The Formulator's View of the Qualia Skin Ingredients

The Formulator's View of the Qualia Skin Ingredients

QUALIA SKIN combines 21 ingredients that have been carefully selected to support skin hydration, elasticity, firmness, brightness, and overall appearance.* Neurohacker Collective’s science team extensively reviewed scientific research on more than 80 ingredients before deciding on what to include in Qualia Skin. In this blog post, we’ll share some of the reasons why we chose each ingredient, the role it plays, and why we selected the dose we use.

A Few Notable Studies

Don’t just take our word for it. These are the reported conclusions of a few publications from scientific journals highlighting some of the Qualia Skin ingredients.

HydroPeach™ Ceramides (Peach Fruit Extract) promotes moisture-retention and supports skin texture [1].*

Red Orange Complex™ supports skin antioxidant defenses [2].*

Lycopene from tomato extract supports the skin in adapting to environmental stress [3].*

Astaxanthin supports skin moisture retention and texture [4].*

Aloe vera supports collagen production and skin elasticity [5].*

The superfruit combination of grape and pomegranate extracts was used to support skin hydration and elasticity [6].*

Qualia Skin Ingredients

HydroPeach™ Ceramides (Peach Fruit Extract)

HydroPeach™ is a clinically studied extract from Japanese peaches standardized to contain a skin-essential nutrient called ceramides. Ceramides are a special type of fatty acid molecule that concentrate in the outer layer of the skin. Ceramides are lipids that have a strong affinity for water, which is a large part of the reason that ceramides play an important functional role in both hydration (holding onto water) and moisturization (more to do with skin oils), as well as the overall healthy function of the outermost layer of the skin.*

As we age, skin ceramides gradually decline. When there are not enough ceramides, skin moisture and barrier functions pay the price, resulting in skin that can feel dryer and rougher. Oral supplementation with HydroPeach™ promotes healthier amounts of ceramides in the skin. This helps strengthen skin barrier functions, and assists with absorbing and retaining water and skin moisture. This is why supplementing with HydroPeach™ supports skin hydration, moisture, and smoother skin texture.*

We believe that ceramides are an important part of feeding the skin to produce beauty from within. If a skin health supplement contains ceramides (most don’t), they almost always use corn, rice, wheat, or konjac root as their source. We opted for HydroPeach™, rather than a grain or tuber ceramide-containing extract, because Qualia Skin was formulated to have fruits as a centerpiece of the formula, and because we felt fruit was a better option than a grain or tuber source for our customers.* The dose we included matches the clinically studied dose of HydroPeach™ [1].

HydroPeachTM is a trademark of Maypro Industries, LLC.

Red Orange Complex™ (Citrus sinensis Fruit Extract)

Red Orange ComplexTM is a clinically studied extract made from three varieties of Sicilian blood orange—Moro, Tarocco and Sanguinello—grown exclusively in a particular area of Sicily surrounding Europe’s most active volcano, Mt. Etna. These oranges have a bright orange peel, with red hues, and a sweet taste. The extract made from these three varieties of red oranges is standardized for several different antioxidant compounds, including anthocyanins, flavanones, and vitamin C (the 100 mg dose we use in Qualia Skin contains 5.5 to 6.5 mg of vitamin C). 

When we were investigating ingredients for possible inclusion in a “beauty from within” formulation, studies of citrus fruit extracts caught our eye. One of the common themes in the studies was the role antioxidant compounds from citrus extracts play in supporting the skin in dealing with stress. Antioxidants are important for healthy aging in all of our cells and mitochondria, no matter where in the body they are located. But, since skin cells interact with the outside world, and the environment is a big source of stress, antioxidant support is especially important for skin health. Put simply, our skin relies on antioxidants to keep itself healthy before, during, and after being exposed to the elements, pollution, and other forms of stress.*

We chose Red Orange ComplexTM as the citrus extract to include in Qualia Skin for a few reasons. We were impressed with the number of studies on it: in these human studies the extract has supported glutathione (a cellular antioxidant and detoxifier), enhanced overall antioxidant capacity, assisted the skin in adapting to various types of stress, and supported healthy skin pigmentation.* These benefits were important to us. We were also impressed by the commitment the company that produces Red Orange ComplexTM has to sustainably growing and scientifically studying its ingredients (they are continuing to do additional research on Red Orange ComplexTM). We included the 100 mg dose that’s been used in human studies [2,7–10].

