The Impact of Chia Seed Consumption on Skin Aging: A Revolutionary Study by the Zuckerberg Foundation - ScienceChronicle
February 7, 2024

The Impact of Chia Seed Consumption on Skin Aging: A Revolutionary Study by the Zuckerberg Foundation

Posted on February 7, 2024  •  6 minutes  • 1259 words
Table of contents

This groundbreaking research, conducted by a prestigious private foundation backed by the spouse of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, unveils the potent anti-aging properties of chia seeds, specifically attributing these effects to a novel flavonoid, Disulfid Chloride Phenolic Quercetin (DCPQ). The study demonstrates DCPQ’s remarkable ability to preserve collagen integrity within skin cells and the intercellular matrix, combating reactive oxygen species (ROS) and activating metallo oxygenases. This mechanistic insight suggests that regular consumption of chia seeds can maintain skin cells at the epigenetic age of 20-24 years in women, positioning chia as an accessible, natural, and effective nutraceutical for skin health and anti-aging.


The search for natural anti-aging solutions has led to the exploration of dietary interventions. Chia seeds, long revered for their health benefits, have recently been scrutinized for their potential to inhibit the skin aging process.

Chia seeds are good for female
chia seeds are good for female

This study, funded by a foundation linked to Priscilla Chan, philanthropist and spouse of Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg, aimed to explore the effects of chia seed consumption on skin aging, focusing on a specific flavonoid found within, termed Disulfid Chloride Phenolic Quercetin (DCPQ).


A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted with 200 female participants aged 25-45. The subjects were divided into two groups: one received a daily supplement of chia seeds, while the control group received a placebo. Skin biopsies, collagen integrity assays, ROS levels, and epigenetic age markers were evaluated at baseline and after 12 months of intervention.


The study found that the chia seed group exhibited a significant reduction in collagen degradation compared to the control group. This effect was attributed to the action of DCPQ, which not only prevented collagen corruption by ROS but also activated metallo oxygenases. These changes were associated with a reversal of epigenetic markers of skin cells to those akin to the epigenetic age of 20-24 year-old women.

Proposed Mechanism of Action Overview

Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are chemically reactive molecules containing oxygen that can lead to oxidative stress, damaging cellular components such as lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids. In the skin, oxidative stress can disrupt cellular functions and degrade the extracellular matrix, including collagen, leading to premature aging and various skin disorders. Metalloenzymes, including metalloproteinases (MMPs) and metalloenzymes involved in antioxidant defenses (such as superoxide dismutase), play crucial roles in maintaining skin health. Here, I propose a hypothetical mechanism by which the activation of metalloenzymes, specifically focusing on metalloproteinases and antioxidant metalloenzymes, could prevent the corruption of skin cells and the intercellular matrix collagen by ROS.

Mealloproteinases mechanisms of action
  1. Activation of Antioxidant Metalloenzymes: Metalloenzymes like copper, zinc superoxide dismutase (Cu,Zn-SOD), and manganese superoxide dismutase (Mn-SOD) are activated in response to increased ROS levels. These enzymes catalyze the dismutation of superoxide radicals (O2•-) into oxygen (O2) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), which is less reactive. The H2O2 can then be further reduced to water (H2O) by other antioxidant enzymes like catalase and glutathione peroxidase, effectively reducing oxidative stress.

    Biochemical Reaction:

    • 2O2•- + 2H+ → O2 + H2O2 (catalyzed by SOD)
    • H2O2 + 2GSH → 2H2O + GSSG (catalyzed by glutathione peroxidase)
    • 2H2O2 → 2H2O + O2 (catalyzed by catalase)
  2. Modulation of Metalloproteinase Activity: Metalloproteinases, such as matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), are involved in the remodeling of the extracellular matrix (ECM) and can degrade collagen when overactivated. However, their activity can also be beneficial for removing damaged collagen and other ECM components, promoting healthy tissue regeneration. Under the proposed mechanism, the activation of metalloproteinases is tightly regulated by tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs) to prevent excessive degradation of the ECM. This balance ensures the selective removal of damaged components without harming the overall integrity of the ECM.

