Supplements and Vitamins for Skin Care
As you age, your skin loses some of its ability to retain moisture. In conjunction with the damage caused by sun exposure and a poor diet, this loss results in visible wrinkles, sagging skin and sunspots. The right vitamins and minerals may not be able to reverse these trends, but they can give your body the ammunition it needs to fight back.
Antioxidants protect your skin against the damage caused by free radicals, unstable oxygenated molecules that physically alter your body's cells. According to Dr. I. Bogdan Allemann of the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine, at least 50 percent of your skin's UV damage is probably caused by free radicals. Common antioxidants used in skincare include vitamin E, vitamin C, coenzyme Q10, idebenone and resveratrol.
However, Allemann also advises that although antioxidants can protect you against future damage, they cannot repair damage that has already occurred---with the possible exception of vitamin C, which stimulates collagen production in addition to performing as an antioxidant.
You need more than vitamins to support healthy skin---both zinc and copper help maintain youthful-looking skin. According to the government's Office of Dietary Supplements, zinc helps "maintain the integrity of skin," and low zinc levels have been linked to skin ulcers and macular degeneration. Copper peptides can trigger increased production of collagen and elastin, two components necessary for plump, smooth skin. Certain enzymes in the body depend on a supply of copper to build healthy skin tissue, reports the Cleveland Clinic.
Perhaps better known in Europe, this time-honored beauty secret relies on olive oil's hefty doses of antioxidants. According to author Carol Firenze in "The Passionate Olive," extra virgin olive oil contains both polyphenols, which function as antioxidants, and vitamin E in the form of alpha tocopherols. Olive oil can also trigger the production of collagen and elastin. Firenze suggests applying extra virgin olive oil directly to the delicate skin around your eyes.
Supplements vs. Dietary Sources
Is it better to get your vitamins and minerals from the food you eat or a daily supplement? According to the Mayo Clinic, you're better off with dietary nutrients because they offer greater nutrients, essential fiber and a supply of disease-fighting phytochemicals. Foods contain a range of vitamins and minerals, not simply the list printed on the supplement bottle. If you rely too heavily on your supplements, you may neglect to eat a balanced, healthy diet.
Proper Supplement Dosage
Always check with your doctor before adding a supplement to your diet. Some vitamins and minerals, while beneficial in small amounts, can actually harm you if you take too much of them. Taking more than 150mg of zinc per day, for example, can deplete your body's supply of copper, hampering your immune system.
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