The nutricosmetic is a food product with concentrations of specific nutrients that, in small doses, complement the diet.
We often hear of products being offered to us as nutricosmetics, but what exactly does this term refer to?
What You Should Know
Nutricosmetic is a food product with specific nutrient concentrations that, in small doses, supplement the diet.
The most commercialized and used are those that identify the skin, prevent sagging, nourish it, prevent wrinkles from becoming pronounced, protect it from the sun, or enhance the tan.
Although they should not be abused, nutricosmetics must be safe, bioavailable, and pass the purity test.
What is nutricosmetic?
This newly minted word refers to a series of products that, taken orally, have some beneficial effect on the skin or its attachments (hair and nails). These products must have special characteristics that are defined. A nutricosmetic, according to European regulations, is a food product “whose purpose is to supplement the diet” and which consists of “concentrated sources of nutrients,” marketed in capsules, powders, or other pre-dosed forms and “to be taken in small quantities.” Therefore, among the components authorized for this type of product, we mainly find vitamins A, D, E, K, group B, PP, and C, minerals, fatty acids, antioxidants, polyphenols, and mainly plant extracts.
Among the most commercialized and used nutricosmetics, we find products to identify the skin, prevent sagging, nourish it, prevent wrinkles from becoming pronounced, protect it from the sun, or enhance the tan. Other products are intended to prevent hair loss and strengthen it while strengthening the nails. And no less important are those intended to combat cellulite.
When food is not enough
The question is, but if what they incorporate are nutrients, isn’t a good diet enough? A balanced diet should provide enough nutrients; what happens is that sometimes the needs of one or another nutrient can be increased by different factors, including age and stress, so the diet will not provide those certain nutrients and will need to be supplemented.
With age, for example, the body decreases the production of elastin and collagen, essential substances to maintain the skin’s structure, which causes wrinkles and sagging. Hydrolyzed collagen and hyaluronic acid from fish are part of the formulation of some nutricosmetics to help the skin avoid the formation and depth of wrinkles and prevent sagging.
Vitamins A, C, and E and polyphenols extracted from the skins and seeds of grapes or red fruits act as cellular antioxidants, reducing tissue aging. In special stages of life, such as menopause, hormonal changes also influence the skin and hair, since when the production of estrogens ceases, the skin dries and destructures more easily, and capillary density is lost; some nutricosmetics designed for that stage of life incorporate soy isoflavones, which act as phytoestrogens.
At certain times of the year, or due to other factors such as stress, hair turnover accelerates and falls more; at that time, it is important to provide more nutrients that help the hair to come out with strength and density, and their certain things come into play. Vitamins, amino acids, minerals, and trace elements help stop hair loss, strengthen it and prevent capillary and nail fragility.
One of the factors involved in the formation of cellulite is poor return circulation in the lower extremities. Another, localized fat accumulates in the adipocytes of the affected areas (mainly thighs, buttocks, and abdomen) and, therefore, the connective tissue is destroyed, accumulating fluid. That is, edema occurs. For this reason, nutricosmetics for cellulite usually incorporate vagotonic and aniedematous actives (such as horse chestnut), connective tissue restructuring agents such as horsetail or organic silicon, and lipolytic such as green tea or L-carnitine.
Are Nutricosmetics Safe?
The European Union requires manufacturers of nutricosmetics that they are safe, that is, that they are stable and that the ingredients are part of the composition of the product in the recommended amounts; that is bioavailable in the body (that is, once ingested, the nutrients reach the skin, hair follicles, etc.) and are also required to carry out purity tests on the products.
However, they must be used rationally since, for example, an excess of antioxidants can have the opposite action to that expected, that is, an oxidative action that damages the tissues. On the other hand, fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) accumulate, and their excess is also harmful. Therefore, they are good but should not be abused.
A very important aspect of nutricosmetics, and that should not be forgotten, is that in no case can they replace a healthy and balanced diet, and they must be used only as a supplement that will help to enhance the effects of traditional cosmetics and improve the appearance.