Red Orange ComplexTM is a trademark of Bionap USA, Inc.

BioVin® French Red Grapes Extract

Grapes (and the red wine made from them) are best known for being a source of resveratrol, but grapes, like most complex foods, are far more than one compound (they contain a multitude). BioVin® is a clinically studied extract made from the juice, seeds, and skins of French red grapes. It’s truly a whole grape extract. Qualia Skin is not the first time we’ve used this ingredient—BioVin® is also in Qualia Life. We chose it for both products because it provides a full spectrum of grape’s health-promoting compounds, while being standardized for both resveratrol and grape proanthocyanidins.* We also like that it’s made from grapes responsibly grown and harvested in the Rhone Valley region of France. But why would a grape extract be included in a skin formula?

When we were doing research for Qualia Skin, we read studies where one ingredient alone was used (grape extract was one of these ingredients)[11–15] ...and studies where a combination of ingredients were given together (one of the ingredients that came up most frequently in combinations was grape extract) [16–20]. So, both roads led to the inclusion of a grape extract. The reason grape extracts have a fit in a beauty from within formula is best summarized by the structure and function claims made by BioVin®: (1) great source of antioxidants, (2), supports intracellular vitamin C, and (3) helps maintain healthy collagen structures.* The skin relies on antioxidants for functions like dealing with stress*—we’ve already mentioned this above when discussing another superfruit extract (Red Orange ComplexTM). So, let’s better understand the other two claims.

As we age, several things occur with the metabolism of the collagen and elastin proteins that give younger skin its firmness and elasticity. These can be simplified as: (1) production of them slows, (2) breakdown of them accelerates, and (3) damage to them accumulates. Collagen metabolism changes as we get older. This is the bad news. The good news is that some plant extracts support healthy metabolism of collagen, elastin, or both. Grape extracts are one of them; it supports both. Using collagen as an example, BioVin® positively influences (1), (2), and (3) above. Some of the reasons why include: vitamin C is a cofactor in collagen-producing enzymes, grape extracts have a normalizing function on collagen-degrading enzymes, and grape proanthocyanidins support a healthy collagen matrix.* The amount of BioVin® we included is consistent with how grape extracts have been dosed when used in combination with other ingredients found in Qualia Skin  [16–18].

BioVin® Advanced is a registered trademark of Cyvex Nutrition, Inc dba Bioriginal.

Pomanox® Pomegranate Fruit Extract

Pomegranate is commonly described as a superfruit—these are nutrient-rich fruits that are especially beneficial for supporting health. We agree with this designation for pomegranate, and consider it to be a skin superfruit. Pomegranates are known for having high antioxidant activity, even compared to other fruits. This means that pomegranates have some skin health benefits [21,22] that overlap with the Red Orange ComplexTM we also included in Qualia Skin. Both are very supportive in helping the skin adapt to and counter oxidative stress no matter the source. But this is really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the skin health benefits of pomegranates.*

Pomegranate supports skin functions involved in firmness, elasticity, hydration, and pigmentation. As we get older, starting by age 30, enzymes that break down collagen and elastin matrices in skin become more active (these enzymes are called collagenase and elastase). Some plant extracts support a healthier activity of one of these enzymes; fewer plant extracts support both. Pomegranate is one of the few [23]. Pomegranate also supports production of both collagen (needed for skin firmness) and hyaluronic acid (involved in moisture-retention). And, because of their polyphenols (called punicalagins), pomegranate supports both the gut and the skin microbiome (we call this the gut-skin axis).* 

When discussing BioVin® French Red Grapes Extract, it was mentioned that in researching ingredients for inclusion in Qualia Skin, we also read studies where a combination of ingredients were used together. One of these studies really caught our attention. It used grape and pomegranate extracts, along with selenium and silica. Supplementation with this combination of ingredients promoted skin antioxidant levels, and enhanced hydration, elasticity, and smoothness [16].* Since these benefits are what we want users to experience, you probably won’t be surprised to find out that all of these ingredients are in Qualia Skin (in fact this study helped guide the doses we selected for both BioVin® and Pomanox®).

