Upcoming Issue Highlights

How does Life Extension’s Skin Restoring Phytoceramide with Lipowheat maintain skin hydration?


Ask Dr. Mike


My question is how does Life Extension’s Skin Restoring Phytoceramide with Lipowheat maintain skin hydration? Are there any other benefits that this product provides?

– Christine at Down to Earth, 2525 S. King Street Honolulu, HI 96826


Ceramides play a central role in preserving healthy-looking skin. They are an important lipid component of the skin’s membrane, where they provide protection from the elements and lock in moisture.In fact, they make up 35%-40% of the binding matrix that maintains moisture balance and protects the skin’s surface. The problem is that the body’s production of ceramides declines with age.

The ceramides that young skin naturally produces to retain its supple appearance are identical to those present in wheat … which is why wheat-derived oils have been used topically for centuries as a natural moisturizer. But you can’t get enough ceramides from topically-applied wheat germ oil to have a long-term impact on your skin’s appearance. And they don’t appear in sufficient concentration in your diet.

Both in vitroand in vivo studies demonstrate that the moisture content of the stratum corneum (the top layer of skin, over the epidermis) in aging humans is decreased. In maturing individuals, the stratum corneum is also susceptible to inflammation and infection. Research shows that aging skin also suffers from reduced structural integrity due to lower lipid content.

Studies confirm the decline of the ceramides, possibly due to a decline in enzyme activity that helps to deliver ceramides in usable form to the skin. When aging skin’s ability to make ceramides diminishes, as it inevitably does, increased ceramide intake becomes essential.

For example, after three months of ingesting 200 mg a day of ceramides, a group of people reported dramatic improvement in the look and feel of their skin. These results were verified by electrochemical analysis showing that 95% of participants exhibited improved skin hydration. Better yet, all subjects who experienced itching at the onset of the study reported sharply decreased itching or complete elimination of the problem by the end of the study.

Another potential use for ceramides is in the production of sphingolipids – an important fat for healthy myelin sheaths. This could be beneficial to MS patients.

– Michael Smith, MD, Senior Health Scientist

Ask Dr. Mike is a new feature where readers are invited to submit questions to Dr. Michael Smith on a topic of interest. Click here to submit a question to Dr. Mike.

Michael A. Smith, M.D. is the author of The Supplement Pyramid – How to Build Your Personalized Nutritional Regimen., and host of Healthy Talk on RadioMD.com. He also serves as senior health scientist for Life Extension. His engaging ability to present complex medical topics, be it inflammation, diabetes, migraines, food sensitivity or weight management, in a clear, conversational manner has won him a sizable following among anti-aging and disease-prevention enthusiasts. Also known as “Dr. Mike,” he is heard on numerous syndicated national health television and radio shows. He is a graduate of the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas.

Read More from Dr. Mike