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Toki – Skin restoration

by Dr. Jonathan V. Wright, MD

Forget those needles – erase your wrinkles with a powdered drink mix
Plus 2 other all-natural age-fighters your skin will thank you for

A few weeks ago, our 31-year-old daughter came home for a visit. She hadn’t seen her mother for several weeks, and not long after she arrived, she asked what Holly had been doing ‘this time’ to make her skin look so good. As she put it, Holly’s skin looked ‘healthier than ever.’ She commented that her skin tone was deeper and more vibrant and that some of the little wrinkles around Holly’s eyes were actually gone.

Holly’s always taken very good care of herself: never smoked, doesn’t drink alcohol, eats as much ‘organic’ and ‘free range’ as possible, uses absolutely no sugar, refined food or food chemicals, and takes her vitamins, minerals, and botanicals. She’s also used bio-identical hormones for over 15 years, and most of that time she has also used a skin cream containing a tiny amount of estriol.

Of course, I have always considered her beautiful, but she really does appear much younger than her actual age: In fact, from time to time she’s asked to show her driver’s license to prove that she qualifies for the ‘over-55′ discount offered at certain places.

But she had been doing some- thing extra ‘this time.’ I admit that I hadn’t noticed a great difference, but, in my defense, it’s harder to see changes in someone you’re around every day (or perhaps men just aren’t as ‘tuned in’ to those sorts of details as women are). But regardless of whether or not I’d noticed, our daughter certainly had.

Holly’s improvements had come about as a result of her taking (for the second time – I’ll tell you about the first time in just a bit) a combination containing collagen, hyaluronic acid, and other natural ingredients.

Why these anti-aging ‘miracles’ aren’t always all they’re cracked up to be

You’ve likely already heard of products containing collagen and hyaluronic acid (HA). They’ve both been touted for their skin ‘anti-aging’ effects for awhile. And using them is logical since collagen is the major extracellular protein responsible for the strength and flexibility of connective tissue, including the skin. In fact, 25 to 30 percent of bodily protein is collagen. And HA is one of the biological hallmarks of youth: Baby skin has the most and content declines with age.

But if it were as easy as it sounds in the commercials advertising products containing collagen and HA, everyone would be using them’and would have younger-looking skin with fewer wrinkles as a result. Since that isn’t the case, you’ve probably gathered that there are a few problems with using many of these products.

‘Generally accepted’ opinion has been that swallowing collagen and hyaluronic acid won’t do that much good, as they’d be completely digested (or nearly so) in the intestines. So emphasis has been placed on injecting them directly into the skin, especially facial skin, to replace the collagen and hyaluronic acid our own skin makes less of as we grow older.

Since all the ‘approved’ forms of collagen and HA are injectable, they all require visits to a doctor – and they’re quite costly. But even worse than these drawbacks is that the injectable forms of collagen and HA used in most cases are not exactly the same as the human forms. Collagen shots typically include cow collagen instead of human collagen, and HA injections come from rooster and bacterial sources, so the chances of unwanted ‘side effects’ are higher. To be fair, there is at least one injectable that uses bio-identical hyaluronic acid. (For a more complete review of several of these products, see Nutrition & Healing for February 2004.)

But it wasn’t injections of bio-identical HA that had elicited such praise from our daughter about Holly’s appearance. In fact, she hadn’t been using injections of anything. Even though most sources agree that taking collagen and HA orally won’t help the skin, at least one study, not to mention Holly’s first-hand experience has shown that it does.

Say goodbye to sagging, puffy, wrinkled eyes

In this blinded and randomized eight-week research trial, 40 women ages 35 to 60 took 7.5 or 8.5 grams daily of a product called Toki®. Toki is a powdered drink mix that combines collagen, hyaluronic acid, and other natural ingredients and is sweetened with stevia. According to the researchers, the formulation resulted in a highly statistically significant improvement in peri-orbital (around the eyes) wrinkling, in peri-orbital aging, and peri-orbital over-all facial aging. The investigator’s mean global improvement scores of overall facial aging as compared to baseline photographs were also highly significant.1

The women participating in the study also did self-evaluations. And each of them also reported significant improvement in sagging, puffiness, and wrinkling around the eyes, as well as noticeable improvement in overall facial aging the same improvements our daughter noticed in Holly after she started taking Toki.

