I have avoided - as astute readers might have noticed - from writing about the anti-aging potential of supplements. It is a highly controversial and complex subject that I don't pretend to understand. As is my wont, I err on the side of skepticism and am not a big pill popper. However, some new research suggesting that flax and borage oil supplements can make you younger from within caught my attention.

Researchers from Germany and France claim that the omega-3 and omega-6 (fatty acids) in flax and borage oils prevent skin from roughening and scaling. Flaxseed consists predominantly of omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Borage is mostly omega-6 gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and linoleic acid (LA).

They recruited 45 non-smoking, healthy women between the ages of 18 and 65 and split them into three groups: one took daily borage supplements, the other flax and the third a placebo. After 12 weeks, there was a decrease in reddening of the skin in the flaxseed and borage oil groups of 45% and 35% respectively. The researchers also recorded greater blood flow to the skin. The flax group also lost less moisture from the skin and both groups saw declines in rough and peeling skin.

The same team also claim that flavanol-rich chocolate may protect against skin reddening.