Saturday, November 28, 2009

Advice to drink eight glasses of water is not backed by evidence

A study has revealed that drinking eight glasses of water a day as traditionally advised may not have the anti-ageing impact originally suggested.

The Food for the Skin review by the British Nutrition Foundation, says that a balanced diet and sunscreen are more important in preventing the signs of ageing such as wrinkles and that there is no firm evidence to back up the theory that eight glasses of water should be consumed a day in order to maintain youthful, vibrant looking skin.

Dr Laura Wyness, senior nutrition scientist at The British Nutrition Foundation, confirmed that although water has been presented in the popular press as the secret to healthy glowing skin, the scientific evidence to support such a statement is lacking. “Water is essential for life; the human body is made up of between 45 to 75% water, depending on body weight,” she said.

“Drinking water has the advantage of fulfilling hydration requirements without providing additional energy or adversely affecting dental health. There is however, little scientific evidence on the effects of water consumption on skin hydration, and the influence of drinking more or less water on the appearance of skin.” She said that more research in this area is required.

Wyness added that water can be obtained from both food and various drinks, not just plain water consumption. “We obtain water from all the foods and drinks we consume. The body has sophisticated systems for getting rid of toxins, and it is not necessary to consume excess water or other substances to enhance this process,” she explained. “A universal water intake recommendation that is applicable to all individuals is difficult to define as there are many factors that affect an individual’s need for water, such as environmental conditions, changing physical activity levels of the individual, their age, gender and body mass.”

Although individuals need to drink enough water to maintain body fluid, other factors are more important for the condition of the skin according to Carina Norris, registered nutritionist. “For example, most skin ageing is caused by sun damage, so your first consideration regarding keeping your skin looking good should be a sunscreen, not a glass of water,” she explained.

However, she added that nutrition does play a role in how skin looks and that someone eats a poor diet it does show in the skin condition. Norris stated, “Vitamins A and C are particularly important. Vitamin A is involved in maintaining your skin as a 'barrier' to the outside world, and vitamin C is needed to make collagen, which is responsible for the skin's resilience, and resistance to wrinkling. Vitamin E is also thought to play a role in skin condition.”

Eating fruit and vegetables also remain important to skin health according to Norris. “Some of the best 'skin foods' are fruit and vegetables,” she commented. “They're rich in vitamin C, as well as beta-carotene, which the body can use to make vitamin A. Nuts and seeds are good too, as they contain vitamin E.”

26 Nov 2009
Kate Donovan

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