The best source of vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients is a healthy diet full of fresh, whole foods like whole grains, fruits and vegetables. But sometimes our modern lifestyles leave us nutrient-poor due to processed foods, digestive problems, and stress. Certain medications can also reduce the availability of nutrients, leaving our systems off-balance. That’s why many people reach for a daily multivitamin, or higher doses of specific nutrients they may be lacking.
Vitamins That Help Keep Skin Healthy
Your skin requires specific nutrients to keep it healthy and glowing. (We’re talking about those you eat or supplement in your diet, not the kind of vitamins that are found in topical skin-care products, which function differently).
Nourish your skin from the inside out with:
- Vitamin A –This is an important antioxidant that protects your skin’s collagen and protects against sun-damage. Interestingly, one study found that people with psoriasis were found to have lower levels of vitamin A in their skin. Natural sources of vitamin A include vibrant orange vegetables like carrots or sweet potatoes,and dark leafy greens, liver, fatty fish, cheese
- Vitamin C – Plenty of vitamin C promotes anti-aging collagen production that preserves skin elasticity. It is also an antioxidant that helps protect against sun-damage and is necessary in skin repair. You can find vitamin C in citrus fruits, bell peppers, kiwi fruits and broccoli.
- Vitamin D – Vitamin D has important inflammatory action. Research shows that vitamin D may reduce the severity of eczema symptoms. The body can produce its own vitamin D with sun exposure. Otherwise, food sources of vitamin D include fatty fish, egg yolks, red meat and liver.
- Vitamin E –This vitamin is necessary for healthy sebum production that protects against dry skin, and offers antioxidant protection against sun-damage. Several studies also show that vitamin E can be very beneficial for those with eczema. Vitamin E is found in foods like nuts, seeds, avocado, and health nut and seed oils.
- Zinc – This mineral supports the immune system, and may help those with acne. Research shows that acne sufferers may be deficient in vitamins A, E, and zinc. Food sources of zinc include whole grains, legumes, red meat, and oysters.
- Healthy Fats – Research shows the anti-inflammatory action of Omega-3 fats may reduce skin lesions in cases of eczema. Omega-3 can be found naturally in fatty fish and walnuts. Other healthy fats are found in nuts, avocados, olive oil.
Using Supplements Wisely
Self-prescribing huge doses of one nutrient can pose risks. For example, you may inadvertently deplete other nutrients. For example, zinc and magnesium can compete for absorption if you take them together at the same time. Many require companion nutrients in order for your body to assimilate them. For example, calcium requires vitamin D in order for your body to use it. Finally, there are different forms of many vitamins and minerals like magnesium, vitamin C, D, or E. Some forms are better assimilated by your body than others.
Some vitamins can actually make you sick if you take too high of a dose. These include the fat-soluble vitamins A, D and E. Also poor quality vitamins that your body can’t assimilate must usually be detoxified through the liver, putting extra stress on that organ system. You should do a bit of research before heading out to the health food store to load up on vitamins. Here’s a great article that explains the basics.
Seek Out a Nutritional Expert
The best way to identify the supplements you might need and the right way to take them is in partnership with a holistic health professional, such as a naturopathic physician, functional medicine doctor, or nutritionist. An expert can help evaluate your current diet, factoring in your specific health conditions and medications you are currently taking, and advise you on the right supplements and the right dosage of each.
They can also recommend high-quality products with the best ingredients. Unfortunately, research into the supplement industry has revealed that many producers use fillers or low-grade ingredients that may be toxic, or else their products do not provide the amount of nutrients advertised on the package.
Yet watch out for people promoting multi-level marketing schemes that encourage you to sell supplements in order to pay for your own. Those are rarely worth your time.
Healthy Skin Starts from the Inside Out
Proper nutrition, healthy food choices, and the right supplements are great strategies to boost not only your skin health, but your entire well-being. Healthy glowing skin starts from within, so what you put into your body matters. Love and care for yourself by nourishing your body well!
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About the Author
Olivia Hsu Friedman, LAc, Dipl.OM, DACM, Cert. TCMDerm, is the owner of Amethyst Holistic Skin Solutions and treats Acne, Eczema, Psoriasis, and TSW. Olivia treats patients via video conferencing using only herbal medicine. Olivia is Chair of the Board of Directors of the American Society of Acupuncturists, serves on the Advisory Board of LearnSkin, and is a faculty member of the Chicago Integrative Eczema Group sponsored by the National Eczema Association.