Phytoceramides- Unique Plant Lipids for Skin Rejuvenation and Hydration
It may surprise you to learn that some of the compounds your skin naturally uses to maintain moisture can also be found in . . . wheat. These biologically active moisturizing oils are known as ceramides (whose name derives from Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture) or phytoceramides (phyto meaning plant). In youth, abundant amounts of ceramides are released on the skin’s surface. They’re also found throughout the human body—in the blood, brain, spinal cord, and nerve tissue. Your body’s ability to synthesize ceramides declines over time, contributing to the degradation and drying of aging skin. The good news is that wheat ceramides are chemically identical to skin ceramides, allowing aging individuals to restore naturally declining levels of this skin protector.
Cosmetic companies around the world have devoted exhaustive research efforts and massive amounts of money to perfecting topically-applied ceramides to help revive and hydrate aging skin. In a major scientific advance, scientists discovered a clinically validated method to deliver these essential nutrients to the skin orally. (Similar oral ceramide skin products have been available in Japan for the past ten years.)Unlike topical wheat germ oil or ceramide creams that enjoy limited efficacy, this novel oral intervention is absorbed into skin cells from within.
The result? In a recent clinical trial using phytoceramides, 95% of participants experienced complete rehydration of stubbornly dry, flaky skin after 90 days, with total elimination of itching, cracking, and other discomforts!
Oral Phytoceramides: Molecular Skin Regenerators
Beginning in the early 1990s, leading cosmetic companies formulated and marketed ceramide-based topical skin-care products for treating fine lines, wrinkles, and dryness. Due to their moisture – retaining properties, ceramides were eventually added to foundation makeup and lipsticks to help moisturize and protect skin exposed to sun, wind, environmental chemicals, and the ravages of aging. While Western cosmetic companies were focusing on topical ceramide products, Japanese nutraceutical firms began employing a more innovative approach to ceramide therapy—oral delivery of phytoceramides in capsules, functional foods, and beverages.
Phytoceramides are present in many of the foods we eat (including rice and wheat). The problem is that they do not naturally occur in sufficient quantities to optimally rejuvenate aging skin. Specific purification processes are required to extract and concentrate ceramides to attain therapeutic levels and optimal bioavailability—while keeping their specific molecular structures intact. A newly developed, ceramide-rich oral formula made from non-GMO wheat has recently shown exceptional promise in rehydrating dry, thin, itchy skin.
The level of ceramides decline sharply with advancing age. Orally ingested plant phytoceramides have been shown to effectively replace the ceramides lost through normal cell shedding, skin damage, and aging. Oral ceramides are delivered efficiently to the stratum corneum layer of the epidermis via the blood stream. Recent research suggests this oral delivery method improves the functionality of ceramides and produces results not seen in cosmetic topical applications.
Skin Health Clinical Studies: Phytoceramides
In a 4-week, placebo-controlled pilot study, 65% of participants who took an 80 mg capsule daily of the wheat phytoceramide formula noticed an increase in skin moisture compared with only 45% in the placebo group. Because it takes about 4 weeks—the entire length of the pilot study—for newly formed skin cells to migrate to the outermost layer of skin, improvements observed in this short time period were deemed very promising.
A 90-day follow-up study tracked subjects who were specifically chosen because of their chronically dry or very dry skin. In addition, some of the subjects suffered from chronic itching. The study considered subjective evaluation by the participants as well as objective dermatological measurements of skin roughness, itching, flaking and hydration, determined by electrical impedance and laboratory tissue analysis. Active treatment consisted of 200 mg per day of the wheat phytoceramide formula versus placebo.
At the end of the 90-day study, subjects treated with the wheat phytoceramide formula noticed a significant softening of their skin. Electrical assessment of skin hydration showed improvement in 95% of the actively treated subjects compared with no statistically significant change in the placebo group! All subjects who at the onset of the study experienced chronic itching reported sharply decreased itch or complete elimination of the complaint by the study’s conclusion.
Dermatological evaluation showed significant reduction of squames (flaking patches of skin) compared with the placebo group. Finally, in a subset of subjects from both the active treatment and placebo groups, leg tissue samples were analyzed for lipid concentration. Levels of protective lipids increased in the group treated with the wheat phytoceramide formula while no statistically significant change was noted in the placebo group.
In addition to enriching the lipid layer of the stratum corneum, phytoceramides contribute to skin health and vitality in other ways. The enzyme elastase breaks down elastin, a spring-like protein that imparts suppleness and elasticity to the skin and other flexible parts of the body, including blood vessels and lung tissue. The proprietary wheat lipid formula is a potent inhibitor of elastase, helping to support the natural rebound and springiness of youthful skin, potentially reversing some of the visible signs of aging.
The wheat formula is an excellent free radical scavenger, reducing oxidative stress and radiation damage of skin tissue. It also possesses anti-inflammatory properties. Research is currently underway that considers the role this formula plays in triggering apoptosis, a natural mechanism the body uses to target and destroy cancer cells. In addition to promoting the health and youthful appearance of skin, the wheat lipid formula also may confer a variety of other synergistic health benefits.
The health and youthful vitality of skin depends on special lipids synthesized by skin cells called ceramides that retain moisture and trigger new cell growth. These bioactive oils, also found throughout the plant kingdom, are present in multiple systems of the body as well (blood, spinal cord, and nerve tissue), indicating their internally functional importance.
Phytoceramides derived from wheat are chemically identical to those in human skin, enabling aging individuals to restore naturally declining levels of these bioactive compounds through ingestion—a method enjoyed by the Japanese for a decade. Ceramide-rich foods like rice and wheat do not possess these compounds in therapeutically effective concentrations.
Clinical studies demonstrate that a novel, highly concentrated, ceramide-rich nutritional liquid formula derived from wheat is absorbed into skin cells metabolically, producing dramatic improvements in the hydration, elasticity, and health of dry, flaky, itchy skin (complete elimination of dryness reported by 95% of study subjects). Ceramides are also potent free radical scavengers that significantly reduce inflammation. Research is underway to determine whether they contribute to the body’s system of targeting cancer cells for destruction.
If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article regarding phytoceramides, come by Willner Chemist Atlanta today or give us a call at 404-266-9115 and our knowledgeable staff of nutritional supplement professionals will be happy to assist you.