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June has seen us focusing on skin health, and by chance I have been introduced to a product that has had some very encouraging results from clinical trial for skin. As  nutritional therapists we normally look at health from the inside and so historically we haven’t focused on many supplements that may give results on the outside – the skin.

First, a little background on skin...

Skin is our largest organ. Its role includes providing a waterproof barrier, insulating the body against extreme temperatures, protecting tissue from sunlight damage and the first defence against bacteria infection.  It stretches when we move and can heal itself. It is made up of three layers.

Epidermis...a layer of dead cells continuously shed and replaced by new. Dermis.....the thickest layer made up of strong matrix of two types of protein fibres- collagen and elastin. Subcutaneous layer....the base layer has a seam of fat providing fuel and insulation and cushioning.

Collagen is responsible for the skin’s firmness and makes up 70% of the dermis. Elastin as in the name provides elasticity to skin. The cells are replaced by a process of continuous regeneration where older fibres are broken down and replaced by fresh collagen and elastin.

Skin ages because the regeneration process of collagen and elastin cells starts to slow down due to several factors; intrinsic factors are things we can do little about – such as our genes, however external or extrinsic factors we can! These include smoking, poor diet, air pollution and, especially, sunlight damage.

We understand that what we eat impacts our health from the inside and this is also true on the outside - the skin and that sun exposure is damaging to the skin, but did you know that specific nutrients can actually be used by the body to protect the skin from sunlight damage? Any plant that grows in bright sunshine - such as these bilberry shown here - has to protect its delicate DNA from sun damage and they have evolved special compounds and pigments. These are important nutrients for us which we obtain when we eat these foods.

About plant nutrients....Phytonutrients

Colladeen Derma Plus from Lambert’s is a concentration of plant nutrients often referred to as phytonutrients and there has been much hype in the press in recent years over foods often referred to as ‘superfoods’ which contain these plant compounds called anthocyanidins. These phytonutrients give plants such as berries their intense blue and red colour and are members of the flavonoid family and are powerful antioxidants.  Colladeen Derma Plus uses extracts that concentrate these active phytonutrients by up to 500 times their level in the original plant material and contains one of the highest levels of anthocyanidins.

They provide a range of health benefits but of particularly focus is;

  • Reestablishment of healthy cellular processes
  • Defence of proteins in the skin which includes collagen and elastin.

Research has shown that flavonoids found in fruit, berries and leafy greens are taken up by the body and transported into the bloodstream to the under lying layers of the skin, here they bring an important level of protection against the sun damaging the matrix of protein fibres called collagen and elastin, that makes up much of the skins structure.

What is collagen?

Collagen is a protein found in all connective tissues including the skin, but also ligaments, tendons, joints, cartilages, bones, gut lining, blood vessels and teeth.

As we age our levels of collagen naturally decline so many people like to take collagen as a supplement when this starts to happen… (or as the ageing process starts!).

Collagen is available in supplement form, and is considered a good companion supplement to a diet high in anthocyanidins, or in this case as an additional supplement whilst taking Colladeen Derma Plus.  Collagen Complex by BioCare is a supplement that does not just include collagen (type 1 marine collagen), but also Vitamin C, which is needed for the body to make collagen, as well as other important molecules needed for the different connective structures in the body, including hyaluronic acid, thereby giving support to skin, joints and bones.

Clinical trial results

A clinical trial confirmed that the ingredients in Colladeen Derma Plus can offer protection against sun damage after just 12 weeks of use. It also gave other positive results on aspects of skin health including depth of wrinkles and elasticity.

There were 60 participants, aged between 50-70 with the trial running over 12 weeks; half the group took a placebo and the other half the Lambert’s Colladeen Derma Plus.

After 12 weeks…

  • Elasticity and firmness- elasticity significantly improved by 12%. And the encouraging signs were that improvements grew over time taking the product, so they could predict more benefits if the participants had continued.
  • Wrinkles- reduction of wrinkle depth of 8%
  • SPF protection- the best protection against the sun is of course  to cover up and use sun cream but this trial showed that an extra layer of protection- SPF 10 was built in to the skin as the super nutrients present in fruit and vegetables can help the skin cope with exposure to sunlight.
  • Spider veins/thread veins- in a continuation of this study, after 20 weeks there showed a 50% reduction in appearance of these veins.

My thoughts on this product

Although this test is obviously just a small trial and not conclusive, it has provided some encouraging results. Although I was aware that these particular flavonoids have overall health benefits I have been fascinated to read about the way in which they can potentially improve the skin’s appearance.

Having done the research and being of a woman in this age range, with the issues that come along with, I am encouraged to try this myself over the next 12 weeks and share my results with you. Keep a lookout for my updates in our next newsletter and social feeds.