Studies demonstrate that one of the most important, but often overlooked, measures to create healthy looking skin, smooth, hard nails and lustrous hair, is proper attention to nutrition and the use of a high potency multi-vitamin and mineral that is enriched with antioxidants, a B-50 complex and essential levels of minerals.
The skin is the largest organ in the human body. Each day, many thousands of skin cells are shed from the outer most layer and are continually replaced by rapidly dividing cells from the skin layers below. Due to their short lifespan and rapid growth rate, developing skin cells require a steady supply of specific nutrients from the bloodstream to develop in a healthy manner from one generation of cells to the next. As such, the optimal supply of nutrients from within the body is the first step in optimizing the texture and beauty of the skin. The key nutrients to produce beautiful, healthy-looking skin include:
Antioxidants: These have been shown to protect skin cells from free radical damage induced by sun exposure and other harmful chemicals. Sun induced free radical damage is known to cause rapid aging and wrinkling of the skin as well as other forms of skin damage, including cancerous changes. Evidence shows that supplementation with specific doses of Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Beta-carotene, selenium and zinc can intercept and neutralize free radicals and defend skin cells from many of these damaging effects. Human studies using various combinations of antioxidant vitamin and minerals have proven that these antioxidant supplements can greatly protect skin from ultra-violet light damage. To slow skin aging and wrinkling and reduce skin damage from ultra-violet light, individuals should ingest optimal levels of specific antioxidant nutrients on a daily basis.
It should be noted that antioxidant vitamins and minerals are also important to support detoxification function, helping to purify the blood from toxins that can aggravate various skin conditions (e.g., psoriasis, acne, eczema), and aid in the production of prostaglandin hormones that improve skin texture, smoothness and moisture. Antioxidant intake from diet and supplementation should be viewed as a necessary component of skin care management throughout adult life.
B-Vitamins: Virtually, all of the B-Vitamins are required at sufficient doses to ensure the healthy development of skin cells. Many skin disorders are known to result directly from sub-optimal B-Vitamin nutritional status. B-Vitamin deficiencies are known to produce various forms of dermatitis (skin inflammation problems), with lack of smoothness, seborrhoea-like scaly lesions, and/or irregular pigmentation. The use of B-Vitamin supplementation has been shown to correct these skin problems and successfully treat a wide range of dermatitis problems. B-Vitamins are also required as cofactors in the production of local prostaglandin hormones that improve the smoothness and texture of the skin. Experimental studies have also revealed that niacin (Vitamin B3) supplementation can help prevent ultra-violet light (e.g., sun-light) damage to the skin and guard against weakened skin immune function, by increasing energy availability to skin cells; helping skin cells repair free radical damage and mutations before they become permanent.
Vitamins A and D: Recent discoveries have highlighted the importance of Vitamins A and D in the normal growth and development of skin cells. Vitamin D receptors have been shown to be present on skin cells, which require adequate Vitamin D stimulation from within the body in order to develop normally. Vitamin A is also involved in growth and repair of skin cells. Vitamin A deficiency is known to cause thickened dry skin, which is prone to infection.
The Minerals Zinc and Selenium: Studies confirm that zinc nutrition is integral to achieving healthy-looking skin. Adequate zinc is involved in oil gland function, local skin hormone activation, wound healing, inflammation control within the skin and tissue regeneration of skin cells. Zinc supplementation is emerging as an important aspect of acne control and in the treatment of eczema and psoriasis. Studies indicate that the majority of people consume inadequate levels of zinc on a daily basis, which creates a marginal zinc deficiency and susceptibility to unhealthy skin, acne and other problems. The mineral selenium is also vital for healthy skin, playing a key role in antioxidant protection and in the prevention and management of various skin conditions. Studies show that selenium and zinc supplementation boost the skins antioxidant defenses, and help reduce UV-light induced free radical damage and mutations, to the genetic material (DNA) of skin cells, which in turn, slows skin aging and reduces skin damage.
Many vitamins and minerals are also needed to enhance the hardness and smoothness of nails and the sheen and quality of hair. In particular, calcium, iron and zinc are vital nutrients to form hard, smooth nails that do not chip, peel or crack easily. The typical North American diet is deficient in all three of these minerals and so, a well-designed high potency multi-vitamin and mineral can enhance not only skin appearance and skin texture, but also the appearance and integrity of nails and the sheen and texture of hair.
James Meschino is the author of the new book, The Wrinkle-Free Zone: Your Guide To Perfect Skin In 30 Days (Basic Health Publications; 2004; $14.95). He lectures extensively on the subject of nutrition and skin care management at many skin care and anti-aging centers. For more information on his book and seminars, please visit www.adeeva.com or call Adeeva at 1-888-494-1010.