliet M., Anitra C. Carr, and Margreet C. M. Vissers. “The Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health.” Nutrients 9.8 (2017): 866. PMC. Web. 23 Dec. 2017.
DISCLAIMER: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. There are no financial ties to any supplement companies, pharmaceutical companies, or to any of the products mentioned in this post. This post is not meant to treat, cure, prevent, or diagnose conditions or diseases and is meant for educational purposes. As always, please consult your doctor before trying any new treatments or supplements.