Life Extension Magazine®

Eliminate Age-Related Skin Dryness with Novel Plant Extract

While Americans rely on topical creams or lotions to combat dry skin, the Japanese have been using a highly effective nutritional intervention that restores the skin’s natural moisturizers internally. These bioactive plant extracts—called ceramides—are absorbed readily into skin cells. In a recent clinical trial, they rehydrated stubbornly dry, itchy, flaky skin in 95% of participants.

Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, on January 2021. Written By Barbara Wexler.

It may surprise you to learn that some of the compounds your skin naturally uses to maintain moisture can also be found in . . . wheat. These biologically active moisturizing oils are known as ceramides, whose name derives from Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture.1

In youth, abundant amounts of ceramides are released on the skin’s surface. They’re also found throughout the human body—in the blood, brain, spinal cord, and nerve tissue.

Your body’s ability to synthesize ceramides declines over time, contributing to the degradation and drying of aging skin. The good news is that wheat ceramides are chemically identical to skin ceramides, allowing aging individuals to restore naturally declining levels of this skin protector.

In a major scientific advance, scientists discovered a clinically validated method to deliver these essential nutrients to the skin orally. (Similar oral ceramide skin products have been available in Japan for the past ten years.)

Unlike topical wheat germ oil or ceramide creams that enjoy limited efficacy, this novel oral intervention is absorbed into skin cells from within.

The result? In a recent clinical trial, 95% of participants experienced complete rehydration of stubbornly dry, flaky skin after 90 days, with total elimination of itching, cracking, and other discomforts!

Ceramides are present in many of the foods we eat (including rice and wheat). The problem is that they do not naturally occur in sufficient quantities to optimally rejuvenate aging skin.

An Anti-Aging Intervention Enjoyed in Japan for Ten Years

While Americans have resorted to topical moisturizers and cosmetic surgery in the attempt to make their skin appear more youthful, the Japanese have enjoyed skin care products for the past ten years that supply the rare ceramides and other specialized lipids in an oral capsule form.2

Ceramides are present in many of the foods we eat (including rice and wheat). The problem is that they do not naturally occur in sufficient quantities to optimally rejuvenate aging skin.

An Anti-Aging Intervention Enjoyed in Japan for Ten Years

Specific purification processes are required to extract and concentrate ceramides to attain therapeutic levels and optimal bioavailability—while keeping their specific molecular structures intact.

A newly developed, ceramide-rich oral formula made from non-GMO wheat has recently shown exceptional promise in rehydrating dry, thin, itchy skin.

In a 4-week, placebo-controlled pilot study, 65% of participants who took an 80 mg capsule daily of the wheat ceramide formula noticed an increase in skin moisture compared with only 45% in the placebo group. Because it takes about 4 weeks—the entire length of the pilot study—for newly formed skin cells to migrate to the outermost layer of skin, improvements observed in this short time period were deemed very promising.3

A 90-day follow-up study tracked subjects who were specifically chosen because of their chronically dry or very dry skin. In addition, some of the subjects suffered from chronic itching. The study considered subjective evaluation by the participants as well as objective dermatological measurements of skin roughness, itching, flaking and hydration, determined by electrical impedance and laboratory tissue analysis. Active treatment consisted of 200 mg per day of the wheat ceramide formula versus placebo.

At the end of the 90-day study, subjects treated with the wheat ceramide formula noticed a significant softening of their skin. Electrical assessment of skin hydration showed improvement in 95% of the actively treated subjects compared with no statistically significant change in the placebo group! All subjects who at the onset of the study experienced chronic itching reported sharply decreased itch or complete elimination of the complaint by the study’s conclusion.3

non-GMO wheat

Dermatological evaluation showed significant reduction of squames (flaking patches of skin) compared with the placebo group. Finally, in a subset of subjects from both the active treatment and placebo groups, leg tissue samples were analyzed for lipid concentration. Levels of protective lipids increased in the group treated with the wheat ceramide formula while no statistically significant change was noted in the placebo group.

