Life Extension Magazine

Life Extension Magazine November 2012

Report

How Bioflavonoids Create Youthful Skin Tone

By Gary Goldfaden, MD, and Robert Goldfaden

How Bioflavonoids Create Youthful Skin Tone

There are approximately 4,000 naturally occurring plant metabolites called bioflavonoids. These compounds are responsible for the vibrant-color of many fruits, vegetables, and flowers.1 They can also defend your skin against the damaging effects of stress, pollution, and even age itself.

Bioflavonoids have the ability to neutralize reactive oxygen species by donating one of their electrons, thus stabilizing the molecule and breaking the oxidative chain.2 This can result in visible signs of healthy, more vibrant skin.

Three of the better-known bioflavonoids, quercetin, hesperidin, and rutin, have intriguing research indicating their abilities to prevent and reverse wrinkles, reduce the appearance of age spots, and fight spider veins.3-6

Turn Back the Clock on Aging

Turn Back the Clock on Aging
You might think wrinkles are an inevitable part of aging. But by combating wrinkles at the cellular level, not only can you prevent them from occurring—you can rejuvenate skin that is already showing the signs of old age.

Quercetin, a bioflavonoid found in apples, berries, parsley, onions, grapefruit, and wine, has proven antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.7

When applied topically, quercetin has been shown to protect the skin's natural antioxidants from depletion caused by UVA irradiation.8 This action helps decrease the oxidative damage caused by exposure to the sun.

But quercetin's real anti-aging power comes from its ability to extend the survival and viability of human skin cells. When skin cells stop replicating, your skin loses elasticity and collagen, which results in wrinkles. One study showed that when quercetin and rutin (another bioflavonoid) were applied to dying skin cells that had ceased to replicate, the skin cells were rejuvenated and began to reproduce again.9

Another interesting property of quercetin is its ability to increase the production of collagen a substance necessary for vibrant skin.3 This beneficial effect has made it an increasingly popular ingredient in more and more skin care products aimed at combating wrinkles.

The Secret to Younger-looking Skin

Only a decade or so ago, anti-aging products concentrated primarily on reducing wrinkles and plumping up the skin to produce a smoother, more youthful appearance. And although combating wrinkles is a necessary step in any anti-aging routine, it's not the only factor in maintaining younger-looking skin.

Research has demonstrated that there's another factor that plays a significant role in how old you look: the evenness of your skin tone.10-12 The ability to lessen the appearance of age spots and the capacity to provide a lightening effect for sallow, age-damaged skin is central to achieving this goal. One of the best ways to do that is with the bioflavonoid hesperidin.4

Hesperidin has a similar structure to hydroquinone, a compound that has long been considered the professional gold standard for the treatment of age spots and other hyperpigmentation disorders. Like hydroquinone, hesperidin works by limiting the capacity of the skin cells to produce tyrosinase, the enzyme responsible for producing the skin pigment melanin. However, unlike hydroquinone, hesperidin does not come with a list of side effects. In fact, research has demonstrated that hesperidin safely produces a reduction in tyrosinase activity.13 By interfering with tyrosinase activity, hesperidin is ultimately able to inhibit the development of age spots.

Hesperidin has outstanding potential for cosmetic use. Its vasoprotective and skin-lightening actions work to counteract many of the visible signs of aging.

Rejuvenate From the Inside Out

Wrinkles and age spots aren't the only visible signs of aging. Spider veins and varicose veins are unsightly and often embarrassing reminders that we're not as young as we used to be. Although many people believe that these are inevitable factors in the aging process, research has proven that it is possible to defy these signs of old age.

Spider veins and varicose veins occur as a result of the gradual weakening and deterioration of capillaries. In order to maintain healthy blood circulation, it's imperative that the arteries and capillaries be kept as clean and strong as possible. Unfortunately, being so small, the capillaries are extremely susceptible to damage from free radical assault, aging, and other factors that can lead to compromised integrity and function. This can lead to rupturing and bleeding that is visible as "broken veins" on the surface of the skin. However, maintaining the health of the circulatory system can prevent this type of damage from occurring.

