Astaxanthin and collagen to the rescue of aged skin
It is well known that hydrolysed collagen enhances skin firmness, as it provides peptides which are ready for use by skin cells in the production of collagen. Furthermore, it is also well-known that most "antioxidants" (polyphenols and carotenoids) assist in the prevention of collagen and elastin damage and boost it's production. Therefore, it is no surprise that a new food supplement that contains hydrolysed collagen and astaxanthin (a carotenoid contained in prawns and salmon) can help with skin firmness and anti-ageing.
Specifically, researchers in Korea have found that the combination of the two nutrients improve skin hydration and skin elasticity on sun-damaged skin, after 12 weeks of use. At tissue level, the researchers have found that the precursor or collagen "pro-collagen type 1" increase and enzymes that break down collagen (the metalloproteinases MMP-1 and MMP-12) decrease with supplementation. Unfortunately, the supplement did not make any difference with regard to UV-induced DNA damage.
As a take home message, derived from this and other studies, the supplementation of collagen, hyaluronic acid and antioxidants from vegetables, herbs and fruits (anything from tomatoes to blueberries) is ideal to prevent ageing and maintain skin firmness and elasticity. Creams rich in the same nutrients can also provide the same protection externally, in addition to internal protection from food and supplementation.
Journal: of Medicinal Food.
Paper: Supplementing with dietary astaxanthin combined with collagen hydrolysate improves facial elasticity and decreases matrix metalloproteinase-1 and -12 expression: a comparative study with placebo.
Abstract: Photoaging accounts for most age-related changes in skin appearance. It has been suggested that both astaxanthin, a potent antioxidant, and collagen hydrolysate can be used as antiaging modalities in photoaged skin. However, there is no clinical study using astaxanthin combined with collagen hydrolysate. We investigated the effects of using a combination of dietary astaxanthin and collagen hydrolysate supplementation on moderately photoaged skin in humans. A total of 44 healthy subjects were recruited and treated with astaxanthin (2 mg/day) combined with collagen hydrolysate (3 g/day) or placebos, which were identical in appearance and taste to the active supplementation for 12 weeks. The elasticity and hydration properties of facial skin were evaluated using noninvasive objective devices. In addition, we also evaluated the expression of procollagen type I, fibrillin-1, matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1) and -12, and ultraviolet (UV)-induced DNA damage in artificially UV-irradiated buttock skin before and after treatment. The supplement group showed significant improvements in skin elasticity and transepidermal water loss in photoaged facial skin after 12 weeks compared with the placebo group. In the supplement group, expression of procollagen type I mRNA increased and expression of MMP-1 and -12 mRNA decreased compared with those in the placebo group. In contrast, there was no significant difference in UV-induced DNA damage between groups. These results demonstrate that dietary astaxanthin combined with collagen hydrolysate can improve elasticity and barrier integrity in photoaged human facial skin, and such treatment is well tolerated.