Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Does Sugar = Acne?

Does Sugar = Acne?

A frequent Question.  To over simplify. Yes sugar equals acne. It also equals bad health. 

Glucose floating through the bloodstream is very damaging and the true cause of heart disease, not cholesterol.  So the body produces insulin to get it out of the bloodstream and into the cells.  When you consume more glucose than your cells can take in, it keeps trying with the insulin but if the cells are full they aren't going to take in more.   If we hadn't invented added sugar and refined grain junk and sedentary work, this would rarely happen.  

Eventually your cells will become resistant and your pancreas exhausted and you will get diabetes, like about half our population these days.  

In the meantime, both the sugar and the insulin are inflamatory (and acne is an inflammatory condition as are many other health conditions). And the insulin stimulates other hormones such as the HGH and sex hormones involved in acne. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Statin Drugs Will Harm Your Skin and Accelerate Aging

Statin Drugs Inhibit Enzymes Needed for Healthy Skin

The regulation of epidermal lipid synthesis by permeability barrier requirements.
Source Metabolism Section (111F), VA Medical Center, San Francisco, CA 94121.
A major function of the skin is to prevent the loss of fluids. The barrier to fluid loss resides in the intercellular lipids (primarily sterols, fatty acids, and sphingolipids) of the stratum corneum. The epidermis is a very active site of lipid synthesis and when the permeability barrier is disrupted by topical solvents or detergents a marked stimulation of sterol, fatty acid, and sphingolipid synthesis occurs. Essential fatty acid deficient mice, with a chronic disturbance in barrier function, also have an increase in epidermal lipid synthesis. When the defect in barrier function is artificially corrected by occlusion with a water vapor impermeable membrane the increase in epidermal lipid synthesis is prevented, suggesting that water flux may be a regulatory factor. The activity of the key rate limiting enzyme in cholesterol synthesis, HMG CoA reductase is increased following barrier disruption due to both an increased quantity of enzyme and an increase in activation state. Similarly, the activity of serine palmitoyl transferase, the rate limiting enzyme in sphingolipid synthesis is also increased following barrier disruption. Occlusion prevents the increase in HMG CoA reductase and serine palmitoyl transferase activity. When the increase in epidermal lipid synthesis is inhibited by occlusion the characteristic rapid return of stratum corneum lipids and recovery of barrier function is prevented. Moreover, when epidermal cholesterol synthesis is inhibited by lovastatin, an inhibitor of HMG CoA reductase, the rate of recovery of barrier structure and function is delayed. Similarly, B chloroalanine, an inhibitor of serine palmitoyl transferase and sphingolipid synthesis, also impairs barrier recovery. Thus, disruption of the barrier stimulates epidermal lipid synthesis which provides the lipids necessary for the repair of the barrier. The signals that initiate and coordinate this response are yet to be defined, but the understanding of this process may allow for pharmacological interventions that will specifically disrupt the barrier and allow for the transcutaneous delivery of drugs.

Note the bolded line. An example of how the statin drugs they want everyone to take will harm your skin and accelerate aging.  And your epidermis isn't the only tissue it does this to. Tissues inside and out.

Also, this study is about how the necessary lipids are stimulated after the your skin is harmed.  Which would of course be a part of healing. But is this an example of how are medical and pharmaceutical researchers think?  What we need is to damage ourselves in order stimulate healing? 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Homemade Coconut Milk

Make Homemade Coconut milk from Dried Coconut  

This recipe comes fom a vendor of coconut products that doesn't sell a canned coconut milk because they say there isn't a good one.  There's a video demonstration on their site here:

Homemade Coconut Milk Recipe

  • In a medium-size kettle, heat the water, but do not bring it to a boil.
  • Place the coconut in a blender and add 1 cup of the hot water.
  • Blend for 2-3 minutes.
  • Place a colander in a bowl and line the colander with 4 thicknesses of cheesecloth.
  • Pour the blended coconut mixture into the cheesecloth and twist to extract the milk, letting the milk go into the bowl.
  • Return the coconut pulp to the blender and add the remaining 1/2 cup of hot water.
  • Blend for 1-2 minutes, strain and press through the cheesecloth into the bowl.
Makes about 1 cup

Save  the leftover coconut pulp for pancakes & cookies!   

