Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Damage Occurs any time you take in more sugar than your cells need for energy at any moment in time.

See, the thing is, even if your insulin production and sensitivity is all in perfect working order, if the cell's energy stores are full, they won't take in more sugar.  If you consume sugar without burning off the stored energy, your cells won't take more in and it will circulate in your bloodstream doing damage and then get taken back into the liver for storage which also causes damage. 

Much of the damage is caused by Glycation, a process in which protein or fat molecules in your arteries  organs and other tissues bond to simple sugar molecules creating Advanced Glycation End products (AGEs) which are implicated in aging, heart disease and diabetes. It causes a loss of elasticity in skin and hardens arteries.  

The sugar your cells can't take in keeps circulating around in your bloodstream doing damage until it gets back to the liver where it gets turned to triglycerides which raise your LDL cholesterol.  Especially the small particle LDL that can penetrate and damage arteries.  And then excess triglycerides are stored in the liver causing fatty liver disease.  Children are now developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, something that used to be rare even for adults. 

In addition to all this, excess sugar reduces insulin sensitivity, increases inflammation levels and stimulates excess hormone production. Your body will try releasing more insulin hoping to get your cells to take in the sugar. 

How much sugar your cells can take in varies from person to person depending on activity level, muscle mass, the consumption of nutrients that help the body manage sugar and much more. But the bottom line is that if you are going to eat or drink added sugar, you need to be up and moving around burning energy.  

Note:  The CDC recommends you limit it to 25 grams per day. There's 39 grams of sugar from HFCS in one can of CokeIf we got our sugar only from fruits and vegetables like we are meant to, most people would consume about 15 grams per day. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

An Anti-Inflammatory Diet for Clear (and Wrinkle Free) Skin

Chronic Silent Inflammation is aging and a root cause of most of the degenerative diseases so common today.  And it is a root cause of acne. 

It is bad for everyone, but for those of us with the right genes, it leads to acne.  Inflammatory events cause skin cells to be malformed and not exfoliate properly leading to clogged pores and acne.  They also age you.  So the same diet that clears acne also prevents wrinkles! 

Study: Inflammatory events are involved in acne lesion initiation

Study: Oxidative Stress affects acne

 Unlike Acute Inflammation like the fever, redness and swelling that occurs in response to injury and illness and then goes away, Chronic Silent Inflammation is subclinical, meaning there are no outwardly visible signs. And when it continues, it causes numerous problems in the body.  The body has many inflammatory responses, some involving the immune system and some not.  And there are many triggers such as stress, pollution, trans fats, and sugary and other high glycemic foods

How to follow an Anti-Inflammatory diet: Some Foods and habits promote inflammation and some counter it.  

Consume primarily Anti-inflammatory foods.  This means almost anything from a plant that isn't a seed, poisonous and that you aren't allergic to.  Anything that's an antioxidant is anti-inflammatory. These antioxidants are primarily in the color and flavor.  So consume tons of colorful fruits and vegetables, especially greens and berries.  Also, a few white or pale things such as onions, garlic, cabbage and cauliflower.   Also, spices, herbs and teas.  These flavorful plants and plant parts are super concentrated sources of antioxidant anti-inflammatory nutrients. 

Besides plant foods, animal products high in Omegs 3 fatty acids are also anti-inflammatory.  This means fish as well as products from animals that eat their natural diets rather than grain. Venison, Bison, Beef and Lamb from pastured animals and eggs from hens roaming free outdoors where they eat insects, worms and various plant foods. On that note, be careful about farmed fish. Some fish are suitable for farming and some aren't. Salmon aren't.  Their relatives such as trout and and arctic char are better.  Tilapia are wonderful for farming as they can live crowded together in small ponds and tanks and consume only vegetarian food.  Just be sure the come from a country with high standards on feed and keeping those crowded tanks clean. Oh, and the best way to avoid mercury from wild caught is to consume the smaller and less predatory fish such as sardines, herring and small species of mackerel and trout.  These are also fatty fish so amongst the best sources of Omega 3s.  

By consuming the above foods, you'll also be consuming more of the nutrients that help your body manage blood sugar.  

Avoid Inflammatory Foods, the worst of these being sugar and high glycemic foods and meals and trans fats.  Also, seeds, especially grains, and products from animals fed on grains are all somewhat to very inflammatory and should be limited as you balance them with lots of anti-inflammatory foods. This is primarily because they are high in Omega 6 fatty acids, which are essential, but most people get far too much in their diets from bread and cereals, vegetable and grain oils and products from animals fed grain. We need more omega 3s, less omega 6. So limit grain consumption, avoid grain oils and try to get as much of your animal products from pastured animals as you can. 

