Skin is the largest organ of the human body, and gets its nutrition from what we consume. So the saying that we are what we eat is really true!
So what does the skin do?
The skin serves as a protective barrier between us and the world we are exposed to. It protects us from infection, regulates our body temperature, and protects all the underlying structures of our body. Essentially the skin is one of our first lines of defense, as well as one of the first things others notice about us.
Remember we never get a second chance to make that first impression and a healthy skin tells others a lot about us! It is also important to keep in mind that unhealthy appearing or diseased skin (such as acne, eczema, etc.) can also take a toll on our personal self esteem.
Have you ever wondered about the best foods or supplements to give you that glowing complexion? While our diet and supplementation are essential, it is also important not to forget that in order for the skin to glow we need plenty of water, sleep, while avoiding smoking and tanning. But be patient when making dietary and supplement changes, as it can take up to 3 months, or 2 skin cycles (a skin cycle is 6 weeks long) to start seeing changes!
Supplements And Food Sources For Gorgeous Skin:
- Vitamin A: Better known as Retin-A in the topical skin care preparation. When taken as an oral supplement it helps decrease oil production in the skin, and replenishes our connective tissues. Food sources include carrots, and pumpkins. Be careful when taken orally, as Vitamin A is lipid soluble and it can be dangerous taking too much!
Some food sources for Vitamin A: Liver, carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, eggs, spinach, and broccoli.
- Vitamin C: In general Vitamin C is an antioxidant, as well as an anti-inflammatory, that helps the body absorb and assimilate collagen and iron, allowing them to do their job in the body. Vitamin C prevents against wrinkles and a dull appearance of the skin. It promotes hair growth, decreases hair loss, and improves hair thickness. It also promotes tighter and brighter skin, with less dryness overall.
Some food sources for Vitamin C Include: All colors of fruits and vegetables.
- Vitamin D: Known to repair the epidermis (outer layer of the skin), and also plays a role in the metabolism and repair of the skin. Can decrease acne and brown spots. The sun can provide us with Vitamin D, however we still want to be careful with too much exposure, as that itself causes damage! Oral supplementation with Vitamin D can be helpful. Be careful when taken orally, as Vitamin D is lipid soluble and it can be dangerous taking too much!
Some food sources for Vitamin D include: Egg yolks, liver, fatty fish like tuna and salmon, and cheeses.
- Vitamin E: A rich antioxidant that fights free radical damage in the skin and body. Vit E helps repair and prevent fine lines in the skin, and also can promote hair growth. Be careful when taken orally, as Vitamin E is lipid soluble and it can be dangerous taking too much!
Some food sources for Vitamin E include:Wheat germ avocado, and olive oil.
- Biotin: Biotin is also know as B7, provides support to your skin, hair nails, nervous system, digestive tract, and even supports your metabolism. Biotin is not absorbed well through the skin, and is more beneficial when consumed.
Some food sources for Biotin include: Eggs, nuts, legumes, almonds, organ meats, avocado, cheeses, and mushrooms.
- Chlorophyll: Chlorophyll stimulates the lymphatic system and promotes movement of fluid in the body. Thus, in turn helps to decrease puffy skin (think of the eyes!). Chlorophyll also provides nutrients and increased oxygen in the skin, creating a more youthful glow! Another great quality of Chlorophyll is that it gives us more energy.
Some food sources for Chlorophyll include: All dark green vegetables.
- CoEnzyme Q10 (CoQ10): CoQ10 is also a known antioxidant like Vit C and Vit E. Research suggest that CoQ10 prevents damage at the DNA level from UV radiation exposure, and stimulating protein production in the body and skin.
Some food sources for CoQ10 include:Organ meats, sardines, and mackerel.
- Collagen: Collagen is produced naturally in the human body, but declines as we age. Collagen is the primary structure of our skin, and when it decreases so does the appearance of our youthful skin. Also, as we age the collagen our body still has becomes a deformed and weakened structure, causing sagging as well as fine lines and wrinkles. Supplementing with Collagen (along with Vitamin C) gives the skin, and entire body the chance to repair and rebuild itself (our joints and connective tissue will also benefit!) Collagen is found in bone broths, and can also be found in both powder and capsular forms.
- Fern Extract or Polypodium Leucotomos Extract (PLE): There has been almost 2 decades of research on this supplement, and it has been found to show protection from ultraviolet rays, as well as an anti-inflammatory for skin tissue. T he Fern Extract is derived from a fern found mostly in South America, and is an antioxidant that builds and restores collagen in the body and skin.
- Glucosamine: Glucosamine is an amino acid, and is commonly found in BCAA supplements. It is responsible for reducing the amount of melanin (color cells) in the skin and promotes a more even skin tone, preventing brown spots. Glucosamine also reduces wrinkles, promotes healing and give a hydrated appearance to the skin. Glucosamine comes from the exoskeleton of crustaceans (shrimp and lobster) shells. While eating shrimp and lobster can only provide trace amounts of Glucosamine.
- Hyaluronic Acid (HA): Hyaluronic Acid helps the skin maintain its moisture balance by holding water, as well as promote elasticity. HA naturally declines with age, giving the skin a more parched appearance. While adding HA back through topical creams is beneficial, oral supplements also give the skin a more dewy glow. HA is like a sponge that holds water, and is also beneficial to the joints and connective tissues.
Some food sources for HA include:Leafy greens, root vegetables, soy, and broths from animal bones.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3’s are known for preventing damage from ultraviolet rays that damage collagen which in turn promotes fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging. Omega-3 can help delay aging of the skin by regulating oil production and keeping the skin and underling structures moist. It also promotes healthy hair making it more shiny and less dull and dry.
Some food sources for Omega-3 include: Sardines, salmon, black walnuts, hemp and chia seeds.
- Iron: Iron is necessary to activate the family of B vitamins in the human body. Lack of iron in the body can make your skin appear thin and dry, as well as giving weak and brittle nails. While proper iron levels in the body means glowing skin, it is best to only supplement with extra iron if your blood levels are low, as too much iron in the body can promote free radical damage.
Some food sources for Iron include: Red meat, poultry, fish, beans, dark green vegetables, raisins, and apricots.
- Zinc: Zinc is a powerful antioxidant, with anti-inflammatory properties. Is a great mineral to combat bacteria associated with acne. Zinc Picolinate and Zinc Menthionine are the better choices to supplement with, as they are easily absorbed and utilized by the body. Watch your dose though, too much Zinc can really upset your digestive system!
Some food sources for Zinc include: Spinch, beef, oysters, kidney beans, flax and pumpkin seeds.