Mix the coconut with a couple mashed ripe bananas, a little salt and whatever else you'd like such as spices, a little cocoa powder, low sugar dark chocolate pieces, a spoonful of nut butter, etc.  Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet & bake.  Also do with other things besides banana such as baked winter squash or sweet potatoes.  Mix with a little egg for pancakes or even better, with mashed sweet potato and egg.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

What you really need to Build Strong Bones & Have Clear Skin is Vitamin D!

Do you want the expensive, temporary treatments vs. long term health promoting solutions and prevention?

Vitamin D for Acne

Acne is a skin condition characterized by hyperproliferation of skin cells. The cell turnover rate in acne prone skin is just right to encourage plugs that don't have enough momentum to be cleared out before new skin cells are building up. Faster or slower turnover won't lead to acne. Which breaks us to treatments.

Accutane works by actually slowing the rate of skin cell turn over.. Vitamin D also inhibits hyperproliferation, and as such, has implications for the treatment of acne, in the same way that accutane does. Fortunately, Vitamin D doesn't have the side effects accutane has, and is in fact rather necessary for health, which cannot be said for accutane.

Retinoids help acne (and signs of aging) by increasing cell turnover allowing the pore to clear itself faster, and not giving the pore enough time to form a plug. However, the problem with this is as soon as you stop using the treatments that speed up skin cell turnover, acne will come back.

Also, many medications that speed skin cell turnover rates are also keratiolytic, meaning they break down keratin, which keeps dead skin cells attached to one another. So they break up the plugs and allow dead skin cells to be released from the skin surface, rather than actually increasing skin cell turnover. Sulfur and Salicylic Acid are examples of  topical keratiolytic agents. And you can get sulfur via DIY recipes from foods in our kitchen. Turmeric, yogurt which helps in several other ways as well.

Now, if you slow the skin cell turnover rate, it will take longer for existing plugs to clear, but as they do, the cell turnover rate is not prolific enough to form a new plug. This is why accutane takes a long time to see results.. But the results are often not permanent.  The great  thing about Vitamin D is that it is a necessary vitamin that you need for life.

Vitamin D for Bones

If you eat a good diet, it's highly unlikely you are deficient in calcium even if you don't drink milk. There is plenty of calcium in many other foods such as sardines with bones, broccoli, greens & almonds. 1 cup of steamed collards and 1 cup of cow's milk are nearly identical in terms of calcium (with collards providing 266 milligrams and cow's milk providing 276 milligrams). And 100 calories worth of spinach provides you with twice as much calcium as 100 calories worth of yogurt.

In fact, too much calcium builds brittle bones.  It's far more likely you are deficient in the other nutrients needed to use calcium and to make strong bones such as Vitamin D, Vitamin K and Magnesium. And those seeds & greens mentioned above are great sources of Magnesium while the greens also supply Vitamin K1. The sardines provide some vitamin D.

Also, your body uses Calcium to maintain the acid/alkaline balance (called pH) in the blood. When blood pH starts getting low, it takes the calcium out of your bones to bring the PH back up.  The Phosphoric acid in Soft Drinks and high salt are two things diet habits that will cause this to happen.

Get Your Vitamin D

Supplement at least 1-3,000 IU per day. But try to get it for free from the sun when you can! So get outside. Your skin manufactures vitamin D in response to ultraviolet (UVB) light.  It only takes about 15 minutes for the body to make vitamin D,  but you need to do it when the sun is high in the sky and you need more than arms & face exposed.  They say you make most vitamin D in your torso, but I've not found an explanation for that. Is it simply because the torso is bigger?  Once you've made some vitamin D, cover up. Put on a hat & sleeves.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Better Sunscreens

The Environmental Working Group's report on the sunscreens of 2014 found that nearly 2/3 of reviewed products are either ineffective or contain harmful ingredients. 

