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Thread: acne and inflammation whenever i eat anything page

  1. #1
    dirk41's Avatar
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    acne and inflammation whenever i eat anything

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    I'm 21 years old and been having acne since high school. I've tried multiple things like antibiotics and the regimen from acne.org and they've all helped to some extent, but then stopped being effective. For the longest time I believed that diet had no bearing on acne but now I'm convinced otherwise. I discovered the PB this summer and while I'm no where close to being 100% primal, I've tried to make strides like, for example, cutting way back on sugar (soda being my biggest vice) and eating more saturated fats.

    I've scanned the threads on here related to acne and I've noticed 2 primary culprits: dairy and sugar. I don't think dairy is a major factor for me. Back in HS, when my acne was at its worst, I would only drink milk occasionally, never ate eggs, and really only ate cheese if it was on pizza. This summer I've adopted a pretty regular breakfast of eggs and bacon and my face is the best it's been in a while. As for sugar, I went about 10 days this summer without any soda or juicies (and I don't eat chocolate, candy, or ice cream to begin with) and noticed that my face improved only slightly, if it all.

    I think inflammation is playing a key role in preventing my acne from going away completely. I went to Washington DC for a couple of days last week and I think the sunlight really affected my face. I broke out with pimples. Since returning home, my face has healed quite well. Spreading coconut oil on my face before bed has really helped. Yesterday I picked up some fish oil, zinc, and vitamin E supplements. I'm hoping those will help.

    I feel like my face is at least 80% there in terms of being completely clear, but I'm not sure how to get to 100%. When I woke up this morning my skin felt really nice and my face was clearer than it had been last night. But when I ate breakfast (bacon and eggs), I could feel inflammation in my face. I feel inflammation when I eat just about anything, even salads. Is there something digestion-related here? Should I wait some more and see how the supplements help? Should I go 100% primal?

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    EDIT: I should add that I don't think sleep and stress are contributing factors. I haven't worked this summer and I get 8 hours a night of sleep easy.
    Last edited by dirk41; 08-24-2011 at 11:51 AM.

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    Being off sugar is very good but...Are you completely off grains as well? If not, that would be the next step.
    Paula Primal since 9/24/2010
    "Our greatest foes, and whom we must chiefly combat, are within." Miguel de Cervantes

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    I think your diet should be your first priority and the skin should clear on it's own once diet is worked out. If you're sort of going back and forth on the diet, I'm sure it's having an effect on your skin. Eat clean for a couple of weeks and see what happens.

    Also, this:
    Cleansing, redefined. | CaveGirlEats

    I'm eager to try the oil cleansing method. It makes sense because even before doing PB, I stopped washing my face so much and using gentler cleansers and that helped a lot. I've noticed when I use hair spray (evil, I know) on my bangs, my forehead breaks out. If you haven't already, it's best to eliminate/switch as many products and toiletries as you can.

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    dirk41's Avatar
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    I haven't cut out grains. I suppose you're right that that is the next step. And I have heard of the oil cleansing method from other threads. Couldn't hurt to try.

  5. #5
    Lewis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirk41 View Post
    I'm 21 years old and been having acne since high school. I've tried multiple things like antibiotics and the regimen from acne.org and they've all helped to some extent, but then stopped being effective.
    Yup. The problem is almost certainly in the gut. The antibiotics can be temporarily effective but because they kill off good bacteria as well as bad tend to make things worse in the long run.

    You probably need to heal your gut and repopulate it with good bacteria.

    For the longest time I believed that diet had no bearing on acne but now I'm convinced otherwise. I discovered the PB this summer and while I'm no where close to being 100% primal, I've tried to make strides like, for example, cutting way back on sugar (soda being my biggest vice) and eating more saturated fats.
    Cutting back probably isn't enough. It's like being pregnant—it's one or the other: either sugar's out or it isn't.

    I've scanned the threads on here related to acne and I've noticed 2 primary culprits: dairy and sugar. I don't think dairy is a major factor for me. Back in HS, when my acne was at its worst, I would only drink milk occasionally, never ate eggs, and really only ate cheese if it was on pizza. This summer I've adopted a pretty regular breakfast of eggs and bacon and my face is the best it's been in a while. As for sugar, I went about 10 days this summer without any soda or juicies (and I don't eat chocolate, candy, or ice cream to begin with) and noticed that my face improved only slightly, if it all.
    You may need that healing to take place.

    I think inflammation is playing a key role in preventing my acne from going away completely. I went to Washington DC for a couple of days last week and I think the sunlight really affected my face. I broke out with pimples. Since returning home, my face has healed quite well. Spreading coconut oil on my face before bed has really helped. Yesterday I picked up some fish oil, zinc, and vitamin E supplements. I'm hoping those will help.
    Those are all good.

    I feel like my face is at least 80% there in terms of being completely clear, but I'm not sure how to get to 100%. When I woke up this morning my skin felt really nice and my face was clearer than it had been last night. But when I ate breakfast (bacon and eggs), I could feel inflammation in my face. I feel inflammation when I eat just about anything, even salads. Is there something digestion-related here? Should I wait some more and see how the supplements help? Should I go 100% primal?
    Yes, I think you should. But even that may not be enough.