We chose Pomanox® as our pomegranate extract for a few reasons. It’s a patented and clinically studied pomegranate fruit extract. It’s produced from pomegranates cultivated in Mediterranean regions of Spain through sustainable farming and extracted using green and eco-friendly proprietary technology. And it’s standardized to contain not less than 30% of the important pomegranate punicalagins. We chose a dose to be complementary with the other ingredients in Qualia Skin.*

Pomanox® is a trademark of Euromed USA, Inc.

Amla (Emblica officinalis) Fruit Extract

Amla is one of the most important fruits in Ayurveda and in traditional healing systems in other parts of South and Southeast Asia. The name Amla derives from the Sanskrit word Amalaki, which means the “fruit of heaven”—the fruit was revered in both Hinduism and Buddhism. In Ayurveda, Amla is foremost among the rasayanas—this is the very exclusive family of elixirs for rejuvenation. Our interest in including amla fruit in Qualia Skin arose from its traditional usage within Ayurveda, and was cemented by studies that have reported functional skin health benefits from amla [24–30].*

Within the Ayurvedic framework, it’s believed that feeding the skin is critical for maintaining youthfulness and health. They use concepts like tvagrasayana (skin rejuvenator), vayasthaprana (supporting youthfulness), varnya (healthy glow), tvachy (nourishing), asandhaniya (healing and regenerative) to describe and categorize roles plants have in supporting skin health. Amla was thought to have attributes that match several of these concepts [31]. And, as more scientific research is being done on amla, we are finding out that this superfruit does indeed have many of these attributes.*

Similar to other superfruits in Qualia Skin, amla acts as a skin antioxidant, so it can support the skin in adapting in healthy ways to stress. Amla fruits also support collagen metabolism, influencing enzymes involved in both producing and recycling collagen (this is important for skin firmness). There’s evidence that amla can contribute to healthy skin elasticity and hydration. And, amla has influenced skin functions that are supportive of it being used for skin glow. Lastly, amla can be thought of as being akin to a prebiotic, supporting the gut-skin axis.* It was a fit for many reasons. We sourced an extract standardized for both tannins and vitamin C from a company that specializes in high quality Ayurvedic extracts. We included a dose of 250 mg of a standardized amla extract, because we expect this amount to be complementary with the other superfruits found in Qualia Skin.

Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) Fruit Extract

So far we’ve covered a handful plus of skin superfruits. A Japanese peach extract (HydroPeach™), three types of blood oranges from Sicily (found in Red Orange ComplexTM), grapes from France (BioVin®), pomegranate from Spain (Pomanox®), and amla from the Ayurvedic tradition. We have another to add to the superfruit blend found in Qualia Skin, sea buckthorn (Hippophaes rhamnoides; also known as sea berries). We expect you’re familiar with many of the superfruits in Qualia Skin, but might be asking yourself what is sea buckthorn?

Sea buckthorn grows in cool climates throughout Europe and Asia. The genus name Hippophaes is from the Greek words that translate as “shiny horse.” This name comes from stories about ancient Greeks feeding sea buckthorn branches and leaves to horses and noticing the horses became healthier and had shinier coats. Legend also has it that Genghis Khan used sea buckthorn to keep his army healthy and prepared for battle. And, more recently, Russian cosmonauts are said to have incorporated the juice into their diet.

Sea buckthorn fruits are small yellow-orange berries with a sour and astringent taste. Because they are tart and mouth puckering, the fruit is usually sweetened and made into jams, jellies, or juices to eat it. The fruit also has a long history of use within several traditional healing systems, including Chinese, Mongolian, and Tibetan. The fruits have substantial antioxidant activity—they contain both water- (e.g., vitamin C, flavonoids) and fat-soluble (e.g., carotenoids, vitamin E) antioxidant nutrients, a combination that is a big plus in assisting the skin in countering stress. They also support healthy collagen metabolism and skin renewal functions.* We are using a fruit extract standardized for flavones, because these pale yellow flavonoids are the marker compound used to make powdered fruit extracts. We selected the dose to complement the other fruits in Qualia Skin. 

