Supplements for Skin Care

Since we are in the midst of summer, I thought it would be a good time to focus on skin care and how to keep your skin protected. As we all know, it is ideal to wear sunblock all year round, even when the sun is not shining. Research has found that taking certain supplements can help improve the quality of your skin and slow down aging. The connection between nutrition and the strength of your skin is a very interesting topic that many people do not know about or think to look into. Internal factors do affect the aging of skin, similar to the aging patterns of internal organs.

Research has shown that the most effective way to work against internal skin aging is eating a nutritious diet, getting the correct amount of sleep and consuming a diet rich in antioxidants.

The following supplements are ideal for skin health:

Vitamin C and E: Vitamin C is not naturally synthesized in the body, so it is important to consume it daily. It is found in many fruits and vegetables. Vitamin C stabilizes collagen and plays an important role in collagen synthesis (collagen is the most abundant protein in your skin). It is found in many topical skin products that prevents aging and sun protection. Vitamin C and E work together to help rebuild and protect the skin. They may reverse some of the discoloration and wrinkles associated with aging, because they have been shown to speed up the skin’s natural repair system.

Fish oil: Fish oil supplements contain omega-3 fatty acids which support collagen growth. It also helps regulate the oil production in your skin to boost hydration and prevent acne. It also delays the skins aging process.

Coenzyme Q10: Co Q10 is a fat soluble vitamin that is stored in the fat-tissues of our bodies. It is a powerful antioxidant compound and is found in the epidermis in the skin. It has been shown to help the cells grow and has been shown to minimize the appearance of wrinkles if applied to the skin topically.

Vitamin A: Vitamin A is a highly effective antioxidant. The human skin is enriched by lycopene and beta-carotene (both forms of vitamin A). Vitamin A also increases cell reproduction and stimulates collagen production.  It treats fine wrinkles, age spots and rough skin from sun exposure.

 

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Digestive Enzymes

Digestive enzymes are the key to better digestion and absorption. They assist in the chemical breakdown of food into macro and micronutrients, so they can be absorbed into the body. Digestive enzymes are essential in the breakdown of foods. They help in the process of amino acids being extracted from proteins, fatty acids and cholesterol from fats and simple sugars from carbohydrates. All of these steps to break down food help make DNA and boost metabolism.

There are many different digestive enzymes in the body, starting with salivary amylase in the mouth. Salivary amylase helps breakdown food into smaller molecules before the food enters the stomach. Then the gastric amylase helps break down partially digested food into chyme. Chyme is the mass of digested food that flows through your gut. Once the chyme enters the small intestines, the hormone secretin is released. This then notifies the pancreas to release bicarbonate, bile and other pancreatic enzyme, like amylase, lipase, trypsin and nuclease. Bicarbonate changes the acidity of the chime, so the food can be degraded and broken down further.

Taking a digestive enzyme supplement can help maximize digestion, prevent gas, bloating and indigestion and help promote a healthy intestinal environment. As we know, your gut helps improve many other areas of your health, so taking a digestive enzyme may have other health benefits like the ones below:

Stress: anything and everything can affect your stress levels. Since stress is important to handle right away, your body will trigger hormones to deal with your mood. This can put pressure on your digestive health and slow down digestion.

Leaky Gut/ food sensitivities: When you have a food sensitivity or leaky gut, your digestive enzymes are not as healthy as they should be. Taking a digestive enzyme supplement may help improve your immune system and protect your body from inflammation in your gut.

Fatigue, migraines: When you have overgrowing bacteria and inflammation in your gut, it can send inflammatory signals to other areas of your body, like your joints and head. This can impair digestion and lead to nutrient shortages, and in turn cause migraines and fatigue.

Anxiety, low mood, sleep issues: inflammation in the gut can lead to anxiety, low mood and sleep issues. Without digestive enzymes, amino acids can not be derived from proteins. Neurotransmitters are made from amino acids and are responsible for alertness, happiness and having a good mood all around.

 

Sore Muscles? You May Need to Take Magnesium

Magnesium has certainly become more popular in the recent years, and for good reasons. Magnesium deficiency is one of the leading nutrient deficiencies in adults. Magnesium is vital for helping keep your heart and muscles working correctly, blood pressure in a normal range and keeping your bones strong. It also assists in regulating your body’s temperature.

When your body is low in magnesium, you are certain to feel various negative symptoms. Some symptoms include, muscle aches or spasms, poor digestion, anxiety and trouble sleeping. It can then lead to more serious symptoms, including hypertension and cardiovascular disease, and kidney and liver damage.

Magnesium is not naturally produced in the body, so you need to consume it daily. The daily-recommended allowance for magnesium is 400-420 mg/day for men and 310-320 mg/day for women. Magnesium is found in many foods, such as dark leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains. Fortified breakfast cereals and grains, flax seeds and sesame seeds are also good sources of the mineral.

