The skin is the body’s largest organ with a surface area of approximately 2 square metres and acts as your body’s protector. Vital vitamins to support your skin include vitamin A, vitamin C & vitamin E, all antioxidants that counter the damage caused by toxins, chemicals and the sun. B vitamins provide nourishment to the skin improving skin elasticity, and minerals such as zinc support the maintenance and structure of the skin
Other essential functions of skin include temperature regulation, sensation, and secretion of bodily substances such as sweat. Skin plays a vital role in external beauty – vanity dictates that we all desire smooth, soft, clear and radiant skin! Though perhaps more importantly, the skin also serves as a powerful external indicator of internal health and wellbeing.
Vital Vitamins for Skin
Vitamin C: Vitamin C works well against the effects of sun exposure. Rich natural sources include citrus fruits, kiwi, black currants, red peppers, broccoli and spinach. Vitamin C offers particularly effective skin protection from overexposure when combined with vitamin E.
Vitamin E: Helps reduce skin damage caused by the sun, as well as reducing the appearance of wrinkles, making your skin smoother. Food sources include sunflower seeds, almonds, peaches, tomatoes, cabbage and avocados. Research indicates that when combined with vitamin A, vitamin E is effective at preventing certain skin cancers.
Vitamin A: Believed to help slow the aging process and widely used in treatment of acne – is involved in skin repair and maintenance, so deficiency results in a dry, flaky complexion. Foods loaded with vitamin A include liver, fish oils, milk, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes and dried apricots.
Vitamin B Complex: Forms the basis of skin cells, providing nourishment and improving skin elasticity. Deficiency can cause conditions such as dermatitis. B3 (Niacin) promotes plump healthy looking skin by helping it to retain moisture. Natural sources of vitamin B include meat, poultry, liver, rice, yeast, avocado, milk, eggs and yogurt.
Nourish to avert disaster!
Dry, flaky or oily skin, acne outbreaks and wrinkles are all signs of compromised internal health, often the result of lack of nutrients.
‘Your skin is the fingerprint of what is going on inside your body, and all skin conditions, from psoriasis to acne to aging, are the manifestations of your body’s internal needs, including its nutritional needs.’ – Dr. Georgiana Donadio, founder of the National Institute of Whole Health, Boston.
Just like any other organ, the skin requires suitable nourishment to sustain optimum health. Recent research supporting the power of vitamins and minerals to promote that healthy, radiant and youthful glow that we all want, has caused somewhat of a stir in the world of beauty!
‘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.’ – Nutritional supplement expert Mary Sullivan, RN, co-founder of Olympian Labs.
Minerals work hand in hand with vitamins to support skin health and beauty. For example, taking a single vitamin A supplement to counter a deficiency also requires vitamins like C, D, and E, and minerals such as zinc to promote absorption.
Zinc helps to clear skin by limiting oil production, which is why it is widely used in the treatment of acne, it may also help control some of the acne-creating hormones (acne itself can be a symptom of zinc deficiency). Food sources include oysters, meat, poultry, pumpkin seeds, brazil nuts, pecans and oats.
Internal is in!
Many people turn to topical lotions and potions in an attempt to treat skin problems. However, we are increasingly realising that expensive, chemical-filled products for external application (many containing liver-damaging and cancer-causing petroleum derivatives) do little to get down to the root cause of the skin problem, often nutritional deficiency and exposure to toxins. The focus has now been shifted to what you put in to your body, with health experts advising treatment from the inside; vitamins and minerals playing an integral role in a healthy vibrant complexion.
Supplement Your Lifestyle!
It goes without saying that a healthy diet loaded with foods rich in vitamins and minerals is good for the skin (as is drinking plenty of mineral water, regular exercise and not smoking), though our hectic lifestyles aren’t always the most healthy, nor are they often conducive to eating the most vitamin and mineral-packed diets! Which is why many of us opt to enhance our diet with vitamin and mineral supplements the convenient and easy answer to maintaining that radiant healthy glow!
When combined with a good diet, the right dietary supplements can help keep your skin looking not only healthy, but also years younger.
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Written by nutritional supplement expert Mary Sullivan, RN, co-founder of Olympian Labs.