Six pills, powders and potions that promise beauty from the inside out
Can a pill improve your appearance?
That’s the question posed by nutricosmetics—more commonly known as ingestible beauty products—which are taking up increasing real estate at health food stores and cosmetics counters across the city. The premise is simple: beauty from the inside out, via pills, powders and potions.
Nutricosmetics have a well-established share of the health and wellness markets in Asia, but are just beginning to make headway in Canada. Case in point: Age Quencher, the anti-aging pill designed by Rosedale doctor Holly Fennell and promoted by businesswoman and former politician Belinda Stronach, which made its debut this year.
Regardless of their target goals—be it better skin, stronger nails, longer hair, interminable youth or all of the above—the efficacy of ingestible beauty products is thusfar largely anecdotal. And Timothy Caulfield, the University of Alberta health policy expert and author of Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?, is skeptical. “There’s science that they can talk about that makes it seem legitimate,” he says, noting there are no actual lab trials indicating that such products work. “What’s really important is: Is it going to be clinically effective?”
That remains to be seen (though Caulfield—who adopted an anti-aging skincare regimen as part of his research for Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?, to no noticeable effect to several dermatologists—is not exactly hopeful). Stronach’s Age Quencher, for instance, is certified by Health Canada as a Natural Health Product, which doesn’t mean that it works, only that it doesn’t cause harm. So, while the results aren’t guaranteed, it won’t hurt to try. Here, a look at the promises and pronouncements of Age Quencher and five other popular nutricosmetics.
What it claims to do: Just about everything. Age Quencher promises better hair, skin and nails—the nutrocosmetic holy trinity—and Stronach herself says it improves her energy levels.
What it’s made of: Age Quencher’s active ingredients are collagen, resveratrol and hyaluronic acid, the latter of which is found in most ingestible beauty products and is also used in cosmetic surgery as a filler.
Where to buy: Age Quencher’s 30-day program—which includes pills, powder and moisturize—costs $200 (its hyaluronic acid serum is $95). agequencher.com
GliSODin Skin Nutrients
What it claims: The complex-sounding science of GliSODin (we’ll get to that) is all about age prevention: the enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD) is said to reduce oxidative stress, which leads to inflammation, degenerative disease, and aging.
What it’s made of: This Canadian company is all about the SOD, an enzyme derived from the species Cucumis melo, which you may better know as cantaloupe. GliSODin’s efficacy, the company writes, involves some combination of “a gliadin biopolymer layer,” the lower intestine, and the “superoxide anion radical, the most dangerous reactive oxidative species.” We’ll leave the explaining to them.
Where to buy: GliSODin is sold by cosmetic surgeons, dermatologists and at medical spas across the GTA, glisodin.com
Genuine Health healthy skin chocolate soft chews
What it claims: Healthier, more radiant skin in “three chews daily.” In other words: a beauty regimen that literally tastes good.
What it’s made of: These candies contain a formula that includes hydrolized collagen, plus a variety of vitamins (B2, C and E) and minerals (zinc, selenium, lycopene). And hey, if it doesn’t work, you’re at least enjoying a bit of chocolate.
Where to buy: Genuine Health products are sold widely at health food and grocery stores across the city. genuinehealth.com
Fountain Beauty Molecule
What it claims: While just about every nutricosmetic on the market is in the business of convincing prospective buyers that there is such a thing as a beauty molecule, Fountain puts it right there in the name. This formula calls itself a “a concentrated beauty supplement” and promises to “promote health, youth and longevity.”
What’s it made of: Fountain is yet another ingestible beauty product that makes use of hyaluronic acid and reservatrol, the latter of which allegedly “offers the positive effects of calorie restriction.”
Where to buy: The Bay and Anthropologie, fountain.co
All Beauty Water
What it claims: AllBeauty Water calls itself a “skincare drink,” boasting a collection of vitamins and minerals that are apparently good for your appearance. What it’s made of: Water, mostly, plus a laundry list of vitamins and minerals.
Where to buy: Online only, at allbeautywater.com
The Beauty Chef Collagen Inner Beauty Boost
What it claims: As with all other nutricosmetics containing collagen, this one is meant to improve your skin. But unlike its counterparts above, The Beauty Chef’s tonics are fermented, apparently leading to a high concentration of gut bacteria-friendly pre- and probiotics.
What it’s made of: Aside from the bacteria and collagen, The Beauty Chef’s tonics contain the extracts of trendy superfoods, including goji berry, acai and pomegranate. And—wouldn’t you know it—it’s gluten-free.
Where to buy: The Detox Market in Toronto, thebeautychef.com