Besides vitamins and minerals, some of the best supplements you can take to improve your skin are essential fatty acids (EFAs). These are your omega-3/6/9 fatty acids found in products such as fish oil. I personally take an EFA capsule every day in addition to Clear5. So how do these nutrients help your skin, and what are the best sources?
The EFA that is most commonly deficient is omega-3. Most people actually get too much omega-6 in proportion to it, and this can contribute to skin conditions such as acne. There are 3 types of omega-3 fatty aids. ALA is the “parent” acid, which is converted into the other 2. Alpha Linolenic Acid is actually helpful in its own right, as it forms a component in sebum (which in this case is actually a *good* thing, as sebum with more linolenic acid is less likely to form clumps), however it takes both time and a significant amount of ALA to form the other two acids, which are more readily utilized by the body. EPA and DHA are the other two, and both play many essential roles throughout the body, from bolstering your immune system to aiding with healthy blood flow and brain functions. These nutrients are integral to your physical and mental health.
But what about combating acne? It turns out that EFAs are especially important for your skin. They are extremely powerful in reducing and preventing inflammation, aiding your immune system in eliminating impurities from your skin cells and blood, speeding the healing of minor wounds or scars, regulating your sebaceous glands, and keeping your skin cells supple and hydrated. Many acne sufferers have reported great results, even in cases of severe acne, when supplementing with EFAs. Plus, they make a great addition when combined with a oil-metabolizing and circulation-enhancing supplement like vitamin B5.
You can get EFA supplements in many forms, with some of the most popular being fish oil, cod liver oil, krill oil, flaxseed oil and evening primrose oil. However, they are not all the same. You should note that most EFA supplements from plant sources only provide the ALA form of omega-3, and it takes a lot of ALA to make DHA. For this reason many find it beneficial to take fish/krill/cod liver oil instead, as they directly provide EPA and DHA in a ready form. Cod liver oil is also commonly rich in vitamin A. However, krill oil is by far my recommended choice, as, besides being harvested naturally from the arctic rather than a fish farm with high levels of mercury, it is also rich in the super-antioxidant astaxanthin, providing as much as 10x the antioxidant content compared to alternatives such as fish oil.