I had my first climb in a bit over a week after being sick, man I feel weak! Hopefully I’ll be back to normal in a couple of climbing sessions; good to be back either way. Other than that, I’ve been spending most of the last couple of days working or watching Smallville lol :p. Good show!
2012 has been, so far, the year with the most personal changes for me. I doubled up my Zoology major with Nutrition (I’m so glad for that!). I spent almost every day between May-September climbing outside; I can now rough it like no one else (people who’ve camped with me in the tail end of the summer would definitely agree lol). I ended my first serious relationship, I think I learnt more about myself within the few months following than I have throughout all of university lol (another factor that led me to doubling up my major!). I quit my job at a restaurant where I hadn’t been treated fairly only to find a few amazing jobs! I worked with an ‘outdoor adventure’ company throughout the summer with some absolutely amazing people. After the warm season was up, I decided to apply for a nutrition job and was lucky enough to get it; another amazing work place where I continue to learn every day! And finally, I decided to start a blog; I`ve had some amazing followers who have continually encouraged me to keep writing. All around, a very exciting year! I can only imagine what 2013 will bring after I`m graduated! It`s scary to think that I have no idea where I`ll be come June, but I have faith that things will work out for the best like they have so far!
Anyways, here’s a picture of me using my rest on a ledge in Kentucky- photo cred’s to my friend Liz
Acne is an epidemic that effects 85% of teenagers and persists into adulthood for about half of us. Environmental acne promoters (including diet) persist after puberty and drive adult acne. It is a distressing condition that often comes with depression, anxiety and significant physiological disability. So with that said, this post will be about the role of nutrition in acne (something that dermatologists should 100% consider).
So why is there such a rise in acne? The western diet is characterized by a high caloric, high glycemic, high fat, high meat and high dairy intake. These high intakes stimulate an increase in insulin and insulin growth factor-1 which will lead to an over activation of nutrient-sensitive enzymes (mTORC1). The increased mTORC1 activation is one of the major contributors for the slew of common modern day chronic diseases (e.g. obesity, diabetes, cancer). The over-activated mTORC1 will result in an increase in both fat production and androgen hormones (e.g. testosterone) which ultimately result in acne (and other problems). Our skin is a good indicator for our internal health, which is why we should be addressing our overall health when dealing with acne (in my opinion anyways).
In recent research, the reduction of high glycemic foods has been confirmed to improve acne, the rate of sebum excretion and androgen hormone content. An example of this can be seen in populations following paleolithic diets (e.g. certain indigenous populations) that are lower overall in glycemic loads. Acne is virtually absent; they have lower insulin levels because of the low glycemic load of their diets and as a result have lower rates of mTORC1 driven diseases. Although there`s overwhelming evidence for the role of diet in acne, this role is highly controversial and as a result, dermatologists still turn to drugs before considering nutrition.
I’ll say it again to keep driving my point home; acne prevention can be achieved through a reduction of mTORC1 activation. So how do we do that? A dietary intervention for acne can include the following; decreased calories, decreased high sugar products, decreased dairy, increased fruits and vegetables and potentially decreased meat consumption. The above would effectively decrease the mTORC1 activation. Vegan and paleolithic diets that are high in vegetables and fruits and excluding refined sugar, high-GI grains and dairy have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and are therefore good options for treating acne. I strongly believe that dermatologists should be responsible for providing appropriate advice, before pushing drugs, which may save patents from other mTORC1 diseases later in life (e.g. obesity, diabetes, cancer).
Unfortunately, nutrition is not a common prescription given by dermatologists. Many of us have turned to a dermatologist and were then prescribed chemicals, antibiotics, birth control or even Accutane; all come with health risks like any other drug and don’t necessarily confront the root of the problem. ”Pop this pill a few times a day and you’ll be cured”, a common theme in modern medicine. I have a particular issue with this system because I was one of those teenagers who turned to a dermatologist and ultimately went through a large period of health problems (which were solved, after seeing a number of medical specialists, by my own research and a change in my diet). Why are we putting ourselves at any risk at all when finding a healthier diet free of risk would potentially resolve our problems? This continues to confuse me and has led me to be extremely leery of certain health care professionals.
So a wrap up; if you are suffering from acne, before turning to a drug, try a changeup in your diet. Try to reduce the glycemic load of your diet, maybe take out milk and up your intake of fruits and vegetables. Although a diet change is much harder than just taking medicine, your body will thank you in no time! And that marks the end of my post, hopefully you enjoyed reading it! Hope all of you have an excellent day! :)
Cordain L. (2005) Implications for the role of diet in acne. Semin. Cutan. Med. Surg.24;84-91.
Melnik, B. (2012) Dietary intervention in acne: Attenuation of increased mTORC1 signaling promoted by Western diet. Dermato-Endocrinology 4:1, 20–32.
Reynolds R, Lee S, Choi J, Atkinson F, Stockmann K, Petocz P and Brand-Miller J. (2010) Effect of the Glycemic Index of Carbohydrates on Acne vulgaris. Nutrients, 2, 1060-1072; doi:10.3390/nu2101060.