Chances are that soft, supple skin that feels good and looks healthy (not to mention youthful) is on your most-wanted list. To really bring an end to dry, unhealthy-looking skin, the secret is to start from the inside out — the skin’s inner layers, like the dermis, are heavily involved in its structural support, elasticity and resiliency. Luckily, a few simple additions to your supplement and dietary plan can do the trick.
Nature’s natural de-wrinkler
Your skin responds remarkably well to an increase in good dietary fats and a decrease in bad ones. In fact, after just one month on fish oils I had one patient ask me if I gave her some special anti-wrinkling pills! Omega-3 fish oils are an absolute superfood for your skin. Research published in the Journal of Investigational Dermatology emphasizes the importance of fish oils as potent anti-inflammatory and moisturizing agents. Another study found fish oil to be effective in reducing wrinkle formation and preventing signs of chronological aging, such as thinning of the skin. To enjoy the benefits, take two to four capsules (or one teaspoon) of omega-3s twice daily, with food.
Eat lots of healthy fats
In addition to avocado, olives, olive oil, walnuts, almonds and coconut oil, you can add macadamia nut oil into your diet (available at specialty and health food stores). Macadamia nut oil has the highest concentration of monounsaturated fats (85 percent) of any oil, including olive oil which contains up to 75 percent monounsaturated fats. These fats make your skin fresh, supple and elastic. One study found that macadamia nut oils are rich sources of both vitamin E and squalene, a naturally occurring antioxidant that protects us from sun damage. As an added benefit, it has a high heat point (401 F), so I often recommend it for cooking.
Don’t forget your multi
A daily multivitamin can provide all the nutrients your skin cells need, while protecting you from the nutrient deficiencies that can lead to skin problems. For instance, insufficient intake of vitamin A, zinc, vitamin B complex, vitamin B12, folic acid or chromium is linked to dermatitis, abnormal alterations in skin cell DNA and acne. Even mild deficiencies can impede your skin’s ability to heal and repair itself. The fat-soluble vitamins you get from your multi — especially vitamins A and E — help prevent dryness and wrinkling and vitamin C is known to prevent bruising and broken blood vessels and support the production of collagen (in conjunction with copper and iron). Vitamin C has documented antioxidant effects on our skin cells as well. In fact, the antioxidants A, E, selenium and zinc work synergistically with vitamin C to protect us from skin cancer and aging.
Add in some krill oil
Krill oil made a recent appearance on Dr. Oz, and for good reason. It can do wonders for attacking inflammation, cholesterol, PMS and wrinkles. Three of the most important nutrients in krill oil are: omega-3 fatty acids similar to those of fish oil, omega-3 fatty acids attached to phospholipids and astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant. In fact, the ORAC value (antioxidant capacity) of krill oil has been shown to be 300 times greater than vitamins E or A alone and 48 times greater than regular fish oil. Its high phospholipid content makes it an ideal supplement choice for delivering moisture and hydration to the skin, and its high astaxanthin content has also been shown to prevent UV sun damage from occurring, and may actually help to reverse external signs of aging from the inside out. Take one to two capsules twice daily, with food, in conjunction with your fish oil. Avoid krill oil if you have an allergy to shellfish and as with all supplements, you should consult your health practitioner before beginning.
Try whey for younger skin
Whey protein provides an excellent source of essential building blocks for the elastin and collagen proteins in your skin. Consuming protein helps maintain the tone, texture and resiliency of your skin. Protein is also necessary for skin healing and for the production of growth hormone and melatonin, which help skin cells repair. Whey protein also contains glutathione, one of our most potent antioxidants, which helps protect our cells from aging and disease. Add one serving of whey protein isolate (which is 99 percent lactose-free) to your smoothies one to two times a day to reap the rewards of healthy skin.
Natasha Turner, N.D. is a naturopathic doctor, Chatelaine magazine columnist, and author of the bestselling books The Hormone Diet and her newest release, The Supercharged Hormone Diet, now available across Canada. She is also the founder of the Toronto-based Clear Medicine Wellness Boutique.