Although wrinkles are part of a natural and normal aging—and certainly should not make one feel less of themselves—wrinkly skin, nevertheless, is undesirable for most. Some may consider wrinkles a sign of strength and endurance, but most consider them aesthetically displeasing. For the latter group, there is hope for renewed skin. You see, the pathology of aging may be objective, but the rate of aging is very subjective. Meaning, our actions—specifically sleep habits, activity levels, stress, and of course nutritional habits—all affect the quality and rate of how we age. In fact, there is clinical research and scientific evidence that indicates the ability to delay aging and even reverse skin conditions through proper nutrition. The various nutrients in our foods can help with everything from wrinkles and sagging skin to pigmentation issues and more.
Skin Wrinkling: Food Can Make a Difference
As science reveals the pathological mechanisms of aging through readily available research, our society's curiosity and competence for anti-aging therapies greatly increases. As a result, the use of various herbs, supplements, and functional foods to prevent aging has gained much attention. According to the research, there are various anti-aging functional foods that exert powerful anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, thereby mitigating aging. Clinical evidence supports the therapeutic effects numerous constituents, including carotenoids, polyphenols, chlorophyll, aloe vera, vitamins C and E, herbs like ginseng, and supplements like collagen peptides; all claimed to provide building blocks of the skin matrix. Let’s take a moment to summarize the anti-aging mechanisms of these functional foods.
The Top Anti-Wrinkle & Anti-Aging Foods, Herbs, & Supplements
Polyphenols (apigenin & naringenine):
Natural polyphenols (also known as flavonoids) are beneficial antioxidants that give fruits, herbs, and vegetables their pigment. There are 7 subclasses of polyphenols, but perhaps the most therapeutic in regards to aging are the flavones (apigenin, luteolin, naringenin), flavonols (quercetin), anthocyanins, and anthocyanidins. Looking at apigenin, this flavonoid can be found most abundantly in guava, parsley, chamomile, and celery. It has profound anti-aging effects including protection against skin cancer and tumors. It is a substance that greatly inhibits inflammation, and anti-inflammatories are also likely to also inhibit excessive collagen synthesis (scar tissue formation), serotonin secretion, and the formation of estrogen. And as discussed in an earlier post
, excessive estrogen can down regulate the thyroid and cause numerous skin issues, including dry or oily skin and acne. These flavonoids also increase CO2, which has a variety of anti-inflammatory, anti-fibrotic and anti-wrinkle effects. 1
Apigenin’s known anti-wrinkle effect: In a research study, scientists measured dermal density, skin elasticity, and the length of fine wrinkles in subjects treated with apigenin cream or the control cream without apigenin. What they found was that the apigenin increased dermal density and elasticity, and reduced fine wrinkle length. It also improved skin evenness and moisture content. 2
Naringenine, which is most abundant in fresh orange juice, is clinically effective against melanoma (skin cancer). According to researcher Warburg, cancer is the result of chronically inhibited oxidative phosphorylation, meaning, anything that inhibits proper oxidative metabolism in the cell leads to cancer. Naringenine works to prevent cancer by preventing oxidative stress, aka, acting as an antioxidant. 3
, 6 Chlorophyll & Aloe Vera:
Studies have found that chlorophyll improves facial wrinkles and elasticity. Considering the pivotal role of ROS (reactive oxidant species) in photoaging, chlorophyll’s and aloe vera’s antioxidant properties are considered to play a key role in reducing wrinkles, skin DNA damage, and cell death.Chlorophyll is what makes the aloe leaf green as well as other green herbs and plants like parsley, cilantro, etc. The gel of the aloe vera plant is particularly healing, purported as a strong anti-inflammatory, healing, moisturizing, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral wonder-substance for the skin. In a study on aloe vera gel supplementation, after 90 days researchers noted improvements in facial wrinkles and elasticity, an increase in type I procollagen levels, and a reduction in inflammation. The known therapeutic effects of aloe vera are due to its presence of immune enhancing polysaccharides. des; namely glucomannan and acemannan. These are the dominant polysaccharides that have been shown to increase collagen biosynthesis and prevent/reverse wrinkles. 7 Vitamin C & E:
Vitamin C is a major water-soluble antioxidant. It is a powerful inhibitor of lipid peroxidation (the oxidation of fats) and regenerates vitamin E in lipoproteins, which is essential for the production of collagen. A study on vitamin C and vitamin E shows that the two vitamins work synergistically to reduce UV-induced skin inflammation, decrease wrinkles and increase collagen synthesis in hairless mice. 8
Keep in mind that the studies imply that antioxidants are effective when taken together. The best sources of vitamin C include rose hips, amla, citrus, guava, cherries and cabbage. Vitamin E is tricky to source, considering it is usually found amongst inflammatory polyunsaturated fats. However, extra virgin olive oil is a unique vitamin E rich oil that contains the protective saturated fats as well. This sort of research is exactly why we regularly feature vitamin C & E rich oils like rose hips and olive oil in our products. Collagen Peptides:
An 8 week study on oral supplementation of collagen hydrolysate (products like Bulletproof Collagen) greatly increased skin elasticity in middle-aged women. And after just 4 weeks, a skin moisturizing effect was observed as well. Additionally, it was found that the supplement of collagen peptides had a long-lasting effect, especially in women over 50 years of age 9
. Further studies have demonstrated that collagen hydrolysate is absorbed in the digestive tract, and is deposited in the skin for up to 96 hrs 10
. Food-derived collagen peptides, like bone broth, are known to have a chemotactic effect for dermal fibroblasts, meaning that they increase the migration and growth of skin fibroblasts (a cell in connective tissue that produces collagen and other fiber) 11
. One study found that type I and IV collagen increases cutaneous skin elasticity, attributing to its anti-wrinkle effects.
The advantage of functional foods is that once they enter the circulatory system they reach all parts of the skin, including the epidermis, dermis, subcutaneous fat, and sebum -- thereby having a beneficial anti-aging affect on the entire skin system as well as the entire body. Therefore, we strongly suggest the use of proper diet and functional foods for the perfect anti-aging compliment to your natural cosmetic and beauty products.