eMEMBERSHIP  LOGIN

Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Acne

Posted on Feb. 2, 2004, 7:13 a.m. in Skin-Hair

Abstract: The typical western diet has low consumption of omega-3 fatty acids, an excess consumption of omega-6 fatty acids and trans fatty acids, as well as a reduction in consumption of dietary antioxidant vitamins. The omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio in the western diet generally reaches a ratio of 20:1. Traditional hunter-gatherer diets are closer to a 1:1 ratio. Fish, wild game and wild plants have higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids than do refined western foods. Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce insulin-like growth factor 1 in healthy humans. A diet high in omega-3 fatty acids may be involved in the prevention of hyperkeratinization of sebaceous follicles. Leukotriene B4, which is proinflammatory, has been implicated in the pathogenesis of acne. A leukotriene B4 blocker has led to a 70% reduction in inflammatory active lesions. Arachidonic acid is the major dietary omega-6 fatty acid from meat and is the precursor for the manufacturing of leukotriene B4. Omega-3 fatty acids along with a low-glycemic diet may have a synergistic effect for reducing the risk of acne.

Commentary: The most powerful, natural blockers of the arachidonic acid cascade are the omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil-eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids (EPA, DHA). By blocking this pathway you can effectively block overproduction of leukotriene B4 and other pro-inflammatory prostaglandins. When I spoke at the National Psoriasis Association, I presented compelling data on the use of fish oil with skin diseases-most notably psoriasis. Many of the participants including patients and doctors were familiar with this as well as the use of antioxidant supplements. Acne is not a tetracycline deficiency. And long term treatment with this powerful antibiotic seems inappropriate at best. Some of the newer high dose synthetic vitamin A drugs have some good data for acne-but they are teratogenic and we do not know the long term effects on reproduction. Having used fish oil and high-dose antioxidants with success, I would suggest first "doing no harm" to a patient and trying this first. Also, important is detoxification. I do combine this with bowel detoxification (using a psyllium or flaxseed mixed with liquid) as well as some dietary restriction-most notably fat. By reducing total fat intake to around 20%, you effectively can use less fish oil supplementation (4-6 caps/day). You may also need to consider a trial of dairy restriction, wheat restriction and perhaps even gluten. You can often figure out what to do first by examining a 7-day diet record.

  

Health Headlines MORE »

About an hour of ballroom dancing 3 days a week, for 3 months, resulted in a 50% improvement in balance and fall reduction.
Sugar sweetened beverages such as sodas and juice cocktails may elevate blood pressure.
Not only did collegiate-trained swimmers recover better with chocolate milk after an exhaustive swim, they swam faster in time trials later that same day.
Regardless of speed or distance, runners tend to have lower rates of heart-disease related deaths – translating to a potential of 3 additional years of lifespan
The leaves and bark of the Voacanga africana tree may hold potential to ward off Alzheimer’s Disease.
A daily glass of beetroot juice may boost the aerobic fitness of swimmers.
USDA Forest Service calculates that trees save over 850 human lives a year and prevent 670,000 incidences of acute respiratory symptoms.
A lack of sleep may trigger errors in memory.
Daily magnesium supplementation enhances performance-boosting effects of a fitness regimen, among healthy older women.
MIT scientists create a special class of tiny gold particles can easily slip through cell membranes.