17.2.14

Combating Dry Skin With Oral Supplementation



Plagued with dry, itchy, flaky and unsightly skin? Don't hide it under long sleeves and pants - Replenish it from inside out. Dry skin can result from numerous factors, including genetics, some skin diseases (diabetes, psoriasis eczema etc.), hormonal imbalance, vitamin deficiencies, poor hygiene coupled with use of harsh chemical loaded skincare, and harsh envoirmental conditions including excessive sun exposure.

A study by the Institute of Experimental Dermatology, in Germany revealed in 2008 that women who took flaxseed- or borage-oil supplements (2.2 grams a day) for 12 weeks experienced a significant increase in skin moisture and a reduction in skin roughness. A healthy diet with three to five servings a week of fatty acids can suffice to pertain moisture to an average person's skin.

If you suffer from very dry skin or eczema, consider flaxseed, evening-primrose, or borage-oil supplements. All are good sources of alpha or gamma linolenic fatty acids. Here’s a brief review of some supplements and food groups that can help keep your skin at it’s optimal.

Gamma-linolenic Acids
Gamma-linolenic acids, or GLAs, are essential fatty acids that help the body produce prostaglandins; hormone-like substances that support numerous body functions. According to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, GLAs are good nutrients to maintain supple skin. GLAs can be reaped from evening primrose oil, borage oil and black currant oil.

Fish Oil
Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acid; healthy fats known to reduce inflammation and support cardiovascular health and brain function. Fish oil intake also helps alleviate dry skin. Sufficient intake of omega-3 fatty acids can be acquired by eating fatty fish, such as wild salmon, albacore tuna, herring or sardines, at least twice weekly, or from fish oil dietary supplements. People who do not consume fish can reap similar benefits from ground flaxseed, flaxseed oil, walnuts, walnut oil and canola oil. Omega-3 fatty acids supplements made from plant-based sources are also available.

Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble nutrient that supports enzyme production, metabolism and transport of oxygen throughout the body. Sufficient vitamin B6 intake also helps prevent skin conditions, including those that cause dry cracks around the mouth, according to the American Skin Association. Valuable food sources of vitamin B6 include potatoes with skin, bananas, garbanzo beans, chicken breast, oatmeal, pork oil, roast beef, sunflower seeds, sunflower oil, vitamin-fortified cereals and rainbow trout. Dietary supplements are available for people with vitamin B6 deficiency.

Other Vitamins
The American Skin Association lists other vitamins that may help improve skin hydration. These vitamins include vitamin A, riboflavin, vitamin C and vitamin D. A healthy diet that includes fruits and vegetables such as carrots, oranges and leafy green vegetables will increase your intake of these nutrients.