Lycopene (from Tomato Fruit Extract)

That last fruit we want to talk about is a lycopene-rich tomato fruit extract—tomatoes are usually thought of as a vegetable, but scientifically they are classified as fruits. Red tomatoes, and tomato products made from them, are the main dietary source of a bright red pigment called lycopene; over 80% of the lycopene in American diets comes from tomatoes. Lycopene can also be found in lower amounts in some pink-red colored foods such as watermelon and grapefruit. But what is lycopene? Why is it important for the skin?*

Lycopene is one of the family of yellow, orange, and red carotenoid pigments found in plants. Other carotenoids include astaxanthin (we’ll discuss this next), and the macular carotenoids (lutein, zeaxanthin, meso-zeaxanthin) found in Qualia Vision. In plants, carotenoids have two main jobs: both have to do with being light absorbers. They transfer light energy to be used in photosynthesis. And, they are used to counter the oxidative stress caused by light energy (i.e., they are antioxidants). They have similar functions in our cells, so are particularly important in parts of the body exposed to light. The macular carotenoids accumulate in the eyes; lycopene in the skin (astaxanthin can support both).*

In studies, lycopene, alone or combined with other ingredients, has supported the skin in being resilient against environmental stress [3,32–37]. And, it nourishes the skin in ways that promote a healthy complexion and skin radiance. Lycopene amounts in the skin usually decline with age (and when skin is stressed), while supplementation supports skin lycopene. So, diet alone may not be sufficient to maintain healthy lycopene status. We chose 8 mg of lycopene as the dose, because this is within the range that has been commonly used in human skin studies (Aust et al. 2005; Heinrich et al. 2006; Costa et al. 2015; Costa et al. 2012; Jenkins et al. 2014).*

AstaPure® Haematococcus pluvialis Microalgae Extract (3% astaxanthin)

Astaxanthin, like lycopene, is a carotenoid—while lycopene is bright red, astaxanthin is more red-orange. And, like other carotenoids, astaxanthin functions as a light absorber in plants. The most concentrated source of astaxanthin is a microalgae called Haematococcus pluvialis. In this microalgae, more astaxanthin is made when the environment is stressful. Our skin can also be stressed by the environment. Not surprisingly, one of the areas where astaxanthin has been studied has been as an antioxidant for helping skin adapt in a healthier way to a variety of stressors.*

In addition to being a skin antioxidant, astaxanthin is a plant-based solution for supporting healthy collagen. But, it does not do this by supplying collagen. Skin cells are involved in an ongoing process of making new collagen fibers. And, collagen is not a static thing; it is dynamic. Existing collagen fibers can be rearranged, tightened, and broken down. Collectively, these metabolic processes can be thought of as collagen remodeling. This is where astaxanthin comes in: it plays a supportive role in healthy collagen remodeling.*

We chose AstaPure® as our source of astaxanthin, among other reasons, because it is grown sustainably using green technology including solar energy and advanced water recycling technologies to minimize environmental impact. When it came to selecting our dose, we opted to include enough AstaPure® to supply 4 mg of astaxanthin, because this dose of astaxanthin has supported skin in adapting to stress, and with hydration, elasticity, and smoothness [4,41].*

AstaPure® is a registered trademark of Algatechnologies Ltd.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) Leaf Extract

Rosemary is a member of the mint family. It thrives in areas close to the coast especially in dryer areas throughout the Mediterranean. The location it thrives in is what led to its name, which derives from the Latin words for “dew” (ros) and “of the sea” (marinus, which gives us the English word marine). Rosemary was used as a spice and herb by Egyptians, Greeks, and Latins cultures. This culinary herb is a fit in Qualia Skin because it contains antioxidant and skin-nourishing compounds*. We also expect it to be complementary with other ingredients we included, especially Red Orange Complex™ and the lycopene-rich tomato fruit extract. 