This research also certainly appears to disprove the idea that injecting collagen is the only way to prevent it from being broken down during digestion: Levels of collagen in the participants’ blood were 114 percent higher at the end of the 8 weeks than at the outset of the study. So apparently, at least some of the collagen swallowed in the Toki formula ‘made it through’ without being broken down in the gut.

Of course, that doesn’t prove outright that the very same collagen caused the women’s significant facial improvements, but there’s no question that something in Toki did.

Holly’s Toki regimen started with 6 grams (one packet) three times a day for two weeks. Then she tapered back to two doses daily for another two weeks. Now she’s following the ‘maintenance’ dose of one packet daily.

First time’s a charm

As I mentioned earlier (and as our daughter’s comment implied), this isn’t the first time Holly has tried injection-less anti-aging treatments. Three or four years ago at yet another convention, she was given a small sample bottle of a hyaluronic acid product called Synovoderma.® Knowing that babies’ skin has considerably more hyaluronic acid than adult skin, and that dermatologists and plastic surgeons were using non-bio-identical injections of hyaluronic acid to improve their patients’ appearance, she decided that a natural form might be worth a try. At the very least, she knew it wouldn’t hurt to swallow it, especially since the capsules contained nothing else but rice bran and beeswax (apparently fillers). So she read the label, and took three of the capsules twice daily.

Towards the end of the first week, she was washing her face, and asked me to come take a look. ‘There’s all this dead skin coming off,’ she pointed out. ‘I’ve never had that much dead skin come off at one time, ever!’ Her face cloth was definitely covered with shreds of old skin; the only time I’ve seen that much coming off someone at once has been the ‘peeling’ that sometimes occurs awhile after a sunburn, and Holly definitely hadn’t had that.

For the next few days, more dead skin than usual came off each time Holly washed her face, although each day it was a little less, until the exfoliation subsided to normal. She continued to use three capsules twice daily for three weeks, as the product packaging instructed, then cut back to three a day for several weeks.

About that time, our daughter (the same one who visited recently) came by, and noticed an improvement in her mother’s facial skin then too.

While it’s true that Synovoderma® may be more expensive than many other supplements, and Toki® is definitely more expensive than other supplements, the difference either one can make to your complexion may be worth it. Unlike most of the facial injections, both these supplements are all natural, and very unlikely to cause significant ‘side effects.’ And if cost is an issue to you, facial injections are way, way more expensive than either Synovoderma® or Toki®’and take considerably more time and trouble. If you’ve been thinking at all of cosmetic facial injections, it’s worth your while to try one or both first.

How you can ensure your own visit to the Fountain of Youth or postpone it

If you really want to make absolutely certain you’ll have a desperate need for Toki , Synovoderma, or even topical bio-identical hormones, here are a few ‘sure fire’ things you can do. First up: smoke cigarettes and be sure to drink a lot of alcohol. According to published research, you should also eat plenty of sugar, drink sugar-sweetened fruit and ‘soft’ drinks, eat pastries, cakes, potatoes, processed meats, and drink milk.5 And, by all means, avoid eggs, beans, spinach, eggplant, asparagus, celery, nuts, olives, cherries, melons, prunes, apples, pears, yogurt, tea, and pure water. If you follow these steps, you’re certain to wind up with plenty of wrinkles’likely more of them and deeper ones than you’d normally get too.

I’m not being ‘smart’ (as my teachers would occasionally say). The point I’m attempting to get across is that there’s little use in trying these supplements if you don’t pay attention to your diet and other habits!

After all, the best thing you can do is to prevent as many wrinkles as you can by staying as healthy as possible. Then whatever little lines do eventually appear are much more likely to respond to treatments like Toki and Synovoderma.

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