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Eating lots of Vitamin A

vitamin a steroid

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#1 Upon a December

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Posted 30 October 2009 - 09:52 AM

Alright so I found this response to a question on how to clear up acne by Ray Peat:
QUOTE
"Yes, vitamin A and estrogen are antagonistic, and while estrogen promotes keratinization (shedding of skin cells), vitamin A opposes it. Since vitamin A is highly unsaturated, in excess it suppresses the thyroid, so it has to be balanced with the thyroid; the combination is effective for increasing progesterone and decreasing estrogen, slowing the turnover of skin cells, and making the skin cells function longer before flaking off. Plugged pores, combined with a local shift toward synthesizing inflammatory substances, foster bacterial infection. Bright light stimulates the production of steroids, and consumes vitamin A very quickly, but when the balance is right, the acne clears up in just a day or two. Cream, butter, eggs, and liver are good sources of vitamin A. When people supplement thyroid and eat liver once or twice a week, their acne and dandruff (and many other problems) usually clear up very quickly. It was acne and dandruff that led me into studying the steroids and thyroid, and in the process I found that they were related to constipation and food sensitivity."


So he suggests eating lots of Vitamin A and supplementing with thyroid. Now I don't like to take medication like that unless I have to and judging by my basal temperature I don't need to. So what I'll be doing to help my thyroid out is consuming more coconut oil. As for Vitamin A it makes sense as that is the main thing in Accutane but it is just in an extremely high dose. Obviously I won't be able to get nearly that high but hopefully eating lots of Vitamin A will make some difference... though I doubt it will make me clear in two days!

Most sites I found recommend taking 5,000 IU for acne but say that up to 15,000 IU can be taken. They say that 15,000 IU can show results in even the severest acne but mine is only mild to moderate. I won't be taking supplements because I'd rather try it through whole foods first. Because my acne is generally mild but abundant I am going to try to aim for 10,000 IU a day.

I'll be using this site: http://www.healthyea...ata/data3a.html to judge how much Vitamin A I'm eating a day. So it looks like I'm going to have to eat quite a bit of eggs, cream, butter, and sweet potatoes although I'm not sure I can get up even to the 10,000 IU mark but we'll see... I'm also going to try and eat liver twice a week even though it tastes fine but thoroughly grosses me out before its cooked. Last time I tried it with calf's liver but I think if I try chicken liver it won't be as gross. Chicken liver has 11,000 IU so I know I'll meet my quota on those days.

I might be posting pictures later on even though I don't really want to... I'll probably be starting this experiment sometime this week or on Monday as I need to go grocery shopping first. I don't know how long I'll be doing this for as I really only want to test his theory. I'll probably focus mainly on eating foods with lots of Vitamin A for one week and then continue eating liver once or twice a week from there on out.

Current Acne Condition
Face: Right now I have a lot of pimples and scars around my jawline and chin. I have 3 large whiteheads on my chin and lots of small pimples along the sides of my face. I've also developed some really small pimples on my forehead which I don't usually get.
Back: Lots of painful whiteheads on my shoulders and pimples on my entire back.
Chest: A few very small pimples here and there.
Neck: A few small pimples and one very large, painful zit that hasn't broken through yet.

Edited by Upon a December, 30 October 2009 - 08:46 PM.


#2 brandish

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Posted 30 October 2009 - 10:11 AM

I really dont see this working
accutane is a derivative of vitamin a, that is thought to be more effective, and carries less side effects then megadosing on vitamin a. You are only taking low levels of vitamin a so i dont see it doing any good anytime soon, i mean even accutane at high doses takes a couple of months generally to start working.

#3 Upon a December

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Posted 30 October 2009 - 10:20 AM

QUOTE
I really dont see this working
accutane is a derivative of vitamin a, that is thought to be more effective, and carries less side effects then megadosing on vitamin a. You are only taking low levels of vitamin a so i dont see it doing any good anytime soon, i mean even accutane at high doses takes a couple of months generally to start working.


Which is why this is an experiment. I respect Ray Peat and what he says sounds possible but you never really know if something does or does not work until you try. I won't be "megadosing" on Vitamin A as I don't ever plan on going over 15,000 IU which anything over is thought to be toxic. Plus that would be bloody hard to do by just eating foods containing Vitamin A. What have I got to lose? Nothing but acne.

#4 SweetPea91

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Posted 30 October 2009 - 10:33 AM

A great source of vitamin a (in the form of beta-carotene) is baked sweet potatoes. It's loaded with nutrients, soluble and insoluble fiber, and is strongly anti-inflammatory. It really helps a ton with my acne. Good luck :]

#5 Upon a December

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Posted 30 October 2009 - 10:40 AM

QUOTE
A great source of vitamin a (in the form of beta-carotene) is baked sweet potatoes. It's loaded with nutrients, soluble and insoluble fiber, and is strongly anti-inflammatory. It really helps a ton with my acne. Good luck :]

Yes I know and they are so delicious! I'm going to bake them then mash them up with some cream and nutmeg for breakfast. Yum!

