Simple, chemical free, effective...

In this article we cover:

  • The novel combination of potent antioxidant capacity and prebiotic action that puts Pomella® in a unique category as a skin protector

  • The potent bioactive free radical scavengers unique to pomegranate extract

  • How it clears out and renews damaged cellular parts e.g. the energy batteries of cells crucial for optimum cellular health

Although skin health and anti-ageing represents a fraction of the health attributes offered by Skin+Beyond, our primary application is skin due to the strong proposition in being able to offer an “All in one skin solution” for women (and men) who are looking for simple, chemical free, effective products that actually deliver on their promises.

Bioactive compounds capable of improving skin health

Much research has been carried out on Pomella® as a cosmeceutical or cosmetic ingredient that has bioactive compounds capable of improving skin health, and part of that research involves the gut-skin axis, culminating in a white paper from the manufacturer.(1)

By adding the amino acid glycine and the two types of vitamin B3, we enhance the product to have complementary and unique benefits to our patented pomegranate extract (POMx).


Prebiotic

The novel combination of potent antioxidant capacity and gut metabolite puts Pomella® in a unique category as a skin protector that is tied to the gut-skin axis. The prebiotic effect boosts gut microbe populations that in turn improve digestion, boost hormone production, reduce inflammation associated with improved gut barrier integrity.

The gut-skin axis is bidirectional via various pathways through a complex interplay between skin microbes and gut microbes, nerves, immune cells and blood; hence the reason poor gut health from many environmental and lifestyle factors manifests in many skin issues. For example you only have to look at gut issues and how they often translate into skin conditions; examples are Crohn’s disease and psoriasis, leaky gut and eczema, gluten intolerance and acne. By improving the gut microbiome, you are reducing or eliminating inflammation, in effect improving skin health and appearance.

Further chemicals in cosmetics damage the skin microbiome via free radicals causing inflammation and associated oxidative stress that damage the skin barrier manifesting in skin issues and ageing. This has recently been confirmed by published research (2,3) from UCL researcher, Christopher Wallen Russell that was presented at The European Society for Dermatological Research in 2018, and you can read about this groundbreaking research at the blog, “Chemicals in cosmetics damage the skin”.

Based on the demonstrated efficacy of pomegranate extract as an effective prebiotic and the growing importance of the gut-skin axis, POMx offers a chemical free, viable proposition as a skin and beauty ingredient from within in part due to the prebiotic influence on the gut-skin axis, and in combination with the essential amino acids in Skin+Beyond, offers an “All in one skin solution”.

Glycine also protects the gut barrier in turn reducing inflammation, oxidative stress and toxins that contribute to leaky gut.
You can read all about Skin+Beyond and the gut-skin axis at the blogs, “The gut microbiome regulates the gut-skin axis” and “Skin+Beyond and digestive health”.


Mitophagy

A crucial process that the body performs to clear out damaged or dysfunctional mitochondria, the energy batteries of the cells, in turn boosting energy output for improved cellular function; in the case of skin the dermal fibroblasts responsible for producing collagen and elastin, two key proteins that support the skin’s matrix.

However the process of mitophagy breaks down as you age especially over 60 and in general when you suffer from chronic low grade inflammation, which a significant percentage of the population has at any given time due to poor diet and lifestyle factors. This breakdown in mitophagy manifests in every disease of ageing including skin.(4)

Fortunately two groundbreaking research studies were carried out in Switzerland (5) and Singapore (6) that identified pomegranate extract (POMx) as an inducer of mitophagy via separate mechanisms.

Swiss researchers identified that the polyphenol, ellagic acid in pomegranate, when ingested is metabolised by certain gut bacteria into a molecule called Urolithin A that is responsible for kick starting mitophagy.

Singapore researchers further identified a different mechanism of stimulating mitophagy independent of gut bacteria, which is significant since about 30% of the population do not possess the specific gut bacteria.

You can read more on mitophagy at the blog, “Pomegranate and mitophagy”.


