Nutrition Health Review

Summer 2017

Nutrition Health Review provides consumers updates on the latest medical research, news, trends, and products in nutrition and healthy living.

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Nutrition Health Review 4 by Austin K. Vitelli and elizabeth A. Klumpp VItAMIn A Topical Vitamin A (tretinoin) has been proven to, at least partly, "revers[e] the structural damages of excessive sunlight exposure and may be useful in decelerating the photoaging process." In other words, it can reverse signs of aging in the skin. 1 However, having plenty of vitamin A in your diet can also prevent acne, according to a study published in Cutaneous and Ocular Toxicology. 2 In general, vitamin A can help repair damaged skin tissue. There are a variety of tasty and widely available fruits and vegetables loaded with vitamin A. Carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, and spinach are all hearty sources of vitamin A. For example, a cup of raw sliced carrots has more than 100 percent of the recommended daily allowance. And beef liver (if you're into that kind of thing) has close to 100 percent of your daily dose in just three ounces. B VItAMIns Vitamin B is actually a complex of several vitamins: thiamin (B 1 ), riboflavin (B 2 ), niacin (B 3 ), pantothenic acid (B 5 ), pyridoxine (B 6 ), biotin (B 7 ), folic acid (B 9 ), and cobalamins (B 12 ). The name arises because it was once considered a single vitamin, like vitamin C or D. The B complex plays various important roles in the human body, but some B vitamins affect the skin more than others. For example, one study showed that a year of treatment with niacinamide (a form of B 3 ) significantly lowered the risk of common, non-melanoma skin cancer in high-risk patients. 4 Niacinamide regulates cell metabolism and regeneration, and it is also used in topical products as an anti-aging agent. 5,6 In some studies, improvement of skin elasticity, erythema, and pigmentations after three months of topical niacinamide treatment was observed. 7 Biotin (B 7 ) has also gained commercial popularity for its claimed benefits to hair and nail growth, but research supporting this is limited. An older study does suggest that biotin might be effective as an antioxidant for the prevention of chronic skin photoaging, but this study was done in mice. 8 Symptoms of a deficiency in the B complex depend on what type of vitamin B you lack, and can range from fatigue and confusion to anemia and a compromised immune system. Signs of deficiency can also manifest in the skin, including redness, itchiness, scaliness, and pigmentation abnormalities. Vitamin B 1 is abundant in pork and almonds. Yogurt, cheese, and asparagus are full of B 2 . Chicken, turkey, and salmon have lots of B 3 . For folic acid (aka folate or B 9 ), look for anything that's leafy and dark green. Vitamin B 6 is found in potatoes and leafy greens as well. Vitamin B 12 can be found in fortified foods and animal proteins, including meat, eggs, and dairy products. Egg yolks are a hearty source of biotin, and grains contain a lot B 3 , which has been found to help treat blisters, rosacea, and aging skin. 9 VItAMIn C Vitamin C plays a significant role in protecting skin against sunburn, though its effectiveness in this capacity seems greatest in topical formulations. In a meta-analysis on the effects of vitamins C and E on photoprotection of the skin, researchers reported that while topically applied vitamin C induced significant photoprotective effects, oral administration, even at high doses in humans, did not produce the same effects. 10 Another study, published in Cancer Biotherapy and Essential Nutrients for Healthy Skin

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