Looking young isn’t just about coloring the grays out of your hair. And feeling young isn’t just hitting the genetic jackpot.
So much of looking and feeling youthful is about making lifestyle choices that minimize the wear-and-tear on your body. How can you find out which ugly, aging forces to target—you know, the kind that cause disease and wrinkles? A good place to start is by focusing on one that’s hard on your heart and skin: inflammation—it actually makes your arteries less elastic and your skin feel less firm.
COLUMN: Look Younger in Six Weeks
Inflammation isn’t all evil—it’s a necessary response to rev up your defenses so you can win the battle to kill viruses, bacteria and other foreigners that could be toxic. Think: when you injure your finger, it reddens and swells, a sign that your immune system is rushing to the wound to knock off invaders.
But if your body is constantly on guard against foreign gunk (say, lousy cholesterol building up in your arteries), it can cause more plaque to form, and even break off—that causes long-term harm.
Think: heart attacks, strokes or even wrinkles and decay in orgasm quality. Inflammation triggers “oxidative stress,” where free radical molecules damage otherwise or previously healthy body cells.
The resulting poor circulation through your arteries is a big blow to your skin health. When blood can’t deliver the nutrients your body needs to grow and glow, you’re prone to aging, dull skin. It’s truly a vicious spiral, adding years to your face, and taking them away from your life.
READ MORE: Inflammation: Skin Enemy Number One
Fortunately, there are simple steps to stay young at heart. One starts with taking supplements that keep your blood circulation flowing and your skin glowing.
- Coenzyme Q10: This supplement does double duties: improving the efficiency of your energy powerhouse (mitochondria) and protecting against inflammatory processes.
- DHA-omega-3: This is the healthy fat that gives fish oil its good name. We take 900mg a day to help our brains and eyes, just in case our food choices do not include salmon or trout that week. For the skin, it’s what gives you that healthy shiny skin look.
- Purified Omega-7 This is the newest choice that in animal models of arterial aging stops atherosclerosis substantially. 210 mg a day is what the human equivalent of this effect from animals—but human data is still needed before we’d recommend this to all—but we find no downside in the purified preparations.
- Vitamin D3: The “sunshine vitamin” is an anti-ager in many ways, including lowering heart disease risk and protecting your complexion from damage. If you’re under age 60, try 1000 IU (1200 IU if older). Get your level meaured and aim for a value of 50 to 80 ng/ml. Your skin produces less vitamin D as you age—up to 75 percent less as you go from age 20 to age 70!
- Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5): This water-soluble vitamin helps form HDL cholesterol (the healthier form). You can take 150 milligrams twice a day. It also seems to stimulate nitric oxide formation…that’s the substance that increases the glow after orgasms. (By the way, so do arginine and citrulline-loaded foods like watermelon).
- D-ribose: In patients with congestive heart failure, D-ribose has improved blood pressure. It appears to work by getting ATP energy to the heart. No data says it helps you if you are healthy, but we know of no downside to it either. Try it—if it makes you feel more peppy, and you want that, it is probably worth the effort.