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INNER HEALTH AND WELLNESS: Critical To External Beauty
by Dr. Papas

When it comes to beauty, how our skin looks figures prominently in how we feel about ourselves and our physical attractiveness to others. As the body's mirror of our inner health and wellness, predictably, we go to great lengths—and expense—to keep our skin youthful, supple, and firm. A dual approach of a diet and regime of natural products high in anti-oxidants is the best protection from skin-damaging free-radicals.

Free radicals are major culprits in skin aging and cancer. The sun's UV rays, environmental pollutants, stress, smoking, and disease cause excess production of free radicals. These can cause the skin to lose elasticity, moisture, and firmness and may damage the lipids, collagen, proteins, and may even lead to cancer.

Antioxidants, which can protect skin from free radicals, are acquired in two ways. Our bodies actually produce them and they're also assimilated from our diet, particularly vitamin E.

Vitamin E plays a special role in wellness and ageless beauty, both as a nutrient and as an ingredient in skin products. It fights damaging free radicals, boosts immunity, decreases inflammation, slows aging, and may reduce the risk of cancer. Because it can be difficult to get enough dietary vitamin E, supplements are recommended. However, the form vitamin E takes in supplements and skin products is critical for getting its full benefit.

VITAMIN E AT A GLANCE: Most vitamins consist of a single compound. Vitamin E, however, has eight—four tocopherols and four tocotrienols. Food contains all eight and is particularly rich in gamma tocopherol, the important compound for fighting the nitrogen radicals, such as UV radiation and pollutants. Tocotrienols show great promise in reducing skin damage from UV rays and the risk of skin and breast cancers.

BUYER BEWARE: Most supplements contain only alpha tocopherol. And most skin products contain a small amount of synthetic dl-alpha-tocopheryl acetate, meaning they contain only one component and in its less effective synthetic form. Only products that contain all eight compounds in their natural form provide the full spectrum of benefits of this master antioxidant.

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