Avoid trans fats by avoiding hydrogenated oils such as margarine and vegetable shortening.  Also, foods cooked in grain and vegetable oils at temperatures above their smoking point. This means avoiding most commercially prepared baked and fried foods. These oils go rancid very easily.  They should be in dark bottles and refrigerated. Not sitting on supermarket shelves or your counter in clear plastic. Or better yet, just avoid them. Vegetable oil and shortening doesn't come from vegetables, by the way. It comes from grains and soybeans. Use coconut oil and olive oil for most of your cooking. Again, you should only keep a small amount of olive oil at room temperature and store the big bottle in the fridge. 

Elevated insulin levels cause inflammation which worsens acne and scarring

Do not wait until you develop diabetes to worry about keeping your blood sugar stable. 

Elevated blood sugar also causes loss of elasticity in tissues. All tissues, your skin, your arteries, your organs, all of them.  Elevated sugar floating around in your bloodstream causes damage to arteries and other tissues. This is the real cause of heart disease, not cholesterol. Cholesterol is the spackle your body makes to repair the damage. Every time you spike your blood sugar higher than would ever occur if we hadn't invented added sugar and refined grains, you cause aging damage to occur. 

Fat and fiber lower the glycemic impact of a meal

So always combine high glycemic foods such as sweet fruits and vegetables and the obvious processed foods such as bread and cookies with low ones like meats, eggs, beans and nuts.  And the number one tip I can give you--DON'T DRINK SUGAR! at least not without a meal to reduce the harm.  You are basically pouring sugar into your bloodstream when you have a soda or juice between meals. 

Also, anything you have an intolerance for is Inflammatory. You need to figure out what intolerances you might have and avoid or address them.  Some can be solved by such things as promoting digestive enzymes that help digest protein, fats, etc. But that's for another post on digestive health coming soon. 

And finally, abdominal fat is a big source of inflammation. Visceral fat (around your middle) in particular causes inflammation.

Anti-inflammatory Lifestyle Habits

Manage Stress. Take daily walks, Meditate. Dance. Do a hobby that you enjoy. Whatever works for you.

Get a good Night's Sleep.  Night being the keyword.  We are meant to sleep in the dark and go out into the daylight in the morning.  Melatonin, the neurotransmitter that promotes sleep, is a potent antioxidant.  It is made from Seratonin which is made from certain nutrients and stimulated by daylight.  In the evening, when you should be in dim light and darkness, it's converted to melatonin to stimulate sleep and keep you asleep.  This cycle of exposure to daylight and darkness affects so many of your body's processes. Try to keep it as natural as possible.  There will be more in a later post about sleep and the circadian cycle.

Avoid pollution, especially smoke and automobile exhause.  Try to avoid sitting in traffic and be careful where you walk and jog.

Regular low to moderate intensity physical activity Walking, dancing, yard work, etc. Prolonged intense workouts such as jogging, half hour to hour intense cardio, etc are inflammatory and damaging due to oxidative stess. Also, our energy systems were never designed to fuel for such prolonged intense activity.

Study: Exercise as a Mean to Control Low-Grade Systemic Inflammation

Monday, June 18, 2012

Why your friends can eat junk and have clear skin

For all those thinking diet couldn't affect acne because their friends eat nothing but junk and have clear skin or wondering why their friends can eat junk and have clear skin.   That junk is bad for them too and is causing them harm.  They just don't get the symptom of acne as a result.  Yes, it is genetic. But it isn't all genetics.  Few health conditions are. And you can control many of the factors that lead to the acne formation or the development of most other health conditions.

Things that are Different in Acne Prone Skin - the Differences Between Us and Them

Acne prone skin has a tendency towards follicular hyperkeratosis or abnormal follicular keratosis 

This is affected by many things that you can control, such as a high glycemic diet http://www.acne.org/...dpost&p=2581754)

One of the major factors that cause this tendency  is elevated growth factors during puberty or due to high glycemic and insulinotropic diet habits. 