Magnesium is beneficial for various common day-to-day ailments:

Ease Sore Muscles: Magnesium reduces lactic acid, which is somewhat responsible for sore muscles. It can help your muscles relax.

Better Sleep: Since magnesium has a calming effect, it has been shown to improve sleep and promote a more restful sleep. It may be beneficial to take a magnesium sleep supplement before bed with other calming herbs.

PMS Symptoms: Magnesium may help reduce cramping without any significant adverse events. It works by relaxing the smooth muscle of the uterus and reducing the prostaglandins.

Types of Magnesium and how they are absorbed in the body:

Magnesium Chelate: highly absorbable by the body and found in foods naturally

Magnesium Citrate: magnesium combined with citric acid. It may cause a laxative effect in some cases.

Magnesium Glycinate: highly absorbable. Less likely to cause a laxative effect

Aloe Vera – Why do we need it?

Aloe Vera comes from the Liliaceal family, where there are about 360 species. It is a cactus-like plant with yellow flowers that grows in hot, dry climates. It originated in Africa, and is now grown in warm climates around the world, like Asia, Europe and America. It is used in cosmetics, as well as for its medicinal properties. These products are made from the mucilaginous tissue in the center of the aloe vera leaf. The center of the leaf is bitter, yellow and commonly known as the sap, or juice of the aloe vera plant.

The medicinal uses of Aloe Vera include anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic activity, as well as, antibacterial and hypogylcaemic effects (Vogler, 1999). It contains many active elements, including, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, sugars, lignin, saponins, salicylic acids and amino acids. The gel contains vitamins like, Vitamin A, C, and E, as well as Vitamin B1, niacin, B2, choline and folic acid (Nazir, 2017). The gel is used in the preparation of health drinks, and food products, like milk and ice cream. It is also used as a flavoring component or a preservative for various foods.

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Due to the plants high nutrient content, it has been shown to be very beneficial for the body. Here are a few of some of the valuable properties:

Arthritis:

Aloe Vera has been shown to repair arthritis-damaged tissue, since it contains analgesic, an anti-inflammatory agent (Nazir, 2017). It can be taken orally applied externally to help repair the damaged tissue and detoxify the area.  Likewise, it can help reduce pain associated with arthritis and swelling.

Heals Wounds:

Since Aloe Vera has many anti-bacterial properties, it has been shown to heal wounds. It has been used to dress wounds for centuries, reducing burns, restoring skin and pain. Research has shown that the juice seals the wounds while drawing blood to the wound, improving the healing properties.

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Immune System:

Aloe Vera has natural detoxifying properties that can cleanse the digestive system and circulatory system. This can help improve the absorption of nutrients and consequently improve the immune system. It has also been shown to inhibit free radicals.

Anti-aging:

Some properties in Aloe Vera helps bind moisture into the skin. Aloe stimulates fibroblast, which produces the collagen and elastin fibers making the skin more elastic, reducing wrinkles (Surjushe, 2008). It helps the skin stay moisturized for longer periods of time, while hardening skin cells and tightening pores. It has also been shown to have an anti-acne effect on the skin, due to the antibacterial properties.

 

 

References

Nazir, A. (2017). Health benefits of aloe vera: A wonder plant. International Journal of Chemical Studies. doi:10.7717/peerj.2589/fig-3
VOGLER, B. K. (october 1999). Aloe vera: A systematic review of its clinical effectiveness. British Journal of General Practice,. Retrieved from http://bjgp.org/content/bjgp/49/447/823.full.pdf
Surjushe, A., Vasani, R., & Saple, D. (2008). Aloe vera: A short review. Indian Journal of Dermatology, 53(4), 163. doi:10.4103/0019-5154.44785

Supplements I Take Daily to Stay Fit and Healthy

  1. Multivitamin

    Multivitamins are great to take since they ensure that you get the vitamins and minerals you need to live a healthy life. It is difficult to consume all of the nutrients that are needed each day, so it is ideal to supplement it with a multivitamin.
    A variety of vitamins and minerals are needed for your body to complete each task. You lose nutrients when you sweat, stress, consume caffeine or alcohol and when you take certain prescriptions. Being deficient in a nutrient can cause many issues, like slowing down your metabolism or reducing the absorption of other nutrients that you are consuming daily.
    I usually take a chewable multivitamin, since they taste good, but there are many different kinds of multis, such as, whole food multivitamins or multivitamins that are good for genders or age groups.

  2. Vitamin D3

    Vitamin D helps with the absorption of calcium, which promotes bone growth and the maintenance of phosphorus levels. Vitamin D is absorbed through strong sunlight, so many people are deficient in this vitamin, due to the fact that we do not spend as much time in the sunlight as we should. However, it is easy to take a vitamin d3 supplement daily.
    Vitamin D has also been shown to regulate mood and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.

