Wednesday’s Ask Dr. Walt — Can eating almonds reduce wrinkles?

My friend, Tod Cooperman, MD, the founder and president of ConsumerLab.com has provided for us the surprising answer in a recent article of his:

Regular consumption of a large number of almonds was shown to slightly reduce the severity and width of wrinkles in a 4-month study at the University of California, Davis of 31 postmenopausal women (Foolad, Phytother Res 2019).

Significant effects were not seen during the first two months of the study but, after four months, wrinkle severity had decreased by 9% vs. 1% in the control group and overall wrinkle width had decreased by 10% vs. 3% in the control group.

There were no significant differences in changes in skin oil or moisture levels between the groups.

The women consumed 20% of their total daily energy requirement as raw almonds — an average of 2.1 ounces (58.9 grams) of almonds per day, which is about two handfuls of almonds or about 48 almonds.

Women in the control group ate, instead, a carbohydrate snack providing an equivalent amount of energy as the almonds (340 Calories) from a combination of a cereal bar, a small granola bar, and pretzels.

It should be noted that all women in the study (which was partially supported by the Almond Board of California) had to stop eating other sources of nuts and any high-antioxidant supplements during the study as well as for one month before being assigned to a group — so it is not known if consumption of other nuts could have an effect similar to that of almonds.

A more recent, slightly longer study (also by UC Davis researchers) among 49 postmenopausal women who consumed the same daily amount of almonds, or a similar control snack (pretzels, granola bars, and fig bars) as in the first study found that, after 5 ½ months, wrinkle severity (depth and width) decreased by 16% among those who consumed almonds while there was no change in wrinkle severity among those who consumed the control snack.

Those who consumed almonds also had an average decrease in skin pigment intensity of 20%, while those who consumed the control snack had no changes in pigment intensity.

Interestingly, only those who consumed the control snack had increases in sebum (an oily, waxy substance that helps protect the skin) and both groups experienced similar, modest increases in skin hydration (Rybak, Nutrients 2021).

The researchers did not investigate the mechanism(s) by which almonds may affect the skin but noted that almonds are a good source of vitamin E, which, as an anti-oxidant taken into cell membranes, may help protect the skin (100% of the daily requirement of vitamin E is provided by the serving of almonds used in the study).

In addition, laboratory research on skin cells (fibroblasts) from elderly individuals suggests that vitamin E may prevent collagen degradation (Ricciarelli, Free Radic Biol Med 1999).


© Copyright WLL, INC. 2021. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.

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