NEW ORLEANS -- Can the look of health and beauty come from a capsule? One doctor says he's got the right combination to give you healthy hair, skin, nails, bones and joints.

Is it possible that supplements hold the key to beauty from within? A doctor of Natural Medicine from Arizona believes they do.

'Products designed specifically for hair, skin and nails have been very popular in the health food industry for a long time now, and that's because nutrients are so important to the health of those tissues,' said Dr. Michael Murray.

Dr. Murray, who works in product development for a supplement company, said science is behind two supplements that are good for the hair, skin, nail, bones and joints.

'It contains these special biological compounds that really promote the health of the underlying skin, hair and nails,' he adds.

For years, dermatologists have been injecting hyaluronic acid in the skin to plump up wrinkles and lips. Now, Murray said, in a supplement it can help the skin hold more water so lines, wrinkles and its overall health improve. He said once you are 50 years old, there is a huge drop off in the natural hyaluronic acid in your skin. By the time you are 80 years old, it is 80 percent gone.

'That's why hyaluronic acid is becoming such a big, big nutritional supplement, not only in the United States but globally,' said Dr. Murray. 'It's a huge product in Japan.'

There is also another important ingredient in the Hair, Skin and Nails Formula.

'Opextan is a special extract of olive fruit and you know women in the Mediterranean have been revered for their beautiful olive completion and it turns out that what is responsible for that beautiful skin is a compound in that olive fruit called verbascoside and this substance has been clinically tested to show that it prevents damage to the skin,' he said.

Murray has pictures that show that the sun burn and damage is less to the skin when taking Opextan. And remember, sun damage is the main cause of wrinkles, brown spots and premature aging.

'Sophia Loren would have two table spoons of olive oil a day. She attributed that to her beauty,' Murray said.

He said the Hair, Skin and Nails Formula is also packed with green tea and other anti-oxidants to protect the skin from damaging molecules, and biotin to stimulate nail growth and strength, and many other minerals and vitamins.

'If we just look at one important component of skin, and that's collagen -- Collagen is a connective tissue, structural support for the skin and there are 23 known nutrients that are involved in the manufacture of collagen,' he said.

And Murray said many Americans are deficient in important nutrients. But he said there is another supplement called BioSil that is also proven to help the skin, bones and joints.

'The trace mineral silica is also very important. It's responsible for really stimulating the growth of collagen, which is the main protein in the bone,' said Murray. 'The studies show that the BioSil can reduce fine lines and wrinkles by 19 percent. That's pretty good. That will pop out those real fine lines and make the skin smoother and look more vibrant.'

So what do our independent experts think of building hair, skin, nails, bone and joints with supplements?

'What research is pointing to both for the skin and for the joint, is that silicon is very important for the joint integrity and also for the skin,' said East Jefferson General Hospital Fitness Expert Mackie Shilstone.

'So I think it may be promising that that may show some benefit. I think definitely it needs more data. We need more studies on that but at least it showed something that was safe and it showed some potential benefit,' explained Dr. Kim Edward LeBlanc, head of the Department of Family Medicine at LSU Health Sciences Center.

Dermatologist tell their patients a diet and supplements good for the heart and joints, are also good for the skin. While a diet high in sugar can lead to wrinkles and the look of early aging.

'It can't hurt and it probably will help. I think a patient just needs to understand the limitations of how much something like this will help. I think the take-home message to patients is these are a good supplement to be used in conjunction with sunscreen and sun protection,' said New Orleans Dermatologist Dr. Mary Lupo.

So they say do not give up putting the vitamin C and retinoid creams on your skin because those work. Supplements can not replace the good they do. But the supplements could help.

'They actually did some good clinical trials (on BioSil) where they looked at patients who took it for 20 weeks and they had a 20 percent improvement in fine lines and wrinkles which is pretty good. So if you look at that again in combination maybe with some of our topicals, you might be able to boost the effectiveness of just the topicals alone,' said Dr. Patricia Farris, a Metairie dermatologist and spokeswomen for the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery.

Dr. Henri Roca said he needs to see human studies proving that the hyaluronic acid in the Hair Skin and Nails Formula gets absorbed in the body. He's more impressed with the BioSil.

'It does have a positive effect on hair, skin and nails. People do report that it feels better to them. But when we do studies it improves the tensile strength of skin the elasticity of skin and the smoothness of skin. Also it does get incorporated into bones,' said Roca, a specialist in family and integrative medicine at LSU Health Sciences Center.

So not a miracle pill, but a possibility to boost your current skin care regimen.

Murray said people do not need to take both formulas, only one of them. And he said people should also take a multivitamin and fish oil as well.

Editor's Note: Dr. Patricia Farris is no relation to Medical Reporter Meg Farris.

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