Wednesday, June 3, 2009

7 Vitamins for Great-Looking Skin from the Inside Out

Did you know that your skin needs at least 7 vitamins to function properly as an organ? In fact, your skin is the largest organ in your body, and provides many useful functions such as protecting you from harmful bacteria and flushing toxins out of your body.

But for your skin do its job and look great, it needs the right fuel-the right vitamins. Here are 7 vitamins that play a crucial role in keeping your skin healthy, young, and elastic.

1. Biotin
Biotin is a coenzyme that helps build and repair skin cells. Biotin has also been shown to be helpful in reversing eczema, dermatitis, and other skin blemishes. The friendly bacteria in our gut (lactobacillus) is responsible for producing biotin, but is otherwise difficult to get from outside food sources. Biotin is found in small amounts in brewer's yeast, liver, and whole grains. Blue-green algae provides a large concentration of biotin.

2. Folic Acid
Folic acid minimizes wrinkles in the skin and keeps the skin feeling smooth. The name "folic" comes from the word "foliage," so leafy greens and foods high in chlorophyll are excellent sources of folic acid. Unfortunately, most people are deficient in folic acid, and some experts say folic acid is the most common vitamin deficiency in the word. Having healthy bacteria in your gut will help your body produce folic acid.

3. Niacin (Vitamin B3)
Niacin is essential for skin repair and support. Niacin is part of more than 50 enzymatic reactions that supply energy to skin cells. You can get niacin from many meats.

4. Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
Riboflavin helps the skin breathe by using oxygen efficiently. When you think of riboflavin, think of the ocean. This vitamin is found in oily fish, blue green algae, and nori seaweed.

5. Pyridoxine (Vitamin B12)
Pyridoxine helps with skin elasticity, and is also a key factor in producing many of the amino acids needed by skin cells. In fact, it plays a part in over 60 enzymes systems within the body.

6. Cobalamin (Vitamin B12)
Cobalamin has an indirect effect on skin. Called the "longevity vitamin," cobalamin increases the body's energy and stamina, and seems to motivate people to stay active. This activity causes us to sweat, which in turn helps our skin rid itself of toxins so we look younger. The highest source of this vitamin is blue green algae. It is also found in liver, spinach, and whole grains.

7. Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5)
Pantothenic acid is thought to decrease wrinkles in skin, as well as decrease stress. This vitamin is widely available in meats and vegetables. In fact, pantos means "everywhere" in Greek, so this vitamin can be found in many foods.

Your Skin Reflects What You Eat
As you have probably figured out by now, your skin reflects your diet. To have great-looking skin from the inside out, you need to make sure your diet includes these 7 vitamins. Having healthy intestinal flora is also important, since the gut plays in important part in producing several of these vitamins. Adding probiotics to your daily regimen can ensure a healthy intestinal system. Adding even small amounts of blue-green algae to your diet can ensure that you get all of the vitamins your skin requires in a single convenient dose.

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