When we were reading studies on skin health, one of the extracts that came up in several different studies that used combinations of ingredients was rosemary. Rosemary on its own had a number of mechanisms supporting skin health functions. When it was combined with either lycopene-rich tomato extracts or citrus extracts, the combinations also supported skin health and appearance. After reviewing the research on rosemary, we feel like the areas it really shines are in helping the skin in adapting to stress, while nourishing the skin in ways that promote a healthy complexion and skin radiance [37,38,42–46].* 

We are using a standardized extract (for carnosic acid and carnosol), because these compounds have the most skin health research. We also believe, at least for supporting skin health and appearance, that a modest dose is sufficient. A main reason we came to this conclusion was because of a skin health study that supplemented either 50 mg or 125 mg of a rosemary extract combined with similar amounts of a citrus extract. The lower dose performed as well as the higher dose, which is why you’ll find a 50 mg dose or rosemary leaf extract in Qualia Skin [42].*

Aloe Vera Inner Leaf Juice Powder

Aloe vera grows wild in tropical, semi-tropical, and arid climates around the world. It has been used in various traditional healing systems (Ayurveda, Chinese, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, etc.) with its use dating back several thousand years. The fleshy leaves are filled with a clear gel (this is what’s used to make the juice). Aloe Vera juice has a reputation as being a skin superfood, because it is rich in polysaccharides, minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients. We believe this reputation is warranted, which is why we included it in Qualia Skin. Aloe excels in supporting skin resilience to stress, healthy collagen metabolism, hydration, elasticity, and smoothness.*

We sourced our Aloe vera inner leaf juice powder from a company that’s been a worldwide leader in producing high quality aloe extracts since 1973. It’s made from organically grown aloe and prepared through a proprietary process that retains more of the natural elements found in fresh aloe than standard freeze-dried powder. This extract has been certified by the International Aloe Science Council (IASC). IASC certification ensures products contain Aloe vera of the highest quality and purity, and are tested and controlled for aloin content.

Because studies have used different types of Aloe vera—juice, gel, concentrates, etc.—there’s no standard dose that applies to aloe independent of the type being used. The organic inner leaf juice powder we use is a 200X concentrate, which means that it takes 200 grams of Aloe vera inner leaf juice to make 1 gram of the powder. If it were reconstituted with water, the 300 mg dose in Qualia Skin would be the equivalent of drinking a bit more than 2 ounces of Aloe vera juice. One of our dosing principles is to determine whether there is a dosing range in which many of the benefits occur and above which there appears to be diminishing returns. We consider Aloe vera to be one of these compounds when it comes to skin benefits, because in a human study where two doses were compared, the lower dose resulted in superior skin function and appearance responses [5].*

Soylife® Soy Germ Extract

SoyLife® is a clinically studied non-GMO soy extract made from the germ rather than the whole soybean. The soy germ is the part of the bean that germinates (i.e., sprouts). Because the germ is what grows into a new plant, it is rich in phytonutrients—more than 25% of all soy nutrients are stored in the germ. The soy germ extract is also richer in soy isoflavones, especially daidzein. This is important because, in humans, daidzein is partially metabolized by the gut microbiota to produce the equol, which is believed to be the most important metabolite for many of the soy isoflavone health benefits.*

The Japanese diet has a reputation of being one of the world’s healthiest cuisines. One of several big differences between Western and Japanese diets is fermented soy. Isoflavones are a type of bioflavonoid found in many plant foods, but soy is one of the best sources. Fermenting soybeans increases the isoflavone content even more. Because the Japanese diet includes a variety of fermented soy foods (soy sauce, miso, natto, tofu), it supplies an average daily intake of approximately 25-50 mg of soy isoflavones [47–49]. People who eat western diets average less than 3 mg, and often less than 1 mg a day. That’s a big difference. And, as it turns out, both fermented soy foods (like miso) and soy isoflavones support skin health and appearance.*

Aging skin tissue stiffens and loses elasticity. There are a number of reasons why. One of them is that glucose forms cross-links between collagen molecules. This makes collagen more brittle and less flexible. This is where SoyLife® enters the Qualia Skin picture: it supplies nutritional support for healthier collagen flexibility. We used SoyLife®, rather than another soy extract, because it has been a leading soy isoflavone product for 25 years and has been used in more than 35 scientific studies (including several for skin functions). We chose a dose of SoyLife® to provide soy isoflavones in an amount that is within the range of what’s found in the Japanese diet, because this amount has been sufficient to support skin health and appearance [50].*

SoyLife® is a registered trademark of Frutarom.

