The below was written by Doctor Howard Murad to explain how to promote collagen and elasticity in skin and prevent aging. Consider the supplement section a gentle segue into my own vitamin and nutraceutical interest which will be addressed regularly in the future!
Dr. Murad has written a book called The Water Secret: The Cellular Breakthrough to Look and Feel 10 Years Younger.
The Water Principle Primer
Using the experience and knowledge I’ve gained through years working in the fields of science and medicine I developed a revolutionary theory that has become known as “The Water Principle.” It is the basis for all of my healthy skin programs. When our cells are not fully hydrated they cannot function at their optimal level. This leads too much of the tissue damage that we call aging. For example, dehydrated skin is more likely to weaken and succumb to all sorts of ravages that lead to wrinkles, loss of elasticity, dryness, redness and many other problems. This dehydration and deterioration of our cells can be due to a simple deficiency in our diets of vital cell-hydrating nutrients.
Many people believe that drinking eight, ten or more glasses of water a day is the answer to hydration, but The Water Principle is not about drinking water, it’s about getting water into the cells and keeping it there so that every cell can function to its full capacity. Next to oxygen, water is the most important substance you need, and almost everything we know about aging tells us that the decline in function over the years is a direct result of water loss. For most people the problem is not that we don’t drink enough water, its’ that we are unable to keep the water we drink within in the cell walls.
As we age, our bodies lose the ability to utilize water as they did when we were younger. Over time, our cells and the other areas of our bodies that need hydration break down and become unable to hold onto water, leaving them weakened and less effective. This water that your cells can no longer utilize now passes right through you, or even worse, stays in between the tissues of your body, swelling up your ankles or puffing up your eyelids. I call this wasted water, and if we are to attain healthy skin, we need to put it back in our cells where it will keep us firm and supple.
Think of a newborn baby. As an infant a baby’s body weight is 75% water, with skin that is smooth and resilient. Now think of an adult. By middle age the average male can contribute about 60% of his total weight to water, and the average female 50%. As we age, we lose water inside our cells and tissue. Skin becomes dry, thin and rough. Drinking water alone is not the solution to replenish this rapid decline in water. You need to repair the tissues in your body that are losing it.
The Two Types of Body Tissue
As I have come to understand the body in a broad way, I realized that there are truly only two types of tissue. They are:
1. Cells – Though skin cells are not the same as say, liver cells, their basic traits are the same:
• All cells have a membrane or protective wall comprised of
lipids, or fats, and lecithin.
• Within this cell wall is a substance called cytoplasm, and within
the cytoplasm is the cell’s nucleus. The nucleus is the control
center, or brain, of the cell. Both the cytoplasm and the
nucleus are predominately made up of water.
2. Connective Tissue – This is the tissue in your body that that
has very few cells and is predominately made up of fibrous
material. It is the material that connects the various organs to
the rest of the body.
Connective tissue is comprised of:
• The body’s Matrix (also known as Glycosaminoglycans or
GAGs) – This is a semi-solid matter made of materials such as
hyaluronic acid, a water-loving substance that can actually
attract up to 1,000 times its weight in water. The building
block for hyaluronic acid is glucosamine.
• Collagen and Elastin – These keep the connective tissue firm
and hold its shape. The building blocks for collagen and elastin
are the amino acids in the foods we eat.
The two types of tissue throughout the body:
• The heart is made up of cells. The blood vessels are
• The brain is made up of cells. The nerves are connective
• The bones are made up of cells. Tendons and ligaments are
• The epidermis is made up of cells. The dermis is connective
To make positive long lasting changes in the skin, it is vital to strengthen and hydrate the cells and connective tissue by feeding them with the nutrients need to stay they need to attract and hold onto your body’s water.
Hydrating Cells Internally
By taking the necessary supplements every day and making a few changes to our diet we can reverse the breakdown of our skin and prevent future damage. I have been using a combination of cell repairing nutrients such as glucosamine, lecithin, and essential fatty acids for years with amazing results. Through numerous studies, I have proven that by incorporating the Water Principle into my patients’ treatments, made miraculous changes in their wrinkles by smoothing and firming the skin. Patients with acne healed faster, with a great reduction in breakouts. Eczema patients no longer suffered from the severe dryness and irritation that plagued them, and even cellulite and stretch marks became diminished through the inclusion of The Water Principle.
