Degree of Skin Wrinkling Indicates Bone Density
Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
I have long suggested that women evaluate the strength and growth rate of their fingernails to help predict how their bones may be doing. Researchers have now proven that facial skin wrinkles1 are an accurate predictor of bone density in women in their late 40s and early 50s.
The study evaluated 114 women in their late 40s and early 50s who had their last menstrual cycle within three years – a potential time of high bone loss due to the sudden drop in estrogen. Women taking hormone replacement therapy or who had undergone cosmetic skin procedures were excluded from the study.
In an evaluation that included the depth of wrinkles and the use of a durometer to evaluate skin firmness, women determined to have the most wrinkles on their face and neck were found to have the lowest bone density. The skin wrinkling was predictive of bone loss at all commonly measured sites (hip, lumbar spine and heel), and was independent of age, body composition or other factors known to influence bone density.
Both bones and skin are made of collagen. The difference is that our bones are highly mineralized, yet are still 50% collagen. Thus, the same types of nutrient raw materials that support collagen support bone and skin formation. The same type of free radical and other stressors that break down collagen do so in both our skin and bones. While there are differences between the skin and bones, there are enough common needs to indicate that excess wear and tear in our skin is a good predictor of bone problems as well.
Many nutrients used for bone and joint health, including tissue-forming nutrients such as hyaluronic acid, glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM sulfur, and dietary protein are going to synergistically support skin health health via collagen synthesis and tissue matrix formation. There are also many well-documented nutrients that protect skin and collagen, such as vitamin C, grape seed extract, lycopene, tocotrienols, and green tea extract.
The good news is that the reverse of this study must also be true. If you use nutrition to support your skin health - something that is actually easy to do - you will enhance your bone health as a result.
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