#6 Upon a December

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Posted 31 October 2009 - 09:39 AM


Day 1
Ok so I didn't really intend to start on Friday but I kind of did... I couldn't find any chicken livers or any livers at all at the local dairy farm and usually they carry things like that. So now I'm at a loss on where to get good livers. I'm really wary of buying them from the grocery store because that increases the gross factor for me and the livers will probably have more toxins so...

Anyway I ended up eating:
Breakfast:
-2 large eggs
-1 tbsp butter
-1/2 cup rice
Lunch:
-1/2 cup rice
-1 packet curry (contained cream and butter)
Dinner:
-Oatmeal with cream, butter, and peanut butter
Snacks:
-Cheese and carrots
-Approx. 1.5 cup cream mixed w/ some whole milk

Total IU: Well I didn't really count today but I think I might be just under 5,000 IUs but fairly close.

Skin Condition
-All my whiteheads are gone! Now I started putting lemon juice on my face a couple of days ago so it could be that but I'm still happy that they are gone! No new acne just red spots left over from whiteheads and such. eusa_dance.gif I still have a whitehead of my neck and I haven't checked my back. I also just came off a juice fast and vegan experiment that I tried for a few days (I never meant to continue just wanted to see why everyone thought it was so great...) so my skin might be thanking me for adding fat back in but idk...

-Also does anyone know whether beta carotene absorbs as well as retinol? I'm thinking that maybe some potential vitamin a is lost when beta carotene converts but I haven't read anything about it.

Edited by Upon a December, 31 October 2009 - 09:41 AM.


#7 databased

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Posted 31 October 2009 - 10:21 AM

QUOTE (Upon a December @ Oct 31 2009, 09:39 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Also does anyone know whether beta carotene absorbs as well as retinol? I'm thinking that maybe some potential vitamin a is lost when beta carotene converts but I haven't read anything about it.

The salient point is that the body can convert beta carotene
to retinol exactly where, when, and in what quantity it wants
to. When you ingest large doses of retinol, you do not let those
normal regulatory mechanisms work.

There is an analogy here with Vitamin D. Your doctor can
prescribe you the "active" form of Vitamin D (calcitriol,
analogous to retinol), but you can't buy it over the counter.
The reason is, to take calcitriol is to override the body's
normal regulatory mechanisms for "activating" Vitamin D
where, when, and in what quantity it wants. It's not that
hard to cause organ damage by taking too much calcitriol.
But when we instead take cholecalciferol (which quickly
turns into calcidiol, the precursor to calcitriol), even taking
large amounts is safe.

Also, because of the fear that retinol
may interfere with Vitamin D at the cell level, I would
particularly not be megadosing Vitamin A while H1N1
is floating about.

OTOH, I would not take large amounts of beta carotene
either, because of it's ability to increase cancer risk in
smokers. I suspect the mechanism there is that large
amounts of beta carotene stimulate the body to gather
more non-heme iron, and more iron is rarely a good idea
for anybody (apart from anemic menstruating women),
but certainly not a good idea for smokers. IMHO, just
eat a carrot.

QUOTE
It was acne and dandruff that led me into studying the steroids and thyroid, and in the process I found that they were related to constipation and food sensitivity.

Yeah, Peat missed the boat again there, AFAIC. Now that it's shown that all-day bright light reduces carb malabsorption, there's not much need to pick on the thyroid for issues of acne or digestion.




#8 Upon a December

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Posted 31 October 2009 - 11:29 AM

QUOTE
The salient point is that the body can convert beta carotene
to retinol exactly where, when, and in what quantity it wants
to. When you ingest large doses of retinol, you do not let those
normal regulatory mechanisms work.

There is an analogy here with Vitamin D. Your doctor can
prescribe you the "active" form of Vitamin D (calcitriol,
analogous to retinol), but you can't buy it over the counter.
The reason is, to take calcitriol is to override the body's
normal regulatory mechanisms for "activating" Vitamin D
where, when, and in what quantity it wants. It's not that
hard to cause organ damage by taking too much calcitriol.
But when we instead take cholecalciferol (which quickly
turns into calcidiol, the precursor to calcitriol), even taking
large amounts is safe.

Also, because of the fear that retinol
may interfere with Vitamin D at the cell level, I would
particularly not be megadosing Vitamin A while H1N1
is floating about.

