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Dan

Are diet and acne related?

Hey y'all. So, for some reason I got a kick in the a** from who-knows-where to figure out whether diet and acne are really related. I wrote down on my goal list, "I have figured out and am practicing a natural way to clear the skin, and am sharing it with others." Yup, I am that cheese-ball and I write down my goals in the present tense and post them above my desk. But sometimes it yields really quick results in my life, as it may be in this case. So, if you're interested please read on...

I decided to go to the UCSF medical library the day after I wrote down this goal and I did a library search for "diet and acne" and came across Dr. Cordain's 2002 article here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.f...l=pubmed_docsum

I was intrigued to say the least after reading the article, so I did a google search for "Acne Loren Cordain" and found that he has a web site and an e-book detailing an anti-acne diet. I was like, "hmm...another person getting me excited about something and then asking for twenty bucks before giving the info out". But then I thought, well, this guy is a college professor, a PhD, and spent lots of time in the field on this project. Maybe he deserves my twenty bucks. So I bought his book, and it was a great read. But, I didn't want to talk about it on the boards because I don't want to advertise anybody's stuff and it's against the rules to post just to post a link to something anyway. So I emailed Dr. Cordain and asked if we could discuss how to proceed if I wanted other people to try the diet with me. Both he and his business guy called back the next morning. Dr. Cordain was cool to talk to. He is very no-nonsense and obviously believes and stands by what he's found in his research. He didn't sound like the kind of guy who is out to make a quick buck. His business guy was one of his previous students and was equally cool, and agreed to give us 10 copies of the e-book so we can try it out for free and see how it works.

So, here's what I'd like to do. I need 10 volunteers to try this diet with me. Whoever volunteers, this is what I'll need from you so we can make sure we get really good data from our experiment:

- dedication: The diet is hardcore. We're basically pretending like we're hunter gathererers before the advent of modern grain cooking techniques. It is a very healthy diet that involves only fruit, veggies, seafood, fish, and lean meat. That's it. End of story. No sugar, no salt, little oil, no dairy, nuts only sparingly, and no grains or legumes. So whoever volunteers, you'll need to be really dedicated for at least a month without cheating. Since skin turns over about once a month the plan is to be perfect for a month and hopefully clear up. Then we can add in 1 variable at a time and see how it goes.

- money: The book is free, but eating this way I think will cost more than usual. I'm going to try to eat organic. Also, buying organic real food to eat all day is going to cost more than a quick burrito or what have you.

- time: Eating this way will require forethought. We're going to have to shop ahead of time and prepare meals from scratch.

- a digital camera: I want everyone to take a picture of their face from the front, and each side, and under similar lighting once a week so we can document this. If you would prefer anonymity you can blur or black out your eyes or send the pictures to me and I can do this for you. Volunteers will need to have at least some acne before starting so we can tell whether or not the diet works.

- a food journal: You can do this online. It's going to be important that we track our food, both what we eat and when.

Wow, all of the sudden this is sounding really hard smile.gif And I'm not deluding myself. I think it will be a challenge. But worst case scenario it will be an extremely healthy way of eating. Tons of fruit and veggies all day every day has got to do great things for the body. I figure at the very least I'll get a nice six pack wink.gif

If you'd like to volunteer please PM me or email me at [email protected] and let's get it goin'. Then everyone can follow along and we can really figure out whether diet and acne are related. Please only respond if you are very dedicated to the experiment and have the necessary resources.

Dan

Keep reading on if you're interested in learning more about how the science:

What got me most intrigued was that Dr. Cordain and his Swedish research fellow went to visit hunter/gatherer tribes and found zero incidence of acne. In one tribe there were 300 people between 15 and 25 and no acne. In the other tribe there were 15 young people and no acne. Furthermore, he talks about how Eskimo populations used to not have any incidence of acne, and since they have adopted Western diets it is obvious even to the lay person that they now have acne problems.

The book then goes into great detail regarding how acne is created. It involves 4 disease processes:

1. Pore blockage: your skin produces too many skin cells, which as they reach the surface, stick together. He talks about how food specifically aggravates this condition. Specifically he talks about how refined grains and sugars cause insulin inbalances which lead to the skin not turning over as it should. He also gets into "lectins", the poisonous part of grains that we avoid by cooking them. But we don't get rid of all of the lectins, and these may cause problems with pore blockage, and may also be a catalyst to the other disease processes listed below.

