Omegas and the Skin

VITA-SOL Ultra Omega Plus for Skin has been expertly formulated to combine the highest quality omega 3 triglycerides available with additional Seabuckthorn and Astaxanthin plant extracts known for their potent polyphenol, carotenoid, antioxidant and balanced omega profile. This ensures a quality and efficacious supplement designed to support general health and well being, inflammatory conditions, skin elasticity and skin hydration.

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) that cannot be synthesized in our bodies and must therefore be obtained from the diet.

EFAs work together to create eicosanoids and prostaglandins, the hormone-like chemical messengers responsible for functions such as regulating blood pressure, oxygen delivery, gene expression and regulating pain and inflammation.

The primary function of omega fatty acids is to maintain healthy cell membrane function which is required to transport waste and nutrients (amino acids, hormones, minerals, vitamins and water) in and out of cells.

Omega-3 EFAs comprise less than 2% of total epidermal fatty acids. Whilst they do not appreciably accumulate in the skin, Omega 3 fatty acids, particularly EPA, play an important anti-inflammatory role. Dietary supplementation of EPA/DHA can enrich long chain Omega 3 fatty acids in the epidermis, thereby altering the fatty acid composition and eicosanoid content of the skin.

Plant based ALA can be converted to EPA (predominantly found in oily fish) however the conversion of ALA to EPA and DHA in the body is very inefficient therefore a low intake of oily fish (less than 2 – 3 times per week) may put one at risk of inadequate intake of omega 3 and supplementation may be required.

Omega 6 is a major component of skin lipids and is important for ceramide production, skin barrier function, healthy sebum composition and wound healing.

The presence of Linoleic Acid in the stratum corneum ceramides directly correlates with the health of the skin barrier.  Ceramides are a special type of lipid known as a sphingolipids, and comprise 40 to 50% of the lipids in the stratum corneum.

GLA is a type of omega 6 that is not widely found in the diet. It plays a mainly anti-inflammatory role in the skin and some studies suggest that it may be effective in reducing the symptoms of a number of inflammatory skin disorders including dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, and acne as well as improving wound healing.

A good quality omega skin supplement will include GLA for this reason.  Seabuckthorn oil is a unique plant extract due to its anti-inflammatory content of omega-3, 6, 7 and 9 .

Getting the balance and correct form of omega 3 and 6 is extremely important as omega 6 is important for wound healing however if we are not getting enough omega 3 it is possible that we shift in to a more proinflammatory state. Too much omega 3 however, if not balanced correctly with omega 6, could have the opposite effect and impair wound healing of the skin by inhibiting the inflammatory pathways. It is therefore important to have healthy intake of both omega 3 and 6 in the diet. A healthy ratio for omega 6’s vs. 3’s in our diet is thought to be 3:1 or less.