Published December 06, 2013
There are loads of anti-aging supplements out there that promise to make you look younger. We dove into research and talked to top dermatologists to find the few worth popping. Here, find seven with proven results.
1. Sun Protection
Try: Fern Extract
Aside from daily use of a broad-spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen, boost your UV protection all year by taking an antioxidant supplement such as Heliocare ($60 for 60; pharmacies) or SunPill ($40 for 60; sunpill.com). New research from the University of Miami School of Medicine shows that the fern extract in these pills significantly reduced UVA-related DNA damage that leads to wrinkling and brown spots. For best results, pop one each day starting a week before you plan on fun in the sun. "This allows the antioxidants to build up in your system for maximum protection," says Dr. Leslie Baumann, a Miami Beach-based dermatologist.
If you're still skipping on sunscreen, you better think again. Here are the Sunscreen Excuses Even Smart Women Make.
2. Stop Breakage
A daily 2.5 mg dose of the B vitamin biotin in good for swimmers or in the summer months when you're in the water more often. "This supplement helps prevent breakage from too much exposure to salt and chlorine," says Jin Soon Choi, owner of Jin Soon Natural Hand and Foot Spas. Research shows that a daily dose of the nutrient increases nail thickness by 25 percent, making nails less apt to split and tear.
3. Reverse Damage
It may be hard to pronounce, but idebenone (eh-DE-be-known) spells younger-looking skin. The antioxidant is small enough to penetrate deep into skin to repair damaged cells, says Dr. David McDaniel, an assistant professor of clinical dermatology at Eastern Virginia Medical School. Taken daily, Priori Idebenone Supplements ($60; prioriskincare.com for locations) defend your skin's health from the inside out.
For more tips to keep your skin looking young, learn the 10 Best Ways To Prevent Wrinkles.
4. Boost Skin, Hair & Nails
Try: Primrose & Black Currant Oil
"Consider supplementing with gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), a fat that helps promote healthy skin, hair, and nails and is very hard to come by in the diet," says. Dr. Andrew Weil, clinical professor of medicine at the University of Arizona. "The best sources of GLA are evening primrose oil and black currant oil; take 500 mg of either twice a day and expect to use them for six to eight weeks before you see results."
5. Stronger Nails
Try: Fish Oil
"Omega-3 fatty acids are also important for nail health," says Weil. "Eat a few more weekly servings of omega-rich flaxseed, walnuts, and oily, cold-water fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines, or take daily supplements with 2 to 3 g of fish oil to get a combined 1 g of EPA and DHA."
6. Firm & Smooth Skin
Try: Imedeen Prime Renewal
The idea that a biomarine-based complex can shore up aging skin may sound a little fishy, but the evidence is impressive, says Baumann. Postmenopausal women taking the supplement (which is recommended for those age 50 and up) saw significant improvement in skin firmness and smoothness in a 6-month study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition—and the results were seen on the face, d'colletage, and hands. Likewise, in a similar 12-week study on women taking a sister supplement (Imedeen Time Perfection, suggested for women 35 to 50), skin's moisture content increased by 30 percent. Other changes include a visible reduction in fine lines, a fading of sunspots, and an overall brighter complexion.
The contents of the Imedeen capsules—which contain a proprietary protein derived from a deep-sea fish and high concentrations of antioxidants such as vitamin C and lycopene—work in part by increasing production of collagen and elastin, as well as hyaluronic acid, the body's natural moisturizer, says Imedeen's Lars Lindmark, PhD. Take the Imedeen supplement suggested for your age, advises Baumann, who uses Time Perfection herself and recommends it to patients. Although a 90-day supply of Prime Renewal ($265) is significantly more expensive than Time Perfection ($195; both at imedeen.us), the dosage supplies twice the amount of the biomarine complex.
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7. Halt Hair Loss
Try: Iron & Vitamin C
One cause of thinning hair is anemia. Hair loss occurs because iron deficiency lowers levels of red blood cells, which are crucial to the health of hair follicles. Save hair with iron supplements paired with vitamin C (which aids iron absorption), a cheap and effective method.