Thursday, May 7, 2015

Does Food Really Have No Affect On Acne?

When I was 21 I became interested in nutrition. My first book was How To Live Longer And Feel Better by renowned scientist Linus Pauling, PhD. Dr. Pauling was a big advocate of mega-dosing vitamin-C (Linus Pauling was, among other things, famous for outliving all of his critics). By that time had been a couple year out of my teenage years. If you remember your teenage years as I do, beyond sports and school there was acne and visits to the dermatologist.

I remember the dermatologist saying to me on several occasions that what you eat has nothing to do with your acne. For some reason, I didn't believe him. To me, it didn't make sense. But, what the heck did I know-I'm just a kid. Well, about 6 years ago I heard another dermatologist speaking in front of a crowd of interested business men and women. The dermatologist rattled off a lift of foods stating "what of the following foods and your skin have in common? Pizza, chocolate cake, cookies - NOTHING!" The dermatologist said nothing? The answer astonished me. The difference now is I was no longer an uneducated teenager but had a doctorate, had been in practice many years and an avid reader and lecture attendee in the area of nutrition. Here it was 20-something years later and dermatologists as a whole still think there's no correlation between acne, your skin and the foods we eat.

Most people don't realize it but your skin is the largest organ in your body. It's the barrier between our insides and the outside world. People eat some bad food and get indigestion, diarrhea or constipation. People eat too many refined carbohydrates, sugar and trans fats and it clogs up your arteries and raises your blood pressure and leads to heart attacks and strokes. Eating some foods causes your insulin to spike, while some foods cause people to have allergic reaction. Consuming caffeine causes your brain to become more alert. But for some reason the food you eat doesn't have any affect on your skin. Really? Does this make sense to anyone else out there or am I crazy?

When I do nutrition talks to groups and in discussing it with patients, I classify the foods we eat into two main classifications (1) Pro-inflammatory (2) Anti-inflammatory. What are anti-inflammatory foods? Well, we can start with things like Chocolate cake, pizza and french fries (sorry citizens of the world, but it's true). Foods that stray too far from our evolutionary eating promote cellular inflammation. But let's go beyond that.

What creates your skin? The food you eat.
What creates your brain? The food you eat.
What creates your heart? The food you eat.

See where I'm going?

The food you eat are the biochemical constituents that become your body. If you want a healthy brain, eat healthful food. If you want a healthy heart, eat healthful food, want healthier skin, eat healthful food and so on.

Is it always as simple as this? No. But, to categorically deny that the very foods you eat whose biochemical constituents become the organs, cells and tissues of your body has absolutely no affect on the health of your skin is just silly. At the very least, eating an anti-inflammatory diet is certainly THE FIRST place to start. Let's take this one step further, go to your dermatologist to make sure your skin disorder isn't something more serious. But I hope you realize that diet does play a role in the health of your entire body, skin included.

Try eating healthfully for 4 months and see what happens. Just a thought. 

Below are some references from The Dietary Cure For Acne (2006) by Loren Cordain, PhD.

'nuff said.

Dr. T

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  1. Cordain L, Lindeberg S, Hurtado M, Hill K, Eaton SB, Brand-Miller J. Acne vulgaris: A disease of western civilization. Arch Dermatol 2002; 138:1584-90.
  2. Cordain L, Eades MR, Eades MD. Hyperinsulinemic diseases of civilization: more than just Syndrome X. Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol. 2003 Sep;136(1):95-112. 
  3. Cordain L. Implications for the role of diet in acne. Semin Cutan Med Surg. 2005 Jun;24(2):84-91.
  4. Cordain L. Dietary implications for the development of acne: a shifting paradigm. In: U.S. Dermatology Review II 2006, (Ed.,Bedlow, J). Touch Briefings Publications, London , 2006 ______________________________________________________

Dr. Narson is a 2-term past president of the Florida Chiropractic Association’s Council on Sports Injuries, Physical Fitness & Rehabilitation and was honored as the recipient of the coveted Chiropractic Sports Physician of the Year Award in 1999-2000. He practices in Miami Beach, Florida at the Miami Beach Family & Sports Chiropractic Center; A Facility for Natural Sports Medicine.

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