Collagen supplements have become one of the most popular nutritional trends, and rightfully so. The collagen, or "extra cellular" matrix that holds all your cells in place is of prime importance for your health and appearance. Yet, when it comes to your skin and joints, just as important is something called hyaluronic acid, which holds onto moisture.
At Optimum Health we have been suggesting collagen products since the late 1990s, but none have been as effective for joints and skin as BioCell Collagen® with Hyaluronic acid. Accordingly, we incorporated it into our Optimum Health Vitamins supplement line.
As your largest organ, your skin is a great indicator of overall health, and there are several supplements that you can use to lock-in moisture levels and keep it plump, firm, supple and glowing through all seasons, and their elements.
1. Collagen Type 2 with Hyaluronic Acid
Obviously, you want your skin to hold-on to moisture, and for this purpose nothing beats hyaluronic acid, known to be able to absorb up to 1000x its weight it water.
Hyaluronic acid is dispersed throughout the collagen in the dermis of the skin, kind of like carrot shreds in a Jello salad. By holding onto water in your skin and joints hyaluronic acid helps keep the collagen layer plump and supple, and can go a long way towards avoiding wrinkles.
Yet, to keep this collagen-rich layer thick and replenished, in addition to its hyaluronic acid content you also want to support the amount of collagen itself. One way to address both considerations is to use an internal supplement of BioCell Collagen®, a hydrolyzed, easy-to-absorb form of collagen rich in hyaluronic acid.
Though we named this product Opti-Joint®, we could have just as easily called it Opti-Skin, as each capsule of contains 500mg of BioCell Collagen, which includes 50mg of hyaluronic acid.
In the following human trial only 1000mg per day was used (i.e. two capsules). After 6 weeks a significant increase in collagen and hemoglobin (i.e. oxygen delivery) occurred within the dermis. After 12 weeks there were significant reductions in skin dryness, scaling and wrinkling.Related article: Collagen Supplements For Healthy Vibrant Skin
2. Grape Seed Extract
Keeping your skin firm means maintaining its elasticity, and to do this you must protect the skin’s content of another protein called “elastin”. Protect is the key word because the vast majority of the skin’s elastin is created very early in life with minimal production beyond puberty. Grape Seed Extract not only possesses potent anti-elastase activity…meaning it blocks the enzyme that breaks down elastin… it also has dramatic anti-oxidant, ant-inflammatory, and protective actions on all your connective tissue, increasing its strength and flexibility due to its rich content of OPC’s (oligomeric proanthocyanidins). As I have written in a past article on Grape Seed Extract:
"The protective effects of OPCs on connective tissue mean Grape Seed Extract will help your skin, arteries, and veins remain stronger and more flexible. Additionally, its antioxidant effects against free-radical damage not only protect the walls of your blood vessels, but also the fats and cholesterol within the blood. Together, these yield better blood flow and oxygen delivery, and this applies even to the microvasculature, i.e. the smallest capillaries in your brain, and eyes".
Read Article: Grape Seed Extract - Nature's Skin Health Supplement.
Such effects of grape seed extract also make it potentially useful for rosacea, and any other unwanted visible vascularization/ varicosities of your skin, limbs or face. (In this regard Grape Seed Extract is good to combine with herbs like Butchers Broom and or Horse Chestnut.)
3. Essential Fatty Acids
Essential fatty acids (EFA's) not only keep our cell membranes fluid to better direct traffic and information signaling within the cell, they also allow for improved receptor sensitivity, proper nutrient intake and waste disposal, serve central anti-inflammatory roles, and insulate our cells against moisture loss...very important when it comes to the skin. Individuals deficient in these critical fats are likely to have dull complexions, and be constantly thirsty due to poorly insulated leaky cell membranes, versus the radiant sheen of those who ingest more optimum amounts of these Omega-3 and 6 fats.
Common essential fatty acid supplements include EPA and DHA from fish or krill oil (Omega-3’s), plant-derived omega-3’s from flax, particularly ALA, or the omega-6’s from borage or evening primrose oil that provide preformed GLA.
I usually recommend a combination of EPA /DHA, along with GLA simply because as anti-inflammatories they work better together, i.e. a synergistic effect. And if you don’t think reducing inflammation is a big deal for your skin…think again! The oxidation and free-radicals that accompany an inflammatory burst can age skin practically “before your very eyes”. And this is why if I had to choose one EFA supplement for skin health it would probably be Synergy-3, due to its full-spectrum of essential fatty acids.
Yet, Neptune Krill Oil is also extremely protective against the natural elements...sunshine, wind, heat, dryness etc., because content of a supremely protective pigment called astaxantin…
continued in 5 Top Natural Skincare Supplements - Part 2 of 2.