Some research has concluded that caffeine inhibits collagen formation and we’re now faced with the ultimate dilemma – give up our morning cuppa vital kick starter or willfully contribute to our own aging. What to do? Fortunately, my real morning vital kick starter is Paula’s Micronized Purple Rice, so I get energy and anti-aging benefits first thing in the morning. But I still love my morning coffee…..
So I was comforted to recently come across the following information (Which I read while sipping my morning “elixir of caffeine”): A study was conducted in 2014 and which seemed to indicate quite obviously, that coffee is not this particular bunch of researchers’ cup of tea. They grudgingly admit that it has antioxidant properties, but go on to say that coffee kills off cells and therefore inhibits the wound healing process. Now I have heard claims that say just the opposite, but I’ll come back to those later.
The study claims to be “the first report about caffeine-induced inhibition of collagen synthesis in human skin fibroblasts.” There is an enzyme called prolidase that plays a role in collagen synthesis and caffeine inhibits it, hence having an adverse effect on our collagen production. Adding some hyaluronic acid in the hopes it would counteract the effect of the caffeine did not prove helpful.
It should be noted that the experiment was dose dependent and conducted on cells in a petri dish, not actual humans. I am not sure I know how incubation of a cell for 24 hours in 5 mM of caffeine would translate to human coffee consumption. However, I did find two scientific sources for the consumption of coffee by the average American as 4mgs or 15mgs. According to one source, the average cup of coffee has just under 200 mM to be consumed by the whole body, not a single cell. So, my guess is that you’d have to drink an inhuman amount of coffee to replicate this study in real life.
This was the same for other studies. The doses of caffeine studied before they impaired wound healing or adversely affected collagen and bone density were over 300mgs. It would take an awful lot of double espressos to reach that equivalent.
Against all this, caffeine is used more and more in skincare. So it must be doing something right. Right? I thought it worth revisiting some research to make sure all of these anti-aging creams aren’t just clouds in my coffee. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)
One of the reasons that accounts for caffeine’s popularity in skincare is that it penetrates the skin barrier easily. (Similar to the way Micronized Purple Rice penetrates the cell walls. Hmmm. I’m feeling even better about caffeine.) Commercially available topical formulations of caffeine apparently contain around 3 percent caffeine.
*(Our skincare products contain green tea leaf extract, which can contain concentrations of caffeine of up to 4 percent.) They also contain our rice compound, peptides and other good-for-your-skin ingredients.
There’s some research that caffeine applied topically after UV exposure resulted in a significant decrease in UV-induced skin roughness and damage. Topical caffeine might also have a sunscreen effect. A few years ago, a Rutgers study showed that caffeine guards against certain skin cancers at the molecular level by inhibiting a protein enzyme in the skin known as ATR.
Caffeine is also structurally similar to uric acid, a known antioxidant that is present in our blood at relatively high concentrations. There are supposed to be 1,000 antioxidants in unprocessed coffee beans and hundreds more develop during the roasting process. According to some news reports Americans eat so few vegetables and fruit that drinking coffee is often the primary source of antioxidants in a typical diet. Now, that factoid is an eye opener! (Sorry about the pun 😀 )
Caffeine shows up in anti-cellulite products because it prevents excessive accumulation of fat in cells. As an alkaloid, it stimulates the degradation of fats by inhibiting phosphodiesterase (a kind of enzyme). Studies tend to support this theory, but the effects on cellulite seem to be short-lived. It also increases micro-circulation of blood in the skin and stimulates the growth of hair through inhibition of the 5-α-reductase activity.
So enjoy your joe…and boost your anti-aging arsenal, with Paula’s Micronized Purple Rice which is an even better source of anti-oxidants, as well as, polysaccharides, anthocynins, all of the essential amino acids, (making it a source of all proteins that could be needed for making repairs). It also contains all of the essential fatty acids (GLA, ALA, LA, SDA, EPA, DHA, and AA) and all of the essential functional sugars as well as an abundance of vitamins and minerals.
*Green tea leaf extract also contains caffeine in concentrations of up to four percent, which makes it a helpful ingredient in under eye creams or serums, especially in those that treat puffiness and dark circles. Not only does caffeine calm inflamed blood vessels that create dark circles, it also soothes puffiness and tightens the skin, making it appear younger. Using green tea for skin under the eyes may treat both of these problems at the same time, so adding an eye cream to your skin care kit that contains this ingredient may bring beneficial results.
Adapted from article by M. Wohrle