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Monday, 12 March 2012 08:55

Nutrients and the Skin

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Scientists and researchers have come a long way in their efforts to understand the properties and benefits of supplements in skin care. The use of vitamins and other nutrients to hydrate, normalize, protect, heal, condition and beautify the skin appears to be the wave of both the present and the future. Clearly, the internal use of vitamins is one of the most powerful weapons in the ongoing quest for younger, healthier, more attractive-looking skin.

I've been recommending dietary supplementation to my patients since I began my practice in 1972. While completing my Dermatology residency, I worked as a pharmacist and have always believed that nutritional supplements benefit the skin, and promote overall body health.

I've devoted years of research in the fields of nutrition and skin health. Why?... you may ask, is a pharmacist and dermatologist recommending vitamins and supplements to his patients? Why devote so much energy and time to nutrition when the clients have acne, wrinkles and sun damage?
The answer is simple – the skin is an organ. It is the body's largest organ, and it is attached to every other cell and organ in the body. This is the foundation of any type of professional skin care treatment. The fact that the skin is connected to every other organ in the body should be at the forefront of understanding in every aestheticians mind, and the basis for thorough consultations.

Let's take a closer look at the skin.
When we treat the Epidermis with topical facial products, we address approximately 20 percent of the skin. The remaining 80 percent, the dermis, which contains the cells and connective tissue featuring collagen, elastin fibers, and blood vessels, needs to be addressed from the inside. The way to do this is through nutritious foods and added support through supplementation.
It makes perfect sense - eat well, get better skin, but feeding the skin all the nutrients it needs to keep cells and connective tissue –strong and well hydrated is not that easy. Research tells us that Americans are overfed, they are not necessarily well nourished. Even the 20 percent of Americans who make the effort to consistently eat the recommended minimum of five servings of fruits and vegetables a day may not be getting the vitamins and minerals they think their healthy eating guarantees. The amount of vitamins available in foods depends on where they are grown, how fresh they are, how they have been stored, and how they are cooked.
Did you know the "fresh" apple you buy at the grocery store has been picked, and stored, then shipped and stored, and after weeks, is finally on the grocery shelf? During the time it takes to get the apple to the store, it is losing its nutrient content. This means that even if we do consume fresh, preferably organic raw fruits and vegetables, we are still not gaining the full nutrient content as if we ate it right off of the tree.
According to a recent survey commissioned by the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), 58 percent of Americans acknowledge they do not eat a balanced diet on a regular basis. The American College of Nutrition reported that 46 percent of a family's expenditure on food items went towards unhealthy fast food. In today's fast paced world it's a challenge to get all of the essential nutrients necessary to look good and feel good. So as an aesthetician, what can you do?
My vision of an aesthetician is that of a health care provider. Think about the impact you have on your client's health, what other professions provide the emotional care through healing touch? Or the topical care with skin smoothing and hydrating services? You can round out the emotional and topical care you provide by educating your clients on the nutrients necessary for your body's largest organ – the skin. This is the internal car.

Let's take a look at the key nutrients necessary for supporting healthy skin and promoting overall health:

  • Collagen and Elastin Support: Starting at age 20, our collagen starts to diminish by 1 percent each year. Feed the body what it needs to manufacture it's own collagen and elastin. The matrix of the dermis is comprised of chrondroitin, dermatan and hyaluronic acid. To make these substances, your body can convert them from a nutrient called glucosamine. Your body produces glucosamine but not in sufficient amounts to replenish all of its connective tissue. A dosage of 1,000 to 2,000 mg is suggested.
  • Amino Acids: When we eatprotein-containing foods, our body breaks the protein down into various amino acids, then absorbs these amino acids and rebuilds them into the sequence that we need for specific body tasks. Out of 20 amino acids, only 11 can be manufactured by our body. The nine amino acids that we cannot make are called essential amino acids. In addition to taking an essential amino acid complex, a diet rich in beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, tofu, and lean proteins such as fish or chicken.
  • Essential Fatty Acids: EFA's are necessary for attracting water and keeping water in the cells. The program that I recommend for my patients is based on protecting the cell walls, keeping water in. Essential Fatty Acids, such as Omega-3 oils are vital for a healthy heart and a healthy brain, plus they provide internal hydration which can make dramatic changes in eczema conditions or severe dryness. Since the body does not make its' own essential fatty acids, they must come from food sources or supplements. I recommend two, 1,000 mg of fish oil EFA supplements every day in addition to consuming plenty of cold-water fish, olive oil, and flaxseeds.
  • Vitamins and Trade Minerals:To metabolize the glucosamine, amino acids and EFAs into new healthy connective tissue, the body needs B vitamins and trace minerals including manganese, magnesium, copper, and zinc. I recommend a daily multivitamin/multi-mineral supplement that has at least 100 percent of the Daily Value (DV) for all eight of the B complex vitamins.
    • Daily B Vitamin Requirements
      • Niacin ( B3) 20 mg
      • Pantothenic Acid (B5) 10 mg
      • Cobalamin (B12) 6 mcg
      • Pyridoxine (B6) 2 mg
      • Riboflavin (B2) 1.7 mg
      • Thiamine (B1) 1.5 mg
      • Folic Acid 400 mcg
      • Biotin 300 mcg
      • Daily Mineral Requirements
        • Magnesium 400 mg
        • Iron* 18 mg
        • Zinc 15 mg
        • Copper 2 mg
        • Manganese 2 mg
        • Iodine 150 mcg
        • Chromium 120 mcg
        • Molybdenum 75 mcg
        • Selenium 70 mcg
        • Calcium 1,000 mg -1,500 mg

        * Choose an iron-free multi-vitamin/ multi-mineral formula if you are post-menopausal.

        • Antioxidants: Vital to protecting the skin and the organs from free radical damage, these are a few of my favorites.
          • Pomegranate Extract 15 mg
          • Curcumin (Tumeric) 45 mg
          • Grape Seed Extract 100 mg
          • Quercetin 15 mg
          • Vitamin C 240 mg
          • Vitamin E* 100 IU minimum per day
          • Green Tea Extract 200 mg
          • Silymarin (Milk Thistle) 150 mg
          • Ginkgo Biloba 50 mg
          • Lycium (Goji Berry)* 200 mg

          *Goji Berries are often referred to as the world's most nutritious foods. They are noted for their powerful antioxidant benefits, having 500 times more vitamin c than an orange (compared ounce per ounce), more beta carotene than carrots, and are loaded with essential fatty acids, 18 amino acids and 21 trace minerals.

By educating your clients on the value of proper diet and supplementation you are teaching them ways to maintain their skin and promote over all health. You will achieve even better results from your professional services and home care recommendations. Howard Murad, M.D., is recognized as one of the world's foremost authorities on skin health.

A board-certified dermatologist, pharmacist, and Associate Clinical Professor of Dermatology at UCLA, Dr. Murad oversees the Murad Inclusive Health™ Center, Murad Medical Spa, Murad Medical Group, and an active clinical research laboratory. He is a practicing dermatologist, author of two successful books; Wrinkle-Free Forever and The Cellulite Solution, and is the CEO and founder of Murad, Inc. For more information please visit www.murad.com or call 1-800-33MURAD.


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