Did You Know? > Moderation is the Name of the Game
Moderation is the Name of the Game


Many years ago when I had recently graduated from University I was having lunch with Dr. Mikio Chiba a well-known research scientist at Agriculture Canada. Opportunities like that did not come by often and I was eager to learn as much as I could from him. At that time Dr. Chiba was in his mid sixties and was getting ready for his retirement, he truly looked healthy and young for his age. So I thought I would ask him the million-dollar question. As we were having lunch I asked "Dr. Chiba what are the best foods to eat, what is your secret to staying healthy and young?". He raised his head and looked at me and calmly answered "I eat a variety of food, eat a little bit of everything". In a way I was disappointed as I was hoping to get a list of magic ingredients from him. Dr. Chiba’s secret was based on a well-balanced diet and routine.

As a function of time when we started Isomers and began looking at the structure of the skin, its delicacy, strength, and complexity, and every time I read an advanced scientific literature about skin care and skin’s health I always think of what an intelligent and accurate answer I received from Dr. Chiba. His theory of balanced diet and routine definitely applies to the skin, the biggest organ of our body.

This biggest organ (our skin) is also the body’s first line of defense against aggressions from the environment. It is a physical barrier that can react when faced with potentially pathogenic agents. The immune system in our skin participates in maintaining the integrity of the organism by recognizing and then neutralizing or eliminating pathogens.

Our skin is normally colonized in permanence by bacteria. This cutaneous bacterial flora contributes to maintaining the natural protection of the skin. At times certain pathogenic species, for example Staphylococcus aureus, invade the surface of the skin and overwhelm its natural defenses, leading to the production of pro-inflammatory molecules and infections. In such occasions innate immunity is rapidly mobilized in response to such an aggression. Innate immunity is composed of phagocytic cells and "natural killers" known as antimicrobial peptides (APs) that can nonspecifically neutralize pathogens, thereby constituting a front line of defense.

APs are small molecules (10 to 50 amino acids) that can destroy microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi or viruses. They are grouped mainly according to the type of the amino acid involved, the molecule’s electrical charge and the individual structure. ß-defensins contain disulfide-linked layering, these defensins form groups of beta sheet structures. ß-Defensins have a very high affinity for lipopolysaccharides (LPS), major components of the membranes of gram negative bacteria, that stabilize the bacterial membrane structure with divalent ions. Due to their structure and their electrostatic reaction with the bacteria’s membranes, these peptides can lodge on certain parts of the membrane. During a series of complex processes, ß-defensins bare holes in the microorganism’s membranes. The consequences for the cells are fatal. Ions and other substances leak out and important cell and membrane functions go out of control.

As a result the microbes die within just a few minutes after contact with peptides, much faster than with the more common treatment for immune deficiency with B and T cells.

There are four forms of human ß-defensins (hBD1 to 4). Human ß-defensin-1 is constitutive (always synthesized) and Human ß-defensin2-4 are inducible (can be stimulated).

By now I am sure you asking yourself how is all this related to "balanced skin nutrition." Recent studies suggest that how you treat your skin may directly influence the concentration of these ß-defensins. Take your skin through a roller coaster ride, i.e., pH fluctuations, excessive UVA rays, and chemical peels, and these actions will help down regulate the concentration of ß-defensins and when the pathogens come back to haunt you, your ß-defensins may not be there to help you out.

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