BYU research yields compound that appears to slow aging effects in skin

Mar 16, 2010
BYU research yields compound that appears to slow aging effects in skin
A skin serum sold by Nu Skin includes the molecule identified by Lephart.

(PhysOrg.com) -- BYU research has identified equol as a naturally occurring compound that improves skin health, and the university has licensed the technology to Provo-based Nu Skin Enterprises, the $1.3 billion global anti-aging personal care and nutritional products company.

The anti-aging skin product that features the BYU ingredient was launched in October as part of the company’s ageLOC(TM) skin care line. Nu Skin sold $28 million of ageLOC skin care products in the last quarter of 2009.

The little-known molecule, called equol, is derived from plants such as soybeans. Its benefits for skin grew out of earlier work by BYU Professor Edwin Lephart who was testing various compounds from plants for possible impacts on human health. Equol stood out.

“When we discovered how equol acts and what its properties are, of all the sites in the body where it could be active, skin just jumped out to me,” said Lephart, who was a faculty member at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center before coming to BYU in the 1990s.

He and colleagues published three research papers on equol’s wide-ranging potential to impact prostate health, skin, baldness, weight gain, and brain health.

Lephart prepared further experiments to test its influence on two important components of skin: collagen, which gives skin its structure, and elastin, which gives skin the flexibility to resume its shape after stretching or contracting. The work relied on a technique that cultures dermal cells in the lab to resemble , and some tests lasted as long as eight weeks.

“We asked, ‘What would equol do if we added it to the that make collagen and elastin - would it stimulate them?’” Lephart said. “And it does.”

Just as importantly, the research showed equol also inhibits other enzymes that break down elastin and collagen.

“So we get an increase in collagen and elastin, and we take away the enzymes that break them down, which is really cool,” said Lephart, of BYU’s Department of Physiology and Developmental Biology.

This skin-specific work was presented at two annual meetings of the American Academy of Dermatology, a premier scientific meeting of world-renowned leaders in the field.

The university licensed to Nu Skin rights to sell equol in a cosmetic skin care product.

Nu Skin’s product that includes equol is called ageLOC Future Serum, and is the stand-out product in the ageLOC Transformation daily skin care line.

BYU’s equol-related technologies are patent-pending. Lephart was the principal investigator on the studies that led to these patent applications, and he collaborated with researchers at Colorado State University and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Those institutions receive a share of the royalties generated by the BYU license.

BYU negotiators are also working to license the rights to use equol to treat conditions other than skin health to other companies.

Explore further: Education, breastfeeding and gender affect the microbes on our bodies

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Another new wrinkle in treating skin aging

Jun 05, 2008

Topical applications of a naturally occurring fat molecule have the potential to slow down skin aging, whether through natural causes or damage, researchers report.

Skin ages differently for men, women

Oct 06, 2006

Researchers at Germany's Friedrich Schiller University, using an experimental measuring device, suggest that men's and women's skin age at different rates.

Sun-damaged skin does not improve with estrogen treatments

Sep 15, 2008

Treating the skin with estrogen can stimulate collagen production—which improves the appearance of the skin—in areas not typically exposed to the sun, according to new research from the University of Michigan Health System.

White tea could keep you healthy and looking young

Aug 11, 2009

Next time you’re making a cuppa, new research shows it might be wise to opt for a white tea if you want to reduce your risk of cancer, rheumatoid arthritis or even just age-associated wrinkles. Researchers ...

Recommended for you

Leeches help save woman's ear after pit bull mauling

7 hours ago

(HealthDay)—A pit bull attack in July 2013 left a 19-year-old woman with her left ear ripped from her head, leaving an open wound. After preserving the ear, the surgical team started with a reconnection ...

New pain relief targets discovered

19 hours ago

Scientists have identified new pain relief targets that could be used to provide relief from chemotherapy-induced pain. BBSRC-funded researchers at King's College London made the discovery when researching ...

Building 'smart' cell-based therapies

19 hours ago

A Northwestern University synthetic biology team has created a new technology for modifying human cells to create programmable therapeutics that could travel the body and selectively target cancer and other ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Vietnam battles fatal measles outbreak

Vietnam is scrambling to contain a deadly outbreak of measles that has killed more than 100 people, mostly young children, and infected thousands more this year, the government said Friday.

Continents may be a key feature of Super-Earths

Huge Earth-like planets that have both continents and oceans may be better at harboring extraterrestrial life than those that are water-only worlds. A new study gives hope for the possibility that many super-Earth ...

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...

Under some LED bulbs whites aren't 'whiter than white'

For years, companies have been adding whiteners to laundry detergent, paints, plastics, paper and fabrics to make whites look "whiter than white," but now, with a switch away from incandescent and fluorescent lighting, different ...