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Prevent Glycation-Induced Skin Aging with Topical Nutrients

November 2009

By Gary Goldfaden, MD, and Robert Goldfaden

Hyaluronic Acid: Essential Skin Hydration
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Antioxidant Tea Benefits
Figure 1. Improvement in signs of skin aging in 63 women aged 45-61 years after treatment with a topical mixture containing 4% blueberry extract and a hyaluronic acid-synthesizing ingredient.

Hyaluronic Acid: Essential Skin Hydration

The daily attack from protein-sugar glycation reactions does not stop at collagen, it also depletes the skin of its natural moisturizer called hyaluronic acid,30 which can cause dry and sagging skin. Replenishing the skin with hyaluronic acid counteracts the loss of skin volume and fullness that occurs with glycation and aging31,32 and increases cell renewal,33 helping to tighten loose areas of the skin. The controlled clinical study mentioned above that tested the efficacy of a topical mixture containing 4% blueberry extract also included another constituent that stimulates hyaluronic acid synthesis to restore the water and nutrient content in the skin. As mentioned previously, this mixture significantly improved five distinct signs of intrinsic aging in all 63 test subjects who applied it daily for 12 weeks (Figure 1 to the right).27

Vitamin C: Reviving Aging Skin

Vitamin C is an essential component in the body’s production of collagen34 and a potent antioxidant that can help rejuvenate aged and photodamaged skin.35 Although it is an important nutrient for overall health, little reaches the skin when vitamin C is orally ingested.36 As levels in the skin decline with age,37 replenishing vitamin C levels directly in the skin can help combat collagen degradation and oxidative stress. Results from clinical trials show that when applied topically, vitamin C promotes collagen formation,38 which helps improve skin firmness and elasticity, and mitigates the effects of age-promoting free radicals, which can help promote youthful-looking skin.

Antioxidant Tea Benefits

The benefits of any topical nutrient can be complemented with potent natural antioxidants found in white, green, black, and red tea extracts, which help protect skin from the aging effects of inflammation and oxidative stress.39,40 Red tea, in particular, is a powerful source of antioxidants,40 while green tea provides the protective strength of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) to guard skin against the dangers of UV exposure and DNA damage.41 Tea extracts are also excellent sources of vitamin C activity42 and improve both the tone and structure of the skin.


Glycation accelerates the body’s intrinsic aging process by limiting the skin’s capacity to produce and regenerate high-quality collagen. While the best thing you can do is avoid sugars and refined carbohydrates, that is not always possible in the real world. To make things worse, the past few decades have seen an alarming increase in the dietary intake of sugar in the form of fructose from the ubiquitous high-fructose corn syrup—used as an additive in many processed foods such as soft drinks, breakfast cereals, and brand-name breads. Alarmingly, the rate of AGE formation on intracellular proteins occurs up to 10 times faster in the presence of fructose compared with glucose.43 It’s not just the sugar we eat but the way it is cooked that also harms our skin. Cooking and caramelizing food at high temperatures through methods such as barbecuing or broiling creates AGEs, which once consumed, bind to collagen and elastin fibers.

Fortunately, a topical application of scientifically validated nutrients can help rejuvenate skin by protecting against the stiff sugar-protein bonds that accumulate as we get older. The superior anti-glycation benefits of blueberries coupled with the antioxidant power of pomegranates and tea extracts are complemented with hyaluronic acid and collagen-strengthening vitamin C to help protect and rebuild collagen, preserving the skin’s youthful appearance and helping maintain its structural and functional integrity.

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Wellness Specialist at 1-800-226-2370.

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