Monday, March 16, 2015

Can Diets & Supplements Make Your Skin Look Sexier & Younger? Review Says What Works & What Doesn't Work

People pay thousand of dollars for topicals to make their skin look healthier and younger. Is it possible that the same or even more can be achieved by diet and significantly cheaper supplements?
Well, as a SuppVersity reader you can hardly be surprised to hear that the way you eat and supplement affects the way you look. What may surprise you is the fact that there are actually only few studies that investigated these effects systematically.

Luckily, the latest review of the few studies that exists comes right off the press and has just been published in the scientific journal Nutrition Research (Pezdric. 2015). In their review of all currently available studies that included participants aged at least 18 years, that observed or altered dietary intake from actual food or dietary supplement use, and assessed appearance related outcomes were, researchers from the University of Newcastle and the University of St Andrews compiled data from a total of 27 studies, involving 4741 participants and here is what they found.
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As far as the coloration of your skin is concerned, the excess consumption of kaki fruits (1kg per day), noni rolls (50 sheets per day), raw carrots (2kg per day), and tomatoes (0.5kg per day) or the simple consumption of 4410µg of beta carotene from supplements can lead to a mostly unwanted orange appearance of your skin.

A generally high intake of fruits and vegetables and thus (usually) an above average, but not excess intake of carotenes, vitamins in general and all sorts of polyphenols, on the other hand, are associated with reduced wrinkling of the skin. According to Purba et al. (2001) the highest association with this highly desirable effect was observed for higher intakes of vegetables, fruit, olive oil, and legumes. Cosgrove et al. (2007) expand on this results with their finding that higher intakes of vitamin C and linoleic acid were associated with a lower likelihood of skin wrinkling, dryness, and skin atrophy.
Figure 1:  Key mechanisms between dietary intake and appearance (Pezdirc. 2015).
While this may not be an objective measure of one's physical appearance, it's also worth mentioning that (24) found a significant correlation between the study participants' adherence to dietary guidelines and their likelihood to have a positive body image. This stands in line with observations of Lattimore et al (2010) who found that after consuming either cereal or muffins for breakfast, the adult, non-obese women who had been randomized to the cereal group were significantly more satisfied with their body image than those in the muffin group.

To battle facial wrinkles in particular various supplements (red ginseng root, squalene, appear to be most promising) have been found to be effective in randomized clinical trial of different methodological quality. Green tea (applied topical or ingested orally) and a high flavenol-cacao drink, on the other hand did not affect the wrinkles of the subjects of the corresponding studies.  As far as their effect on the elasticity and roughness of the skin is concerned both do yet appear to be promising. The alleged skin protective effects (against UV radiation) of probiotics, in this case and carotenoids could yet not be proven in a study by (Bouilly‐Gauthier. 2010) - in fact, there were significant increases in minimal erythema dose (MED) (threshold required to produce sunburn) after 6 weeks of dietary supplementation with Lactobacillus (La1) and 7.2 mg carotenoids (β-carotene and lycopene) and thus potentially negative long-term effects.

Much in contrast, the consumption of supplements containing polyphenols, and extracts of Ginkgo, Ruscus, Melilotus, and Centella asiatica, with and without the addition of fatty acids, vitamin E,
had surprisingly beneficial objectively and subjectively accessed effect on the cellulite appearance in women (Bacci. 2003).
If you are battling cellulite, this photo of a 37-year old woman some of you may already have seen Facebook may interest you. It testifies to the success of 12 weeks on 333U/cc retinol cream + high intensity laser pulses | learn more in a previous SV article.
Bottom line: While the overall effects in the randomized trials Pezdric et al. reviewed for their recent paper are not exactly earth-shatteringly impressive and the quality of some of the trials rather poor, there is little doubt that your diet will not just affect your body weight, but also your skin quality in the long-term. Whether following the dietary guidelines and eating tons of cereals and other "officially recommended" foods is the only or even the best way to improved skin quality is yet questionable.

What appears to be certain, though, is that supplements alone won't counter the negative effects of a messed diet and lifestyle habits like hour-long sunbathing which is among the number one factors to promote the aging of our skins | Thoughts? Leave a comment on Facebook!
  • Bacci, P. A., et al. "Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Double-Blind Clinical Study of the Efficacy of a Multifunctional Plant Complex in the Treatment of So-Called" Cellulite"." International Journal of Cosmetic Surgery and Aesthetic Dermatology 5.1 (2003): 53-68.
  • Bouilly‐Gauthier, D., et al. "Clinical evidence of benefits of a dietary supplement containing probiotic and carotenoids on ultraviolet‐induced skin damage." British Journal of Dermatology 163.3 (2010): 536-543.
  • Cosgrove, Maeve C., et al. "Dietary nutrient intakes and skin-aging appearance among middle-aged American women." The American journal of clinical nutrition 86.4 (2007): 1225-1231.
  • Lattimore, Paul, et al. "Regular consumption of a cereal breakfast. Effects on mood and body image satisfaction in adult non-obese women." Appetite 55.3 (2010): 512-521.
  • Purba, Martalena br, et al. "Skin wrinkling: can food make a difference?." Journal of the American College of Nutrition 20.1 (2001): 71-80.