Effect of Vitamins C & E on Skin Health by Prof Dr Aisha Eid (M.D.) Professor of medical biochemistry Cairo University
Your skin is the fingerprint of what is going on inside your body “Internal health for external beauty" • All skin conditions, including aging, are the manifestations of your body's internal needs, including its nutritional needs • If you feed your skin from the inside and out, you can't help but benefit
3 Ways Nutrition Can Promote Healthier Skin: • 1. Take care of the “organs of elimination.” • 2. Stick to an anti-inflammatory diet, which includes good fats and a low-sugar diet. • 3. Eat antioxidant-rich food.
1. Take care of the “organs of elimination” • The skin is one of the organs that remove toxins and waste products from the body (along with the lungs, bowel/colon, lymphatic system, liver and kidneys). • Because their work is connected, taking care of: -lungs (by not smoking) -liver (by limiting alcohol intake) -colon (by eating a high-fiber diet) Are all ways to improve skin health
2. Stick to an anti-inflammatory diet, which includes good fats and a low-sugar diet. • Chronic inflammation can cause or aggravate a number of skin conditions. Avoiding inflammatory foods such as saturated fats, refined CHOs and refined sugar can help. (Complex CHOs in whole grains are OK. So are polyunsaturated fats from avocados and fish oil.) • Acne may affect up to 95 % of teenagers in Western cultures. Acne is not prevalent among populations that are dependant on fruit, fish, game and tubers but not cereals or refined sugars. It’s suspected that elevated blood sugar sets off hormonal changes that contribute to acne.
3. Eat antioxidant-rich food(Vit C, Vit E & Selenium) • Antioxidants prevent free radicals (a dangerously mutant form of oxygen resulting from pollution, sunlight, etc…) from breaking through the membrane that protects skin’s cells thus damaging skin cells. • Antioxidants decrease: -effect of sun damage -inflammation -visible lines and wrinkles -prevent further skin damage
The best way to get these antioxidants is through food • For selenium, eat Brazil nuts, whole-grain cereals, seafood, garlic and eggs. • For vitamin E, look to wheat germ, nuts, seeds (such as sunflower) and leafy green vegetables. • For vitamin C, try kiwi, broccoli, bell peppers, cauliflower, strawberries and many more fruits and vegetables. • You can get antioxidants through supplement pills, but the body often has a better chance of assimilating them through the diet “Then you’re getting them the way they were designed in nature.”
Vitamins and Minerals for a radiant youthful glow • Of all the news coming from the beauty community, the loudest buzz may be about the power of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to give skin a more radiant, healthy, and, yes, youthful glow.
Antioxidants for younger skin • There is a lot of important new research showing tremendous power of antioxidants in general, and in some specific nutrients in particular that can make an important difference in the way your skin looks and feels -- and even in how well it ages. • When combined with a good diet, the right dietary supplements can help keep your skin looking not only healthy, but also years younger.
Skin Nutrition: The Bottom Line • Vitamins and minerals play an integral role in a healthy complexion . • Attention is focused not only on creams and lotions you put on your skin but what you put into your body as well • Most people can get all the nutrients their skin needs from a multivitamin and a healthy diet.
Which nutrients do you need to keep your skin healthy and looking its best?
Vitamins Important for Skin Nutrition:Vitamins C and E Among the most important new dermatologic discoveries is the power of vitamins to counter the effects of sun exposure.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that is essential for at least 300 metabolic functions in the body A few functions that pertain to skin: Helps to manufacture collagen • Promotes the healing of wounds and burns • Tissue growth and repair • Protect you from abnormal subcutaneous bleeding and bruising • Healthy gums Protects against the harmful effects of pollution • Inhibits damage by free radicals (being an antioxidant) • Combine with certain toxic heavy metals, and help to eliminate them Enhances immunity • Aids in production of anti-stress hormones and interferon (an immune-system protein) Alcohol, analgesics, antidepressants, anticoagulants, oral contraceptives and steroids may decrease the degree of vitamin C in the body. Additionally, smoking initiates a serious depletion of vitamin C.
