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Top 2 Anti-Aging Supplements for Skin Health
Guest Post with @BowTied Vitamins
Here we go again - another installment of Misc. Aesthetics!
In this series, I explore various avenues to improve your appearance outside of skin and haircare.
In the first few installments, we learned about:
Today, I’m bringing in @BowTiedVitamins to teach you everything you need to know about his favorite anti-aging skin supplements: ubiquinol and hydrolyzed collagen.
He’ll take it from here.
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How Ubiquinol & Hydrolyzed Collagen Can Improve Skin Health and Make You Look Younger
Supplements often get a bad rap in the health and fitness world.
Due to the lack of regulation by the FDA, there are many low-quality products, scams, and harmful contaminants.
However, I am here to advocate for the positives of supplementation.
By using high-quality, targeted supplements, we can hack our biology to support our best, healthiest selves.
There are two supplements that can dramatically help improve your skin from the inside out and slow the aging process: ubiquinol and hydrolyzed collagen.
We’ll discuss how these two supplements benefit your skin, the science behind them, and I’ll present a real-world example about how this supplement combo helped me dramatically improve my appearance.
Ubiquinol is the reduced form of coenzyme q10 (CoQ10).
It’s an antioxidant that your cells use for energy and to protect against oxidative damage and free radicals.
CoQ10 plays a key role in cell growth and maintenance, particularly in the skin.
The cosmetics industry has researched ubiquinol extensively as an ingredient in topical creams.
When we are young, skin cells get energy from mitochondria, which are the cell’s power plant.
But as we age, this energy production changes to a non-mitochondrial process.
Scientists believe this switch triggers a breakdown in skin structure, i.e., wrinkles and sagging.
CoQ10 helps to preserve the skin’s mitochondria and prevent the cells from switching to non-mitochondrial energy production.
CoQ10 also turns on the genes that make skin structure proteins and turns off the genes that make collagenase, an enzyme that breaks down collagen (more on that below).
Studies have shown that daily ubiquinol supplementation of 50-150mg over a 12-week period reduced several signs of aging in the skin, including improved hydration, skin thickness, elasticity, and the appearance of wrinkles.
Research also suggests that CoQ10 protects the skin against free radicals and oxidative damage from the sun and pollution that can cause skin cells to die or mutate and show signs of premature aging.
Finally, research also shows that CoQ10 supplements can reduce the appearance of dark spots.
But ubiquinol also has several non-skin related health benefits as well, including:
Heart health and reduced risk of major cardiovascular issues
Decreased blood pressure in patients with hypertension
Brain health and slowed deterioration in cognition
Improved exercise performance by decreasing oxidative stress on cells and improving mitochondrial function
Your body produces CoQ10 naturally, but production declines with age.
Food sources include organ meats, cruciferous vegetables, oysters, avocado, mackerel, and sardines.
But you’d have to eat huge amounts of these foods to get enough – like hundreds of oysters per day.
Therefore, to see the skincare benefits of CoQ10, you should take 50-150mg of a daily ubiquinol supplement.
Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in your body.
It makes up the connective tissue in your skin, hair, joints, bones, and muscles.
Collagen makes up 80% of the skin and works with elastin to strengthen the skin and increase elasticity.
Your body produces less collagen as you age, which contributes to aching joints, muscle weakness, wrinkles, and lots of other aging-related ailments.
But it’s not just a problem for old people – after 25, your body breaks down more collagen than it makes, losing about 1% of its collagen per year.
This is why CoQ10 plus collagen is such a powerful combination – CoQ10 stops collagen breakdown by inhibiting collagenase production while you replenish collagen stores via collagen supplementation.
Research shows that collagen supplements improve skin elasticity, reduce wrinkles, boost hydration, and increase the density of the type of cells that produce new collagen.
Further research suggests that collagen strengthens the joints, reduces joint pain, and boosts cartilage density.