OTOH, I would not take large amounts of beta carotene
either, because of it's ability to increase cancer risk in
smokers. I suspect the mechanism there is that large
amounts of beta carotene stimulate the body to gather
more non-heme iron, and more iron is rarely a good idea
for anybody (apart from anemic menstruating women),
but certainly not a good idea for smokers. IMHO, just
eat a carrot.

But what exactly is a "megadose?" Certainly eating one sweet potato a day and some cream cannot be megadosing. I hear it is toxic to go over 15,000 IU a day but I don't think I could get anywhere near there. I'm also supplementing with Vitamin D in the form of cholecalciferol and going into the sun for at least 15 minutes a day so I don't think that would be much of a concern? Also I'm not a smoker so I really don't think I need to be concerned about that either.

QUOTE
Yeah, Peat missed the boat again there, AFAIC. Now that it's shown that all-day bright light reduces carb malabsorption, there's not much need to pick on the thyroid for issues of acne or digestion.

Ray Peat was not the only one who found that raising metabolism or curing hypothyroid cured acne. Broda Barnes found that when he gave his patients dessicated thyroid their acne cleared up.

#9 Upon a December

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 04:57 PM

Day 3

Diet:
I don't particularly feel like going into full detail on this today but it's been pretty much the same as Day 1. I came down with a cold yesterday and today though and don't have much of an appetite for cream or sweet potatoes and am really just drinking a lot of fluids and soups instead of focusing on Vitamin A for now.

Skin Condition
Well I steamed twice yesterday with some peppermint and green tea packets in the water to open my sinuses a bit and my face felt very smooth afterward. No new acne on the face and the spots left over from the pimples seem to be fading. I'm really awful at telling if something is just a leftover spot or a scar so forgive me on that part.

#10 Upon a December

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 11:09 PM


Day 6
Diet
-Gosh darn so I'm still sick! I haven't felt like eating a ton of sweet potatoes, cream, or butter lately but I've tried to eat a little cream, eggs, and butter anyway. Not terribly much though. Other than that just eating healthy devoid of junk and trying to get better. Oh and just so ya'll know I am taking 50mg of zinc and between 2,000 and 4,000 IU of Vitamin D daily.
Skin Condition
-Usually I get more acne when I'm sick but I've generally kept at bay the ones that wanted to come up. I did get one pimple under my jaw bone though. Other than that I have had really great skin lately! eusa_dance.gif I don't think I can attribute to any one factor but I have been steaming my face to open up my sinuses and it seems to really help my skin. The things is though my back is also clearing up somewhat. So I hope I keep improving or even stay the same for a while. Anything but get worse!


#11 temp123

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 11:56 AM

FWIW vitamin A ('carotenoids') from sweet potatoes/carrots etc. is different from 'retinoid' vitamin A in pills/liver/eggs.

Everyone can absorb retinoid form, but a lot of people have broken or semi-broken enzymes for the carotenoid forms. With either form, if you don't get enough fat in your diet, you won't absorb it properly.

Eating a lot of vitamin A will help dry your skin out, which is usually welcome for people with acne; but if you get peeling then you're overdoing it. Nobody should get too much retinoid vitamin A without checking with a doctor, it's seriously bad for you in overdose.

You can eat as much sweet potato/carrots etc. as you want, if you really overdo it you'll go orange (not kidding, it's called carotenemia but that takes *massive* amounts, isn't harmful, and goes away soon after going back to sensible amounts). The thing about cancer in smokers used pills and it's not clear it would do the same thing as food would. And anyway if you do smoke; stop smoking it's lethal and stupid.

Edited by temp123, 23 January 2010 - 12:03 PM.


#12 Korion

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 04:22 AM

I know this is an old post, but this was a big fail : when Ray Peat says vitamin A, he says retinol, not the beta-carotene in sweet potatoes. He actually recommends not eating sweet potatoes, he prefers well-cooked potatoes, and fruit is even better (especially cherries, melons and citrus).
You gotta supplement retinol based on you metabolism. Basically you have to eat coconut oil, fruit and meat (not only muscle meat, but a good balance of muscle meat with gelatin/bone broth). Orange juice is allowed too, coffee too, salt too, added sugar too, raw milk and other dairy too, ... All these food raise metabolism and will cause acne if you don't supplement with retinol. That's where experimentation is important : you gotta see for yourself how much retinol you need. Personally I don't eat like Peat recommends yet, but my health problems are almost all gone since applying some of his stuff (way less muscle meat, more gelatin, some aspirin, ...).

accutane is a derivative of vitamin a, that is thought to be more effective, and carries less side effects then megadosing on vitamin a.

Wow. Can't believe someone says accutane is a better treatment than retinol. Accutane is shite, retinol is derived from fish oil and thus pretty safe. Accutane stops working because it is a temporary fix.