Updated: Sep 26, 2020
Let’s face it. We all want the fullness and elasticity of youthful skin. The question is, how do we improve the texture, appearance and feel of our skin naturally and effectively.
We have a substance in our body called Glycosaminoglycan (GAG).
This is the substance that keeps our skin healthy, hydrated and vibrant. GAG repairs skin and makes collagen, the substance that gives skin its firm elastic appearance. It’s the declining levels of GAG that causes our skin to age, sag and become wrinkled. So…how do we make more of this miraculous substance?!
OK let’s get a little more sciencey.
A hormone in our body called IGF-1 controls the production of GAG. So what we want is to increase our production of IGF-1. Increasing our IGF-1 will have a great impact on skin hydration, appearance and wrinkles. So…how do we do it?
Insulin, the hormone produced by the pancreas in response to high blood sugars, lowers
IGF-1. Therefore anything that increases insulin can have a negative impact on IGF-1 and GAG. This is why a diet high in carbs and sugars can be very ageing for our skin!
A diet rich in good fats, moderate protein and low carbohydrates stimulates the production of IGF-1 and GAG resulting in more youthful skin.
Enhanced sleep. This also stimulates the production of IGF-1. Sleeping beauty knew a thing or two about what really keep the wrinkles at bay. Surviving on 6-7 hours per night will deplete IGF-1 and therefore the naturally hydrating, collagen-stimulating benefits of GAG. IGF-1 increases when we are sleeping 7-9 hours per night. Collagen, an hour before bed and magnesium citrate can both work as great sleep aids.
HIIT (high intensity interval training) will increase IGF-1. So your weekly bootcamp session or spin class is actually boosting your natural anti-aging hormones!
Clean up your liver, Your liver is KEY for enhancing skin appearance. It makes IGF-1 and is the main detoxification organ. It produces the bile necessary for the absorption of key fat-soluble nutrients needed for healthy skin. Alcohol, a high carbohydrate diet and synthetic hormones and medication all tax the liver. Improving liver function through a ketogenic or paleo-based diet, minimising alcohol consumption, taking apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and improved hydration can all improve the liver function.
Intermittent fasting, Insulin is activated when you’re eating, IGF-1 is stimulated when you’re intermittently fasting. Intermittent fasting means reducing the window in which you eat. Not eating late at night allows our body to remove cell debris and clean up the body. It also stimulates IGF-1 which again has a huge impact on our skin appearance.
Vitamins. Fat-soluble vitamins A, D and K2 are all key for healthy skin. Free-range egg yolks are packed with these fat-soluble vitamins as is grass-fed butter, grass-fed ghee and grass-fed meats. Water-soluble vitamin C, is crucial for the body’s own production of collagen. Without vitamin C we cannot make collagen. Foods high in vitamin C and low in sugar include sauerkraut, sea buckthorn (a berry that is especially high in vitamin C) bell peppers and cauliflower.
The essential fatty acids, omega-3, moisturise and nourish skin, leaving it hydrated, beautifully soft and smooth. These amazing beauty fats enhance the skin's natural barrier, sealing in moisture and keeping out damaging toxins. Omega-3 fats are also highly anti-inflammatory, which helps to protect skin against the damaging effects of our inflammatory lifestyles!
There is some research that shows how omega-3 fats can also protect against the damaging effects of UV light. Taking a daily supplemental omega-3 is like eating a super-effective face cream...! I take two high dose Wiley's Finest Peak EPA fish oils. These fish oils are currently on offer with a 20%!
Collagen, studies suggest that taking collagen supplements can lead to reduced wrinkles and improved skin hydration. Collagen can either be bovine sourced or marine sourced. Both have benefits to the skin, hair and nails.
Eating your way to a more youthful appearance. What could be better than that?!
For more information on an anti-inflammatory, anti-ageing diet and lifestyle, see Primal Living in a Modern World