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You Are What You Eat

Howard Murad, MD September 2009 issue of Skin Inc. magazine
woman eating heathy food

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Editor's note: Skin Inc. magazine recommends that all clients check with their physicians before incorporating any dietary changes.

It’s not a myth—people are definitely comprised of the elements that they eat, which are absorbed into the bloodstream and feed every cell. Each month, people renew their skin, every six weeks they have a new liver, and every three months they have new bones. In order to renew and rebuild these organs and tissues, it is important to supply the body with the materials that have been lost as a result of constant use, degeneration and aging.

The problem is that human bodies are not getting enough nutrients to keep cells fed. The Standard American Diet (SAD)—an acronym that is most appropriate—is grossly inadequate and almost devoid of many nutrients. Americans are overfed and undernourished. Adding to the problem, many drugs interfere with the absorption of key nutrients. For example, tetracycline interferes with calcium, magnesium and iron absorption, and many antibiotics interfere with the absorption of B vitamins, while oral contraceptives and hormones reduce levels of water-soluble vitamins.

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Daily Supplements

Following are suggestions for a daily supplement regimen. All of these formulas can be found separately; however, some contain virtually all the nutrients you need in easy-to-take daily packages. As always, recommend that clients discuss any supplement changes with their physicians before beginning.

  • Multivitamin and mineral. Recommend a comprehensive and balanced multivitamin and mineral supplement formula containing all the major vitamins, minerals and trace minerals; select an iron-free formula if your client is postmenopausal.
  • Antioxidant. Antioxidants help stop free radical damage and reduce damage from environmental stressors.
  • B-complex. Recommend a high-potency B-complex supplement that provides all eight essential B vitamins: thiamine (B-1), riboflavin (B-2), niacin (B-3), pantothenic acid (B-5), pyridoxine (B-6), folic acid (B-9), cyanocobalamin (B-12) and biotin (B-7).
  • EFA. Recommend an EFA supplement that provides omega-3 fatty acids. This may be in the form of fish oil, flaxseed oil or ground flaxseeds added to food, or in capsule form. Vegetarians or those not eating fish or taking fish oil supplements should add a microalgae-derived DHA supplement.
  • Lecithin. Recommend the use of soy lecithin granules sprinkled on or added to foods, or a liquid soy lecithin in capsule form.
  • Glucosamine. Recommend 1,200 mg of either glucosamine sulfate or glucosamine hydrochloride (HCL) every day. Glucosamine is the building block of the ingredients needed to repair the dermis, as well as all of the connective tissue within the human body. It is excellent for joint health and may help reduce wrinkles.
  • Calcium. Recommend a calcium supplement for bone health. Most women should take 1,000–1,500 mg of calcium with vitamin D daily, depending on dietary intake of calcium.

Inflammatory Foods and Anti-inflammatory Alternatives

  • Instead of red meat, eat cold-water fish.
  • Instead of butter, use olive oil.
  • Instead of cheese, try tofu or soy cheese.
  • Instead of snacks loaded with saturated or trans fats, try seeds, nuts, and fresh and natural dried fruits.
  • Instead of foods loaded with simple sugars, such as cookies, candies and cakes, choose fresh fruits and vegetables.

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