What
beauty

What the heck is ingestible beauty?

Dr. Jessica Eastman, ND

Ever heard of ingestible beauty? We’ve all heard the adage “beauty comes from the inside”, and science agrees. Despite how much beauty companies want us to believe otherwise, having smooth, glowing skin and strong hair and nails is much more a product of optimal internal health than it is a result of the hair products, cleansers or moisturizers we use. Our hair, nails and skin can be viewed as an external expression of our internal health; if our insides aren’t happy – if our hormones are unbalanced, our immune system is struggling, our digestive system is not working well, or our nervous system overwhelmed - it often shows up on the surface, as brittle nails, dry fragile hair, or skin that is dry, congested or uneven. The cells that make up our hair, nails and skin divide very rapidly, which is why we need to trim our nails and get hair cuts, and why we can heal small cuts and abrasions quickly or shave every day without causing damage. However, to facilitate this rapid division, the cells require a high level of fuel and nutrients to make healthy new cells. So if you are deficient in a particular nutrient it will often show up in your hair, nails and skin first. The most important nutrients for these tissues are water, healthy fats and the protein collagen, which all work to keep your skin hydrated, vital, strong and smooth.

The lymphatic system: your body's housekeeper

Another key component of keeping your skin, hair and nails healthy, strong and clear is your lymphatic system. It’s a system of vessels that circulates lymph fluid, a clear, water-like substance that picks up waste products and toxins and filters them so they can be removed from the tissues and eliminated from the body in the urine via the kidneys. The only catch to the lymphatic system’s function is that you need to be moving; the lymphatic vessels rely on the contraction of nearby muscles to pump the lymph fluid to where it needs to go. So if you’re not moving, neither is your lymph fluid, and therefore waste products and toxins are accumulating in your tissues and causing cellular dysfunction, that can also start showing up as skin issues. As you start to move around, your muscles contract, the lymph fluid starts moving and the tissues get flushed out, clearing the congestion. Sweating also flushes out toxins and waste products from the skin, clears out pores and the sweat itself has a gentle antimicrobial action on the skin, so it can decrease risk of infection. So the more exercise and the more sweating, the better!

Eat well, stay hydrated, keep moving!

So you want to have healthy, glowing skin, and strong, resilient hair and nails?
  • Make sure you’re getting enough water – aim for 2-3 L per day.
  • Remember to include healthy fats at every meal – avocados, coconut milk/oil, olive oil, nuts, and seeds are all great sources.
  • Make sure you’re getting enough protein and collagen – good quality, well-sourced meat is a great dietary source of collagen, and you can also use a collagen supplement or use a plant-based collagen booster to ensure adequate intake.
  • Chlorophyll supplementation has also been shown to promote the body’s natural production of collagen, as well as decreasing facial wrinkles and improving the skin’s elasticity. And if that wasn’t enough, taking chlorophyll internally can also help to protect AND repair your skin from UV radiation (sun) damage!
  • Last, but definitely not least, make sure you’re getting lots of heart-pumping, sweat-inducing exercise! At least 30 minutes a day is ideal, but more is better! Just make sure to rinse off after to clear away all the toxins and bacteria in the sweat, and you’ll be glowing in no time.

References

  1. Sibilla, S., Godfrey, M., Brewer, S., Budh-Raja, A., & Genovese, L. (2015). An overview of the beneficial effects of hydrolysed collagen as a nutraceutical on skin properties: Scientific background and clinical studies. The Open Nutraceuticals Journal, 8(1), 29-42.
  2. Gillies, A., Lieber, R. (2011). Structure and function of the skeletal muscle extracellular matrix. Muscle Nerve, 44(3): 318-331.
  3. Wells, D. (2009). The post-workout protein puzzle: which protein packs the most punch? Strength and Conditioning Journal, 31(1): 27-30.
  4. Gauza-Wiodarczyk, M., Kubisz, L., Wiodarczyk, D. (2017). Amino acid composition in determination of collagen origin and assessment of physical factors effects. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, 104(Pt A):987-991.
  5. Philips, S. (2011). The science of muscle hypertrophy: making dietary protein count. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 70(1): 100-103.
  6. Schoenfeld, BJ., Aragon, AA., Krieger, JW. (2013). The effect of protein timing on muscle strength and hypertrophy. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 10(53).
  7. Cho, S., Won, C., Chung, J., Lee, S., Lee, D., Kim, S., Lee M. (2006). Drink containing chlorophyll extracts improves signs of photoaging and increases type I procollagen in human skin in vivo. Annals of Dermatology, 13(4): 111-119.