I'm just like you, Vit. D is not noticeably helpful but a few hours of sun a day really reduces my overall acne.
"Human skin naturally produces fumaric acid when exposed to sunlight." quote from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fumaric_acid
Fumaric acid is used to treat psoriaris and acne topically and orally: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17456929
UV light (sun exposure) also produces retinoic acid from Vitamin A. Notice how Accutane is a derivative of Vitamin A. Also some people have success in taking large amounts of Vitamin A supplements. I think they could improve alot more if they got more daily sun exposure. Go to this topic and scroll down about a 1/3rd of the way. Alterntivista talks about how people with acne may have not enough retinoic acid in their skin than normal people and need more sunlight as a result.
I believe that we have evolved to depend on sunlight exposure every day. Notice how most cases of moderate-severe acne are located on the face, neck, back, chest and shoulders, the areas of the body most exposed to sunlight. You never see someone with acne on the bottom of their foot. Back in the paleolithic area, we wouldn't be wearing clothing all the time or have access to air conditioned buidlings for shade.
I have to respectfully disagree. I am able to reduce my acne by 95% with supplements along with some diet tweaks, consistent exercise, and moderate sun exposure. I think it's better to say that MOST supplements do not work. If you research deeper into this topic you'll find that with every isolated nutrient, vitamin, compound, etc, comes a list of co-nutrients that it depletes if taken alone. The difficulty in finding success with supplements is compounded by the fact that there is little regulation in the industry for what actually goes into the bottle. At the same time, you have to wade through seas of unsupported articles about "hollistic" health. You also can't overlook that there are multiple forms of each vitamin which have completley different profiles. It's a personal voyage to try to treat yourself but I think its worth it.
Ok there are a few routes your can take, together or seperatley.
You can try cutting out all high glycemic food sources so the bread & grain, which can be replaced with nutrient dense carb sources like sweet potatoes, butternutsquash, black beans, carrots, beetroot etc. Although your diet seems close to spectacular . Are you consuming "vegetable" oil at all? (sunflower, safflower, soybean, canola, palm). You may not be aware of how much you are ingesting on business trips.
Are you exercising aerobically or just anaerobically? Aerobic exercise is the pump for you lymphatic system, which is like a cousin system to your blood vessels that clears toxins, dead cells, and other stuff from your body. It actually cannot be pumped on its own, your body has evolved to rely on the movements of your body in exercise to pump it. On the other hand, ANaerobic exercise is known to raise testosterone which may aggravate acne for some individuals.
Try re-reading about dairy/milk, I think it gets a bad rap, take grass-fed butter which can be beneficial since it is high in Vitamin A & D like cod liver oil. The type of feed that our meat and animal products are consuming is just as important as the product itself. Eggs from grain and soy fed chickens compared to bug + grass eating chickens were found to have higher levels of Omega 6's & Arachidonic Acid (an inflammatory fat) and also lower levels of other nutrients. The "omega 3 eggs" in the grocery store come from chickens usually fed flax because flax is so cheap and this changes the fat composition of both the egg and the chicken meat to include more omega 3's. In my opinion, flax is not the best option since it is so high in phytoestrogens (flax always breaks me out severly). Coincidentally, grocery store eggs break me out if I eat too many more than once, but eggs from a local farm had no effect on my acne.
Try Niacin again but the flush kind which is Nicotinic Acid, it may make a difference. I have seen some people post about how Niacinamide is basically bunk and totally ineffective.
Try Vit. E again but buy a supplement with all 8 isomers! This is important. Most Vit. E on the shelfs is one form: d-alpha-tocopherol which is sourced from soybean oil usually. Soy is a cash crop and most soy products are used because they are cost effective not because they are best for your health. Like I said before, studies have shown that taking this form of Vit. E alone lowers your levels of the other 7 kinds meaning it could be detrimental! Organic Red Palm Oil is a rare and high source of Tocotrienols. Jarrow has a good supplement called "Toco Sorb". Life extension has one with all 8 forms.