Key Nutrients to take
I have always said, ‘before there were medicines, there were foods’. Eating the appropriate amount of cell hydrating and connective tissue building foods is the ultimate way to feed the skin, however taking a dietary supplement on a daily basis is a guarantee you will maintain the correct levels of nutrients in the body at all times.
As the creator of Internal Skincare back in 1995, I have proven through independent scientific studies that it is possible to reduce wrinkles, increase elasticity, clear acne increase sun protection, and reduce cellulite with specific supplement formulations. Below is an example of key nutrients that optimize the water content in the cells while also building and strengthening connective tissue:
• Glucosamine to increase the water content and help
strengthen the dermis
• Amino Acids to encourage the healthy formation of collagen
and elastin tissue
• Phosphatidylcholine and Lecithin to maintain cell walls
• Antioxidants including Pomegranate Extract, Goji Berry Extract,
Vitamins C and E, Grapeseed Extract, CoEnzyme Q10 to
protect against free radical damage to cell walls and
• Essential Fatty Acids such as Flaxseed Oil and Fish Oil to lock
moisture in the cells
• Anti-inflammatory ingredients such as Zinc, Aloe Vera and
Curcumin to soothe skin irritation
When taken in the right combination, you can increase the water content of your cells, and reduce wrinkles by 34% and increase skin elasticity by 18% in only five weeks!
In addition to the dietary supplements, you can maximize your healthy skin benefits with foods. Below are tips on encouraging The Water Principle through diet:
• Make the time for a healthy breakfast every day, even if it’s
just some fresh fruit to boost your antioxidant levels.
• Water is essential – and can come from several sources
including food. Decaffeinated herbal teas, vegetable broth,
fruit juices, and fresh fruit and vegetables count towards your
daily water intake. In fact, I believe that the best sources of
water are fruits and vegetables. A good barometer of whether
your body needs more hydration is if your lips are dry.
• Eat one to two eggs per week. They are an excellent natural
source of protein, Folic Acid, vitamin A, lecithin, and B-12. Be
sure to eat the yolk as well as the white of the egg because
the yolk contains the lecithin.
• Fruits and vegetables lose water and nutrients the more they
are cooked. Stick with foods as close to their natural state as
possible –avoid over cooking, boiling, or heating whenever
you can to preserve the pure nutrients in whole food.
Three-Pronged Approach to Overall Health
At my research center, I have documented additional health benefits that go above and beyond skin improvement. After incorporating The Water Principle into their life, some of the most impressive changes besides skin improvement including a reduction in high blood pressure, healthier gum tissue, increase in scalp hair, and breast cancer patients reported reduction in lymphodema just to name a few. My recommendation for maintaining healthy water in the cells and connective tissue incorporates a three-pronged approach:
1. Topical Skincare – utilizing topical products that encourage healthy cell turnover plus a mix of antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and hydrating ingredients. These include:
i. Antioxidants – Vitamins C, E, Grapeseed Extract,
Pomegranate Extract, Goji Berry Extract
ii. Anti-Inflammatories – Licorice Extract, Zinc, Chamomile and
iii. Hydrators – Sodium PCA, Hyaluronic Acid, Evening Primrose
Oil and other plant based lipids
2. Internal Skincare
– taking key nutrients thru supplements and foods that repair the cell wall, and attract water, plus nutrients that build connective tissue. repair, cell wall,
3. Inclusive Health
– caring for one’s self through incorporation of massage, aromatherapy, personal interaction and creating a general passion for life. Scientific studies have proven a link between our mental health and happiness, and physical health and hydration.
A healthy complexion is a reflection of total wellness, both inside and out. This in turn, creates a healthy environment for the skin so if problems do arise, they resolve more easily. Furthermore, skin care can lead the way to overall health. Take all the necessary steps to achieve healthy skin – the right products, the proper nutrients, and positive lifestyle choices – and your whole body will be healthier.