Punicalagins

Represent a group of ellagitannins that possess powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of their own, but offer added therapeutic power when converted in the gut to Urolithin A. Further punicalagins are the most potent bioactive free radical scavengers in POMx and are unique to pomegranate; hence a key reason they offer impressive protection against UVA and UVB rays that are largely responsible for photo ageing.(7)


Antioxidant

While pomegranate offers exogenous antioxidant activity, it also boosts the body’s endogenous antioxidant systems made up of an array of enzymes such as glutathione peroxidase, glutathione reductase, catalase and superoxide dimutase that all play a role in degrading free radicals such as hydrogen peroxide, lipid hydroperoxides and superoxide.(8) Glycine exerts similar anti-oxidant boosting properties, including the upregulation of antioxidant genes via the Nrf2 pathway.

The endogenous antioxidant system comes under assault from an infinite number of environmental stimuli and not just UV light, leading to the generation of excess free radicals or reactive oxygen species (ROS) and associated inflammation leading to oxidative stress that potentially damages all bodily systems and skin is just one of those. Further endogenous antioxidants need all the help they can get from not only exogenous forms like POMx, but also ramping up their own production especially as you age that causes a natural decline in production.

Researchers investigated the potential protective effects of a POMx with standardised punicalagins against UVA and UVB induced damage in human skin fibroblast (collagen and elastin producing) cells. POMx in a range of 5 to 60 mg/L was effective at protecting human skin fibroblasts from cell death following UV exposure. This is attributed to reduced generation of intracellular ROS or free radicals and increased intracellular antioxidant capacity.(9)

In a study headed by dermatology expert, Professor Birch-Machin at Newcastle University, pomegranate extract (POMx) was shown to significantly reduce the damage inflicted by free radicals on mitochondrial DNA in skin fibroblasts by 47%, proving almost as efficient as the 56% reduction provided by MitoQ, an artificially engineered antioxidant used to prevent oxidative damage to cells and reduce the risk of a variety of diseases including cancer and Parkinson’s disease.(10) MitoQ is the best COQ10 on the market, but costs £60 per month; however POMx has many other therapeutic properties resulting from its multi-modes of action of multiple cellular pathways.


Anti-inflammatory

A quick summary of the vicious cycle of cellular damage can be seen in the graphic opposite; excess free radicals or ROS cause inflammation and in turn oxidative stress that damage mitochondria, leading to less energy production for the cells, resulting in further oxidative stress and from there you have a two way vicious cycle that results in cellular damage and ultimately chronic disease.

Specific to skin, the fibroblast (collagen and elastin producing) cells have less energy due to mitochondrial dysfunction, and hence produce less collagen and elastin to support the skin’s matrix.

The anti-inflammatory properties of punicalagins inhibit the expression of nuclear factor kappa beta or NF-κB, the master inflammatory pathway, making this unique class of ellagitannins such potent anti-inflammatory agents.

This is significant since inflammation is the key driver of all disease and this includes degradation or damage to collagen and elastin and ultimately skin.

UV light and other environmental stressors are also responsible for inflammation, immune suppression, oxidative DNA damage (including mitochondrial DNA), increased expression of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) that play a key role in collagen and elastin degradation and glycation.(11) This inflammatory response is due to the activation of transcription factor nuclear factor kappa beta or NF-κB, which leads to collagen fibre breakdown and results in a typical pattern of wrinkled, rough, dry and brown pigmented skin.

Pomegranate’s prebiotic action in the gut also classifies it as a gut healing nutrient due to the anti-inflammatory effects of improved microbiome conditions and associated improvement in gut barrier integrity. As the father of medicine once said, “All disease begins in the gut” – Hippocrates
Further both glycine and B3 have anti-inflammatory properties, and improve gut barrier integrity.

Furthermore Pomegranate extract (PE) and its polyphenols have been shown to prevent methylglyoxal (MGO) induced DNA damage of keratin producing cells (keratinocytes) via multiple mechanisms; antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and uroltihin A production.(12)


Collagen

Making up 70% of skin and other connective tissue, collagen plays a major part of the structure and appearance of skin; however there is no need to start buying collagen supplements. Skin+Beyond performs the roles of effective collagen boosting and collagen protection in an innovative combination formula of glycine for more effective synthesis into collagen and glycation prevention.

Glycine has been known to boost collagen production by 200%.(13) Further our patented Pomella® pomegranate extract also boosts collagen synthesis as well as protecting it from degradation via glycation and MMPs.(14)

Apart from being expensive and mostly animal derived, collagen supplements have a low rate of usability in the body, and don’t prevent the small amounts of collagen that gets synthesised from degradation via various mechanisms including glycation and the expression of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), collagenase and elastase. Glycine also demonstrates anti-glycation properties.

