Could Omega 3 be the best anti ageing cream?
I tell lots of people about all the amazing Omega 3 benefits – what it can do for your heart, your brain, your mental health, your children…. Most are interested to a point. Then when I say it’s also very good for your skin, ears prick up and eyes brighten. Who cares if it could prevent a heart attack, could it make me look younger and more beautiful?! Could this be the best anti wrinkle cream ever? An interesting insight into what we ladies (and a scattering of men) care about the most. Especially once we reach a certain age. On a serious note though, it’s not just about vanity – there are some nasty skin conditions that can be greatly relieved, and it’s one of fish oil’s lesser known benefits.
It’s all about the anti-inflammatory effect
Clinical trials have shown the anti-inflammatory effect of Omega 3 to have a very positive impact on conditions such as atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, acne, eczema and rosacea. It’s believed the reason is because it inhibits arachidonic acid, which leads to a reduction in internal inflammation. The immune function normalizes, our bodies work better and our poor, often neglected skin (our largest organ and window to our insides) directly feels the benefits and therefore looks and feels healthier. Simply put, if our body is fire fighting all the time trying to reduce inflammation, it doesn’t have the energy or capability to function normally and our health suffers.
What on earth is arachidonic acid?
Well, it’s an Omega 6 fatty acid which isn’t a bad thing only we have way too much of it in our diet. Too much of it can block the absorption of Omega 3 as they both compete for the same conversion enzymes. If you think how little Omega 3 we consume in our diets here in the Western world, it’s amazing we have any in our blood at all. Our bodies have a sensitive omega-6/omega-3 ratio that controls many delicate biochemical pathways, and when this is unbalanced it’s widely believed to result in accelerating many chronic degenerative diseases. (More on the Omega 6 balance in a future blog).
One of the best anti ageing supplements
Inflammatory compounds are heavily involved in the ageing process. We all know that smoking, excessive alcohol and poor diet wreak havoc on our skin and can age us way beyond our years and this is all down to internal inflammation. Compare your skin on a morning when you ate healthily the day before, drank lots of water and didn’t drink, to a morning after a night on the booze and you’ll see a stark and immediate difference.
Omega 3 boosts skin cells’ natural defences
Omega 3 strengthens the skin’s natural defences as it’s responsible for the health of the skin’s cell membrane, which acts as a barrier to harmful compounds but also provides a two-way passage for both nutrients and waste products. The membrane also impacts the cell’s ability to hold water and therefore a healthy barrier keeps our skin moisturized, soft and less wrinkled.
We love the sun and we need the vitamin D, but the harmful effects of UV radiation are both terribly ageing and can cause skin cancer. Omega 3 has been shown to reduce the effects of UV rays.
So, there’s a strong case for upping your Omega 3 for the sake of your skin. I’ve had lots of people tell me that it has helped nasty skin conditions and even eradicated Keratosis Pillaris (bumpy skin that a lot of children get on the back of their top arm) and I’m an advert for it – I am the laziest person when it comes to skincare (cleansing, toning and all that) but my skin looks pretty good. Apparently…