L-Ornithine

L-Ornithine is an amino acid. It’s had an interesting journey as a dietary supplement. Several decades ago, it was mostly used by bodybuilders and athletes. More recently, it’s been studied for supporting stress, sleep, and brain health—it can be thought of as a gut-brain nutrient and complements caffeine as a nootropic, which is why we include it in Qualia Focus.* But a recent human study combined ornithine with collagen: the combination supported hydration and elasticity [51]. Why would they have used ornithine for skin health?

One of the challenges in creating a vegan skin supplement is collagen. Collagen has been one of the more popular ingredients in the skin category. But it’s made from animal and fish sources, so it was not an ingredient we could include in Qualia Skin (which is a vegan friendly formula). This brings us to ornithine. After an oral dose, ornithine is rapidly taken up by many tissues ...including skin. It’s put to good use in the skin, where it can be used for the production of collagen—ornithine is a precursor for the synthesis of proline, which is one of the primary amino acids in collagen. It’s also important for the synthesis of other compounds involved in skin healing functions.*

We became interested in including ornithine after reading an animal study where adding low amounts of it to the diet resulted in rapid increases in the concentrations of proline and glycine in the skin, and enhanced collagen deposition and strength [52]. Since we are not including collagen in the formula—it is not currently a vegan ingredient—ornithine is included as an alternative to support collagen production in a vegan friendly way. We used a dose of 200 mg, which is in the range (200-400 mg) where Ornithine has been most commonly used in recent human studies.*

Mineral-Rich Inactive Koji Aspergillus oryzae culture

Mineral-rich inactive koji culture is a source of seven fermented minerals: zinc, selenium, copper, iron, molybdenum, chromium, and manganese. Japanese cuisine contains an abundant amount and variety of fermented foods. Some of the most famous of these foods—miso, soy sauce, sake, and amazake—use a probiotic called koji (Aspergillus oryzae) and follow an ancient Japanese method to ferment starches like cooked rice, barley, and/or soybeans. Koji culture, and the fermented foods made from it, have been credited as one of the reasons a traditional Japanese diet is one of the world’s healthiest cuisines.

Our interest in including koji in a skin formulation started after reading a study where supplementing with a koji culture supported skin moisture retention and hydration [53]. It continued to build from there. Koji contains skin-healthy nutrients, including ceramides (which are also found in HydroPeach™) and kojic acid. It also may be part of the reason that foods fermented with koji, such as miso, support healthier skin. So there are reasons koji alone could be a fit in Qualia Skin. But what sealed the deal for us was finding a source of mineral-enriched koji. This is because some minerals are important for skin health and appearance, with several minerals being skin-essential.*

We choose a dose of the koji culture to supply an amount of koji to support healthy skin hydration.* The result is that there is a 250 mg dose of mineral-rich inactive Koji culture in Qualia Skin. This provides a minimum of 20-28% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of seven fermented minerals. Since the diet will be supplying some of the RDI, this amount of minerals is intended to augment what would occur in a healthy diet (not replace 100% of it).* Below is a quick summary of the role, direct or indirect, that each of these minerals has in skin health.

Iron (from Inactive Koji Aspergillus oryzae culture with ferrous sulfate)

Iron is a skin-essential mineral that’s required for healthy skin, hair, and nails. It’s involved in skin and metabolism functions, as well as the production and stability of the collagen and elastin needed for skin firmness and elasticity.*

Zinc (from Inactive Koji Aspergillus oryzae culture with zinc sulfate)

Zinc is a skin-essential mineral that supports skin immune health and antioxidant status. It has a particularly important role in the production of keratinocytes, skin repair functions, and the health of the skin surface layers.*

Copper (from Inactive Koji Aspergillus oryzae culture with cupric sulfate)

Copper is a skin-essential mineral that functions in skin protein synthesis, pigmentation, and antioxidant defenses. It’s needed for the production and stabilization of the collagen and elastin proteins that give skin firmness and elasticity.*

