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Vitamins And Minerals
Slow Aging And Enhance The Complexion

by James Meschino, D.C., M.S.

The skin is the largest organ in the human body. Each day many thousands of skin cells are shed from the outermost layer and continually replaced by rapidly dividing cells from the skin layers underneath. Due to their short lifespan and rapid growth rate, developing skin cells require a steady supply of specific nutrients, fed to them from the bloodstream, to remain and look healthy from one generation of cells to the next.

It is a simple fact that radiant, more youthful skin demands proper external care plus adequate vitamin and mineral intake to provide nourishment to developing skin cells. Optimal consumption of nutrients is an essential, but often overlooked, step in enhancing the texture and beauty of the skin. In the past few years, studies have revealed the optimal doses of various compounds required to help the body manufacture the smoothest, softest and most radiant skin, as well as minimize the formation of wrinkles and slow other characteristics of skin aging.

Antioxidant Nutrients

Ingestion of antioxidant vitamins and minerals from supplements has been shown to protect skin cells from free-radical damage induced by overexposure to ultraviolet light and various harmful environmental chemicals. In particular, free-radical damage from excessive UV overexposure can cause aging and wrinkling of the skin, as well as other forms of skin damage. Supplementation with specific doses of vitamin C, vitamin E, betacarotene, lycopene, selenium and zinc may boost the body’s ability to intercept and neutralize free radicals, defending skin cells from many of these damaging effects.

Antioxidant supplements can greatly protect the skin from free-radical damage, which depletes the skin’s antioxidant nutrient supply. A properly designed high-potency multivitamin and mineral that is fortified with optimal levels of specific antioxidant vitamins and minerals can help protect the skin from free-radical damage.

In addition to boosting the internal defenses, antioxidant vitamins and minerals can support detoxification by helping the body expel toxins that can aggravate various skin conditions (e.g., psoriasis, acne, eczema). These compounds also aid in the production of prostaglandin hormones that improve skin texture, smoothness and moisture.

Daily oral antioxidant supplementation should be viewed as a necessary component of skincare management throughout adult life. Topically applied antioxidants have been shown to be insufficient as a singular approach to protect the skin from free-radical damage, and do not influence detoxification and prostaglandin production. Only orally ingested antioxidants can provide all of these benefits.

A high-potency multiple vitamin and mineral supplement should contain the following levels of antioxidants:

  • Vitamin C—1,000 mg
  • Vitamin E—300-400 IU
  • Beta-carotene—10,000-20,000 IU
  • Vitamin A—2,000-3,000 IU
  • Selenium—75-200 mcg
  • Zinc—10-20 mg
  • Lycopene—5-10 mg

Beyond Antioxidant Power

In addition to their role as antioxidants, several of these nutrients play additional roles in skin health. For example, zinc status is integral to achieving healthy-looking skin. This mineral is involved in sebaceous gland function, local skin hormone activation, wound healing, inflammation and tissue regeneration. Studies indicate the majority of people do not consume enough zinc, creating a marginal zinc deficiency that can result in susceptibility to unhealthy skin, acne and other problems.

Selenium also is vital for healthy skin, playing a key role in antioxidant protection and the prevention and management of various skin conditions. Selenium and zinc supplementation boosts the skin’s antioxidant defenses and helps reduce freeradical damage and mutations to the DNA of skin cells. A high-potency multi- and mineral formula should contain 10-20 mg of zinc and 75-200 mcg of selenium to further boost antioxidant function within skin cells and enhance skin’s vitality and appearance.

The fat-soluble vitamins A and D also are important in the normal growth and development of skin cells. Skin cells have vitamin D receptors, and adequate vitamin D stimulation from within the body is required for those cells to develop normally. Vitamin A, meanwhile, is involved in the growth and repair of skin cells; in fact, vitamin A deficiency is known to cause thickened dry skin that is prone to infection. However, too much vitamin A also can damage skin and internal organs. Ideally, optimal dosages will be incorporated in a high-potency vitamin and mineral multiple to provide a full cohort of complementary nutrients.

The B Vitamins

Virtually all of the B vitamins are required at sufficient doses to ensure healthy development of skin cells. A number of skin disorders are known to directly result from inadequate B vitamin intake. Deficiencies of the B vitamins produce various forms of dermatitis (skin inflammation problems), including lack of skin 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 other dermatitis conditions. B vitamins also are effective as cofactors in the production of local prostaglandin hormones that improve the smoothness and texture of the skin.

Experimental studies have revealed that niacin (vitamin B3) supplementation can help skin damage and guard against weakened skin immune function by increasing energy available to skin cells; this helps skin cells repair free-radical damage and mutations before they become permanent.

A high-potency multivitamin and mineral also should provide a complete B-complex to enhance the smoothness and the appearance of skin, and help guard against free-radical damage.

Complementary Anti-Aging Benefits

While beneficial for limiting skin problems associated with aging, daily supplementation with a high-potency multiple vitamin and mineral can help address other body areas prone to aging and environmental damage. For instance, a good multi-vitamin can provide the body with the right blend and doses of nutrients needed to enhance nail hardness and the sheen and quality of hair. Also, supplements with 500 mg of elemental calcium and 400 IU of vitamin D—along with other bone support nutrients such as magnesium, copper and vitamin C—can help guard against osteoporosis.

The daily ingestion of a high-potency multiple vitamin and mineral supplement is an important aspect of skincare and health promotion. A comprehensive formula will supply optimal levels of the vitamins and minerals required for radiant, healthy-looking skin, lustrous hair and smooth, hard nails while supporting the body’s total well-being and vitality.

James Meschino, D.C., M.S., is a fellow of the Academy of Anti-Aging Research, specializing in nutrition and biology. He teaches nutrition at several academic institutions and is the author of The Wrinkle- Free Zone: Your Guide to Perfect Skin in 30 Days. He also is the product formulator of Adëeva Nutritional Products, www.adeeva.com.

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