Today, I want to tell you about a plant that Ayurvedic practitioners call the most important herb for women at every stage of their life.
Doctors in India have used it as medicine for over 5,000 years. In Africa, I met healers who used it to cure the flu and other viruses. This same plant is an anti-aging powerhouse for your skin.
It also happens to be one of my favorite vegetables.
I’m talking about asparagus.
Research shows a special variety of white asparagus can renew your skin. It helps make your skin appear brighter and younger. In fact, it may help delay cellular aging by decades. Let me explain…
Your skin cells go through a natural aging process. Environmental factors like too much sun, chemicals and toxins speed up the aging. And this whole aging process starts years before you can see it.
But studies show that white asparagus extract can slow down the major signs of aging. Here’s how it works…
Your skin cells have a powerful housekeeping system called “autophagy.” This process cleans waste out of your cells and helps regenerate your skin.
Autophagy starts with the formation of a “double membrane structure.” These membranes surround waste and damaged cell parts. They wall them off from the rest of the cell. Then enzymes break down the cellular waste into harmless amino acids and other molecules. It allows your skin cells to repair themselves and generate new cellular energy.
As you get older, autophagy gets slower. As this repair system breaks down, you see more signs of aging. They include things like oxidative damage, collagen breakdown and thinning skin. That leads to fine lines, wrinkles, age spots and other signs of aging.
But asparagus can speed up this repair process. In lab studies, researchers treated human skin cells with asparagus extract. They found that the extract increased signs of the autophagy process by 29%. In fact, the rate of autophagy in old cells was equal to the rate in cells from young donors.1
In another test, researchers took a skin sample from a 50-year-old person. They treated some of the skin cells with asparagus extract. Then they exposed the cells to UV radiation. That’s the kind of damage you get from too much sun exposure. The asparagus extract almost completely protected the skin cells from oxidative damage from the UV rays.2
And that cell protection means younger-looking skin in real women…
In one study, 31 women between 40 and 55 years old put asparagus extract on half of their face twice a day. They put a placebo on the other half. After 56 days researchers measured their skin for collagen density and skin thickness. Dense collagen and skin thickness are signs of young skin. Here’s what they found…
Asparagus extract increased collagen density by 7.5% on average. It went up by 60% in some women. The increases were four times better than the side of the face treated with a placebo.3
The asparagus also increased skin thickness. It went up by 18% on average, and up to 69% in some women. In other words, asparagus extract:
- Helps stimulate your skin’s own renewal process and slows down skin aging
- Builds up collagen density and skin thickness
- Reduces damage from UV rays
Asparagus is high in vitamin K and folate. It fights inflammation with nutrients like vitamin C, beta-carotene, and vitamin E. It also provides the minerals zinc, manganese and selenium.
This common veggie also contains compounds called asparagosides. These are anti-viral and anti-bacterial.4 And asparagus is rich in glutathione, your body’s most powerful antioxidant. It helps detoxify cells. And it destroys carcinogens.
I recommend eating lots of asparagus. I like to make a cold asparagus salad with a garlic vinaigrette. Or cut it up and add it to a stir fry or soup. You can also find asparagus extract as a supplement. Shop for it in a local health food store you trust where the staff is knowledgeable.
Look for an Asparagus officinalis extract. It should be standardized to at least 4% asparagosides. Take 175-200 mg twice a day.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
1. DSM, “REGU®-SCENCE Delays the appearance of skin aging by decades*” Accessed 6/1917
4.Belhouchet Z, Sautour M, Miyamoto T, Lacaille-Dubois M. “Steroidal saponins from the roots of Smilax aspera subsp. mauritanica.” Chem Pharm Bull. 2008;56(9):1324-7.