2. Inflammation. in our Western diet, our omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is way off, over 10:1. In hunter/gatherer societies, where acne is non-existent, the ratio is more like 2:1 or 3:1. We eat tons of vegetable oils and not a lot of fish and grass fed meat which skews our ratio.

3. Overproduction of sebum: this is primarily a results of excess androgens (male hormones) in the body. Refined grains and sugars elevate these androgen levels.

4. Bacteria infection: once the pore is blocked, sebum is overproduced, and inflammation is occuring, bacteria is able to have a field day. An infection ensues and a zit is produced.

The book is an interesting read just on this "micro" level. You learn all about over produced keratinocytes, impacted corneocytes with desmosomes which do not detach properly, low zinc concentrations produced from the calcium in the dairy we eat, enzymes, etc. It's pretty fascinating.

So according to Dr. Cordain, if I were to oversimplify, you keep your insulin in check through avoiding modern grains, you allow your skin cells to turn over as nature intended. Then if you get your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio into an ideal range you prevent inflammation. Next, when you keep your androgen levels where they should be by eliminating high glycemic grains, you stop overproducing sebum. Once your pores are unblocked, inflammation has subsided, and sebum is produced at optimum levels, bacteria find no blocked pores in which to overcolonize.

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wish i could try. not in a place for that dedication at the moment. Good luck with the process though. really hope you see some good results.

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i'm willing to do it. i've always noticed my diet plays a large role in my skin's health, and i've tried a lot of different diets to help, so another diet change won't be too difficult. one downside is that i dont have a camera to document the weekly progress, but i will take a before & after picure by borrowing a digital camera from a friend sometime soon.

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I'm really interested in this. I would do it except my acne is under control with Accutane except for a couple deeply rooted cysts. I don't think this would make me a good candidate. I'd LOVE to hear about the results.

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I have had cystic acne for over 30 years, and have been on antibiotics for over 9. I tried a diet similar to this over the summer. I ate no sugar, no vinegar, not even fruit, no flour, and no dairy. It was basically meat, vegetables oatmeal, and salads with olive oil. I was on this diet for 6 weeks, and I tried going down on my antibiotics for one day, and my skin broke out the next day. I couldn't believe it. This diet sounds so similar to the one I was on, except for the fruit, I'm very skeptical about it. I tried this because I felt I had a ton of yeast in my body for the antibiotics. If you can show me where there is a difference between the two, I might be willing to try it.

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I have had cystic acne for over 30 years, and have been on antibiotics for over 9. I tried a diet similar to this over the summer. I ate no sugar, no vinegar, not even fruit, no flour, and no dairy. It was basically meat, vegetables oatmeal, and salads with olive oil. I was on this diet for 6 weeks, and I tried going down on my antibiotics for one day, and my skin broke out the next day. I couldn't believe it. This diet sounds so similar to the one I was on, except for the fruit, I'm very skeptical about it. I tried this because I felt I had a ton of yeast in my body for the antibiotics. If you can show me where there is a difference between the two, I might be willing to try it.

I've also had acne for 30+ years. I really have never figured out dietary triggers. Frankly, considering the lesion (cyst, whatever) could take a week or more to form following a dietary issue, to me it would be very difficult to figure that out. Like I said, I never have.

Stress and fatigue, for me, I do believe triggers it. However, stress is increased by the mere presence of an ugly zit, so it could be a chicken egg issue as well.

Only meds have helped me, and only accutane for that matter.

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I actually read a similar e-book. It offers a more up to date and beleivable solution to fixing acne through diet. But there are certain differences that if you don't do, nothing will work. One example, is the fact that any sharp rise in blood glucose levels by eating fruit or any sugar automatically causes a surge in androgenic hormones in your body and since according to the e-book everyone who has acne has a poor live, the hormones won't get filtered out and will cause toxins in the blood which release into the skin causing acne. This author basically debunks all other diets claiming his is the one and only. However, I can't try it completely yet. From what I've been incorporating it seems to help. November will be the 3rd month post-accutaine and so far I am still completely clear, so I'll update you on how it goes.

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