Pomegranate protects collagen and elastin from these degrading processes as well as boosting collagen production by protecting dermal fibroblasts and their mitochondria from damage via antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity.

Also see under “Collagen supplements – unmasking the truth”


Hyaluronic acid and melanin

Skin ageing is also associated with an increase in dryness caused by a decrease in the synthesis of hyaluronic acid, an extracellular matrix component with the capacity of binding and retaining water.

Pomegranate has demonstrated in lab studies to boost the production of hyaluronic acid production, helping to keep skin moist and plump.(15)

Melanin also plays an important role in skin health, since it’s an essential part of the skin’s pigmentation system, preventing cell damage caused by the exposure to UV light; melanogenesis is mainly controlled by melanogenic enzymes, such as tyrosinase.

Although melanin plays a significant role in maintaining optimal skin health, during the melanogenesis process there is an accumulation of hydrogen peroxide and other reactive oxygen species (ROS) or free radicals that can damage melanocytes, inhibit collagen synthesis and ultimately produce negative effects on skin health.

Fortunately pomegranate phenolic compounds such as ellagic acid and punicalagins are able to prevent the over expression of melanin production.(16)


Glycation

Glycation is a process where sugars react with proteins to form advanced glycation end products (AGEs) that play a key role in collagen and elastin damage.

The internal workings of the skin start with collagen and elastin as does all connective tissue including joints. As we age, we all need more collagen because the skin’s structural proteins are vital to skin’s structural framework and cellular processes. However collagen protein has a very slow turnover rate and is particularly susceptible to modification by glycation and oxidative stress.

Skin collagen has a half life of about 15 years and over one’s lifetime, undergoes up to a 50% increase in glycation due to sun exposure,(17) although other environmental factors are involved.

Glycation impairs collagen in the following ways;

  • The formation of AGEs alters collagen’s protein charge, interferes with its active sites and alters collagen’s ability to act properly with surrounding cells and matrix proteins.(18)
  • Intermolecular cross linking modifies collagen’s biomechanical properties (19)

Pomegranate especially in the patented Pomella® extract form, is a natural AGE product inhibitor and anti-inflammatory agent, showing great potential for anti-glycation, a major contributor to slowing the progression of skin damage as well as the degradation of all other connective tissues e.g. joints. Recent research shows that the phenol compounds in pomegranate play a unique role in the inhibition of the production of free radicals or ROS and the formation of AGEs from protein glycation.

Glycine also shows anti-glycation effects, and glycine boosts hyaluronic acid due to its ant-glycation effects.


Type I cross linking

As one ages and skin is exposed to UV light, collagen and elastin fibrils are structurally modified because of glycation. One of the consequences of AGEs are cross links, which degrade skin’s (and other connective tissues) extracellular matrix by chaining the proteins together. Cross linking reduces elasticity in softer tissues such as the skin, and Pomella® not only exerts anti-glycation properties, but also has the ability to inhibit cross linking.

For instance a pre-published study shows that the pomegranate phenolic compounds; punicalagins, ellagic acid and urolithin A at a concentration of 200 µM inhibit fructose induced collagen glycation by 64.4%, 15% and 17.3% respectively.(20)

The same concentration inhibited methylglyoxal (MGO) induced collagen glycation by 70.6%, 17.6% and 14.4% respectively. Findings also showed an inhibition in the formation of Amadori products (non-enzymatic carbohydrate modification) when skin cells were exposed to punicalagins, ellagic acid and urolithin A at 200 µM concentration, 45.7%, 31.5% and 40% respectively. These results show that the gold standard Pomella® may provide a novel therapy to reversing collagen and elastin glycation and cross linking as it relates to skin damage.(21)

In summary, there is evidence that Pomella® standardised pomegranate extract offers are a valuable solution to the degenerative effects of UV exposure, including glycative stress and associated cross linking.(22)

Add the complementary effects of glycine and vitamin B3 and you have a uniquely effective “All in one skin solution”.

At present there are a few companies in the World using patented POMx and a few anti-ageing cosmetic companies, but none in a powdered drink application and none with the all-important glycine that synthesises collagen more effectively than collagen supplements.

Further pomegranate and glycine not only boost collagen production, but also protects collagen from breakdown by exerting anti-glycation action and down regulating MMP enzyme expression.

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