This is part of our ongoing The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging spotlight. Each day, we will be posting some of the great information that’s packed into our book, The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging.
Fish Oils and Healthy Skin
Skin cells, like other cells throughout the body, have cell membranes composed of lipid bilayers that facilitate cellular communication, leading to an inflow of nutrients and an outflow of toxins. This exchange is necessary for promoting the health of these and all cells. On the skin, the manifestations of dysfunctional or unhealthy cells become obvious since the skin is an area that is exposed to the outside world. Keeping these cells happy, supple, and vibrant means reaping the benefits of healthy skin. Of course, this is everybody’s goal. But whether your skin can function properly while remaining healthy looking and attractive is largely determined by what you eat. Like every other part of your body, your skin will reward you for treating it well. And, like every other part of the body that has been examined, your skin loves, needs, and wants the healthy omega-3 fats that are provided by fish oils.
Your skin is exposed to the harshness of our environment on a daily basis. This exposure poses major challenges. The consumption of fish oils helps maintain your skin’s youthful vibrancy and suppleness while strengthening the protection it provides as the body’s major external organ. Research summarized in an article published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that daily intakes of several grams of fish oil every day can promote healthy skin.26 Because “healthy skin” promotion by the fish oils depends in part on the natural state of the skin, it is likely that the skin of fair-skinned individuals will benefit the most from supplementation of the diet with fish oils. Fish oil and the omega-3 fats contained within it enhance the functionality of the skin as an immune barrier by facilitating nutrient exchange and toxin removal within cells.
Of course, another mechanism of skin support by omega-3 fats is through modulating the production of chemicals by the immune system in response to certain exposures. As reported in research published in the Journal of Lipid Research decades ago, it is not healthy for the skin to be exposed to increased production of pro-inflammatory triggers.27 However, within the skin, fish oils help to maintain a healthy balance of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory metabolic compounds. You can nurture your skin by ensuring that cold-water ocean fish and fish oils are part of your daily diet.
Tomorrow’s topic: Fish Oils and Healthy Joints
26. Boelsma E, Hendriks HF, Roza L. Nutritional skin care: Health effects of micronutrients and fatty acids. Am J Clin Nutr 2001;73:853-864.
27. Chapkin RS, Ziboh VA, Marcelo CL, Voorhees JJ. Metabolism of essential fatty acids by human epidermal enzyme preparations: Evidence of chain elongation. J Lipid Res 1986;27:945-954.