    You might try going through Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride's GAPS protocol. That involves cutting out sugar and all other hard-to-digest sugars; all cereal grains and all other hard-to-digest starches. So it's a bit more stringent than Primal. She also suggests that dairy should only be gradually introduced starting with homemade yoghurt, and she places a lot of emphasis on gut-healing. You can take out the offending foods, but you have to take steps to heal as well—that's done with regular use of gelatine-rich broths, and probiotics. She suggests using a good multi-strain one. I think the one called bio-kult has some connection with her and some other doctors, but any one that you'd find in the fridge in a good health-food store and that says it has several different strains of bacteria in it. That kind of protocol even works with some pretty intractable conditions—like autism–which also have a diet/gut component to them.

    I'd take a look at her book. It's linked from her site:

    GAPS Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) - Natural treatment for autism, ADHD/ADD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, depression and schizophrenia

    Or on Amazon:

    Amazon.com: Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, A.D.D., Dyslexia, A.D.H.D., Depression, Schizophrenia (9780954852023): Natasha Campbell-McBride: Books

  6. #6
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    Like you, I suffered with acne since high school, but I'm 34 and I tried EVERYTHING, even going primal a couple years ago didn't compeltely get rid of my acne, and I've just now finally figured out how to prevent it, with a little help from Paul Jaminet at The Perfect Health Diet. I would say cure, but I've only been completely acne free and off all medications/lotions/cleaners for about 3-4 months now so maybe it's a little early to declare that, although I'm pretty confident because I can actually feel the change in my skin, like you're saying, I could always feel the inflammation but I actually noticed the change in the way my skin felt as it healed, as well as the appearance of course!

    I believe the key is sugar. You can't eat it. And it doesn't matter where that sugar comes from, still eat fruit? Stop. At least cut it out for a week or 2 or 3 and also avoid vegetables with higher sugar like carrots and stick to green, leafy veggies mostly. Drink anything like coconut milk with organic pure cane sugar added? Stop. Avoid sauces too as restaurants typically add sugar to their sauces and condiments may have added sugar too so read the label! And as for dairy, I think dairy is only rightfully implicated in that milk and processed cheeses that aren't cultured have high sugar content (lactose). I eat some aged, cultured cheeses and yogurt almost everyday now without any problems. Good fats.

    Other possible keys...

    Keep up a high fat diet. I think eggs are great and usually eat 3+ a day, but some people are allergic. Cook them in coconut oil! I tend to get as much fresh coconut as I can as well as coconut oil. I even put a tbsp of coconut oil in my morning coffee(s) now. Coconut oil is great, you can't get enough when trying to cure acne, because it has antimicrobial properties and will help both internally and externally, as you've discovered. I've also found apple cider vinegar (with the mother) works great as an astringent or cleaner, but I don't put both of these on my face every single day.

    Avoid ketosis, if your acne is caused by a fungal infection in the gut (candida) then fungi have mitochondria and are able to metabolize ketones for energy. When I first started experimenting with fasting I noticed my breakouts got worse. I never skip a meal now although I do restrict protein and carbs in the morning, so I may only eat some fresh coconut and a handful of berries for breakfast. Also, get 200-400 carb calories (calories only from carb content) each day to help prevent ketosis, but from "safe" starches, no wheat! The Perfect Health Diet is really good about explaining this, but my favorites are taro, cassava, and even white rice. I always cover them in pastured, cultured butter.

    And as for those berries I just mentioned, yes they are technically fruit and have sugar, but they also have anthocyanins which may help reduce fungal growth in the GI tract. I never stopped eating berries and I sometimes eat 1 more piece of fruit a day now, like a banana.

    Don't supplement fish oil, it's excess PUFA's. I didn't control the experiment very well on myself, but I suspect when I used to supplement fish oil daily that it was another trigger. I don't know how that relates to a fungal infection in the gut other than maybe excess PUFA's could have contributed to a leaky gut. So avoid vegetable oils too. I do however, eat about 1lb of salmon a week and for other meats I mostly stick to low PUFA meats like beef, lamb, deer.

    If you still have inflammation, then you're still eating something that's causing your acne. I would bet these things I've listed will help you too but you really have to be strict with your diet, stick to it for a few months (10 days isn't enough), and narrow down what's causing it. Good luck!
    Last edited by Hunt3R; 08-24-2011 at 07:36 PM.

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    On the contrary, Hunt3r, aren't Omega 3's (particularly fish oil) supposed to be anti-inflammatory? Wouldn't that help?

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    Hunt3R, I listened to the Paul Jaminet podcast re fungal and bacterial infections.
    Paul said that pathogens that have mitochondria like fungal and protozoa can metabolize ketones for energy - bacteria and viruses cannot. Ketosis diet will starve bacteria and viruses but feed fungal and protozoa.
    For candida (fungal) - 600 to 800 carb calories. Plant foods can suppress candida but encourage good bacteria.

