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. Which leads 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 that it can be irritating and makes you more sensitive to sun.

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 rather than exfoliate freely. So they break up the plugs and allow dead skin cells to be released from the skin surface. Sulfur and Salicylic Acid are examples of  topical keratiolytic agents. And you can get sulfur via DIY recipes from foods in our kitchen such as a Turmeric & yogurt mask. A probiotic in yogurt also boosts ceramide production.

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. 

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 so supplementation is not beneficial.  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. Cover up with 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.