Taking a holistic approach to aging skin.

Botox isn’t for everyone.  Even though injectable cosmetic procedures are effective and safe, some prefer to try holistic, nutritionally focused, approaches to maintain and improve their appearance. But can vitamin supplements really stop the clock?  And with the dizzying array of anti-aging supplements available, which one should you pick?

Decades of research in the use of supplements for anti-aging provide compelling evidence that vitamin supplements do in fact slow aging.

Decades of research in the use of supplements for anti-aging provide compelling evidence that vitamin supplements do in fact slow aging.  Some supplements do so by neutralizing free radicals– the dangerous, reactive molecule produced by sunlight, pollution, and smoke. Free radicals damage collagen and elastic fiber skin scaffolding by causing inflammation.  Scaffolding loss results in skin thinning and sagging.  While many serums can superficially provide an antioxidant or anti-inflammatory effect, they have difficulty penetrating deeply into the skin where UV rays cause damage.  In contrast, oral supplements can reach the deep dermis by systemic absorption. The best studied antioxidants for anti-aging are green tea extract, Vitamin C, CoQ10, astaxanthin, and lutein which noticeably reduce wrinkles in studies on human subjects.

Wrinkles can also be reduced by rebuilding lost collagen scaffolding.  Menopause and dropping estrogen levels are associated with a drop in collagen production by important skin scaffold building cells known as fibroblasts.   High sugar diets are another cause of collagen loss and conversely a low sugar diet preserves collagen.  Finally, there are collagen degrading enzymes present in the skin that can really wreak havoc on your skin known as matrix metalloproteinases. Oral supplements containing collagen hydrolysate taken daily rev up collagen production by fibroblasts (even during menopause) while matrix metalloproteinases inhibitors reduce collagen break-down.  Astaxanthin, a naturally occurring pigment found in some fish and algae (makes salmon pink) stops the matrix metalloproteinase driven collagen degradation and leaves skin hydrated and plump.

Lets not forget that exercise has an overall remarkable effect to preserve youthfulness, as long as you protect your skin from UV light with sunscreen, a hat and featherweight sun protective clothing while exercising outdoors.  Even exercise limited to the face can help.  In fact, a very interesting study showed that facial yoga exercises performed daily for 8 weeks, then every other day for 12 weeks, made study subjects look on average  2 years younger!  The facial exercises appeared to build facial tone and strengthen muscles. However, to be effective, exercises have to be done for 30 minutes a day.  Add that to your sun salutes and warrior II poses and watch your face grow serene and placid…or just get Botox.