We can’t stop the aging process, but how we age, for the most part- is entirely up to us. Generally, the anti-aging movement focuses on the appearance of our skin. In reality, how quickly wrinkles appear and deepen are directly related to our biological state. Functional aging focuses on improving biology to maintain health throughout the span. Adopting a functional aging philosophy benefits the body internally and externally.
Our Skin Reflects our Internal Environment
Skin is a functional tissue, it acts as a barrier between us and the environment. However, the elasticity and firmness aren’t necessary to survival. This means that nutrients and resources such as collagen and antioxidants will go to the brain, blood vessels and the bones before being used for esthetics purposes .
When the body is under stress or experiences inflammation, it spends much of its resources on repair. Skin is an indicator of overall health because when the body is struggling on a biological level, there isn’t enough nutrients to nourish the skin. Functional aging seeks to improve our internal state, resulting in freed up resources that can be used for non-essential functions like firming the skin.
Due to its numerous biological functions- vitamin C is our favorite tried, tested and true nutrient to turn back the internal clock. Vitamin C works throughout the body to promote functional aging and improve physiology, which is ultimately reflected in our appearance.
Vitamin C has several implications in cardiovascular health. Research shows it has the potential to modulate the cholesterol profile by increasing the good cholesterol, HDL while simultaneously reducing LDL, known as the bad cholesterol.
By improving the cholesterol profile, research suggests that vitamin C might be able to reduce the risk of CVD and cardiovascular events.
In addition to balancing the ratio between HDL and LDL, vitamin C promotes adequate circulation and strengthens the veins. When circulation is sluggish and the structure of the veins becomes relaxed, spider veins and eventually varicose veins can appear. Research points to vitamin C as a potential preventive agent for blood vessel disorders.
Stress shows up in our whole body. We feel it mentally and when left unchecked, stress can disrupt metabolic processes, contributing to disease and accelerated aging.
The hallmark response to stress is an increase in a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol causes collagen to breakdown. Therefore, when cortisol is chronically elevated due to stress, fine lines and wrinkles are more likely to develop.
Thankfully vitamin C has been shown to have a positive effect on the stress response. Psychologists found that patients who took vitamin C showed less signs of physical and mental stress, which was marked in a reduction in cortisol levels in perceived stressful situations.
Reducing the stress response either through the removal of stressors or supplemental intervention has health benefits that ripple throughout the body, including reducing the risk of chronic disease.
The brain is the top priority of the body. It is the seat of communication and allows for the transmission of signals between body systems that allow us to breathe, move, talk and think.
The brain is primarily made of fat, and because of this, it is susceptible to lots of damage from free radicals. Antioxidants, such as vitamin C will target brain tissue to keep the whole body running smoothly.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that has been found to be low in individuals with dementia and memory loss. Vitamin C exerts a neuroprotective effect, and science is beginning to understand the role of this essential nutrient in preserving cognitive function as we age.
Collagen is a protein widely distributed throughout the body, its responsible for the firmness of skin and vitamin C is a vital to synthesize it. Aging, stress, sugar, inflammation and sun exposure all contribute to its degradation. Vitamin C has been shown to protect skin cells from the damage of UV rays as well as exert antioxidant effects that protect collagen. We have an entire blog on vitamin C and collagen production- read it here!
How Much Vitamin C Do You Need?
Vitamin C is water soluble- from a practical perspective, this means that it doesn’t get stored in the body in high concentrations. Given all the jobs it does in the body- daily vitamin C is essential for functional aging. When adequate vitamin C is taken, it not only helps keep the body youthful, but a marked reduction in wrinkles is observed.
Lypo-Spheric vitamin C is bound in phospholipids- each sachet contains 1000mg vitamin C. Due to the liposomal delivery system, one packet of Lypo-Spheric vitamin C has the same effect as taking 3000-4000 mg of a vitamin C powder.
We recommend 1-3 sachets a day, on an empty stomach. Always check with your health care practitioner before starting a new supplement.
By turning back our biological clock- risk factors for chronic disease drops and we can potentially look younger than our chronological age. The best anti aging secret is to give your body the nutrients it needs to perform at its best- why not start with vitamin C?
By: Lisa Kowalyk, B.kin, CNP