When you were shivering in your parka and boots during the winter months, you may have thought summer would never come. But it did—hurrah—but now are you ready for the heat and sun exposure? According to the Canadian Health Food Association, just like you change your wardrobe as winter and spring turn into summer, so should you make some modifications to your supplement program. That’s because your body faces different stressors in the summer, especially when it comes to high temperatures, humidity, and exposure to ultraviolet rays.
You can protect yourself inside and out by adding the following supplements to your summer schedule. And yes, don’t forget the sunscreen!
1. Astaxanthin. Numerous studies of this potent antioxidant have shown that it protects the skin against damage from ultraviolet rays. A study in Experimental Dermatology, for example, reported that astaxanthin is effectively protects the skin against inflammation from ultraviolet rays and prevents the death of keratinocytes (the main cell type in the epidermis or outer layer of skin). Registered Dietitian Karlene Karst explains that “Astaxanthin has been clinically studied for the skin in helping to protect against wrinkles, redness, and UV damage,” while a Journal of Dermatological Science report noted that the antioxidant may protect against photoaging such as sagging skin.
2. Carnosine. If grilling meat, fish, or other protein foods on the barbeque is part of your summer experience, then you may want to add carnosine to your supplement plan. That’s because cooking such foods quickly at high temperatures causes them to release advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which stimulate inflammation of your cells and oxidative stress, both of which can eventually result in wrinkles, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. Carnosine has antioxidant activity that can block the effects of AGEs. A suggested dose is 500 mg twice daily.
3. Lycopene. Several studies of this nutrient, which is found in tomatoes, have shown that it can protect against ultraviolet radiation exposure. In a recent experiment, volunteers who consumed 5 tablespoons of tomato paste along with 10 grams of olive oil daily for 12 weeks were 33 percent less likely to experience sun damage (sunburn) than volunteers who ate olive oil alone. The researchers suggested that lycopene provided this protection because it produces procollagen, a molecule that assists in protecting the skin against photoaging and damage. Dosing of lycopene supplements is typically 10 to 30 mg twice daily.
4. Omega-3 fatty acids. This category of good fats, which can be found in fish, algae oils, olive oil, flaxseed, and chia seeds, are known for their ability to reduce inflammation. Including them in your daily regimen can also help protect your skin from damaging UV rays from the inside, out. Fish oil and krill oil are two common omega-3 supplements, but it is also available sourced from marine algae. A suggested daily intake of omega-3 fatty acids is 300 to 500 milligrams of EPA and DHA, the two main types of omega-3s.
5. Vitamin A. If you are worried about developing skin cancer associated with sun exposure, then turn to vitamin A (retinol). Although you should still use sunscreen, vitamin A supplementation has been shown to protect against skin cancer. Researchers followed nearly 70,000 adults for almost six years and discovered that individuals who took more than 1,200 micrograms of retinol daily were 74 percent less likely to develop melanoma (the most serious type of skin cancer) than those who didn’t take the supplement.
6. Vitamin C. This popular vitamin can help your body adjust to summer’s heat wave by lowering your body temperature and allowing you to better weather the high temperatures. Vitamin C also is associated with collagen and new tissue production as well as protection against sun damage. As an added bonus, if you suffer from seasonal allergic rhinitis, vitamin C may reduce your symptoms. Vitamin C is easy to get from fruits and vegetables, but a supplement during the summer months could be helpful. Limit your supplement tono more than 250 mg, as the body can only retain and use that amount per day.
Written by Deborah Mitchell. Deborah Mitchell is passionate about personal health and the well-being of animals and the planet. She has authored, coauthored, and ghostwritten more than 40 books, contributes regularly to several websites, and shares information on physical, emotional, and spiritual health on her blog, deborahmitchellbooks.com.
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