Nutritional supplements for the skin

A nutrient-dense diet is a lifestyle factor that plays an important role in maintaining healthy skin. Supplementation is often needed to help with certain skin conditions or to simply help prevent the signs of premature ageing.

It is important to understand how specific supplements impact the skin in order to help us choose the right supplements for optimal skin health. This article outlines research that is associated with various nutrients in order to help you understand which nutrients play a vital role in nurturing and maintaining healthy skin.

Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids that have been well-documented to decrease inflammation within the body. To date, in relation to skin health, omega-3 fatty acids have been studied in their relation to skin cancer formation. A 2014 meta-analysis in the International Journal of Cancer, found that although available evidence is suggestive that omega-3 fatty acid consumption may play a part in skin cancer prevention, more research needs to be done in order to confirm this.1

The administration of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oils in animal studies was found to be as effective as suppressing an immune response (such as one that is stimulated in an allergic attack of the skin) as the drug cyclosporin A, a well-known immunosuppressive drug. In fact, consumption of omega-3 fatty acids significantly reduced the severity of dermatitis and the thickening of the epidermis.2

Since there is strong evidence of the anti-inflammatory effect of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oils, it is a warranted supplement for skin health.

Recommendations for choosing the right supplements for your skin:

  • Choose whole food supplements. Although the best recommendation is to eat a diverse diet from real, whole foods, supplements are often needed in order to make up for any deficiencies one may have. The best addition to any diet is a supplement sourced from real food. This will help with the absorption of the vitamins and minerals needed to enhance skin health.

  • Choose a fish oil supplement mixed with antioxidants. Although fish oil is very therapeutic, research shows that it can oxidise quickly in the body and cause damage. In order to avoid this, choose a fish oil that is mixed with plant phenols such as those found in olive oil. This will help the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils to be effective instead of deleterious.

  • Get your collagen from bone broth. Bone broth sourced from organic, grass-fed livestock or poultry is a rich source of collagen. Once you make bone broth, you can keep it in the freezer and drink one cup, twice daily to enhance collagen stores. Make sure to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables in order to get enough vitamin C to support collagen synthesis.

  • The right form of vitamin C. Many people wrongly assume that the only form of vitamin C is ascorbic acid. This is not the case. There are many forms of vitamin C that work synergistically to optimise the functioning of the body. Make sure to look out for a variety of forms of vitamin C when choosing a supplement. Examples include calcium ascorbate and magnesium ascorbate.

A clean diet from whole, real foods is imperative for optimal skin health. Remember that a diet high in processed foods like sugar and white flour can lead to premature ageing of the skin. In addition to a clean diet, the right kinds of supplements can enhance the quality of the skin and can prevent nutrient deficiencies that can lead to skin disorders like dermatitis, acne, psoriasis or skin cancer.


References and Sources:

  1. Noel, Sophie E., Adam Stoneham, Catherine M. Olsen, Lesley E. Rhodes, and Adele C. Green. “Consumption of omega-3 fatty acids and the risk of skin cancers: A systematic review and meta-“International journal of cancer 135, no. 1 (2014): 149-156. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ijc.28630/abstract;jsessionid=667AD5F4B9E731341C6B79254D24064A.f04t02 [Accessed March 20, 2017].
  2. Park, Bo-Kyung, Sunyoung Park, Jun-Beom Park, Min Chul Park, Tae Sun Min, and Mirim Jin. “Omega-3 fatty acids suppress Th2-associated cytokine gene expressions and GATA transcription factors in mast cells.”The Journal of nutritional biochemistry 24, no. 5 (2013): 868-876. http://www.jnutbio.com/article/S0955-2863(12)00149-0/abstract [Accessed March 20, 2017].
  3. Kim, Hyeong Mi, Hyo Sun An, Jung-Soo Bae, Jung Yun Kim, Chi Ho Choi, Ju Yeon Kim, Joo Hyuck Lim et al. “Effects of palmitoyl-KVK-L-ascorbic acid on skin wrinkles and pigmentation.”Archives of Dermatological Research: 1-6. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00403-017-1731-6 [Accessed March 20, 2017].
  4. Lin, Jing-Yi, M. Angelica Selim, Christopher R. Shea, James M. Grichnik, Mostafa M. Omar, Nancy A. Monteiro-Riviere, and Sheldon R. Pinnell. “UV photoprotection by combination topical antioxidants vitamin C and vitamin E.”Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 48, no. 6 (2003): 866-874. http://www.jaad.org/article/S0190-9622(03)00781-3/abstract [Accessed March 20, 2017].
  5. Sorg, Olivier, and J-H. Saurat. “Topical retinoids in skin ageing: a focused update with reference to sun-induced epidermal vitamin A deficiency.”Dermatology 228, no. 4 (2014): 314-325. http://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/360527 [Accessed March 20, 2017].
  6. Naldi, L., Fabio Parazzini, L. Peli, L. Chatenoud, and T. Cainelli. “Dietary factors and the risk of psoriasis. Results of an Italian case–control study.”British Journal of Dermatology 134, no. 1 (1996): 101-106. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1365-2133.1996.d01-734.x/full [Accessed March 20, 2017].
  7. Lin, Fuquan, Wen Xu, Cuiping Guan, Miaoni Zhou, Weisong Hong, Lifang Fu, Dongyin Liu, and Aie Xu. “Niacin protects against UVB radiation-induced apoptosis in cultured human skin keratinocytes.”International journal of molecular medicine 29, no. 4 (2012): 593-600. https://www.spandidos-publications.com/ijmm/29/4/593 [Accessed March 20, 2017].
  8. Proksch, E., D. Segger, J. Degwert, M. Schunck, V. Zague, and S. Oesser. “Oral supplementation of specific collagen peptides has beneficial effects on human skin physiology: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study.”Skin pharmacology and physiology 27, no. 1 (2013): 47-55. http://www.karger.com/article/Abstract/351376 [Accessed March 20, 2017].
  9. Rostami Mogaddam, Majid, Nastaran Safavi Ardabili, Nasrollah Maleki, and Maedeh Soflaee. “Correlation between the severity and type of acne lesions with serum zinc levels in patients with acne vulgaris.”BioMed research international 2014 (2014). https://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2014/474108/abs/ [Accessed March 20, 2017].
  10. Bouchez, Colette. “Skin Nutrition: Vitamins and Minerals for Your Skin.” http://www.webmd.com/beauty/features/nutrients-for-healthy-skin-inside-out#5 [Accessed March 20, 2017].
  11. Axe, Josh. “Top 12 Argan Oil Benefits for Skin and Hair.” https://draxe.com/argan-oil-benefits-skin-hair/ [Accessed March 20, 2017].
  12. Boucetta, Kenza Qiraouani, Zoubida Charrouf, Hassan Aguenaou, Abdelfattah Derouiche, and Yahya Bensouda. “The effect of dietary and/or cosmetic argan oil on postmenopausal skin elasticity.”Clinical interventions in aging10 (2015): 339.
  13. Evangelista, Mara Therese Padilla, Flordeliz Abad-Casintahan, and Lillian Lopez- “The effect of topical virgin coconut oil on SCORAD index, transepidermal water loss, and skin capacitance in mild to moderate pediatric atopic dermatitis: a randomized, double-blind, clinical trial.”International journal of dermatology53, no. 1 (2014): 100-108. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ijd.12339/full [Accessed March 20, 2017].

More articles about nutrition and your skin