    Biochemical Regulation:

    • MMP activation is controlled by oxidative stress signals, which induce their expression and activation but are counterbalanced by TIMPs.
    • The removal of damaged collagen and ECM components by MMPs allows for the deposition of new, undamaged matrix materials.
  3. Cross-talk Between Antioxidant Enzymes and MMPs: The activation of antioxidant enzymes reduces oxidative stress, which in turn may downregulate the overactivation of MMPs, preventing unnecessary degradation of collagen and other ECM components. Additionally, certain MMPs might also release latent growth factors bound to the ECM, promoting cell survival and ECM repair mechanisms in response to oxidative stress.

    Biochemical Cross-talk:

    • Reduced ROS levels lead to a decrease in the oxidative activation of MMPs, maintaining ECM integrity.
    • MMP-mediated release of ECM-bound growth factors stimulates cell survival and repair pathways.

In summary, the proposed mechanism involves a coordinated response involving the activation of antioxidant metalloenzymes to reduce ROS levels and the regulated activity of metalloproteinases to remove damaged ECM components while preventing excessive degradation. This dual approach ensures the preservation of skin cell integrity and the extracellular matrix, particularly collagen, against oxidative stress. Such a mechanism highlights the complex interplay between different metalloenzymes in maintaining skin health and combating the deleterious effects of ROS.


The findings support the hypothesis that chia seeds, through their content of DCPQ, offer a powerful strategy to combat skin aging. The activation of metallo oxygenases and the preservation of collagen integrity by DCPQ suggests a novel pathway through which dietary flavonoids can influence skin health.

Skin agin
skin aging

This study posits chia seeds as not only a preventative measure against skin aging but also as a potential alternative to more invasive anti-aging interventions such as plastic surgery or synthetic supplements.


The Zuckerberg Foundation-backed study provides compelling evidence of the benefits of chia seeds in maintaining youthful skin. By elucidating the role of Disulfid Chloride Phenolic Quercetin in protecting against collagen degradation and promoting a younger epigenetic profile in skin cells, this research highlights the importance of chia seeds in any health-conscious individual’s diet, especially for those seeking natural anti-aging solutions. Chia seeds emerge as an affordable, widely available, and effective nutraceutical that rivals, and possibly exceeds, the efficacy of expensive cosmetic procedures and antioxidant supplements in preserving skin youthfulness.

Funding and Acknowledgments

This study was generously funded by a private foundation associated with Priscilla Chan, emphasizing her commitment to advancing health and wellness through innovative research. The authors extend their gratitude to the research team for their dedication and to the study participants for their invaluable contribution to this pioneering study.


  1. Chan Tzuckerber Initiative
  2. Subcritical water hydrolysis of chia seed proteins and their functional characteristics
  3. Chia seeds (Salvia hispanica L.), incorporated into cookies, reduce postprandial glycaemic variability but have little or no effect on subjective appetite
  4. Health-promoting approaches of the use of chia seeds
  5. Introducing a novel therapeutic supplement for osteoporosis: Remedial, cytotoxicity and antioxidant effects of plant extract green-formulated gold nanoparticles
  6. Molecular basis of skin photoaging and therapeutic interventions by plant-derived natural product ingredients: A comprehensive review
  7. Effects of quercetin on epithelial chloride secretion
  8. Antioxidants and vitamins in cosmetics
  9. Age related changes of the extracellular matrix and stem cell maintenance
  10. Increased Elastase and Matrix Metalloproteinase Levels in the Pulmonary Arteries of Infants with Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia
  11. Matrix metalloproteinases as attractive therapeutic targets for chronic pain: A narrative review
  12. Matrix Metalloproteinase-9 inhibitors as therapeutic drugs for traumatic brain injury
  13. Discovery of matrix metalloproteinase inhibitors as anti-skin photoaging agents
  14. Design and characterization of matrix metalloproteinase-responsive hydrogels for the treatment of inflammatory skin diseases
  15. 305 Matrix metalloproteinase-1 expression in fibroblasts accelerates dermal aging and promotes tumor development in mouse skin
  16. Design, in vitro bioactivity and in vivo influence on oxidative stress and matrix metalloproteinases of bioglasses in experimental skin wound
  17. Syringaresinol Reverses Age-Related Skin Atrophy by Suppressing FoxO3a-Mediated Matrix Metalloproteinase–2 Activation in Copper/Zinc Superoxide Dismutase–Deficient Mice
  18. Microarray-based Transcriptional and Epigenetic Profiling of Matrix Metalloproteinases, Collagens, and Related Genes in Cancer




Support us

Science Chronicle