Intervention with flaxseed and borage oil supplements modulates skin condition in women

January 1, 2009 Human Health and Nutrition Data 0 Comments

Intervention with flaxseed and borage oil supplements modulates skin condition in women

Year: 2009
Authors: De Spirt, S. Stahl , W. Tronnier, H. Sies, H. Bejot, M. Maurette, J.-M. Heinrich, U.
Publication Name: British Journal of Nutrition
Publication Details: Volume 101; Number 3; Pages 440 -445.


Ingestion of selected nutrients modulates dermal properties. In the present study, two groups of women ingested flaxseed or borage oil for 12 weeks. The control group received a placebo containing medium-chain fatty acids. Dose was 2.2g total fatty acids/d with alpha-linolenic acid and linoleic acid as major constituents in the flaxseed oil group; in the borage oil group linoleic and gamma-linolenic acid were predominant. In the flaxseed oil group, the contribution of alpha-linolenic acid to total fatty acids in plasma was significantly increased on weeks 6 and 12, whereas there was an increase in gamma-linolenic acid in the borage oil group (P<0.05). Skin irritation was performed by nicotinate treatment, and changes in skin reddening and blood flow were monitored. Compared to week 0, skin reddening was diminished in both groups; blood flow was also lowered. Skin hydration was significantly increased after 12 weeks of treatment compared to week 0, with flaxseed or borage oil (P<0.05). Transepidermal water loss was decreased in both oil groups by about 10% after 6 weeks of supplementation. A further decrease was determined after 12 weeks in the flaxseed oil group. Surface evaluation of living skin revealed that roughness and scaling of the skin were significantly decreased with flaxseed and borage oil comparing week 0 and week 12 (P<0.05). Except for hydration, none of the parameters was affected in the placebo group. The present data provide evidence that skin properties can be modulated by an intervention with dietary lipids. (Author's abstract)
Epidermal lipids play an important role in mediating normal desquamation in the skin, and deficiency of essential fatty acids is involved in cutaneous scaling disorders such as senile xerosis, psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. Supplementation with n-6 fatty acids LA and GLA from borage oil over a 2-month period leads to decreased transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and itching. Dry skin  appearance was diminished significantly, but no alteration of skin hydration was measured. Consumption of flaxseed oil rich in ALA or DHA/EPA-rich fish oil is associated with lower levels of proinflammatory eicosanoids. In the present study the effects of 12-week oral supplementation with flaxseed or borage oil on human skin properties was studied. the results showed that ALA-rich flaxseed oil or GLA-rich borage oil led to increases in the contribution of the respective fatty acid to total plasma lipids. The irritating effects of nicotinate were ameliorated by long-term intake of either flaxseed or borage oil. Reddening of the skin after chemical challenge was lower in both groups after 6 and 12 weeks of intervention. Interference with inflammatory pathways through the role of these PUFAs in membrane and cell structure may be responsible for the prevention of exogenous damage. With both supplements skin hydration was increased after 12 weeks of intervention, whereas TEWL was lower than control. Intervention with flaxseed or borage oil led to changes in roughness and scaling, which might be in part explained by the observed modulation of skin hydration and firmness. However, a  parameter such as wrinkling, which results mainly from changes in the molecular structure of extracellular components, was not affected by any of the treatments. Thus the data support the role of ALA and GLA in improving several skin parameters. (Editor's comments)

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