Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Fish Oil for Acne


             What do fish oil and cod liver oil have to do with acne, anyway? 

 
Omega 3 fish oils and DHA

 In a nutshell, fish oil – or rather, omega-3 fatty acids – appears to help some people clear up their skin faster.  This is because omega-3s reduce inflammation in a few different ways. At our Acne Clinic we suggest clients get on a high quality Omega 3 fatty acid when treating their skin problems. You may wonder why and how fish oil can aid in clearing acne so let's take a closer look.
  
Inflammation is a major contributor to acne, so it’s tempting to think it’s a good idea to start taking fish oil.  Fish oil contains a large amount of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly EPA and DHA, which interact with omega-6 fatty acids to reduce or end your body’s inflammatory response. 
  
When you have a really skewed omega-3:6 ratio in your diet – as in, way too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3 – your inflammation levels skyrocket. 

 Not good! 

 And for some years now, people have been using large doses of fish oil to treat inflammation by balancing out those pesky omega-6s. 

 How does inflammation relate to acne? Well, It’s responsible for the redness and swelling that makes acne so embarrassing. Reduce inflammation, and your acne won’t swell up so much (or get so cherry-red). 

 Cod liver oil, on the other hand, works to heal acne mainly because it gives you a big boost of vitamins A and D. While it also contains some omega-3s, the dosage is far smaller than what you’d get in a dose of fish oil. 

 Fish oil is basically oil that’s extracted from fish bodies, while cod liver oil is taken from the livers of codfish. Pretty simple. 

And like we said above, fish oil is a powerful source of omega-3s, and omega-3s have anti-inflammatory effects. 


What’s the big deal with inflammation? 


You see, these days, most of the common Western diet is highly  
Inflammatory. 
  
What does that mean, exactly? 
  
Well, it means that most people are eating way too many foods loaded with omega-6 fats, sugar, trans fats, and gluten, all of which are pro-inflammatory. 
  
These inflammatory foods drive your immune system to do insane things, like causing swelling where you least want it – arthritis, for example, and of course, acne. 
  
When your immune system is on constant red alert, and it stumbles across a clogged pore on that lovely face of yours, it dives in for the attack! The clogged pore becomes inflamed, red, and swollen. 
  
You see, if your immune system were healthy and normal, a clogged pore wouldn’t cause a big fuss. Your body would heal the ruptured pore pretty quickly and then go on functioning normally. No big deal! But when your body is in a constant state of hyper-immune-activation and inflammation, any little thing sets off your immune system. 
  
How do omega-3s affect inflammation? 
  
Before we get to that, let us explain a few things about the essential fatty acids: omega-3s and omega-6s. While there are many different fatty acids in the omega-3 and omega-6 families, only a couple are actually really useful and needed in the body. These are docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3, and arachidonic acid (AA), an omega-6. 
  
Arachidonic acid is critical to the initiation of an inflammatory response, which is why it gets a bad rap. However, AA also turns on the cellular machinery that activates DHA, which helps to bring that inflammatory response to an end. 
  
Together, these two fatty acids are a part of an intricate chemical dance in the body that starts an inflammatory response when it’s needed and then stops it when it isn’t needed anymore. 

 (Another omega-3 found in fish and fish oils, eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA, reduces inflammation mostly by interfering with AA… and therefore with the whole process of inflammation and its resolution 
  
As you can see, omega-3 fats – namely DHA – have an incredibly powerful role in quickly helping inflammation. 

 The key here is your ratio of these omega-3s to pro-inflammatory omega-6 fats. The rub is that if the inflammation-initiating omega-6 fats aren’t balanced by sufficient omega-3s, your immune system can get vigilant.  

 Now, if you were eating like a hunter-gatherer of yesteryear – e.g. wild game, nuts, vegetables, the odd beehive – you’d have an omega-3 to omega-6 ratio of around 1:1. 
  
But in this day and age, omega-6 fats are in everything – canola oil, safflower oil, vegetable oil, corn, soy, wheat – basically most of the JFBBs (Junk Food Building Blocks) in today’s fast-food world. Most cookies, crackers, snacks, breakfast cereals, and granola bars are made primarily with these JFBBs, which, again, are highly inflammatory. 

 That’s bad news for acne! 

