First of all I want to use this opportunity to thank Daniel Kern and all the members and moderators for creating such a great arena to discuss solutions to our problem!
Acne is caused by underlying gut issues(doesn't mean you have to experience gastrointestinal problems). I followed the protocol on gutflora.com and cleared my severe acne. I had almost forgot about you guys, but then they changed their design an began posting articles on seperate diseases. A post on gut and acne appeared and I remembered acne.org. The very short summary of mechanisms:
- Antibiotics or other drugs, simplified diet, grains, sugar, excessive hygiene, poor hereditary gut flora or other factors promote a “damaged” gut flora and increased intestinal permeability.
- A “damaged” gut flora and increased intestinal permeability --> Low-level inflammation
- Oxidative stress and inflammation --> Acne vulgaris
No point in starting treatment if you're only going to give it a couple of weeks. Be patient, treatment takes TIME. Those with acne and few other health concerns should follow The Gut Diet. Basic principles:
Several sources of beneficial bacteria in your diet
- Quality probiotics
- Fermented foods
- Fresh, organic, minimally washed vegetables and plant products
- Staying in contact with healthy people and pets.
Prebiotics either from diet or supplements. (Will give initial worsening(gas, bloating, acne++) until gut flora adjusts)
- Leeks, onions, chicory root and more
- Supplement: Start slow(1/2 ts) and work your way up
Diet (Anti-inflammatory diet / The Gut Diet / Paleo Diet)
- Eat plenty: Meat, fish, fowl, eggs, vegetables, Extra virgin Olive Oil, extra Virgin Coconut Oil, Butter/GHEE
- Eat in moderation: Fruits, berries, nuts(if you tolerate them)
- Avoid or eat in small amounts: Grains, sugar, milk, vegetable oils
- Where can I read more studies and reports on the gut-acne connection?
Acne originates in the gut
Acne vulgaris: A disease of western civilization
Acne vulgaris, probiotics and the gut-brain-skin axis - back to the future?
Diet nutrition and health
Study shows that 54% of patients with acne have either the first (21%) or second (78.7%) impaired bacterial microflora.
Gut Flora repair
The gut-skin connection: how altered gut function affects the skin
A new era in the treatment of acne vulgaris
When can I expect to get better?
Most people will begin to see great improvement 2 weeks-2 months after they have
- Followed the diet for a couple of months
- Adjusted to several sources of probiotics and prebiotics (e.g. raw sauerkraut, kefir, probiotic supplements, prebiotic supplement)
- Achieved great digestion. Regular nice BMs
- No food intolerances
When you can put a green check beside all of these lines you have achieved a healthier gut flora and intestinal lining. Inflammation goes down and acne improves:)
Why are grains excluded from the diet?
Oats, wheat and other grains are some of the "worst" foods for people with acne (most everyone else also benefit from excluding grains from their diet). Grains contain several anti-nutrients (phytic acid, lectins, enzyme inhibitors etc.), have a high-carbohydrate density, a lot of insoluble fiber and the protein gluten.
Anti-nutrients, excess insoluble fiber and gluten is known to promote leaky gut. High-density carbohydrates alter gut flora
Recommended reading on grains:
Cereal Grains: Humanity’s Double-Edged Sword
The silent killer: Modern lifestyle promotes leaky gut and low-level chronic inflammation
Why grains are unhealthy
Top five reasons why you should remove grains from your diet for good
Effects of wheat germ agglutinin on human gastrointestinal epithelium: insights from an experimental model of immune/epithelial cell interaction.
Gluten Causes Gastrointestinal Symptoms in Subjects Without Celiac Disease: A Double-Blind Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial
Gliadin, zonulin and gut permeability: Effects on celiac and non-celiac intestinal mucosa and intestinal cell lines.
Why is milk not allowed on the diet, and why is fermented dairy okay?