Try boosting your internal Glutathione levels. Plant antioxidants are beneficial and great, however they serve the initial purpose of preventing oxidation for the plant, not for your benefit necessarily. Humans have their own self-made antioxidant which can't be ingested. Glutathione supplements don't work since your stomach acid destroys the compound rendering it into 3 amino acids. Glutathione is a tri-peptide consisting of those amino acids; Glutamine, Glycine, and Cysteine. Glutamine and Glycine are plentifully in a sufficient protein diet, however Cysteine is harder to come by. Cysteine is the rate limiting step in Glutathione synthesis. Free form L-Cysteine supplements boosts Glutathione production, as well as Milk Thistle, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Vitamin C, and other glutathione precursors. I have had personal success with my acne taking L-Cysteine (on an empty stomach) along with a Sustained Release ALA (Alpha Lipoic Acid), however it was a bit pricey so I switched to another regimen.
I'm not sure how this person cleared their acne with a glutathione supplement. I would still suggest taking Glutathione precursors instead of this:
This here is evidence showing that Milk Thistle & Vitamin C raise glutathione levels:
"Thiobarbituric acid reactive substance (TBARS) level, superoxide dismutase (SOD), and glutathione-s-transferase (GST) activities were significantly increased, whereas GSH content, and catalase, glutathione reductase (GR) and GPx (glutathione peroxidase) activities significantly reduced, on ethanol exposure. These changes were reversed by silybin and ascorbic acid treatment."
Successes with milk thistle:
L-Glutamine is a natural amino acid supplement found in all protein sources. If taken on an empty stomach, glutamine can heal gut issues, apparently repairing the inside of our intestinal walls. I'm not going to say leaky gut since I still don't know if that is a real condition, I think it could be a host of similar symptoms with different causes. This may also boost glutathione levels after your body has been supplied with L-Cysteine.
Here are some people talking about their success in amazon customer reviews:
Vitamin B supplementing can be dangerous and I caution most people to avoid it. Look into MTHFR gene (recently discovered as part of the Human Genome Project) in which 60% of the population has a defect causing an inability to metabolize certain B-vitamins leading to long-term health problems. I've had some bad side effects from P5P (or B6), methylcobalamin (the active form of B12), and methylfolate (active B9) however that's my own experience, yours may differ greatly!
Soluble fiber from Konjac Root (Glucomannan), Hemp powder, etc can lower the glycemic impact of a meal. When I first started to treat my acne hollistically, a mixed soluble & insoluble fiber supplement helped a noticable amount with my complexion. But this stopped working once I eliminated soy from my diet for some reason, maybe the fiber was preventing all of the soy to be absorbed by my body.
It sucks how many different ways you can go wrong when purchasing supplements, which is part of the reason why no one thinks they are effective! Let me know if you have any questions
Try looking into Soil Based Probiotics or Native Bacteria. I've been told that the lacto- bacteria that we use in Probiotics and yogurt help us digest dairy products but thats where the list ends. Some people believe that we have coexisted for millions of years with thousands of strains of bacteria and that broad spectrum antibiotics can reduce the diversity of our gut flora. Certain strains of beneficial bacteria (not found in Kefir or Greek Yogurt or grocery store probiotics) actually produce Vitamin K, some B Vitamins, and a brain nutrient called Butyrate! Primal Defense by Garden of Life has some soil based organisms but still contains most traditional probiotics strains. Prescript Assist is a more expensive kind you can buy online which has very rare strains. Please let me know if you find any other brands!
What does your diet look like? I find that usually Omega 3's from Fish Oil only help when you reduce your dietary intake of Omega 6's. Foods high in Omega 6's (or Linoleic Acid) are baked goods, mayonaisse, margarine, salad dressing, nuts, fast food, fried food, microwavable/prepared food, vegetable oil, canola oil, safflower, sunflower oil. Omega 6's are pro-inflammatory (a necessary mechanism in the body) but too much causes chronic inflammation. Omega 3's are anti-inflammatory. However, since both 3's and 6's are types of PUFA's (polyunsaturated fatty acids), the ratio and amount matters, so taking more Omega 3's will worsen a situation if you consume too much of either of these fats anyways.
if you read those, it explains that Fish Oil alone can be unhealthy unless taken with Vitamin E and prefferably with an array of fat soluble vitamins & antioxidants. Vitamin E prevents fat oxidation and Omega 3's are very fragile to oxidation. Taking Fish oil alone may deplete your Vitamin E levels. Also it is important to get all 8 Vitamin E forms since Vitamin E refers to not just one molecule. This includes the 4 tocopherols and the 4 tocotrienols. Look for a full spectrum Vitamin E. There is some evidence that taking alpha-tocopherol alone (the most common form of Vitamin E in supplements) can lower your other levels of Vitamin E, beta-, gamma-, and delta- tocopherols and alpha-, beta-, gamma-, delta- tocotrienols in your body.
