Whether you consume your vitamins in the foods you eat, take vitamin supplements, use vitamin-infused lotions and creams or a combination of all three, there are five vitamins that have the potential to fight the telltale signs of aging, while also improving your overall health. These vitamins can’t prevent aging, but they can slow the process by helping to reduce the development of wrinkles, skin discoloration and sagging, and support better health on the inside and outside of the body.
Topical solutions with Vitamin A (such as retinol creams) have been shown to reduce signs of sun damage and skin aging by stimulating exfoliation, improving collagen, and reducing fine lines and wrinkles. Ingesting Vitamin A can also help with dark circles under the eyes. Vitamin A is important for overall bone health, by helping to offset the effects of osteoporosis with aging.
Dietary sources: Fortified milk and eggs (carrots, sweet potatoes, and green leafy vegetables are rich in beta carotene).
Vitamin B1 (Niacin)
Vitamin B1 has several anti-aging properties. One visible way is by restoring the skin’s ability to retain moisture. Moist skin not only looks younger, it protects overall health by providing a strong, unbroken barrier against viruses, bacteria, and other harmful substances in the environment. In addition to restoring moisture, Vitamin B helps to exfoliate the skin by sloughing off dead cells, allowing new cells to come to the surface. It counteracts the effects of aging inside your body as well, by elevating “good” cholesterol and lowering triglycerides (and your risk of heart disease).
Dietary sources: Whole and enriched grains, pork, liver, and beans.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that actually helps to regenerate other antioxidants in the body, including vitamin E. When applied topically, Vitamin C helps protect your skin against the damaging effects of UV rays, and improves collagen, giving your skin a more firm and youthful appearance. It has cancer-preventing qualities and there is evidence that it reduces the onset of cardiovascular disease. Additionally, some studies suggest that Vitamin C delays or even prevents the formation of age-related cataracts and macular degeneration.
Dietary sources: Citrus fruits, tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli, strawberries, cabbage, and spinach.
Vitamin E, also an antioxidant, works as an anti-aging agent on several levels. It repairs dry cracked skin when used as a cream or lotion. It helps to neutralize the effects of free radicals, which are produced from sun exposure, exposure to pollution, cigarette smoke or radiation, and from the foods you eat. Vitamin E can also improve the function of the immune system, lowers the risk of stroke and heart attack, and helps to prevent LDL cholesterol from contributing to atherosclerosis.
Dietary sources: Vegetable oils, wheat germ, nuts and seeds.
With aging, dark circles may start appearing under the eyes. Vitamin K helps prevent a common cause of this problem – the leaking of capillaries around the eyes, which results in the pooling and clotting of blood. Researchers believe that Vitamin K aids in the constriction of capillaries, breaking up the tiny blood clots that cause the circles. While Vitamin K can’t single-handedly prevent under-eye circles, it should be part of the treatment plan. Vitamin K can be consumed as a supplement, as part of a multi-vitamin, in the form of topical creams, or as part of a balanced diet.
Dietary sources: Green leafy vegetables.
Know the RDAs and ULs of the Vitamins You Take
Ingesting excessive dosages of certain vitamins can be extremely dangerous. The following chart indicates the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) and Upper Limit (UL) of Vitamin A, B1, C, E and K.
Vitamin A Men – 900 mcg; Women – 700 mcg 3:000 mcg
Vitamin B1 Men – 90 mg.; Women 1.1 mg. No limit
Vitamin C Men – 90 mg.; Women – 75 mg 2000 mg.
Vitamin E 15 mg (22 IU natural or 33IU synthetic) 1000 mg. (1500 IU natural or 1100 IU synthetic)
Vitamin K Men – 120 mcg.; Women – 90 mcg. No limit
Note: Certain health conditions require that patients limit or avoid the intake of certain vitamins and minerals. It is important to follow the advice of your primary care physician or medical specialist.