  3. Milk Thistle

    Milk thistle is great for detoxifying and protecting the liver. It helps remove toxins from the body and processes healthy liver function. It comes from the Asteraceae plant family, which includes plants like sunflowers and daisies. It contains antioxidants like vitamin e and vitamin c.
    It has been shown to decrease damage to the liver caused by toxins like pollution and heavy metals. I feel that it also helps prevent hang overs.

  1. Vitamin B12

    Vitamin B12 is found in foods such as meat and eggs, so since I am a vegetarian, I take this supplement daily. It has been shown to help increase mood, energy level, memory skin and digestion. It also helps with metabolic functions, like DNA synthesis and hormonal balance.

  2. Mytrition Restorative Sleep:

    I have always had trouble sleeping since I have a busy mind. This supplement contains valerian root, l-theanine, Gaba, 5HTP and Melatonin to help you unwind and promote relaxation. I have tried many different sleep supplements, like melatonin, and I feel that this helps me fall asleep faster and wake up more energetic and ready to start the day.

  3. Collagen

    I always write about how much I love supplementing collagen. It is great for the hair, nails and skin. Your collagen production depletes as you age, so it is ideal to supplement it. It helps reduce wrinkles and supports digestion.

What supplements do you take daily? 

Beauty Items I Can’t Live Without

Growing up, I was never into makeup or doing my hair. I loved to play outside and get dirty, so I have come to love simple beauty items to keep my hair and skin soft and healthy.

  1. Noxema

    My grandma, mother and aunts have been using noxema since their teens and swear by it. So, of course, I use it to! It is an easy face wash that leaves you feeling clean and fresh. I use it every day and every night. It is my go to face wash and beats all of the new, expensive brands out there.

  2. Pond’s Skin Care

    My family also loves Ponds. It is easy to use and leaves your face feeling smooth and moisturized. I never had much acne, so this moisturizer is perfect for my skin. It delivers deep moisture and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

  3. Jojoba oil

    My new favorite hair moisturizer. I use a couple of drops after the shower to keep my hair smooth. Jojoba oil comes from the seed of the simmondsia chinesis (jojoba) plant. It is found in southern Arizona, California and northwestern Mexico. You can also use it on your skin, but I only use it on my hair right now. It has been shown to be a home remedy for acne and prevents razor burn. It replenishes moisture and improves texture in your hair, while getting rid of dry scalp and dandruff.

  1. Collagen

    Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies, found in muscles, bones, skin, blood vessels, digestive system and tendons. It gives our skin elasticity, preventing wrinkles. Since collagen production slows down as we age, it is important to take collagen to prevent wrinkles, keep our nails strong and hair healthy. So of course, I take collagen every morning. I am still testing out my favorite brand of collagen, but I can be found in powder form, tablets and even shots. It helps prevent wrinkles, while also keeping your digestive system healthy.

What are Adaptogens

Adaptogens are natural substances, like herbs, that work to regulate certain hormones and balance the body. They can help to increase the body’s resistance to physical, biological, emotional, and environmental stressors and promote normal physiologic function (Duke,1).  These herbs have been used for thousands of years for their natural health benefits, like boosting the immune system, restoring balance, managing weight, increasing physical endurance, as well as mental focus and mood.

Adaptogens grow in various environments, such as high altitude, rugged mountain regions, extreme cold, low oxygen and other stressful conditions. Many types grow in China, India, Korea, and Russia, while others are native to Europe and North America. Some are ready to harvest in a year, while others take years to mature to have the medicinal properties that they are used for.

4 Popular Adaptogens:

  1. Panax Ginseng: (AKA Asian Ginseng)
    Panax Ginseng grows in the mountainous forests of eastern Manchuria, northern China, and Korea. It is almost extinct in the wild. This type of adaptogen is used to improve calmness and memory performance. Some research states that it can help lower blood sugar levels.
  2. Astragalus:
    Astragalus is native to china and is grown in full sun and sandy soil with low nitrogen levels. It is used in Chinese medicine to decrease stress hormones and improve the stress response. It has also been shown to boost immunity. Many studies show that it can boost cortisol levels, allowing the body to respond better to types of stress. Today, it is commonly used for lack of appetite, organ prolapse, fatigue and wasting and thirsting syndrome. It is also used to enhance the immune system, preventing colds, and other illnesses.
  3. Cordyceps:
    Cordyceps is a type of fungus that grows on the Himalaya Mountains in Tibet and Bhutan. It is rare to find. They are high in antioxidants and contains immune-enhancing properties. It is now used to treat illnesses associated with the kidneys. It is also used to treat infertility in men and women, frequent urination, night sweats, dizziness and fatigue.
  4. Holy Basil:
    It is found throughout the lowlands of India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Southern China and Malaysia. It is known for its antibacterial, antidepressant, antioxidant and antiviral properties. It is also a diuretic, and galactogogue.
References
Winston, D., & Maimes, S. (2007). Adaptogens: herbs for strength, stamina, and stress relief. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.