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Soy for Hair, Skin and Nail Health

New York, NY – March 11, 2005 – Exposure to ultraviolet radiation, especially without sunscreen protection, can affect the skin in various ways. UV radiation from the sun triggers the formation of oxygen free radicals that damage tissue fibers that hold the skin together. When these fibers are damaged, the skin becomes thinned out, losing its suppleness and strength. If left unchecked, the free radicals produced by UV rays, can produce cancerous changes in the skin. These effects have become major health concerns with the depletion of the ozone layer, especially among fair skin individuals. Another aggravating factor is the fat content in the diet. Unhealthy, high-calorie and high-fat diets increase the adipose tissue under the skin and interfere with its blood supply. Poorly nourished skin loses its luster and is limited in its capacity to heal itself. Given the changing environment and health risks, it is obvious that the skin needs better protection. While numerous sunscreens are available these do little to enhance the quality of the skin itself. One promising supplement in this regard is soy. A soy based high protein diet provides enough amino acids to replace the degenerated tissue fibers. Soy also helps fight the effects of UV radiation on the skin by acting as antioxidants that mop up free radicals. Soy contains isoflavones, like genistein, which are especially potent in this regard. Other components of soy like phytates, saponins and lignins also have antioxidant properties. Thus soy protein helps strengthen the skin by decreasing the wear and tear of the tissue proteins. The cholesterol lowering effect of soy proteins and the resultant weight loss increases the blood supply and nourishment to the skin. . With credible research available regarding the health benefits of soy, this health nutrient is now available in more forms than it a decade ago. Soy is available as soy foods, health supplements and skin medication such as creams and lotions Soy rich foods can be prepared using soy milk, soy flour and tofu. They also form healthy substitutes for other dietary sources of proteins, delivering more protein per calorie. Other specialized structures present on the skin may benefit from soy supplements. It is thought that the antioxidant protection afforded by the isoflavones also help prevent premature graying. Soy based shampoos are also available which may enhance this protection. Skin protection is also possible through soy based creams and lotions that help prevent the UV damage. This photo-protective effect is best appreciated when soy products are used along with approved sunscreens with a sun protection factor more than 15. The skin reflects a lot about the health, diet and lifestyle of a person. Efforts to maintain healthy skin, hair and nails definitely trickle down to the rest of the body, promoting overall health and well being. In this regard soy supplements can go a long way through their established health benefits.


Pinnell SR. Cutaneous photodamage, oxidative stress, and topical antioxidant protection. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2003; 48(1): 1-19; quiz 20-2 R. DiSilvestro. A Diversity of Soy Antioxidant Effects. 5th International Symposium on the Role of Soy in Preventing and Treating Chronic Disease, Sept. 21-24th, 2003.Orlando, FL. Djuric Z, et al. Effect of soy isoflavone supplementation on markers of oxidative stress in men and women. Cancer Lett 2001 Oct 22;172(1):1-6.

Source: By Marina Kushner

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