Diet and Aging

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Dr. Ryan Neinstein on Diet and Aging

We have all heard the saying “you are what you eat”. Nothing could be more true. Nutrition has long been associated with skin health, including all of its possible aspects from beauty to its integrity and even the aging process. Multiple pathways within skin biology are associated with the onset and clinical course of various common skin diseases, such as acne, dermatitis, and aging. These conditions have been shown to be critically affected by nutritional patterns and dietary interventions where well-documented studies have demonstrated beneficial effects of essential nutrients on impaired skin structural and functional integrity and have restored skin appearance and health.

Certain nutrients, foods, or dietary patterns may act as disease “triggers”, while others may prove beneficial. Avoidance or elimination diets may be helpful in some conditions, although testing may be recommended first. In terms of beneficial effects, an eating pattern that emphasizes the consumption of whole foods over highly processed foods may help in the treatment of certain skin conditions, and will certainly help in the prevention of associated co-morbidities.

Prevention is the best and most effective way to work against extrinsic skin aging effects. The best prevention strategy against the harmful action of free radicals is a well regulated lifestyle (caloric restriction, body care and physical exercise for body), with low stress conditions and a balanced nutritional diet, including anti-oxidative rich food.

A Few of the Things I Discuss with My Patients About Diet:

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is not naturally synthesized by the human body and therefore adequate dietary intake of vitamin C is required and essential for a healthy human diet.

The richest natural sources are fresh fruits and vegetables such as citrus fruits, blackcurrant, rose hip, guava, chili pepper or parsley. A diet rich in vitamin C can help counteract the effects of sun on the skin.

Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)

Essential Fatty Acids are long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids that cannot be produced in the human body and they have to be consumed through our daily dietary intake. Mackerel, herring, tuna, halibut, and salmon are rich sources. These have been shown to contribute to skin integrity and reduce wrinkle formation.

Resveratrol

Resveratrol is a small polyphenol compound found in red grape skin, nuts, fruits, and red wine. Many studies have suggested that this compound has anti-carcinogenic effects helping to fight against skin cancer caused by sun damage.

Collagen Peptide

Collagen Peptide supplementation has been shown to increase skin elasticity in middle-aged women after 4 weeks of supplementation, and a skin moisturizing effect was observed in women over 50 years of age.