Glissandrin: A superior antioxidant

In the October 2011 issue of InStyle, we learned what skin experts are prescribing to combat a number of common ailments. The first in the series shares tips on protecting skin from the elements. And while Miami dermatologist Leslie Baumann recommends using antioxidants, there’s more to the story than what’s known by even the savviest experts and consumers.

Most antioxidants are free radical scavengers, but some are so large that they cannot penetrate skin cells. This presents a problem since the source of the issue lies within the cell walls.

Fortunately, some antioxidants are not only able to penetrate skin cells but also to up-regulate the antioxidant defense systems inherent in our body. In simpler terms, that means they actually enhance the body’s natural ability to combat free radicals.

Our skin is equipped with antioxidant defense systems to fight free radicals caused by harmful stimuli. One such stimulus is solar light radiation. Long-term exposure or over-exposure to the sun can overwhelm these antioxidant systems, resulting in damage to the skin cells and the depletion of essential components such as collagen and elastin.

The consequence is photoaging, chronic alterations in the skin’s structure that become visible on the surface. Many of us are all too familiar with the signs of photoaging, which include wrinkles, brown spots, inelasticity, coarse skin texture, and uneven pigmentation.

Glissandrin™, with Schisandrin B as its key compound, has been proven to enhance the antioxidant defense systems naturally found in our skin. This is in addition to its ability to scavenge free radicals. Readily absorbed by the skin, Glissandrin is a superior antioxidant.

Glissandrin is a natural ingredient derived from Schisandra berry. Researchers at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, led by Dr. Robert Ko, recently published a paper in the respected medical journal, Fitoterapia (2011), on the protective properties of Schisandrin B in preventing and restoring skin damage from solar radiation.

To learn more, please visit http://glissandra.com.

Advertisements

Nature’s contribution to advanced skincare: the Schisandra berry

By now, you’ve likely heard the growing buzz about the Schisandra berry, which is finally beginning to get the widespread attention it deserves, outside the scientific community. It is not just the next disposable “superberry”; Schisandra has been proven to have a significant, positive effect on aging skin.

The Schisandra berry has long been recognized as one of the 50 fundamental herbs of traditional Chinese medicine, and as the key to maintaining youth and radiance. It is now regarded as a vital adaptogen that helps the body achieve a balanced state and adapt to physical, mental, environmental and other stresses.

The Schisandra berry has exciting qualities and applications relating to its status as an adaptogen. It helps the body’s cells maintain and normalize the optimum conditions for their vital functioning. The Schisandra berry is naturally rich in antioxidants, and research suggests that it acts as an antioxidant-site stimulator. In this role, it has been seen to increase antioxidant activity throughout the body, helping fight free radical damage not only by providing its own antioxidants, but also by helping to stimulate antioxidants already present in the body – unlike other, supposed “superberries”.

So how does this affect our skin as we age?

Aging is a phenomenon that occurs in the body’s cells. Its effects are more apparent on the skin, body’s largest organ, and especially noticeable on the face. Aging brings about the depletion of cellular components (such as collagen, hyaluronic acid, etc.), oxidative damage, and inflammation – causing a loss of elasticity, pigmentation, radiance, and other visible signs of aging.

According to extensive research, Schisandra has been found to be “a safe and effective ingredient for the prevention and treatment of hyperproliferative and inflammatory skin conditions and offers a new concept for personal care cosmetics” (Quirin et al.).

However, concentrations of the key compounds, (-) Schisandrin B and Schisandrin A, in the original berries are minute. Ground Schisandra berries, berry juice, or Schisandra extracts collected by ordinary methods contain insignificant amounts of the potent compounds, thereby limiting the benefits to the skin. It is only through a proprietary extraction process that the anti-aging properties of the Schisandra berry can be absorbed by the skin.

Theories of aging: What you need to know

A recent article published by DailyBeauty explored five well-known theories of aging: inflammation, lifestyle, hormones, antioxidants, and detoxification. Though all are worthy of discussion, perhaps the most important theory, mitochondrial decay, was not mentioned. This dark horse in the race against skin aging – and indeed aging more generally – deserves the attention of women who are motivated to look and feel their very best at every age.

The mechanism of aging has long been an area of intensive research, and although a number of theories have been proposed, mitochondrial decay has widely become regarded as the leading cause of skin aging.

The concept may sound complicated, but it is surprisingly simple. Mitochondria are the energy-producing organelle of every cell. Cells make up every organ and all living cells have mitochondria. In fact, there are thousands of mitochondria per cell. Their primary job is to generate ATP, or fuel, through various energy cycles that involve nutrients and vitamins. ATP is needed for every movement, thought and action we make, yet very little ATP can be stored in the body.

In the natural process of oxidation (turning oxygen into energy), the mitochondria generate free radicals – highly reactive, unstable molecules that cause damage to healthy cells, leading to internal aging as well as the appearance of visible signs of external aging. As we age, the mitochondria become larger, less efficient and fewer in number. As such, ATP production declines and may eventually lead to cell death.

As organs cannot borrow energy from one another, the efficiency of each organ’s mitochondria is essential to its repair processes and functions. If an organ’s mitochondria fail, then so does that organ. The skin is the largest organ in the body, so the enhancement and protection of actual mitochondrial function is instrumental in preventing and slowing skin aging.