Guest Post by Dr. Deedra Mason, Director of nutraMetrix & Clinical Education
As we age, our bodies’ ability to successfully create and balance energy stores can decline. As such, we put on weight, may have a deterioration of joint range of motion, and even have added immune concerns. Quite simply, the cost of aging goes up each year. What it took to maintain health and vitality at a younger age has now requires an increased commitment to a healthy sleep routine, an optimized fitness routine, and a personalized approach to diet and supplementation. Strangely, this combination has left one area of health undervalued, and yet it is critical to a sense of well-being. That is skin health.
While many adults accept changes in body composition, energy, youthful skin, or sexual function and mobility as a natural part of aging, a simple approach to improved micronutrient sufficiency and gut health are both within our control and can significantly change for the better our overall wellbeing.
Not only do micronutrients like vitamin C and Vitamin D play a role in healthy immune function and metabolism, but they are also key nutrients necessary to nourish our aging skin. In fact, individuals with sufficient vitamin D status may have enhanced skin cell function, repair, and improvements in skin aging, while those with sufficient vitamin C, notice more radiance and improved collagen production. Both these vital nutrients add to skins youthful tone and assist in a healthy skin barrier.
You have heard me say it before, “the road to health is paved with good intestines”, well if that is true, skin health is an exit off that highway. You want to take this exit, as early intervention is the best prevention!
Maintaining health, both internally and externally, requires an appreciation for the health of our gut inhabitants. That is right, the microbiome and its associated barrier create an essential “body-biome” leading to improved skin health, oral health, and immunity.
Certain strains of these microorganisms have been shown to do more than assist with digestion and detoxification. Both of which are necessary for healthy skin by the way, but specific strains of bacteria are also shown to improve the skin barrier and affect skin hydration and trans-epidermal water loss. In 2014, a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study of the effect of Lactobacillus paracasei on skin reactivity provided evidence that daily intake reduced skin sensitivity, increased the rate of barrier function recovery, and increased moisture in the skin. The significance of the barrier function recovery is of particular interest due to the environmental factors that most of us encounter in our daily lives that affect our overall skin health. Examples include washing with detergents, exposure to sunlight, pollutants, air conditioning, low humidity, stress, and dietary deficiencies.
The relationship between probiotics and the gastrointestinal tract supports the metabolic responses necessary for skin barrier regeneration. Although we are only skimming the surface of how beneficial probiotics can be to our general wellbeing.
Remember, good health starts in the kitchen! Follow these tips for healthy skin and healthy aging!
- Be sure to include both raw fruits and vegetables and lightly cooked vegetables in your daily diet, as well as raw nuts and seeds.
- If you do heat or cook your food, do so gently at lower temperatures when possible and for the shortest time possible.
- Chew your food well to release the enzymes and make them readily available for use in your body.
- Find the fermented foods you enjoy. If you do not have a palate for kimchi or fermented vegetables consider adding a probiotic to your daily routine. Look for one that offers multiple strains to support numerous areas of health.
Small steps when done regularly can lead to huge changes in your health.
- International Journal of Women’s Dermatology; Volume 1, Issue 2, June 2015, Pages 85-89
- Immune modulation property of Lactobacillus paracasei NCC2461 (ST11) strain and impact on skin defenses Beneficial Microbes: 5 (2) – Pages: 129 – 136
- Randomised double-blind placebo-controlled study of the effect of Lactobacillus paracasei NCC 2461 on skin reactivity. Beneficial Microbes, 2014; 5(2): 137-145.
- Cutler, E. 2006. Why enzymes are essential to a healthy immune system.
- Lee, S, et al. 2006. An update of the defensive barrier function of skin. Yonsei Med. J., 47 (3), 293–306.
- Lipski, E., 2005. Digestive Wellness. NY: McGraw–Hill.
- Westen, R., & Webb, J. 2000. The missing piece of the equation—enzymes in well-being and proper function of digestive organs. Vegetarian Times.
Dr. Mason is a Naturopathic Physician, emphasizing complementary approaches to chronic disease. A graduate of the National University of Natural Medicine, Dr. Mason uses a diverse combination of naturopathic medicine, western botanical medicine, physiotherapy, and conventional medical therapies to recover each individual’s full potential for wellness. She’s become well known in professional circles for her passionate lectures, commitment to quality patient care, and the advancement of professional education, both within and outside of her field.
- Licensed Naturopathic Physician- 20 years experience
- nEI-nutraMetrix Educational Institute-Clinical Director
- Director of nutraMetrix and Clinical Education
- Lifestyle Medicine Consulting practice since 2014