On a side note: Nicotinic Acid, the form of Vitamin B3 or Niacin that causes the healthy skin flushing, can help acne! Try to get this kind and not Niacinamide since that does not cause the flushing, though it may still have some benefit. Vitamin B6 and B12 also worsened my acne. Though I have yet to try P5P (Pyridoxal Phosphate) the active form of B6 which may not cause acne compared to Pyridoxine B6 the popular form (which is not found in nature).
Treating your acne is never as simple as taking 2 or 3 supplements and expecting to be 100% clear. I cannot stress enough how much diet changes and consistent exercise are necessary before any sort of success with a supplement. I had no success myself with supplements until I figured out that any sources of soy, flax, and vegetable oil broke me out and contributed 50% to my situation. You need to do more personal research on these vitamins and supplements before jumping to conclusions and declaring "Those Vitamins Don't Work". The anti-inlfammatory Fish Oil/Omega 3's will usually not have a positive benefit unless you reduce your dietary intake of the pro-inflammatory Omega 6's (margarine, salad dressing, baked goods, fast food, mayonaisse, fried food, icing, vegetable oil, processed food). Zinc can benefit some, it is a very important metal that can boost BDNF (brain derived neurotropic factor) but it also boosts testosterone which can worsen acne in some. Listing "all b vits" is not very helpful. There are many different forms of each one that have different safety profiles, half-lifes, dosages, etc. For example Vitamin B9 can be in the form of Folic Acid, Folate, Methylfolate which have distinct differences. B3 can be niacinamide or nicotinic acid, one causes a flush and one doesn't. B5 & B3 are known to help acne whereas B12 & B6 break some people out. Some people think that vitamin D should only be achieved from sun exposure and that dietary intake of it does not have the same benefit. Vitamin C is water soluble and flushes out of your system quickly, so continual dosing throughout the day is more effective. In my experience, Vitamin A and sun exposure had a combined positive effect on my skin. Look into taking a full spectrum Vitamin E (tocopherols & tocotrienols) topically and internally (prefferablly with fat + lecithin for maxium absorption). Unfortunatley, with little regulation in the world of dietary supplements you have to know which brands are third party tested and reputable. NOW supplements is very popular and has a huge selection but I have heard a few of their supplemets are bunk. There was a recent study in the news showing that around 50% of all natural supplements do not contain what they state they do. Jarrow, Doctors Best, MRM, and Twinlab are reliable in my opinion.
I won't detail my full acne history here and save that for another thread.
I started using myo-Inositol from a health food store, and my skin cleared quickly and dramatically. It cleared on my back, my face, and my chest, even most of my blackheads were gone. At the time I was using many other supplements, I was exercising and adhering to my personal acne diet (no soy, low sugar, emphasize vegetables, etc) so I was unsure of how much Inositol really contributed to the improvement. One by one, I stopped taking supplements, and then slowly I stopped exercising and returned to a junk food diet with lots of Burger King and Ice Cream. I may have had a few small pimples but It still remained clearer than ever. now hold your horses on buying it just yet. At first Inositol improved my mood and energy but then after a week it deteriorated. My side effects included:
-brain fog and short-term memory problems
-adhd type behavior
-difficulty reading, drawing, writing
These were so bad that I could not function as a normal person at work, at school, or in my personal life. I don't think I could live with being that shaky weird guy with beautiful skin.
