Fine lines | Dr. William Davis

Among the many fascinating benefits of consuming Lactobacillus reuteri yogurt is an explosion in dermal collagen.

Collagen is the structural protein that provides skin with sturdiness, flexibility, and smoothness. You can see the effects of plentiful dermal collagen in the skin of babies, children, and young people: thick, moist, smooth, supple. Pinch the skin on a young person and it springs back. This is largely due to plentiful collagen.

As we age, we lose collagen in the dermal layer of skin just beneath the surface.  The process is accelerated by excessive sun exposure. You have surely seen this in people who have enjoyed excessive tanning: accelerated skin thinning, fine wrinkles, amounting to premature aging of the skin due to loss of collagen. Even without sun damage, you can eventually see this on everyone’s face as thinned skin, loss of moisture, loss of suppleness when pinched, along with fine wrinkles such as “crow’s feet” around the eyes and mouth.

You can reverse the process and increase dermal collagen that thereby increases skin thickness and reduces wrinkles. One method is to apply topical retinoids that provoke collagen production in the area to which it is applied. Another option: Supplement collagen hydrolysates that, over a long time period measured in months to years, increase dermal collagen modestly throughout the body, facial skin included.

Yet another option: Provoke oxytocin release from the hypothalamus that, in turn:

  • Triggers a huge increase in dermal collagen, far greater than that provoked by collagen hydrolysates
  • Increases overall skin thickness
  • Increases production of sebum, the skin lubricant that makes the skin moist and waterproof
  • Accelerates skin healing—with more assured scar formation richer in collagen with less inflammation (accelerated clearance of inflammatory neutrophils and accelerated entry of CD4+ immune-mediating lymphocytes)

Interestingly, higher oxytocin levels also accelerate growth of hair, fingernails and toenails, as well as moister hair, given the increased sebum production.

We trigger increased oxytocin release by consuming Lactobacillus reuteri yogurt. Unlike something like retinoid creams that yield greater collagen to the area applied and nothing more, the increased collagen that results from boosting oxytocin is a body-wide process. It means that there is greater collagen deposition in the skin of the neck, scalp, arms, chest, back, legs.

We are indeed witnessing these effects on the faces of people consuming L. reuteri yogurt: reduced fine lines around the eyes and mouth, moister skin, etc. with effects that typically become noticeable within 4-8 weeks. (Be sure to take “before/after” selfies, as the day-to-day changes are modest, more noticeable over longer time periods.)

And, of course, boosting oxytocin with L. reuteri yogurt also restores youthful muscle mass and strength, preserves bone density, increases libido, boosts testosterone in males, reduces appetite, circumvents the adverse effects of high cortisol and leptin resistance, enhances immune responses, provides upper gastrointestinal tract probiotic properties (unlike virtually all other probiotic organisms), and cultivates feelings of empathy and connectedness. Recall that L. reuteri is a component of the human microbiome that modern people have largely lost, now present in about 5% of people despite being present in the majority up until recent times. We are therefore restoring a lost bacterial species that is providing some astounding health effects, including winding back the clock on aging.


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