Collagen is also an important supplement for gut health – it’s a building block of the gastrointestinal tract.
Collagen repairs tissue damage in the stomach and digestive lining that is the result of poor diet (i.e., seed oils and processed food).
It also supports digestion by stimulating the production of hydrochloric acid and attracting water into the GI tract to move food along.
Research has shown that one of the amino acids that make up collagen, L-glutamate, supports the intestines by neutralizing oxidative stress.
The link between gut health and skin health is well established by scientific research – when your gut health is out of whack, the skin is often the first place you notice problems.
You can get collagen from foods like bone broth; pork, salmon, and chicken skin; egg yolks; and non-muscle meats like tendon, tripe, and oxtail.
Most of us aren’t eating those things in abundance, so an easy way to get more collagen is by taking hydrolyzed collagen peptides.
Some people have questioned the bioavailability of collagen supplements.
Bioavailability is a paramount concern when taking supplements: is the supplement getting to where it’s supposed to go and doing what it’s supposed to do, or are we just wasting money?
Several studies support the bioavailability of hydrolyzed collagen.
“Hydrolyzed” means that the collagen has been broken down into smaller, lighter particles that are easier for the body to digest and use.
Hydrolyzed collagen peptides weigh 0.3-8.0 kDa and are made by decomposing larger gelatin particles, which weigh 100 kDa, via enzymes.
The low molecular weight of hydrolyzed collagen means that it is highly digestible and easily absorbed and distributed in the body.
One review of various studies on the bioavailability of hydrolyzed collagen concludes: “Several experiments have shown that collagen peptides can be efficiently absorbed and distributed to the dermis… where they can stimulate the proliferation and motility of fibroblasts, induce an increase in the density and diameter of collagen fibers, increase hyaluronic acid production, and activate protection against UVA radiation.”
The key here is the use of hydrolyzed peptides.
Due to its higher molecular weight, it is not clear that gelatin (which is what is found in bone broth) has the same effects.
My Success Story
Scientific studies are all well and good, but where is the real-world proof that what I’m telling you actually works?
Let’s look at how ubiquinol and hydrolyzed collagen helped me dramatically improve the skin on my face and eliminate embarrassing baggy, puffy eyes, and dark circles.
I was blessed with good genetics when it comes to aging.
People usually think I look 10-15 years younger than I actually am.
But my eyes were a different story.
Puffiness, bagginess, and dark circles made my eyes look 20 years older.
It was so noticeable in pictures that I avoided being caught on film without sunglasses and would have to touch up most photos.
I slept pretty well, ate healthy, and exercised, but I just looked constantly tired.
Here’s a photo of my eyes from five years ago.
You can see the puffiness and dark circles clearly.
Here’s another photo from around the same time, again highlighting the dark circles and puffy eyes. You can also see fine lines forming underneath my eyes.
I am constantly researching supplements and adding and subtracting things from my stack.
It’s the life of the biohacker.
About a year ago, I decided to add ubiquinol and hydrolyzed collagen to my daily routine.
After a few months of daily intake, I noticed a dramatic improvement in the skin on my face, which looked and felt tighter and healthier.
The improvement was especially noticeable around my eyes.
The puffiness and dark circles disappeared. Here’s what my eyes look like now:
You can see that the puffiness is completely gone, as are the fine lines under my eyes.
The dark circles are almost non-existent.
My eyes look dramatically younger, and now match my overall appearance.
I hope this article helped show you that supplements like ubiquinol and hydrolyzed collagen can have a huge impact on the health and appearance of your skin.
And consider adding ubiquinol and hydrolyzed collagen to your supplement stack to help your skin from the inside out and slow the aging process.
If you enjoyed this post, follow me on Twitter @BowTiedVitamins where I post about improving your health via supplements and other biohacking techniques.
I also recently launched a coaching program where I will customize a supplement stack based on your diet, lifestyle, and health goals, which you can sign up for here.