Vitamin C is essential for the health of collagen • Collagen is the supportive tissue of the skin. • Vit C is essential for collagen synthesis, and thus: -Is important for health of the connective tissue. -Helps to keep the skin firm and resilient -Delays formation of wrinkles and lines
Vitamin C is essential for the health of collagen, & thus important for health of the C.T which is the supportive tissue of the skin. -It helps to keep the skin firm and resilient -Delays the formation of wrinkles and lines
Vit C (being an antioxidant) protects against harmful effects of pollution • Free radicals are a harmful byproduct of sunlight, smoke, and pollution. • Free radicals gobble up collagen and elastin, the fibers that support skin structure, causing wrinkles and other signs of aging. • Vitamin C helps by reducing the damage caused by free radicals. • It has been reported that people who take vitamins C and E in the long term reduced their sunburns from exposure to UVB radiation (photodamage) , wrinkles and improved skin texture. • Vitamin C can also prevent the consequences of prolonged sun exposure which can lead to skin cancer.
Topical vitamin C application You can try a topical vitamin C cream to encourage collagen production, just as your body does naturally when you are young
Make sure your diet includes plenty of vitamin C • citrus fruits • bell peppers, • broccoli, cauliflower • leafy greens • tomato, beetroot, • sprouted grains
Vit C in citrous fruits is superior to any vitamin supplements • Studies conducted on citrus fruits indicate that the bioflavinoids in the pith acted like estrogens, the female sex hormone. • Estrogen is responsible for healthy skin and hair. • The exact action of the actual fruit cannot be duplicated by vitamin supplements.
Lastly, take vitamin C supplements You can also take vitamin C supplements, up to 500 to 1,000 milligrams per day
Vitamin E (Tocopherols) An antioxidant which helps prevent free radical damage
Vitamin E-This is a fat-soluble nutrient and antioxidant, which has a role in: • Prevents cell damage by inhibiting the oxidation of lipids & formation of free radicals • Sunburn • Promotes healthy skin and hair • Treatment of various skin diseases or skin conditions (psoriasis, eczema, acne, severe dry skin) • May prevent age spots • Reducing scarring from some wounds • Necessary for tissue repair • Heart disease • Reducing blood pressure • Improving circulation • Treating premenstrual syndrome • Normal blood clotting • Aids in preventing cataracts
Extremely Powerful Antioxidant • Free radicals are unbalanced and unstable molecules which may lead to the breakdown of body tissues, including the collagen on the dermis of your skin. • A small quantity of free radicals is not harmful, but as you age, these free radicals also grow in number. • They enhance with smoking, UV rays & prolonged exposure to sunlight. • With vitamin E, these free radicals can be neutralized, thus protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful radiation and preventing the wrinkles that appear with age.
Sun Protection • Based on the observation that skin damage caused by the sun and other environmental agents are induced by free radicals, vitamin E may be effective in preventing skin damage. • Vitamin E lotions provide some benefit in preventing and treating sunburns. • These lotions protect the epidermis layer of the skin from early stages of ultra violet light damage. • Vitamin E preparations also increase the effectiveness of sunscreens. • Such lotions do not work immediately. They must be applied about 20 minutes before sun exposure in order to allow the vitamin E to be absorbed deep into the epidermis layer.
Skin Cancer Prevention • One of the most important benefits of vitamin E is the prevention of skin cancer. • This occurs because of its sun protection quality and of course its powerful antioxidant properties, which help reduce or prevent sun damage.
Anti-Aging Benefits of Vitamin E • The powerful antioxidant activity of vitamin E means that it retards oxidization helping the skin to look younger by reducing the appearance of fine lines. • Skin is able to absorb natural vitamin E very effectively making it a very popular ingredient for lotions and creams for its anti-aging benefits. • Vitamin E is being used in more and more topical skin preparations as a way to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, & soothes dry or rough skin.
