Your Skin & Nutrition - A Closer Look
The inside of your body is what creates the outside of your body. What you put in is what you get out. So when it comes to your skin, why assume that it would be any different? There are several nutrients that play crucial roles in the maintenance of skin health.
Vitamin A is a particularly important one. As we know, it works to prevent keratinization of the skin and to prevent suppression of mucus secretion. Ultimately however the purpose of vitamin A is to keep the skin cell turnover rate at its optimal rate (or to accelerate it) and the importance of this is highlighted by the success of retinol based products. It also works as a natural tanning agent when taken in higher doses (25,000IU+/day).
Next is vitamin C. We apply vitamin C serum to our skin to stimulate collagen production. It makes sense that the vitamin C we consume stimulates collagen growth from the inside which is vital for many parts of our body. If your diet is low in vitamin C, there is no doubt that your skin (and other parts of your body) will greatly suffer. There is also great evidence that supplementation of 500-1000mg of vitamin C daily has a diverse set of health benefits that go beyond just your skin.
Another key vitamin in skin health is vitamin E, the fat soluble antioxidant that encompasses the group of compounds that include tocopherols and tocotrienols. While the term “antioxidant” has gained an exaggerated level of popularity, it still holds true when the skin is involved. Low dose supplementation (~100IU/day) of vitamin E can help keep those reactive oxidative species in check at all times.
Beyond the vitamins, there are minerals which play vital roles in skin health. There is chromium as well as selenium (which have antioxidant properties) that work in a similar fashion to vitamin E and also help keep insulin sensitivity and immune function in check, respectively. There is also zinc that plays a major role in protein synthesis, wound healing, cell division and immune function. But in more important terms in this context, it assists in the proper structural formation of proteins and cell membranes and protects against UV radiation. It is also promising for helping to reduce acne and it upregulates levels of vitamin A in the body. Supplementation of zinc citrate at 20-30mg a day would undoubtedly improve skin health.
Lastly, with all of the talk about collagen it is common to question the intake of collagen itself. As it turns out that is a very viable methodology. Supplementation of 3 grams of type 1 and 3 collagen daily has been shown to increase the availability of collagen in middle aged women. This can serve as a great method for those looking to cover all angles in maximizing collagen in their skin, particularly for those who suffer from significant wrinkles. As an added benefit, the human body’s joints are also greatly thankful when it comes to collagen intake.
It is extremely important to keep in mind that supplements are not replacements for a well-balanced diet. Daily intake of important vegetables (ex. spinach, kale, broccoli, etc.) along with many fruits (ex. berries) play the most important nutritional role in skin care.