Acne prone skin is deficient in linoleic acid 

This applies to skin prone to all kinds of problems and in all kinds of mammals.
Acne Prone Skin/sebum Deficient In Linoleic Acid, Possible Topical Solution: http://www.acne.org/...pical-solution/ 

Acne prone skin has Fewer llamelar granulars

 that contain  desquammation enzymes and lipids -- things that make cells exfoliate normally without clogging pores. Affected by linoleic acid. There are hings you can do about this, as well.

Acne prone skin is more permeable 

around our sebaceous glands and follicles making them more likely to rupture. This is affected by our lack of linoleic acid in our sebum and can be improved with topical application of a quality linoleic acid oil.

Acne prone skin tends to have more estrogen/androgen receptors 

Especially in males. http://www.ncbi.nlm....pt=AbstractPlus Andhttp://www.ncbi.nlm..../pubmed/6448587    
Or be more sensitive to androgens.  But this is affected elevated growth factors during puberty or due to high glycemic and insulinotropic diet habits.

Acne prone skin tends to have Higher levels of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) 

This in turn is converted by 5-alpha reductase into DHT, the form of testosterone that is a major culprit in oily skin which aggravates acne.

Acne prone skin tends to have more of the enzymes that convert androgens and estrogens -

Which are affected by habits such as dairy consumption and high GI diets. And is inhibited by linoleic acid.

Acne prone skin tends to be Deficient in retinoids

Possibly due to mutations in CYP26AI gene that causes it to be metabolized too fast to be used. http://www.acne.org/...n/#entry3229786.

All of this is specifically about what's going on in our skin, not about the various other factors going on elsewhere in our bodies that worsen the acne condition. For the most part, other people have those things happening too, they just don't get the symptom of acne. These are the differences between us and them.

More info:

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Diet and Habits for Clear Skin: The Basics

Follow a Good, Anti-inflammatory Diet

In general, what you want is a nutrient dense, blood sugar stabilizing, anti-inflammatory diet that doesn't include anything you have an intolerance for. And you need to sleep well, keep as natural as possible circadian rhythm, manage stress and be physically active.  This is not just for acne.  It is anti-aging and good for everything that ails you. It can prevent conditions you didn't even know you were developing.

Keep all meals, drinks and snacks low to moderate glycemic load.

It's the impact of the meal that matters, not each and every food. Never drink or snack on sugar without plenty of fiber and fat to lower the glycemic impact. 

Eat real, whole nutrient dense food. 

Limit/avoid sugar, grains-especially gluten grains and refined grain products, hydrogenated/trans fats (margarine, crisco, most fried foods, corn & veggie oil). This means avoiding most commercially prepared foods.

Also limit dairy, especially unfermented and especially from cows. Milk contains hormones meant to make tons of things happen in a rapidly growing infant's body. This causes bad things in our no longer rapidly growing post-adolescent bodies.

The most anti-inflammatory foods are plant foods that are not grains and fish. 

Have lots of veggies, fruit, herbs, teas, and spices. Try to have only products from pastured animals as much as possible. High omega 3 fish like wild salmon, sardines, herring. Farmed trout is also ok depending on where it's from, but avoid farmed salmon.

The most inflammatory foods/meals are anything that spikes your blood sugar/insulin, anything you have an intolerance for, trans fats and high omega 6 sources like grains, grain oils, and products from grain fed animals.

Follow an elimination diet to determine any intolerances you may have.

 Either follow a very hypoallergenic diet for a couple months, then methodically add foods back in, or methodically eliminate foods starting with the most commonly problematic ones such as grains, nuts, peanuts, soy, eggs, citrus, shellfish, dairy, etc. Perfectly healthy foods could be causing your breakouts.

Try completely avoiding gluten grains and dairy for at least a month. And even if you notice no improvement, they should not be a big part of your diet. Dairy always affects acne for a number of reasons and gluten isn't good for anyone, causing serious harm for some people, and is usually part of some high glycemic food anyway.  Grain products are empty or nearly empty calories. Don't fill up on them.

Consider Special Health Issues you may have.

And then maybe you need to pay extra attention with supplements, foods and habits to address any issue you might have like gut permeability and other digestion issues, poor liver or adrenal function. Diet and lifestyle habits such as proper sleep,stress management and fitness level affect everyone's acne and can help everyone's acne. Some people just have to work harder to figure out what they need do.

For details on all of the above, visit my thread on this discussion forum where I've been participating for years: http://www.acne.org/messageboard/index.php/topic/230714-good-things-for-the-many-factors-that-lead-to-acne/