Written By Warren Maginn BHSC. (Nutr. Med.) GRAD. CERT. (Hum. Nutr.). Clinical Nutritionist & Nordic Naturals Spokesperson
The source of great skin starts from within. As skin is the largest organ in the human body, like the other organs of the body, it is good diet and nutrition and other aspects of nourishment that can help improve its appearance.
In fact, your skin can often be the first visual indicator of an omega-3 essential fatty acid deficiency in the body. This condition may result in dry, rough, problematic skin that is prone to inflammation, premature aging, and uneven pigmentation. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) control a large number of cellular processes that directly impact skin health. EFAs reside in the membranes that surround skin cells, where they facilitate vital cellular functions that impact skin health and function – including transporting nutrients into and wastes out of the cell, regulating inflammation, retaining moisture, promoting cell turnover, distributing melanin evenly, and preventing the free radical and oxidative damage that underlies skin aging.
The human body can manufacture most of the fats it needs, however, there are two families of EFAs it cannot produce: the omega-3 and the omega-6. The key omega-3 fatty acids are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are found in fish oil. Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) is the only beneficial omega-6 to look for and it can be found within Evening Primrose and Borage Flower oils.
Benefits of Omegas
The Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil (EPA & DHA) have been shown to:
- Keep the skin hydrated, thus helping to maintain healthy skin
- Help soothe scaly, rough skin at the cellular level
- Improve blood flow and support the elasticity of red blood cells, thereby providing more oxygen to nourish the skin
- Encourage the production of strong collagen and elastin fibres in the dermis to support vital, vibrant skin
GLA is the one desirable omega-6 fatty acid. It stands to benefit the skin specifically through its membrane supportive action. It is known to help:
- Hydrate the skin
- Support healthy hair
- Improve skin barrier function
Most people who eat a typical Western diet do not consume the minimum amounts of EFAs required to prevent deficiency. And without adequate intake of EFAs, skin cells cannot function properly. Supplementation can assist this by providing the correct amounts to avoid deficiency and help to assist with skin nutrition.
For more information visit www.nordicnaturals.com.au (1800 110 158) or to learn about the scientific research, see www.omega-research.com
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Brosche T, Platt D. Effect of borage oil consumption on fatty acid metabolism, transepidermal water loss and skin parameters in elderly people. Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2000 Mar-Apr;30(2):139-50.
De Spirt S, Stahl W, Tronnier H, et al. Intervention with flaxseed and borage oil supplements modulates skin condition in women. Br J Nutr. 2009 Feb;101(3):440-5
Kawamura A, Ooyama K. et al. Dietary supplementation of gamma-linolenic acid improves skin parameters in subjects with dry skin and mild atopic dermatitis. J Oleo. Sci. 2011;60(12):597-607.