5 Top Natural Skincare Supplements

by John Biggs BSc, NCP, OHP on July 18, 2014

5 Top Natural Skincare Supplements

...continuation from Part 1 of 2

krill.jpgAstaxantin is a carotenoid that gives many varieties of seafood like salmon or cooked shrimp their pink/red color. It is an ultimate broad spectrum antioxidant/anti-inflammatory that provides protection against the nastiest free-radicals, along with superior photoprotection from the harmful and aging effects of the suns rays, (of which like so many other good things, you can get too much of.) Astaxantin’s protective effects extend to the retina of the eyes, preventing UV damage while in the sun, as well as your energy production through providing extensive protection and preservation of mitochondrial function, the cardiovascular system, and the list goes much further. 

Another attribute that makes krill oil so desirable is the natural packaging of its nutrients in a phospholipid delivery system. This makes it extremely easy to absorb, even at a cellular level where astaxanthin is readily incorporated into our cellular membranes. This includes the skin where it exerts its highly protective and preserving effects. (As a side note, if you happen to have a loved one who smokes and/or drinks too much, or works at a toxic job, and they are not about to quit, you might suggest they take krill oil.)

Related article:  The Great Debate: Is Krill Oil Better Than Omega-3 Fish Oil?

broccogen 10 sulforaphane4. Sulforaphane: When it comes to deciding which supplement is most effective for helping you reap the sun’s benefits, while protecting you from harmful UV rays, it is really a toss-up between Astaxanthin from krill oil, and Sulforaphane concentrates from broccoli sources found in such products as Broccogen-10.

A 2007 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says it directly, i.e.: “Sulforaphane mobilizes cellular defenses that protect skin against damage by UV radiation”

Read the Study: Sulforaphane mobilizes cellular defenses that protect skin against damage by UV radiation.

Sulforaphane is available in both topical application and internal supplement forms. And when it comes toregenerating your cells, sulforaphane, (along with phytochemicals from herbs like rosemary, resveratrol, curcumin, garlic, ginkgo, and green tea), can exert intracellular anti-oxidant and free-radical quenching effects that are BILLIONS of times more active than individual antioxidants like vitamin C or E. Yes you read that right…billions of times more active, because they stimulate pathways that increase intracellular antioxidant enzymes like Superoxide Dismutase (SOD), Catalase, Glutathione S-Transferase, and several others through a pathway called Nrf2. In turn, enzymes like SOD don’t quench just one free radical before they are used up, but billions per minute!

If Nrf2 sounds foreign or unfamiliar you better get used to it, because in coming years Nrf2, and its associated protective pathways…(collectively called the Antioxidant Response Element, or ARE)…will become a buzz in health, just like “antioxidants and free-radicals” were in the 90’s and 2000’s. You see activating Nrf2 pathways has immense benefits. These include offsetting and reducing inflammation, protecting the DNA in your genes from mutation, preventing oxidation and free-radical damage of membranes and organelles within the cell, increasing and improving liver detoxification, and promoting a healthy balanced immune response among many others. Nrf2 activation is the cells normal effective response to stress, and stimulating it with phytochemicals like sulforaphane will have positive effects not only on your skin, but your overall health…bigtime!

Priming the Nrf2/ARE pathway with phytochemicals like sulforaphane brings about over 200 beneficial gene expressions within a cell! If I were to sum up a vast body of literature, I would say that sulforaphane is the master normalizer. That is it normalizes cells by protecting and correcting genetic information and expression so that a cell expresses itself the way it is supposed to, as opposed to aberrant, or mutated expressions. For example, if the skin on your face is supposed to be light, and you get a dark mole forming, sulforaphane will help reverse or normalize this, (and just about every other kind of skin corrective and/or normalizing effect you can imagine.) Though this may sound sensational, we all know how important normal gene expression is, and sulforaphane protects from the four main contributing factors that cause the breakdown of DNA, i.e. chemicals, viruses, radiation, and reactive oxygen species (free radicals and electrophiles). Once you get into the literature on sulforaphane, much of which has been done at Johns Hopkins University, which holds 8 patents on sulforaphane, you realize the practically unlimited number of health challenges it has the ability to positively affect.

For further information, take a look at a 2 other studies:
Protection against UV-light-induced skin carcinogenesis in SKH-1 high-risk mice by sulforaphane-containing broccoli sprout extracts.