 In short, you’ve got to optimize your omega-3 to -6 ratio if you want clearer healthier skin. 
  
The common wisdom goes like this: fish oil gives you a huge blast of omega-3s (EPA and DHA), which is good because it balances out your omega-6 intake, reducing inflammation. 
  
And if you’re not convinced already, here’s a roundup of the key benefits to improving your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio (by reducing omega-6 consumption): 

Improving this fatty acid ratio can help… 
  • Reduce redness and puffiness of acne lesions. 
  • Moisturize your skin naturally, making your skin softer. 
  • Reduce stress, preventing excess acne-causing sebum production. 
  • Slow down skin cell over-production, keeping your pores open and free. 
  • Balance hormone production, making your skin less oily. 
In addition to helping clear your skin, a healthier omega-3 to -6 ratio can also provide the following benefits: 
  • Reduced joint pain. 
  • Improved mood.  
  • Improved brain performance.  
  • Stronger hair. 
  • More energy. 
  • Improved cholesterol levels.

Taking fish oil can definitely help with inflammation in the body and skin. However, just taking a high quality Omega 3 fish oil will not cure your acne.  If you need help with getting your acne under control our Clinic can do just that. Visit us a UtahAcneclinic.com to see how.

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Friday, August 5, 2016

Sugar and Acne


High glycemic foods and acne
If you're acne prone, you may want to try cutting back on empty carbs and sweets. Researchers are revisiting the connections between diet and acne and a growing body of evidence suggests that eating a diet rich in high glycemic index foods may be tied to flare-ups. 

 "High glycemic index foods are typically processed foods, high in white flour," explains nutrition researcher Jennifer Burris of New York University. Examples include white bread, pasta, crackers and white rice. The glycemic index is basically a system of measuring how fast your blood sugar rises after eating a specific amount of carbohydrates, so sugary foods such as soda, juice and candy bars are all on the list, too. 
  
In a paper published in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Burris and her colleagues review 27 studies on nutrition and acne. Some of the more convincing evidence comes from a few recent studies of teenagers and young men (aged 15-25 years) who had acne. After the participants followed a low-glycemic-load diet, researchers documented decreases in inflammatory acne lesions. The studies were small, but the findings were significant. 
  
So what explains this connection? Researchers say foods that spike blood sugar can also increase hormones. The hormones can stimulate oil production and mimic testosterone, which in turn, can trigger acne. "It's like a domino effect," says Burris. 
  
Burris and her colleagues say more research is needed to nail down cause and effect between eating high-glycemic-load foods and developing acne. So far, the studies point to a correlation. (The research also states that dairy products might be a trigger. Check out our blog on dairy for more information and research) 
  
Still, it's interesting that after years of dermatologists dissing the notion that diet and acne are linked, there's new thinking on this question. 


There are lots of factors involved in acne. In addition to diet, stress is also a likely part of the equation. But, it's important to understand more about how the foods we eat influence the risk — or severity — of acne, especially since it's a condition affecting more than 17 million Americans. 


Theories about diet and acne have a long history. Going back to the 1800s, and as early as 1931, researchers had discovered links between acne and carbs and impaired glucose tolerance, as some of the newer studies have documented as well. 


And what about the old advice to, steer clear” of chocolate? Back in 1969, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association dispelled the association between chocolate and acne. But this study is a bit flawed. 


Why? Well, as part of the study, participants with mild to moderate acne consumed either a milk chocolate bar or a placebo (a bar without chocolate) every day for a specific period of time. At the end of the study, the researchers determined that chocolate did not affect acne development. So, cocoa? It may be off the hook. 
  
But, since the placebo bar had just as much sugar as the chocolate bar, perhaps it was the sugar that was exacerbating the acne. Or maybe the way the researchers measured the outcomes was not very precise. Burris says it's just not clear what the true connection between chocolate and acne might be. She points to the flaws in the chocolate study as an example of why it's important to take a new look at the old assumptions about diet and acne. 

 Of course, if sugar is your Achilles heel, you may want to consider bringing in some additional reinforcements, and making other dietary changes.  
  
So, with these potions, you can have your cake and eat it, too — in moderation, that is. 

Get help with your acne and learn more about diet and breakouts by visiting our website at UtahAcneClinic.com

 
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