 Summary article with links to EWG's report and other sources

Your skin has numerous defenses to protect itself. They come from nutrients that you must consume regularly and from the lipids you need to quit washing out of your skin with soap.

Make a habit of consuming the many foods high in nutrients that protect you from sun damage Drink some green tea  and apply topically.  Use a good, fresh high linoleic acid containing oil such as safflower oil regularly as a moisturizer. Make some tomato sauces & soups.

Nutrients that protect you from sun damage:
Lycopene from cooked tomatoes, watermelon, pink guava
Proanthocyanids found in purple/black berries, fruits, tea, cocoa, purple onions and cabbage.  

Some things are good for applying after sun exposure to prevent free radical damage include aloe vera,  vitamin C and green tea.

So, get some sun exposure to make the oh so important Vitamin D, then put on a hat & shirt. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

My Skin Healthy Lunch & Active agents, the effective skin care - vitamins, oils & more

Super skin food Lunch of Spinach & Cotija Stuffed Sweet Potato My Skin Healthy Superfood Lunch 

Sweet Potatoes with Wilted Spinach, Olive Oil & a little Cotija Cheese. And of course, my favorite spice blend for sweet potatoes, cinnamon, Cayenne & salt. I've started adding turmeric to the blend to get more into my diet.  The Beta Carotene in the sweet potatoes & greens is converted to retinoids in your skin. 

The excerpt below is from a German skin care product manufacturer's website.  At times, the translations are a bit funny, but it seems to be a valuable resource for information on skin function and skin care ingredients.Some of which, you should have in your kitchen to make fresh products with no need for preservatives & emulsifyers that dry skin.

Active agents, the effective skin care - vitamins, oils & more

From A like allantoin to Z like zinc. There is a multitude of active agents on the market either as substances to be used for cosmetics or substances contained in cosmetics. Effects as well as efficacy depend on various factors which will be described in detail in the following article.

Before the active agent can become effective a number of prerequisites have to be met as for instance its concentration in the product should be adequate, its release out of the cream base has to be ensured as well as the transport to its destination to start its activity. All these prerequisites also demand for an appropriate packaging.

Thus, vitamins are most effective if they are not free but encapsulated as esters in liposomes or nanoparticles in order to be released by enzymatic hydrolysis after penetrating into the deeper skin layers. Vitamin C for example can be encapsulated in nanoparticles as a fat-soluble palmitic acid ester and in liposomes as a water-soluble phosphate ester. In both cases, after their hydrolysis there will be only substances released which are also natural components of the skin. Continue

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

No Grain, Little Sweetener Nut Butter Cookie Recipe

Gluten Free, Low Sweetener Nut Butter Cookie Recipe

I spotted this recipe in the Houston Chronicle. A picture will have to wait until I make them.  And as the instructions call for a food processor and I only have mini one, I haven't gotten around to it yet. 

You've probably heard of bumping up the fiber, protein & other nutrient quality in brownies & cookies by adding mashed beans.  In fact, I've heard you can just add a can of mashed black beans to brownie mix.  But why even include the high glycemic gluten filled empty calorie white flour if it's not needed?

I doubt there's any reason these measurements need to be precise.  In fact, I make so many variations of this with spices, dried fruit, cocoa, etc. Just like I do with the banana cookies. And if that's enough sweetener for the average person, I will cut it by a third to a half.


1/14 cup Cooked Garbonzo Beans (is that how much is in a can?)
2 Teaspoons Vanilla extract
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons Nut Butter
1/4 cup Honey
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 cup chocolate chips (get a low sugar, dark. Like Ghiradelli Bittersweet)

Preheat oven to 350. Pulse the beans in a food processor until well ground. Drain first if using canned. Add remaining ingredients (except choclate if still using processor.) Mix thouroughly. Then stir in chocolate.

The instruction I have call for shaping into 1 1/2 inch balls with wet hands, then placing on the cookie sheet. I don't know why you couldn't just treat them like drop cookies. I wonder how well the balls will spread when the Bake 10 minutes.  The recipe I have states not to over bake.