In addition to enriching the lipid layer of the stratum corneum, ceramides contribute to skin health and vitality in other ways. The enzyme elastase breaks down elastin, a spring-like protein that imparts suppleness and elasticity to the skin and other flexible parts of the body, including blood vessels and lung tissue. The proprietary wheat lipid formula is a potent inhibitor of elastase, helping to support the natural rebound and springiness of youthful skin, potentially reversing some of the visible signs of aging.4

The wheat formula is an excellent free radical scavenger, reducing oxidative stress and radiation damage of skin tissue. It also possesses anti-inflammatory properties. Research is currently underway that considers the role this formula plays in triggering apoptosis, a natural mechanism the body uses to target and destroy cancer cells.5 In addition to promoting the health and youthful appearance of skin, the wheat lipid formula also may confer a variety of other synergistic health benefits.

flaking patches of skin


The health and youthful vitality of skin depends on special lipids synthesized by skin cells called ceramides that retain moisture and trigger new cell growth. These bioactive oils, also found throughout the plant kingdom, are present in multiple systems of the body as well (blood, spinal cord, and nerve tissue), indicating their internally functional importance.

Ceramides derived from wheat are chemically identical to those in human skin, enabling aging individuals to restore naturally declining levels of these bioactive compounds through ingestion—a method enjoyed by the Japanese for a decade. Ceramide-rich foods like rice and wheat do not possess these compounds in therapeutically effective concentrations.

The Japanese have enjoyed skin care products for the past ten years that supply the rare ceramides and other specialized lipids nutritionally.

Clinical studies demonstrate that a novel, highly concentrated, ceramide-rich nutritional liquid formula derived from wheat is absorbed into skin cells metabolically, producing dramatic improvements in the hydration, elasticity, and health of dry, flaky, itchy skin (complete elimination of dryness reported by 95% of study subjects). Ceramides are also potent free radical scavengers that significantly reduce inflammation. Research is underway to determine whether they contribute to the body’s system of targeting cancer cells for destruction.

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Health Advisor at

Food for the Skin
Food for the Skin

It’s often been remarked that our ancestors never really left the ocean—they just learned to carry it with them. Every cell can be thought of as a drop of mineral-rich seawater wrapped in a protective membrane and ultimately, the entire body is wrapped in the moisture-tight membrane of the skin. Skin can lose its natural moisture and with accelerated drying become ridged and wrinkled, a hallmark sign of aging. The difference is more than cosmetic—dehydrated skin is more brittle, less protective, and slower to heal than vibrant, fully hydrated skin.

Human skin is composed of 3 levels, the outermost of which, the epidermis, is composed of 5 distinct layers, each with its own set of essential functions and cellular structures. Over a period of about 27 days, new cells created at the deepest epidermal layer—the stratum basale—migrate upwards to form the outermost layer of the skin—the stratum corneum.

By the time skin cells reach the surface of the body, most are technically dead. Instead, they become cornified (“horn-like”), transforming into protein-rich “bricks” tightly fused together with a layer of “mortar” composed of a number of different lipids, about 35-40% of which are ceramides.6

The integrity of this “bricks and mortar” arrangement is vital to maintaining your protective outer barrier and keeping moisture locked in the lower layers. Environmental influences can loosen these “bricks,” washing out the oily ceramides and other lipids that make up the mortar—dehydrating and wrinkling the skin.7

Editor's Note

Science continues to evolve, and new research is published daily. As such, we have a more recent article on this topic: Visible Wrinkle Reduction with Oral Plant Ceramides


1. Garidel P, Folting B, Schaller I, Kerth A. The microstructure of the stratum corneum lipid barrier: mid-infrared spectroscopic studies of hydrated ceramide:palmitic acid:cholesterol model systems. Biophys Chem. 2010 Aug;150(1-3):144-56.

2. Available at: 95s0316/95s-0316-rpt0275-04-Udell-vol211.pdf Accessed August 10, 2010.

3. Boisnic S, Branchet M-C. Intérêt clinique d’un ingrédient alimentaire à visée hydratante: Lipowheat™. Etude randomisée en double aveugle versus placebo. J Med Esth et Chir Derm. 2007 Dec; 34(136):239-42

4. Boisnic, Beranger JY, Branchet MC. Anti-elastase and anti-radicalar effect of ceramides. Product Research Report. Hitex.

5. Ekiz HA, Baran Y. Therapeutic applications of bioactive sphingolipids in hematological malignancies. Int J Cancer. 2010 May 25.

6. Guillou S, Ghabri S, Jannot C, Gaillard E, Lamour I, Boisnic S. The moisturizing effect of a wheat extract food supplement on women’s skin: a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2010 Jul 14.

7. Nemes Z, Steinert PM. Bricks and mortar of the epidermal barrier. Exp Mol Med. 1999 Mar 31;31(1):5-19.