Study 1 and Study 2 

5. Other Basic Skin Supplements and Nutrients - Vits A,C,E, Zinc, Alpha Lipoic Acid, and probiotics: Ok, Ok, so I know this is a lot more than five, but you can’t talk about protecting and enhancing the skin without mentioning
 the absolute basics such as vitamins A,C,& E, and the mineral zinc, which play well-defined biochemical roles in the skin…and lastly the extremely versatile antioxidant Alpha-Lipoic Acid, and probiotics for healthy gut, bowel and immune functions.

If you are deficient in vitamin A, besides poor vision and night blindness, your skin will be dry and rough, and cells simply won’t form or develop properly. With inadequate vitamin A you get abnormal sebaceous gland activity that commonly results in hard waxy sebum and keratinized bumps on the skin, particularly on the back of the arms, called keratosis pilaris. The abnormal mucous and oil secretions that accompany low vitamin A can clog your pores and harbor bacteria, resulting in acne. Though most bodies can convert beta-carotene in orange-yellow fruits and vegetables to active forms of retinol (i.e. vit A), if the above signs of vitamin A shortage are present, Cod Liver Oil capsules or liquid that have not been reduced in vitamin A are an effective way to bring your levels up, as is eating grass-fed beef organic liver, and to a lesser extent farm-fresh egg yolks.

Being involved in over 200 enzymatic reactions within the body, zinc is another essential skin nutrient, and it works in tandem with vitamin A to transport it out of storage. Making your Vitamin A stores more available, along with balancing immune function, keeping inflammation in check and playing essential roles in the formation and structure of your skin, while providing UV protection are just a few of zinc’s functions. It is also commonly used as an acne aid.

More Than C Moving from inside the cell to the structure that holds them in place, if you are low in vitamin C, you simply won’t form connective tissue properly, including the collagen layer in your skin. In the extreme all your teeth will fall out, because your gums can’t support them! Sounds funny, but its true. And in that case your skin probably wouldn’t look very good! But seriously, if you want your skin to stay young and elastic, don’t forget about vitamin C, whether it be from plenty of fruits and vegetables, and/or a supplement.

And despite the amazing attributes of the other things featured in this article, nonetheless, the fact is that vitamin E plays an essential role as an anti-oxidant within your cell membranes…most notably that of the skin. Said bluntly, if you are low in vitamin E your skin will suffer. Maintaining optimal intake from a healthy diet, and/or supplements is essential if you want your skin be protected from damaging oxidation, and to look its best. But remember, vitamin E is actually a family of eight different molecules (4 tocopherols and 4 tocotrienols) with different activities. Taking just one of these 8 in a supplement (i.e. alpha-tocopherol) may cause imbalances. So if you are going to supplement, remember to choose a full spectrum formula. One that provides at least the four tocopherols (particularly gamma-tocopherol), and preferrably the four tocotrienols as well. For vitamin E rich foods, go for seeds, nuts and greens.

Finally, even though Alpha Lipoic Acid has been found in some studies to be ineffective as a topical photoprotectant, I bring it up not only because it acts as an antioxidant in both your fat and water soluble tissues, or because it helps you regenerate other antioxidants like Vitamins C & E, or because it will help escort heavy metals out of the body, but also because it helps your body produce “glutathione”.

Glutathione is a centrally important molecule for your antioxidant defenses, your immune function, and also your liver’s detoxification pathways. And if your liver is not detoxifying properly, or your bowel and kidneys not eliminating adequately, your skin is going to get the brunt end, because guess what the back-up eliminatory organ is? You guessed it: your skin. To have healthy, glowing skin, your liver has to be processing wastes properly, and then shipping them out. And to package them up for shipping the liver requires glutathione, (among a handful of other molecules.)
Once this garbage arrives in the colon to be eliminated you need a healthy intestinal bacterial population to complete the elimination. Otherwise, due to an enzyme called hyaluronidase, chances are good you are just going to reabsorb a lot of it.
It is actually beneficial to consider your gut as your internal skin, because whatever undesirable events happen on the inside, be it rashes, immune responses or constipation are very likely to show-up on the outside. But that is a topic for another article. Suffice it to say that you will not have beautiful skin if you are not having at least one, preferably two good bowel movements per day. Otherwise your complexion is likely to stay looking like…well, shall we say “mud”!

Be well,



Disclaimer: The above information is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your physician.



Topics: John Biggs' Articles, Antioxidants, SkinCare

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