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Energizing Cells for More Youthful Skin
By: Katie Anderson, Cosmetics & Toiletries
Posted: September 3, 2013, from the September 2013 issue of Cosmetics & Toiletries.
Mary Begovic Johnson
While the past two decades have brought major advances in anti-aging skin care, like Juan Ponce De León, companies are still in search of the fabled Fountain of Youth. Procter & Gamble (P&G) researchers, including Mary Begovic Johnson, principal scientist, may have come closer to finding it in cellular bioenergetics. As she explains, the role of this discipline in skin’s appearance has been identified, along with ingredients that can restore energy to cells.
Johnson defines cellular bioenergetics as “the living energy in the cell.” She furthers that “it is the way energy is produced and consumed and the key to life.” It has long been known that energy consumption and production take place in the mitochondria, which convert food into adenosine triphosphate (ATP) energy molecules, producing free radicals as byproducts. While cellular bioenergetics research has initially been linked to aging diseases such as cancer, diabetes and neurodegenerative disorders, it has made its way into skin research with P&G’s acquisition of the Seahorse Extracellular Flux (XF) Analyzer, an in vitro metabolic measurement device. The company purchased this device after becoming interested in how levels of the coenzyme nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) affect skin’s appearance.
The device allowed Johnson and fellow researchers to look at energy production in living cells in a stable state, and to challenge those cells by mimicking the environmental stressor.
“What we found is that the levels of NADH and NADP(H), [the two markers for energy in cells], is lower in aged cells than in younger cells,” explained Johnson. “When we challenged those cells with hydrogen peroxide, the mitochondria were damaged and produced less energy, and the older cells recovered much more slowly compared to younger cells.” Her team concluded that energy production is lower in older cells and declines more rapidly with aging.
The team also utilized a 2-photon imaging technique to non-invasively measure NADH and NADP(H) energy levels in the skin of 80 Japanese women, ages 21-68. During the tests, NADH and NADP(H) molecules fluoresced, showing more energetic skin.