Skin Care

By Andrea Toochin


Last year, a government announcement regarding national health burst our bubble when officials declared us an obese nation. For a short moment afterward, I was relieved to hear the Australians beat us. But the thought crossed my mind – how could a small isolated country where only part of the land is inhabited, house statistically more overweight people than our large nation, with its never-ending stock of potato chips in 10 varieties, fast food sandwiches with special deals, and king-size candy bars? For god sakes, we thrive off sugar-laden alcohol, and have to force our children to eat their vegetables, while they dream of ice cream and cookies before bedtime.

This announcement, followed by the much talked about documentary, Fast Food Nation, may be responsible for the explosion the wellness industry experienced over the last year. Now, Whole Foods not only boasts Whole Body, but also an alternative, green clothing store, which recently opened on the West Coast. Hopefully, it’ll be just a few years before the general public starts buying organic cotton and hemp clothes in bulk, and the natural food stores start selling hemp seeds as they do flax. So, how is this related to skin care?

Nutrition has a huge impact on skin care. There’s only so much a topical solution can do for your skin’s condition. If you smoke, drink alcohol and caffeine regularly, and eat minimal amounts of fruits and vegetables, no exorbitant facial cream will sustain a youthful look. But, there are countless vitamins, nutrients, and minerals derived from fruits, vegetables, and herbs that fight free radicals. Even if you’re unwilling to spend the time or money required to ingest some of the incredible supplements out there, you should at minimum take a daily vitamin.

Olay makes an extensive line of vitamins, all of which are free of artificial flavors, preservatives, yeast, and gluten. Though they offer a vitamin E, a vitamin A/beta carotene, and an alpha-lipoic acid supplement, the Complete Woman’s Multivitamin is the best bet. Among other nutrients, one tablet provides 100 percent of vitamin A, C, D, E, and B6 and B12. It also contains full daily dosage of iron, folic acid, and magnesium.

If you suspect you’re not eating enough fruits and vegetables, Nutraceutics produces Vitrin, a multivitamin with all the major vitamins and grape, apple, and artichoke extracts, as well a broccoli, spinach and blueberry extracts. Two capsules contain 3000 Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) units, the USDA recommended allowance. ORAC units are the antioxidant levels found in fruits and vegetables that fight free radicals.

A new popular tropical fruit high in antioxidants is aà§ai. Unlike most products, Aà§ai Turbo Juice contains an unusually high amount of ORAC units, 3800 to be exact, in a one-ounce serving. The Turbo formula is also unlike its competitors because there’s no added sugar and contains omega 3, 6, and 9. Next month, they’ll introduce an Agave nectar variety, which can be mixed with Turbo to mask the unusual taste. A Splenda nectar variety is already available and accommodates diabetics.

Dana Reed, MS, CNS, CDN, a licensed and certified nutrition therapist, recommends adding this type of unsweetened, aà§ai pulp to smoothies or to yogurt, along with flax seeds, for a tasty, healthy breakfast or snack.

We’ve all heard about the wonders of green tea, but to be honest, do we really understand what it does and how it impacts our health? We know it’s an anti-inflammatory and an excellent antioxidant, but why?

Robert Pastore, Ph.D., a doctor of nutrition and the president of Pastore Formulations, concurs that aà§ai is rich in antioxidants, but warns consumers of supplements and drinks that are flooded with sugar, to the point where the benefits are minimal. What he does believe in is the power of green and white tea, but he warns that it takes the equivalent of 20 cups of green tea to have any impact. His capsules are green and white tea standardized to 70 percent EGCG, the most active flavonoid in green tea, and 90 percent white tea polyphenols, all in one 600mg capsule. “It would be a great way to prevent cellular aging of the skin and slow the sands of time,” says Pastore. One of his Green & White Tea Max pills is the equivalent of 24 cups of green tea and six cups of white tea, caffeine free, of course.

InVite, the wellness boutique slowly popping up all over the city, is a great resource for antioxidant supplements. From elixirs to herbal capsules, there are countless options that may improve overall health, though not all are stabilized. GliSODin is a complex that neutralizes free radicals that can damage skin. Their 250mg Silica supplement can improve the skin, nails, hair, and bones, as does 100 percent MSM, a supplement that’s most often used for joint pain. Dr. Pastore’s research proves this, as does his full head of hair.

Another of InVite’s interesting options is Veins Hx, a supplement comprised of bioflavonoids, silica, centaella asiatica, horse chestnut, bilberry, and buffered vitamin C, a form that has a longer half-life in the body and is less harsh on the GI tract. As with all supplements, be sure to check the dosage, how many pills are considered a dosage, whether or not it is a stabilized, and if there are any potential problems that could occur with current medications.

Now, if all this talk has you wondering how you’ll pop all those pills and how much it’ll cost, relax. There are a few options that provide small amounts of nutrients that are excellent ways to transition to a healthier lifestyle.

Scott Vincent Borba’s aà§ai gummis contain traces of the aforementioned antioxidants and regular vitamins, and are excellent substitutes for candy or cookies, especially during the afternoon slump. Instead of darting to the vending machine around 3 p.m., keep a bag on your desk at work and reach for a handful of these tasty, exotic bite size snacks.

Airforce Nutrisoda is another wellness-oriented company that produces a great product best suited for transitioning soda addicts. Those of you who have a false sense of superiority for your choice of soda over coffee should pay attention. At least, we smart coffee purveyors know to limit our intake and avoid the use of sugar and cream. Soda, however, always has some kind of unnatural element, and if you’re drinking regular soda, tons of sugar and corn syrup.

Nutrisoda offers seven varieties each the size of an energy drink. Radiant is a pomegranate and blackberry flavored carbonated drink that contains a decent amount of vitamin A, and traces of amino acids. Dr. Pastore warns that food could deactivate the power of the amino acids, if eaten while consuming the beverage. Nevertheless, Nutrisoda is a fun option if you’re tired of water and tea, and making an effort to cut back on full calorie, sugar-laden sodas and juices.

Overall, some of the most common supplements employed to improve the texture of skin are grape seed extract (100 mg standardized daily), Alpha Lipoic Acid (100 mg), Coenzyme Q10 (30-90 mg), and Omega 3 in the form of fish oil. But, as with many health situations, a combination of food and supplements is best. However, such additions to one’s daily regimen depend on individual medical history and you should always consult your doctor first.

To enlist the advice of one of our trusty experts, Robert Pastore, Ph.D, or Dana Reed, MS, CNS, CDN, visit their Web sites.

For pricing or purchase locations of above listed products, visit the following sites.

Originally published February 2006



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