Regulator for Vitamin A The benefits of vitamin E for healthy skin care also include helping the body to increase and regulate the levels vitamin A in the body working in combination to achieve healthy skin.
Adjuvant effect to Vitamin C • It has been reported that people who take vits C and E in the long term reduced their sunburns from exposure to UVB • Topical Vitamin C can prevent the consequences of prolonged sun exposure which can lead to skin cancer. • Supplementation with natural Vitamin E in 400 mg per day has been noted to reduce photodamage, wrinkles and improve skin texture. • Further, researchers saw a reduction of factors linked to DNA damage within skin cells, leading them to conclude that antioxidantvitamins help protect against DNA damage.
Best way to get Vitamin E is to consume foods rich in Vitamin E • Stick to a healthy balanced diet to keep your skin radiant. • Some foods rich in vitamin E: avocados, nuts, asparagus, olives and olive oil, vegetable oils, wheat germ oil, safflower and sunflower oils, spinach, dark and leafy veggies, broccoli, legumes, whole grains, milk, eggs, meat from organs, sunflower seeds, peaches, prunes, tomatoes and cabbage.
Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin that is stored in the body • If difficult to get a lot from food, many people take a Vit E supplement in a capsule form. • For effectiveness this must be taken after meals. • In order to maintain proper level of Vit E, the body needs zinc. • Iron prevents the absorption of Vitamin E, hence avoid iron when you have these supplements. • Inorganic forms of iron (such as ferrous sulfate) destroy Vit E. • In contrast, organic iron (ferrous gluconate or ferrous fumarate) leaves Vit E intact Some recent research warns that large doses of vitamin E can be harmful. RDA: 400 IU/day or less
Try all modes of administration: Take advantage of the Vitamin E benefits, with a choice of: • rubbing your skin with Vitamin E oil, cream, lotion, or serum form, to soothe dry, rough skin • swallowing a capsule (200-400 IU, in the morning) • eating foods loaded with Vitamin E
Natural forms of Vitamin E are far superior to synthetic Vitamin E • Natural Vitamin E is more available for utilization by the body than the synthetic form. • The synthetic form is only 67% as active as the natural form. Read labels closely: natural form is listed as d-alpha-tocopherol, and the synthetic form is listed as dl-alpha-tocopherol. • We recommend a form of Vitamin E called tocotrienols, which -has the capacity to completely disperse in a cell membrane -travel at top speed, and round up free radicals far more rapidly than alpha tocopherols -is 40 to 50 times stronger and more effectual at repairing skin damage, shielding the heart and circulatory system, and driving out free radicals.
The Magical Spell: A Balanced Diet • It's not a matter of running out and spending a lot of money on vitamins. The idea is to use them in a very intelligent way that's healthful to you. But don't ever think they are the whole answer to dealing with a health problem, particularly aging skin. We add these skin care tips: • drink plenty of water • use gentle products to cleanse your skin • always wear a sunscreen • eat a balanced diet • augment that care with nutritional supplements
In Conclusion: • Among the most important new dermatologic discoveries is the power of vitamins to counter the effects of sun exposure. • It has been documented that appreciable photoprotection can be obtained from topical vitamins C and E: "Topical Vitamin C can prevent the consequences of prolonged sun exposure which can lead to skin cancer," says Karen E. Burke, MD, in a news release. "Supplementation with natural Vitamin E in 400 mg per day has been noted to reduce photodamage, wrinkles and improve skin texture." • This research has been backed up by a more recent study. The Journal of Investigative Dermatology reported in February 2005 that people who take vitamins C and E in the long term reduced their sunburns from exposure to UVB radiation. Further, researchers saw a reduction of factors linked to DNA damage within skin cells, leading them to conclude that antioxidant vitamins help protect against DNA damage. • Vitamin C and E help by reducing the damage caused by free radicals, a harmful byproduct of sunlight, smoke, and pollution. Free radicals gobble up collagen and elastin, the fibers that support skin structure, causing wrinkles and other signs of aging. When these two vitamins are combined in a lotion, they can be highly protective against sun damage.