I eat the rainbow. I could be considered a black belt in creative and colorful sheet vegetable trays. Salmon is one of my favorite foods. I eat whole foods whenever possible. I crave a cup of matcha over a glass of chardonnay. And still, I take certain supplements to optimize my overall health and my skin health. But WHY? Let’s take a deep dive into the mind of a “three-dimensional” (3D) dermatologist who eats a ridiculously healthy diet and still supplements.
5 reasons why smart supplementation is the way to go for optimal skin health:
1. Your heart says YES, but your tummy says NO:
Have you ever tried to incorporate the so-called skin “superfoods” and ended up with gas, bloating, or intestinal discomfort? Us too. You might be well aware that eating a heavily plant-based diet along with fermented foods can benefit skin health. Or that loading up on brightly-colored fruits and cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, along with fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi are amazing for gut and skin health. However, even if you don’t suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or a diagnosed gut issue, you might find it very challenging to eat large quantities of veggies and fermented foods without experiencing GI distress. Smart supplementation can simply make it easier to absorb and benefit from the levels of nutrients your skin needs without creating abdominal discomfort. For example, Bowe Growe™ Water-Enhancing Elixir is made with polyphenols, which are proving to have the same prebiotic and microbiome-balancing benefits as fiber, without all the gas and bloating. Importantly, it can also lay the groundwork to help your body become more comfortable with higher quantities of those other gut-loving foods over time by supporting a healthier, more balanced cellular environment.
2. Sometimes, it’s impossible to get therapeutic doses of certain nutrients or micronutrients from diet alone.
The classic example here is vitamin D. Even if you eat a healthy diet and get some sunshine every day (with proper sunscreen, of course!), you are likely still not getting enough vitamin D in your diet unless you add a supplement. You’ll probably get enough vitamin D to prevent rickets (an extremely rare disease resulting in prolonged deprivation of vitamin D), but we know there’s a difference between being deficient in vitamin D, versus getting optimal levels that set you up for true health. The same goes for people seeking therapeutic doses of certain antioxidants, phytonutrients, or minerals that have been clinically-proven to achieve specific health goals at doses higher than what is feasible through diet alone. The doses of plant-based polyphenols, such as those found in pomegranates, that deliver impressive results in the skin are rarely obtained through diet alone (i).
3. Diversity is key.
Despite your best intentions to eat healthy, it’s hard to do this ALL the time, and with diversity. Plant-based diversity is so important to your overall health and the health of your skin, but how many different plants are really making their way onto your plate at each meal? There is science showing that eating lots of plant-based foods every day can translate into significant health benefits, skin benefits, and even add years to your life (ii). Despite that knowledge, we can all admit that it’s HARD to deviate from our usual favorite foods, and we tend to fall back into patterns where we reach for the same fruits and veggies each day (or don’t reach for them at all). For example, while the Mediterranean diet is held out to be a model of healthy eating, to meet the standards of that model, research shows that Americans would need to, “Consume 38% more vegetables, 59% more fruits, 56% more omega-3-containing fish and seafood, and 35% less dairy per day” (iii). While we continue to strive to eat healthy, reaching for a high-quality supplement that helps to add key phytonutrients like antioxidants and polyphenols from a variety of sources can help support our skin goals.
4. The benefits of trying to get all the nutritional benefits from diet alone, can comes at a cost.
I always stress that you want to include plenty of fruits and veggies in your diet—emphasis on the veggies. Fruits are excellent sources of some of the most powerful polyphenols, but unfortunately if you tried to eat or drink all the fruit you need in order to get the therapeutic doses we see in the clinical studies, you’d be consuming more sugar than you might desire for optimally healthy skin.
The good news: Just one dropper full of Bowe Growe™ Water-Enhancing Elixir contains a variety of polyphenols from eight different plant-based sources.† It gives you that diverse rainbow of fruit polyphenols to help support a balanced gut microbiome (and thus more balanced skin), but without the sugar and bloat.† Taking care of your skin has never been so delicious!
5. America has sub-optimal soil.
Unfortunately, our soil is depleted in America. Since our soil isn’t rich, the foods that grow aren’t as nutritionally dense as they used to be. Even if you are consuming six servings of fruits and vegetables each day, along with a generous portion of whole grains, you may not be obtaining the vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients of your parents and grandparents’ generations. Studies have shown that the vitamins and minerals in fruits and vegetables has declined dramatically over the last 80 years, likely because of modern farming practices (iv). In addition, selective agricultural breeding practices have dramatically lowered the phytonutrient content in commonly-consumed fruits and vegetables. If you’re living in the US, your grocery cart might be overflowing with organic fruits and veggies, and you may still not be getting all the amazing plant-based nutrients your skin needs through diet alone.
In sum, supplements won’t undo unhealthy lifestyle habits.We should still strive to nourish our bodies with whole, unprocessed foods from a variety of sources every day. That said, high-quality, evidence-based supplements can help to support those healthy efforts, promoting truly optimized skin health.