A smaller sized study/paper that has a lot of good information. Pictures and graphs included. Hopefully one day a study with the same controlled factors could be implemented with a much larger sample group! Great reference list as well, going to read up more on them.
Acne vulgaris, mental health and omega-3 fatty acids: a report of cases
Mark G Rubin, Katherine Kim and Alan C Logan
Acne vulgaris is a common skin condition, one that is associated with significant psychological disability. The psychological impairments in acne include higher rates of depression, anxiety, anger and suicidal thoughts. Despite a paucity of clinical research, patients with skin conditions and/or mental health disorders are frequent consumers of dietary supplements. An overlap may exist between nutrients that potentially have both anti-acne and mood regulating properties; examples include omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil, chromium, zinc and selenium. Here we report on five cases of acne treated with eicosapentaenoic acid and antioxidant nutrients. Self-administration of these nutrients may have improved inflammatory acne lesions and global aspects of well-being; the observations suggest a need for controlled trials.
... Speculation that dietary factors can influence acne has been a matter of debate for decades, and emerging research is certainly suggesting that diet may indeed be an important factor, particularly in mediating the inflammation and oxidative stress of the acne process [11-13]. Hints that omega-3 fatty acids might positively influence acne originate from older epidemiological studies which show that communities that maintain a traditional diet high in omega-3 fatty acids have low rates of acne . One study in over 1000 teenagers from North Carolina found that each of the primary signs of acne – comedones, papules, pustules, acne cysts and oily skin – were significantly lower in in those consuming the greatest amounts of fish and seafood . A separate investigation showed that patients actually with acne are more likely to be infrequent consumers of dietary fish and seafood . More recently, investigators have outlined mechanisms whereby fish oil may be effective in reducing inflammatory acne. The inflammatory chemical leukotriene B4 (LTB4) is now know to up-regulate sebum production, and synthetic inhibition of LTB4, in the form of the drug zileuton, leads to significant improvement in acne [17,18]. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) from fish oil, and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) from borage oil, have been reported to inhibit the conversion of arachidonic acid into LTB4 to the same degree as the LTB4-inhibiting acne drug candidate zileuton . Sophisticated studies have recently demonstrated that each pilosebaceous unit has the machinery in place to manufacture inflammatory chemicals, including LTB4, with the raw materials supplied from the breakdown products of dietary fats . Fish oil, and EPA in particular, has a wealth of research to support its ability to inhibit LTB4 production , yet to date, no investigators have reported on the clinical utility of fish oil for acne.
...Clinical intervention studies show that a diet with an overall low glycemic load, more dietary fiber, more fish and seafood is helpful in acne. Results show an average 22 less acne lesions in those who adhere to such a diet [11,12].
On the one hand there are certainly hints that marine lipids, minerals and phytochemicals might have potential to reduce inflammatory acne lesions, and on the other, it is almost difficult not to notice that these are the very same nutrients that have been shown to influence mental outlook, depressive symptoms and anxiety. Omega-3 fatty acids , zinc , selenium , chromium , and even phytochemicals such as those found in green tea , have been shown to improve mood and decrease anxiety in various clinical and experimental studies. We, and others , have wondered if such dietary nutrients, or combinations thereof, might influence inflammatory acne and perhaps more importantly, the mental outlook of users with acne. Clinical studies utilizing dietary changes or specific nutrient interventions in acne have not evaluated aspects of mood or mental health as an outcome.
The self-administration of an omega-3 fish oil-based nutrient combination for two months did appear to have some influence on the acne process, and perhaps more importantly, on mental outlook. Specifically, four of the individuals had a reduction in total lesion count, with a range of 11 to 41 less lesions after 2 months. The average total lesion count among the group dropped from 62.8 to 40.4. It was in the area of inflammatory lesions where the intervention seemed to make a more significant difference. This reduction of marked inflammation and redness of lesions is apparent in the photographic evidence of figures 1, 2. Remarkably, not one subject had a worsening of inflammatory acne lesions during the two months, and all had at least some reduction in inflammatory papules. The average inflammatory lesion count at baseline was 20.8 and this decreased to 6.8 after two months. The average lesion counts are presented in the bar graphs of figure 3. One of the five subjects did have a higher overall acne lesion count after two months, there was a specific 2-fold increase in pustules and comedones, however, a 30 percent reduction in inflammatory papules was also noted.
Rubin M, Kim K, Logan A. Acne vulgaris, mental health and omega-3 fatty acids: a report of cases. Lipids In Health And Disease [serial online]. October 13, 2008;7:36. Available from: MEDLINE, Ipswich, MA. Accessed June 14, 2011.