    Adult acne caused by circulation toxins - die offs. Immune system - 80% in gut, 20% in skin. You can get gut dysbiosis and/or skin manifestations. So your skin manifestation is showing you have some kind of infection.
    Paul talked about a supplent for acne - cholestyramine - which binds to fats and biles to eliminate toxins.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MadelynMc View Post
    On the contrary, Hunt3r, aren't Omega 3's (particularly fish oil) supposed to be anti-inflammatory? Wouldn't that help?
    Yes one would think, and I know the Primal Blueprint recommends fish oil and that was why I tried supplementing fish oil in the first place. But for about 1/2 year I supplemented with Carlson's liquid fish oil and I never noticed any benefits from using it. It definitely didn't help acne, although I was still consuming a lot of fruit and small amounts of additional sugar. That's why I mentioned before that "I did not control the experiment very well on myself". I think that over the course of supplementing fish oil, my acne was getting worse, and when I finally stopped I noticed a small improvement, but I cannot say for sure.

    However, when I came across the Perfect Health Diet, they made a good argument against supplementing fish oil (Fish, Not Fish Oil Capsules | Perfect Health Diet). All polyunsaturated fatty acids, even the highly tauted omega-3's, have carbon double bonds that can be easily oxidized, especially if it's been sitting in a box in a warehouse or in transport on a truck or something. If someone offered you a plate of salmon that had been sitting there for a few months, would you eat it? It would probably be pretty rancid, and the same thing can happen to the fat in these capsule/liquid supplements. In addition, a lot of research is indicating that a low PUFA intake in general is ideal so while I may eat high fat, I aim for <5% of fat calories from PUFA's. The PUFA's I do eat, I try to get the highest omega 3 content foods like grass-fed beef, lamb, and a couple times a week I'll eat salmon or other fish. The rest of my fat intake is a mix of saturated and monounsaturated fats, usually skewed towards saturated due to all the coconut and coconut oil I consume.

    FYI, the Perfect Health Diet also has a 2-part series on their website about the possible dangers of a high omega 3 intake from supplementation: Omega-3 Fats, Angiogenesis, and Cancer: Part I | Perfect Health Diet

    I think it's becoming a pretty common consensus across the paleo community that PUFA intake should be relatively low, omega 3's in that intake should be maximized, and fish oil supplementation is best as a temporary treatment for the seriously ill.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sue View Post
    Hunt3R, I listened to the Paul Jaminet podcast re fungal and bacterial infections.
    Paul said that pathogens that have mitochondria like fungal and protozoa can metabolize ketones for energy - bacteria and viruses cannot. Ketosis diet will starve bacteria and viruses but feed fungal and protozoa.
    For candida (fungal) - 600 to 800 carb calories. Plant foods can suppress candida but encourage good bacteria.

    Adult acne caused by circulation toxins - die offs. Immune system - 80% in gut, 20% in skin. You can get gut dysbiosis and/or skin manifestations. So your skin manifestation is showing you have some kind of infection.
    Paul talked about a supplent for acne - cholestyramine - which binds to fats and biles to eliminate toxins.
    I listened too, and that's what I was trying to get across, a ketogenic diet may be beneficial for certain types of bacterial infections where you can starve the bacteria by glucose deprivation and run your body on ketones, but in the case of a fungal infection, they can also metabolize your ketones and thrive in that environment. I believe you're off on the carb range though, Paul Jaminet always recommends a maximum daily intake of 600 carb calories as that is the approximate limit that the human liver can process in a day and excess above that may lead to glucose toxicity. I believe he said 400-600 carb calories daily? This is what he told me when I posed the question on the Perfect Health Diet website: "Eat 400-600 calories a day of carbs to avoid ketosis". Personally I prefer 200-400 and that has been working for me. I have not tried this supplement cholestyramine that Paul described in the podcast, but the theory behind it sounded interesting.

    Also related to gut health, I just watched a good presentation from the Ancestral Health Symposium called "The rainforest in your gut: A brief tour through your intestinal biome, why itís messed up, and how to fix it" by Dr. BG & TG:
    video here: "The rainforest in your gut: A brief tour through your intestinal biome, why it
    slides here: AHS Slides_DrBG and Tim Gerstmar

    And one more thing, I forgot to mention fermented foods and how they are probably very beneficial in healing your gut and therefore curing your acne. At the same time that I gave up sugar, I also started eating plain whole milk yogurt with no added sugar (Stonyfield makes a good one with 6 bacteria cultures added), sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickles, but I may only eat 1 or 2 of these each day. And you want good quality fermented foods without preservatives because that kills the good bacteria along with any bad. So finding some of these may be a challenge. Hell, finding full-fat yogurt without any added sugar is a challenge in our messed up society!

    I also started eating more liver, beef and lamb liver mostly, and making my own pate at home with liver and cultured butter and I tend to eat a little of this almost everyday too. Liver is full of vitamins and minerals that may help your skin but I don't have any references on-hand to back up this claim.

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