myo-Inositol is complex in that it is converted to Inositol Triphosphate which is a signaling molecule involved in many reactions in the body, and it is also a brain osmolyte which can affect cell pressure in your BRAIN! It is also closely involved with insulin which I suspect is it's mechansism of action in clearing my acne. If someone asks I can post quite a few studies to back up these statements, or you can search inositol+insulin on google scholar or jstor.org
Many people use Inositol at super high doses over 10 grams a day to successfully treat conditions like depression and OCD. The women over at soulcysters.net, myfitnesspal.com, and other forums use myo-Inositol & D-Chiro-Inositol to treat PCOS side effects like acne, excess hair growth, abnormal cycles, etc. Also for some it successfully resensitizes their serotonin receptors. However some of us have reactions like mine. My dosage was only around 2-3 grams a day which I brought down to 500mg with no change in side effects.
My experience won't necessarilly mirror yours and could be the exception. However please do your research before supplementing!
It's has been awhile since I posted on this site but I wanted to report a partial success I had with Vitamin A. This theory about UV light definetly holds some truth. I noticed that after taking Vitamin A in the form of 10,000 IU of retinol (the animal source, not beta carotene) and exposing my face and body to the sun every other day for an adequate amount of time, I could manage my acne to an extent. Now this didn't "cure" or completely cure my condition but it helped tremendously. I must note that during this time I was eating very healthy and also consumed many sources of plant sourced Beta-carotene from spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, etc. Although I suggest only using retinol at first (since it is already converted to the active Vitamin A form whereas the conversion rate of beta-carotene is very low) beta-carotene could have still played a factor since I know that beta carotene is deposited in the surface skin and acts as an fat soluble antioxidant, and an electron acceptor from the sun.
This further supports the evolutionary biology approach to acne. At my worst points, I experienced severe acne on my face, and tops of my back and chest, the areas on the body that would be exposed most to the sun when we lived primitively. I believe we evolved a higher density of retinoic acid receptors in these areas of the skin so that more sun light was needed to produce a normal amount of retinoic acid. Now, our traditional american diets are low in Vitamin A, and antioxidants/pigments (zeaxanthin, astaxanthin, lutein, beta-carotene, lycopene) and we are being told to avoid the sun at all cost. My theory is that the sun and its "harmful" UV's do NOT cause skin cancer, but our lack of internal protection allow us to be susceptible to cancer. Please don't quote me saying that vitamin a cures skin cancer, this is just a theory on acne and the skin. And again I must stress that acne is multifactorial and this is just on of the ways it can "get" you, not including omega 3:6 ratio, hormone imbalace, etc...
Yea it is most likely the high oil content which is probably soybean oil, sunflower, safflower, corn, or canola oil. All of these and most other "vegetable" oils are high inflammatory. I would say that most people will see an improvement in their acne if they completley eliminated all hydrogenated oils such as from margarine, "vegetable" oils, nuts, salad dressings, mayonnaise, fried food, donuts, pasta sauce, baked goods. The best fats to eat are probably from wild fish, and then coconut oil, palm oil, organic butter/ghee, olive oil, avocados, animal fats etc.
I also want to add that there was a time when I was living in central america and my sleep schedule was very regular. I went to bed at the same time every night and was outside all day with my eyes exposed to sunlight. I lived in a village without electricity where everyone went to bed once the sun went down. We were rarely inside, as the rooms were incredibly small. Under databased's theory, I wouldn't have had acne during this time but I did have a lot. I don't doubt that this didn't work for him but for me it did not. Acne is multifactorial. During this time in central america, i most likely masturbated freely which affects acne. Also alot of the families used soybean oil to cook with, which always makes my acne worse. I'm not sure if databased's cure is the best. For my lifestyle, it would be impractical and tedious. But I respect your determination. Just my two cents.
I'm only posting this because i think it will be helpful for people who havent quite put all the pieces of a the puzzle together. For me, if i masturbate more than twice a week I breakout a lot. I notice no difference between abstaining completley and masturbating once a week. I guess I am lucky there. But even if i keep it to just once a week I still have breakouts. My thread is basically just a theory on the relationship between prolactin levels and acne. Masturbation/sex raise prolactin levels which raises the conversion of testosterone to dht because prolactin causes an increase in 5-alpha-reductase. So instead of approaching things from a dht perspective, i think we may have to go deeper and target prolactin.