What's the best way to reduce wrinkles? You might have tried lots of different creams and anti-aging serums in your quest to turn back the clock and keep your skin looking its best. However, the answer might not be in a bottle on the pharmacy shelf: to keep your skin looking its best, science says you're better off looking in the grocery section.
Whether you're already stocked up on the best vitamins for women over 50 and the best supplements for joints, or you're just now looking to anti-aging nutrition, research published by Seoul National University (opens in new tab) found probiotics to be effective at reducing wrinkle depth and skin elasticity.
The researchers gathered 110 volunteers aged between 41 and 59 years, all of whom had various degrees of dry skin and wrinkles. Participants took either a probiotic or a placebo supplement every day for 12 weeks.
By the end, the researchers found the probiotic group had "a significant reduction in wrinkle depth" and an increase in skin hydration by week 12. In addition, skin elasticity in the probiotic group improved by 13.17%.
This is very encouraging, but this study alone isn't enough. For one thing, the sample size is relatively small, and for another, the research was conducted in partnership with probiotic yogurt company, Yakult. However, other, unaffiliated studies support the benefits of probiotics for skin, such as this research from Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences (opens in new tab).
The phenomenon of the gut-skin axis is also well-documented. The idea that what you eat can affect your skin's health is a common one: teenagers are often warned they'll break out into spots if they eat too much candy, for example.
It's also well-known hydration plays a role: one study from multiple Spanish universities (opens in new tab) found their "results seem to confirm that higher water inputs in one’s regular diet might positively impact normal skin physiology". Best keep one of our best water bottles in your bag at all times.
Keeping your gut healthy with probiotic supplements, it seems, can really benefit your skin by maintaining elasticity and reducing the depth of wrinkles. Probiotics can be found in cultured yogurts and yogurt drinks in addition to pill form, but they're not the only way to ensure a healthy gut.
Dietary fiber, found in fibrous fruits and vegetables like broccoli, kale, apples, and pears as well as whole grains like oats, help regulate and improve our gut health. In addition, getting some exercise has also been found to benefit your gut and prevent inflammatory bowel disease. Time to lace up those walking shoes!
Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and News Editor at Fit&Well, covering all things exercise and nutrition on the Fit&Well website. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen runner, gym-goer, and infrequent yogi. His top fitness tip? Stretch.
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