Thursday 21 Feb 2013 08:07 AM | Acne, Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria, Antibiotics, Dairy Products, DHA, EPA, Insulin, Milk, omega-3, Paleo Diet, Teenagers, Testosterone
Millions of kids take antibiotics every day to treat their teenage acne. This drives me crazy because it is only treating the symptom rather than treating the underlying cause of the problem. Also, taking antibiotics is downright harmful because they damage the the GI tract, interfere with the absorption of nutrients and ultimately weaken the immune system.
Taking antibiotics regularly also contributes to the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria which has become a major global health issue. A recent book titled Rising Plague: the Global Threat from Deadly Bacteria and Our Dwindling Arsenal to Fight Them by Brad Spellberg addresses this world-wide health problem. Currently antibiotic-resistant bacteria infect more than 2 million Americans and kills over 100,000 Americans each year. Giving antibiotics every day to millions of kids to treat their acne contributes to the overuse and misuse of antibiotics, which contributes to and accelerates the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria. It also puts these kids at greater risk if/when they need antibiotics for another health problem in the future.
Dr. Loren Cordain has made some truly remarkable breakthroughs in the understanding and treatment of acne. I am so alarmed and angry at the harm being done to millions of teenagers by the traditional medical community's acne treatments that I feel compelled to explain Dr. Cordain's work and promote his book The Dietary Cure For Acne.First, let me explain the scope of the problem. It is estimated that from 79 to 95 % of teenagers between the ages of 16 and 18 have acne. Also, some children as young as 4 have acne and about half of young men and women over the age of 25 suffer from acne. Many teenagers have serious cases of acne, which has a devastating effect on their self-image, their self-confidence and their social life.
Dr. Cordain's initial clue to discovering the link between diet and acne came from his observation that acne was completely absent in several non-western cultures whose diets consisted solely of local non-processed foods.
The Causes of Acne: In his book, Dr. Cordain points out that acne is a multifactorial process. The following four processes, which are all related to dietary factors, are involved in the development of acne:
1) Blockage of the pore or hair follicle opening
2) Excessive production of skin oil, which is called sebum
3) Bacterial infection in the pimple
4) Inflammation of the blackhead (also called a comedo) and surrounding tissue
The Dietary Cure For Acne:
What really excites me about Dr. Cordain’s work is that he and his colleagues have conducted groundbreaking scientific research that explains how dietary factors upset various hormone levels and biochemical pathways, which ultimately cause acne to develop. Dr. Cordain’s book not only explains how and why acne develops, he also educates people and provides a solution to cure the problem
Dr. Cordain explains that one a primary cause of acne is hormones that are out of balance. The hormones that are out of balance are insulin and testosterone. Sugar and processed carbohydrates cause elevated production of insulin which in turn causes changes in levels of testosterone. Eliminating sugar and processed carbohydrates lowers levels of inflammation and rebalances insulin and testosterone levels.
Eliminate Milk and Dairy:
Dr. Cordain also explains that ingestion of milk and dairy products causes increased production of insulin. Hence he recommends elimination of milk and dairy products from the diet. Milk and dairy products are one of the most common causes of food allergies and I have been advocating eliminating them from the diet for years.
The omega-3 fish oils (EPA & DHA) are the most powerful anti-inflammatory agents ever discovered. Thus, taking daily supplements containing the omega-3 fish oils is another important part of the program for the dietary cure for acne.
A Personal Case History:
I have had many success stories getting kids to follow Dr. Cordain's dietary cure for acne but one in particular stands out that I would like to share with you. Several years ago a young college student named Christian was a cashier in my pharmacy. Christian's acne was so bad that he looked like someone had attacked him with an ice pick. His face was covered with red inflamed oozing acne sores.
Christian came to me and asked for advice. I explained Dr. Cordain's program and Christian made a total commitment to it. Previously I had seen Christian drink cokes and eat potato chips every day at work. Christian made dramatic improvements to his diet and within about 4 months I estimate that he had about an 80% improvement in his acne. What I enjoyed witnessing was the improvement in Christian's self esteem. He realized that he could control this condition and as his acne cleared up, a very handsome young man who was happy and excited about life began to emerge.
I strongly urge kids with acne and the parents of kids with acne to read Dr. Loren Cordain's book The Dietary Cure For Acne. His WEB site thepaleodiet.com is also a wonderful resource for information about the benefits of the Paleo Diet.