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Intermittent Fasting/energy Restriction For The Regulation Of Androgens

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Recently because of a college bugdet and food restrictions, I had to go off paleo and most of my supplements so my acne has declined a bit. I also don't have access to fish as much which I believe helped me out alot before. I was very frustrated about my situation in college but soon discovered that if I didn't drink any liquids with meals, onlly 2 hours before and after, i could keep my acne at a much more manageable level. It still is way worse than I would want it, but it has helped me recover from a bad breakout. I was inspired by sadcaroline's post and a few others who had success with this method. Of course they all stressed that it didn't cure their acne but was one step towards clearer skin.

So this got me thinking towards the timing of eating and such. Others have preached about Intermittent Fasting or IF. Since acne is caused by an excess of androgens in the body (yes, i know its much more complicated than this), intermittent fasting would potentially rid your body of excess hormones during your period of not eating. Since I have had minor success with spacing my meals to 4 hours and drinking only water during that time, maybe I could fast from 6pm to 2pm. This would mean that I would eat an early dinner and then not eat until the next day, skip breakfast and have a late lunch. During the window of 2-6 I would get in my necessary calories and nutrients. This seems relatively safe as I have fasted before for periods much longer. My reasoning behind why this could work is this:

"Endogenous total and free testosterone, but not DHEAS, were lower in women with anorexia nervosa than in controls. More marked reductions in both free testosterone and DHEAS were observed in women with anorexia nervosa receiving oral contraceptives. In contrast, normal-weight women with hypothalamic amenorrhea had normal androgen and DHEAS levels. Lower free testosterone, total testosterone, and DHEAS levels predicted lower bone density at most skeletal sites measured, and free testosterone was positively associated with fat-free mass"


I must stress that this is only an example, an extreme example yes, but just an example. No i am not a woman nor do I have anorexia but the concept is similar. Now in this study:

"Energy restriction coupled with high energy expenditure from arduous work is associated with an altered insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) system and androgens that are coincident with losses of fat-free mass. Total, free, and nonternary IGF-I and testosterone declined 50%, 64%, 55%, and 45%, respectively, with similar reductions in both groups."


This is another extreme example since the subjects were sleep deprived. Also this is not a case of intermittent fasting but just fasting for 8 days straight. Another study explains the results of

"Both groups experienced comparable reductions in leptin, free androgen index, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, total and LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure and increases in sex hormone binding globulin, IGF binding proteins 1 and 2. Reductions in fasting insulin and insulin resistance were modest in both groups, but greater with IER than with CER; difference between groups for fasting insulin was -1.2 (-1.4 to -1.0) μU ml(-1) and for insulin resistance was -1.2 (-1.5 to -1.0) μU mmol(-1) l(-1) (both P = 0.04)."


I am not a scientist so alot of the wording hear sounds like mumbo jumbo. But the basic idea that I have been developing is to intermittent fast for most of the week and see if this reduces my acne. I have always heard that occasional fasting is very healthy for the body and reduces heart disease. This goes back to neanderthal times when we didn't have constant access to food. So today it is monday morning, Octobee 15th, 2012. I am starting this today. Any advice is welcome!

These are also other users who have tried intermittent fasting:

and Energizer which I can't seem to find a topic that he started but he has posted alot about this method.

here is another user's story with intermittent fasting:

"Intermittent Fasting (every other day) definitely works for me and my acne.

I learned some time ago that carbs/sugar definitely aggravates my acne. 60 grams of carbs per day seems to be my maximum tolerance before my face turns into a pizza pie (carbs from vegetables and nuts don't seem to have an effect on me but carbs from bread, pasta, sugar, condiments (ketchup!), milk and even whole fruit do - so those are the items I count towards my 60 grams).

Low carbing is all fine and dandy for me during the warmer months when there's no shortage of grilled meats, grilled or sautéed vegetables, salads, olives and cheeses for me to graze on but once the autumn and winter months kick in, I can't help but crave comfort foods which are the very starchy/carby/sugar ladened foods I know I need to avoid to keep my clear complexion.

Anyways, this is where IF comes into play for me. I've found that if I fast every other day, I can pretty much engorge myself (and engorge I do) on all the carby goodness I typically need to avoid and still keep my skin at a constant 'acne free glow'. I'd probably IF all year long if I couldn't give up my bad carbs, but it's really just the colder months where I actually miss or crave these foods (and I like to obey my tummy).

Bonus points - although i don't IF all year long, supposidely there are some great health benefits to intermittent fasting and so I at least feel like I'm partaking in something that's good for my body as a whole, in addition to being able to partake in seasonal goodies I'd normally have to avoid to keep acne (especially cystic) at bay. Fasting one day at a time isn't all that hard and it actually gets easier the more you do it (water only btw, sorry juicers).

Anyways, I'm sure everyone has different needs and root causes of their acne but if I were to guess the cause of mine, I'd probably guess it's insulin resistance related. If you suspect that's the cause of yours, perhaps a similar low carb or IF eating strategy might be helpful for you."

Look on page 4 for Readysteadylove

more anectodal evidence on the relationship between acne and intermittent fasting:

"I've never heard about this but i've been doing an IF type diet for like 4 months and my acne has been nonexsistent brah"

"I realize this is a really old post but I found it linked on Google & thought I would add that I have been doing IF for a little over two weeks now, I had moderate acne before I started & since then it's been almost nonexistent. Could be a coincidence, but I haven't changed anything else."

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I dont know enough about the topic to answer that. I just started intermittent fasting two days ago, so I have yet to report on results. How long exactly have you been doing it? Also what do you mean when you say that the plan works if your skin has actually worsened?

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