-It’s been thought from past generations that acne was something that developed during puberty and went away afterward. But that’s simply not the case today for a lot of us. Their diets weren’t near as poor as ours are today though. Our diets get worse and worse as population grows, and the need for cheaper food increases. With our economy indrustrializing, it gives way to pesticides, hormones, and more that assist in speedier food creation. That is what’s causing our problems today. And the problems that arise are the effects that diet has on our insulin, and the effects that insulin has on our acne.
What does this have to do with puberty??
Insulin sensitivity decreases by 30 some percent during puberty. This allows insulin levels to rise as well. What this means is that 30% more insulin is required in order to do the same job. What does excess insulin mean?
Increased levels of insulin contribute to an increase of IGF-1, an icreased synthesis of sex hormones, a decrease in SHBG, and a decrease in IGFBP-3. IGF-1 is responsible for growth, SHBG is responsible for binding to sex hormones, and IGFBP-3 is responsible for binding to IGF-1. What happens is due to the decrease of SHBG and IGFBP-3, IGF-1 and sex hormone levels increase greatly. Basically, sex hormones(androgens) and IGF-1 are acne contributors, and they both have their counterparts(SHBG and IGFBP-3). With increased insulin levels, the ratio of acne contributors to acne inhibitors per se, are also increasing.
What effect does this have on acne?
Well, IGF-1 is required for keratinocyte proliferation in humans, and over abundance of IGF-1 can result in hyperkeratosis. This is because over abundance of IGF-1 results in growth, which includes stimulation of the follicle, which could be what results in the over-shedding of skin cells, clogged pores, and the excess amount of sebum. IGF-1 is higher once puberty starts due to decreased insulin sensitivity, meaning the beginning of puberty and the beginning of insulin resistance could be the major cause of acne. It’s also been shown that women who have post-adolescent acne maintain higher serum levels of IGF-1 and are mildly insulin resistant. To further support the IGF-1 relation to acne, milk, which has been known to be a major contributor to acne, increases IGF-1 levels. This is why many can withdraw from dairy products and see a reduction in acne.
So, if insulin is the cause of acne, then why can some cure acne with diet alone, while others can’t?
The answer is that you can either develop acute or chronic insulin resistance.
An example of acute insulin resistance would be, for instance, if your insulin sensitivity was normal, but you binged on milk and simple carbs for a week. This would likely cause an increase in acne, due to the excess insulin levels needed. However, with acute insulin resistance, your acne should go away once you return to your normal diet.
With chronic insulin resistance, you’ve spiked your insulin levels frequently for a certain amount of time, which has caused desensitization of insulin receptors. With chronic insulin resistance, even when you change your diet for a while, your body still has poor insulin sensitivity, which means it still requires more insulin than is necessary to take care of the load. This is why some people can go on extreme diets and still end up with acne, while some people can eat worse and have less or no acne.
So what can you do about the insulin dilemma?
The first thing to try should always be diet.
If you find your diet is poor and you have acne, try eliminating some things.
Some things I’d suggest completely ELIMINATING:
-All Grains(Courtesy of Omnivium)
Some things I’d suggest LIMITING:
-Animal protein with lots of fat
-Fast food and processed food
If you find that dieting doesn’t help your acne completely, you may very well have chronic insulin resistance, or decreased insulin sensitivity.
At this point, it might be necessary to supplement things that will help with your insulin sensitivity.
The two things I’d recommend are Chromium Polynicotinate and Magnesium.
Magnesium Aspartate Hydrochloride, specifically, has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity by people with normal magnesium levels by 20 some percent, while people with low magnesium levels showed increases in insulin sensitivity by 50 percent.
Chromium Polynicotinate has personally helped me better than anything else. I tried chromium after dieting failed for me, and now I diet less and have less acne.
While food allergies, stress, and a few other things CAN attribute to acne, the point is that the MAIN cause of acne must be whatever is changing at puberty. If food allergies or stress were the main causes, then kids would be more susceptible to acne than they are. I’ve found nowhere that suggests that almost every person goes through food allergies and such during puberty, and then loses their food allergies after puberty. But there is scientific evidence showing that during puberty insulin sensitivity is decreased, and is returned to normal post-puberty, given that diet isn’t further affecting it’s demands. One thing to remember is that increased insulin levels in the body can create chronic inflammation, which could be the reason that food allergies and stress affect your acne more!
On the last link, toward the bottom, you can find the link that takes you to the book this comes from, and find a PDF of it on that page.
Edited by Jal V, 16 March 2012 - 03:43 PM.