One of the best ways to maintain the health of your capillaries is with a bioflavonoid found naturally in fruits and vegetables called rutin. Rutin has the capacity to regenerate vitamin C after it neutralizes a free radical, thus helping to restore its antioxidant potential.14 Because vitamin C plays a critical role in the manufacture of collagen, an important component of capillary walls as well as the sustaining framework of the epidermis, this could have a dramatic impact on the health of your skin.

Rutin has the ability to protect skin from damage caused by advanced glycation end products (AGEs). AGEs accelerate the aging of skin cells, which cause the skin to lose elasticity and collagen. One clinical study found that rutin can effectively modulate the breakdown of collagen caused by AGEs.15

Rutin's ability to provide microvascular protection, improve circulation, and defend against free radical damage makes it an excellent ingredient in any natural skin care formulation for aging skin.5,6,15,16 Also, because rutin can penetrate the skin, its use in a topical skin care formulation makes it extremely valuable.17-19

How Starch and Fiber Differ— And Why it Matters to You
What You Need to Know

Skin-Saving Benefits of Bioflavonoids

  • Bioflavonoids are a group of approximately 4,000 naturally occurring plant metabolites that are responsible for the vibrant color of many fruits, vegetables, and flowers.
  • Bioflavonoids have the ability to neutralize reactive oxygen species by donating one of their electrons, thus stabilizing the molecule and breaking the oxidative chain.
  • Three of the better-known bioflavonoids, quercetin, hesperidin, and rutin, have solid research behind them proving their power to prevent and reverse wrinkles, reduce the appearance of age spots, and even fight spider veins and varicose veins.
  • Quercetin has been shown to significantly protect the skin's natural antioxidants from depletion caused by UVA irradiation. It also helps rejuvenate dying skin cells, which improves skin's elasticity and reduces the appearance of wrinkles.
  • Hesperidin safely reduces the appearance of age spots by reducing the activity of tyrosinase, the enzyme responsible for producing the skin pigment melanin.
  • Rutin helps fight spider veins and varicose veins by maintaining healthy blood circulation. It also decreases capillary permeability and makes the blood thinner,6 thereby improving microcirculation so the skin cells receive more oxygen and nutrients.

Summary

As potent as these plant metabolites are on their own, they exhibit an even greater effect when they're used together, as studies have shown they work synergistically by harmonizing with each other.20,21 Together, these three natural ingredients provide the rejuvenating power we need to help redefine aging skin and to fight the signs of premature aging such as spider veins, wrinkles, age spots, and more.

By nourishing and protecting the skin's ability to heal and reproduce, bioflavonoids like quercetin, hesperidin, and rutin help to safely and naturally restore and maintain a more youthful appearance.

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Health Advisor at 1-866-864-3027.

References

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7. Available at: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/quercetin-000322.htm. Accessed August 7, 2012.

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17. Boyera N, Galey I, Bernard BA. Effect of vitamin C and its derivatives on collagen synthesis and cross-linking by normal human fibroblasts. Int J Cosmet Sci. 1998 Jun;20(3):151-8.

18. Kostyuk V, Potapovich A, Suhan T, et al. Plant polyphenols against UV-C-induced cellular death. Planta Med. 2008 Apr;74(5):509-14. Epub 2008 Apr 10.

19. Lin CF, Leu YL, Al-Suwayeh SA, Ku MC, Hwang TL, Fang JY. Anti-inflammatory activity and percutaneous absorption of quercetin and its polymethoxylated compound and glycosides: The relationships to chemical structures. Eur J Pharm Sci. 2012 May 17. [Epub ahead of print]

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21. Snyder SM, Reber JD, Freeman BL, Orgad K, Eggett DL, Parker TL. Controlling for sugar and ascorbic acid, a mixture of flavonoids matching navel oranges significantly increases human postprandial serum antioxidant capacity. Nutr Res. 2011 Jul;31(7):519-26.