Omega-3 supplement helps slow the effects of aging by suppressing damage and boosting protection at the cellular level during and after a stressful event. Researchers at The Ohio State University found that daily supplements that contained 2.5 grams of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, the highest dose tested, were the best at helping the body resist the damaging effects of stress.
1) Omega-3 Effects on the Gut-Skin Axis
Who would have imagined that the living organisms located in our gut could change the appearance of our skin – it is a phenomenon known as the gut-skin axis. Recent investigations reveal that poor dietary choices may lead to unfavorable changes in our gut bacteria, which may in turn, disrupt the quality of our skin. For example, high-sugar, high-fat and low-fiber foods have been shown to alter gut microbiota in ways that result in higher insulin levels – a factor that’s been linked to the development of acne. Fortunately, changing dietary patterns can help enhance the quality of gut bacteria. In fact, some studies show that increased consumption of fish or supplementation with omega-3s may help promote the growth of “good” bacteria that are thought to optimize health.
2) Acne-Fighting Properties of Omega-3s
Research suggests that diets lacking in omega-3 fatty acids may be linked to the prevalence of acne—a skin condition characterized by pimples that occur when hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells. Conversely, a study analyzing the diet of over 1,000 teenagers found that those who consumed higher amounts of fish and seafood tended to have fewer breakouts.
3) Sun-Buffering Effects of Omega-3s
Skin damage that results from sun overexposure is one of the most common causes of accelerated skin aging. When sunlight contacts the skin, it causes the production of free radicals, which can attack the skin’s cellular membranes. Because omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in cellular membrane health, it is thought that having an optimal omega-3 status may enhance the skin’s resilience to ultraviolet light. Several human studies have reported that oral supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids can help buffer against the sun’s harmful rays.
4) Anti-Wrinkle Effects of PUFAs
When the outermost layer of the epidermis (also known as the skin barrier) loses its water-holding capacity, scaly, rough, and cracked skin is what you may see in the mirror – yikes! Fortunately, the skin barrier’s ability to retain water is influenced by the composition of fatty acids, which can be affected by changes to your diet. In fact, research shows that supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids can have a positive influence on the skin’s hydration levels.
In a study comparing the effects of supplementation with flaxseed oil or borage oil on women with sensitive skin, it was found that both groups saw positive changes in skin hydration, scaling, and roughness.This is not overly surprising as omega-3s from flaxseed and omega-6 GLA from borage oil (which is a “skin-supporting” omega-6 fatty acid not typically consumed in high amounts) are thought to promote a healthy immune response and to prevent the excess production of acute-phase proteins – molecules that are known to affect skin quality. It is thought that the excess consumption of the omega-6 fatty acids (with the exception of GLA) commonly found in Americanized diets can cause an imbalance in the skin and other organs that may have consequences such as accelerated aging.
5) Stress-busting Properties of Omega-3s
A healthy skin barrier is one that prevents excessive water loss and can prevent foreign substances from getting absorbed that might irritate the deeper layers of the skin. Unfortunately, studies show that stress or sleep deprivation may lead to an unhealthy skin barrier – taking away the youthful look of your skin, which only creates more stress! Another study analyzed how stress impacted the skin of college students by comparing the quality of their skin during exam periods versus vacation periods. The results showed that students’ skin barrier function declined during exam weeks compared to when the students were on winter break.
To recap, the overconsumption of processed foods that are high in sugar and fat can result in an unhealthy gut, and potentially lead to pimples, dry, wrinkled, and scaly skin. Thankfully, research shows that you can enhance your skin health by consuming a diet that promotes digestive health. Given that omega-3s are thought to promote the “good” bacteria, ensuring an adequate intake of omega-3s is an excellent strategy for achieving the healthy, glowing, and youthful-looking skin complexion that you are looking for. Omega-3s also appear to increase skin hydration, promote healthy insulin levels, help establish a healthy stress response, and buffer the skin from sun damage—all factors known to affect the overall quality and condition of the skin. In other words, omega-3s have many unique, skin-promoting benefits.
For those who have problems with burping up a fishy taste with Omega 3 Fatty acid, you can avoid this annoying little problem by freezing your capsules! That’s right, put them in the freezer and take it frozen. My favorite brand for Omega 3 Fatty Acid comes from Metagenics.
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