Thousands of pills promise anti-aging benefits. Regardless of what the supplements promise, there are only three vitamins and minerals that are proven to be anti-aging through their antioxidant properties. I’ve spoken with several dermatologists about what supplements I should be taking on a daily basis to help prevent the signs of aging. They consistently recommend two vitamins; however, an essential mineral is often left out.
So, what should you be taking to extend your youth? In a moment, I’ll tell you about the three vitamins and minerals you should be using. Remember to consult your doctor before adding any supplements to your diet, as well as check for any interactions that may occur.
So, you want to fight anti-aging? How about reducing the appearance of visible wrinkles and age spots? If so, head down to your local drugstore and purchase vitamin C. Even better, Vitamin C can be attained through eating a healthy diet!
Doctors universally agree that sun damage is the most significant cause of skin aging (aka wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots). When exposed to UV rays, free radicals are the result. Free radicals damage our cells, mitochondria, and DNA. It’s important to note that wearing sunscreen will only prevent 55% of free radicals that are caused by UV damage. Other factors such as fried foods, alcohol, tobacco, smoke, and air pollutants can also result in the creation of damaging free radicals.
The antioxidant properties of vitamin C play an important role in repairing the damage caused by free radicals. These antioxidants work to neutralize potential damage and repair pre-existing skin aging. In a nutshell, vitamin C decreases photoaging, repairs collagen, improves collagen, reduces the appearance hyperpigmentation (sun spots), reduces inflammation in the cases of acne and rosacea, promotes wound healing, and prevents post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (darkness caused by blemishes or wounds).
Foods that contain the highest levels of Vitamin C (2 servings recommended per day)
Guava, Black Currant, Red Pepper, Kiwi, Green Peppers, Orange, Strawberries, Papaya, Broccoli, and Kale
Vitamin E, like Vitamin C, works to protect the body from various free radicals. According to an Indian Dermatology Online Article, “vitamins C and E inhibit the acute UV damage as well as chronic UV photoaging and skin cancer.” A double-blind study conducted in 2016 found that patients using topical vitamin E regimens experienced significant facial radiance, a decrease in skin roughness, reduction in fine lines, and reduction in mottled skin (sun spots).
Vitamin E not only protects the skin from internal damage but also acts as a cell membrane protector. This means that it decides what comes in and out of our skin. Vitamin E ensures that moisture is retained within the skin, while various pollutants are blocked.
Foods that contain the highest levels of Vitamin E (recommended dosage of vitamin E is at least 15 mg, daily)
Almonds, Spinach, Sweet Potato, Avocado, Wheat Germ, and Sunflower Seeds
Selenium is an essential trace mineral that is a necessary part of your diet and anti-aging regimen. Not only does selenium prevent signs of anti-aging, but it also increases the effectiveness of vitamin E. When taken daily, it has been shown to improve skin elasticity, slow down the signs of aging caused by free radical damage, and prevent excessive UV absorption.
Selenium is so vital that “studies suggest that people who consume lower amounts of selenium could have an increased risk of developing cancers of the colon and rectum, prostate, lung, bladder, skin, esophagus, and stomach.”
Foods that contain the highest amounts of selenium (55 mcg is recommended daily by the National Institutes of Health)
Brazil nuts, Yellowfin tuna, Halibut, Sardines, and Grass-fed beef
These vitamins and minerals can vastly improve your anti-aging regimen at any age. While most doctors recommend getting an early start on anti-aging, these vitamins have been proven to improve wrinkles, collagen, and hyperpigmentation due to UV rays.
**Please note that exceptionally high intake of selenium can cause health issues. Take all supplements in recommended doses.
Saokar. “Vitamin C in Dermatology.” Indian Dermatology Online Journal, ser. 143-146, 4 Apr. 2013, pp. 1–1. 143-146, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3673383/.
FitzPatrick, RE, and EF Rostan. “Double-Blind, half-Face study comparing topical vitamin C and vehicle for rejuvenation of photodamage.” Dermatol Surgery, 28 Mar. 2002, pp. 231–236., http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11896774.
Stephens, Thomas J, et al. “A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial Evaluating an Oral Anti-Aging Skin Care Supplement for Treating Photodamaged Skin.” The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, no. 4, 1 Apr. 2016, pp. 25–32., http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4898581/.
Keen, Mohammed Abid, and Iffat Hassan. “Vitamin E in dermatology.” Indian Dermatology Online Journal, no. 7, ser. 4, 7 July 2016, pp. 311–315. 4, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4976416/.
National Institutes of Health. “Selenium.” National Institutes of Health, US Department of Health and Human Services, 17 Feb. 2016, ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Selenium-Consumer/.