Milk is not just this white substance that is high in calcium. Milk is specifically designed to promote rapid growth of a a growing child. It contains several hormones and bio-active peptides that potentially breach the gut barrier. Lactose and casein is also problematic for a lot of people. Read more on the problems with milk
Full-fat, grass-fed, natural (no sugar etc.) and fermented dairy (cheese, yoghurt etc.) is okay because there's very little hormones, lactose etc. left after fermentation:)
Butter and GHEE are also excellent choices.
Lactose intolerance can be treated with probiotics
- What can I eat for breakfast?
Meat, fish or fowl
Avocado and kefir
Kefir smoothie - Properly fermented kefir, berries and coconut oil
Quality yogurt, nuts and berries
Salad with some type of protein source
- What do I have to look for when choosing fermented foods?
It is very important to pick foods that have been fermented properly and still have live cultures.
Kefir - Made from kefir grains, refrigerated and no added ingredients (e.g. sugar)
Yogurt - No added ingredients (e.g. sugar) and preferably full-fat
Sauerkraut - Choose raw and refrigerated sauerkraut. The pasteurized stuff you'll find in the shelf of the average supermarket has no live microorganisms.
- How strict do I have to follow the diet?
When first starting this plan you shold aim to follow the diet as strictly as possible. However, it doesn't matter if you cheat once in a while. After some months, when you have introduced several sources of probiotics and prebiotics, you can slowly start to cheat a little on the diet if you want. Most people find that they can eat a certain amount of crappy foods once their gut flora and leaky gut has improved.
- I have moderate-severe gastrointestinal problems besides acne. Will this plan work for me?
Moderate-severe gastrointestinal problems usually involves moderate-severe gut dysbiosis and candida overgrowth. This plan might work for you, but some individuals with candida overgrowth have to use antifungals to reduce the counts of candida before trying to establish healthy gut flora. Look at the gut dysbiosis treatment plan at gutflora.com.
Some of you might remember me as I have been a member of the boards for quite some time now. When I first became a member of acne.org in 2007 I was determined to find the "root" cause of acne. I always knew that acne wasn't a natural part of human development and that there was some underlying issue. Even though I was reading intensively I was grasping in the dark, there is so much bullshit out there and 99% of the people giving advice aren't even clear. I tried every natural treatment under the sun.
I have also done two courses of accutane which didn't work. I always knew accutane did nothing to improve the underlying issues, but I was frustrated and desperate and just wanted acne to go away.
After a while I started to read more and more scientific journals and a couple of years ago I knew that the answers could be found in the gut. Some of you might remember "White Fox' anti-candida log" which was a popular thread in 2010. When I started that treatment I was still lacking a lot of important knowledge when it comes to proper gut health. I wasn't totally committed, made several mistakes with diet and supplements and didn't properly heal my gut. It only worked to some degree.
Even though my anti-candida treatment didn't work 100% I was still convinced that my gut was causing some issues. So I continued looking. After a while I found the information now available at gutflora.com. I learned most of my knowledge by studying that site and information from people like Dr. Art Ayers(cooling inflammation), Dr. Loren Cordain, Dr. Weston A. Price and more. Since I was very ill with severe acne, food intolerances and more I used a long time to heal my gut and get rid of acne.
What I've learned:
Most of our immune system is located in the gut.
Modern lifestyle with sugar, grains, antibiotics(and other drugs), simplified diets++ damage gut flora and gut cells.
We get a damaged gut flora with missing species of bacteria and possible overgrowth of opportunistic flora(candida f.ex). Gut Flora plays an important role in keeping our gut wall healthy. When our gut flora is compromised, our gut wall becomes malnourished and damaged. When our gut wall is working propely it allows properly digested food "molecules" to pass through. When it get's damaged unwanted particles can get to pass; causing inflammation.
Gut Dysbiosis and increased intestinal permeability resulting in inflammation is the main cause of acne.
I know people on the boards have been looking at leaky gut before. However, it's so important to treat it the right way!
The most important thing I can say is that you have to be determined. This is not some half-ass treatment where you give it a couple of weeks. You're either all in or all out since you have to able to get through some though times.