Selenium (from Inactive Koji Aspergillus oryzae culture with sodium selenite)

Selenium is a skin-essential mineral that is involved in a number of functions needed for healthy skin. These include immune and antioxidant support, repair processes, and the healthy function of skin stem cells.* 

Manganese (from Inactive Koji Aspergillus oryzae culture with manganese sulfate)

Manganese is a skin-essential mineral required for the synthesis of collagen and skin repair functions. It also plays important metabolic roles required for healthy skin, including mitochondrial antioxidant status and energy production.*

Chromium (from Inactive Koji Aspergillus oryzae culture with chromium (III) chloride)

Chromium indirectly influences skin function by supporting maintenance of healthy insulin and glucose metabolism. These are important for skin, because when collagen crosslinks with glucose it becomes stiffer and more brittle.*  

Molybdenum (from Inactive Koji Aspergillus oryzae culture with sodium molybdate)

Molybdenum is a cofactor used in four enzyme reactions. One of these enzymes is used to convert sulfites to sulfates. This can be important for skin, because sulfites are fairly commonly used in topical cosmetics and skincare products.*

Biotin

Biotin is a B complex vitamin that was originally called vitamin H, with the “H” standing in for Haar und Haut, German words for hair and skin. This connection was made because the deficiency symptoms that led to the discovery of biotin were visible in hair and skin health. An inadequate intake of biotin can also result in brittle nails. So, not surprisingly, biotin has a reputation as being a skin, nails, and hair vitamin. Its role in supporting skin, hair, and nails health is accepted*. What’s not established is whether there's a role for a much higher dose.

Diet, lifestyle, and genetic factors influence absorption of biotin from the diet. And, things that disturb the gut microbiome can impair the ability of microflora to make biotin (while we can’t make biotin our gut microbiota can). The result is that some subsets of the population have more difficulty maintaining adequate biotin status than others. So, we think it’s important to support an adequate intake of biotin.* This is why we include 100% of the recommended amount of biotin for adults (30 mcg) in Qualia Skin to reduce the likelihood of inadequacy.* This is a much lower dose than the megadoses of biotin (5,000 mcg or more) often found in skin, hair, and nail dietary supplements. Why?

While some people believe megadoses of biotin work for them (and they might be correct), it’s fair to state that there is no science supporting skin health benefits for high doses of biotin in healthy adults. And, we are not a “more is better” company. “More” can come with trade-offs: more may be helpful for some people, but worsen things for others. This seems to be true for biotin. While some people feel like they get better skin support from high doses of biotin, other people feel high doses of biotin worsens their skin. We weren’t willing to make this trade-off with Qualia Skin. The last reason we did not include a megadose is because it can interfere with some types of medical lab work, while the amount of biotin in Qualia Skin has not been linked to this type of interference [54,55].*

Bamboo Stem & Leaf Extract 

Bamboo has been used in Ayurveda, Chinese, Tibetan, and other healing traditions. In Ayurveda, as an example, the silica-rich exudate of bamboo is referred to as tabasheer, banslochan, or bamboo manna. The reason that bamboo can produce an exudate that is mostly silica is because bamboo is the richest plant source of silica—the ash made from bamboo can be more than 70% silica.

Plants rely on silica, because it plays important roles in plant vigor, growth, resistance to stress, and structural integrity. We include this bamboo stem & leaf extract in Qualia Skin, because silica plays somewhat analogous functional roles for human skin integrity and resistance to stress. It is needed for collagen production, and supports skin strength, elasticity, and texture. It also supports nail and hair health.* You may have heard that silica is a “beauty mineral”: this is why.

The average daily dietary intake of silicon is 20–50 mg for European and North American populations. The bamboo stem & leaf extract we use contains not less than 70% silica, and we chose our dose to augment dietary intake. We expect this low dose to be complementary with other ingredients in our formulation. As an example, a low dose of silica when combined with 3 ingredients in Qualia Skin—grape and pomegranate extracts, and selenium—supported skin antioxidant status, elasticity, hydration, and texture in a human study [16].* 

References:

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