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Nutritional Therapy

Acne

Some causative factors
  • Contraceptive pill
  • Deficiencies of vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin E, essential fatty acids and/or zinc
  • Fatty diet
  • Female hormone imbalance (premenstrual acne)
  • Food intolerances (e.g. chocolate, cocoa, cheese, sugar)
  • Sluggish, fatty liver

Skin zinc levels were found to be low in patients with acne, psoriasis and other skin diseases, suggesting that many of these patients have a zinc deficiency. Michaelsson G et al: Patients with dermatitis herpetiformis, acne, psoriasis and Darier's disease have low epidermal zinc concentrations. Acta Derm Venereol 70(4):304-8, 1990.

Compared with controls, advanced cases of acne had significantly lower zinc levels. Amer M et al: Serum zinc in acne vulgaris. Int J Dermatol 21(8):481-4, 1982.

Promising nutritional research

Premenstrual acne improved in 72% of 106 women given vitamin B6 supplements. Snider BL et al. Pyridoxine therapy for premenstrual acne flare. Arch Dermatol 110:130-131, 1974.

Zinc intake is of borderline sufficiency in the French population. Zinc supplementation has been shown to be beneficial against several conditions, including acne, reduced immunity and infertility. Favier A: Current aspects about the role of zinc in nutrition. Rev Prat 15(2):146-51, 1993.

Success or failure of zinc treatment of acne depends on whether a zinc deficiency is present. Leyh F: Zinc - a new therapeutic principle in dermatology? Z Hautkr 62(14):1064, 1069-71, 1075, 1987.

Zinc therapy results in significant improvement for many acne cases. Verma KC et al: Oral zinc sulphate therapy in acne vulgaris: a double-blind trial. Acta Derm Venereol (Stockh) 60(4):337-40, 1980.
Dreno B et al: Low doses of zinc gluconate for inflammatory acne. Acta Derm Venereol (Stockh) 69(6):541-3,1989.

In a trial on 76 acne patients the efficacy of a vitamin B3 gel was found to be comparable to the efficacy of an antibiotic gel (clindamycin). Shalita AR et al: Topical nicotinamide compared with clindamycin gel in the treatment of inflammatory acne vulgaris. Int J Dermatol 1995 34(6):434-7, 1995.

Studies have found low glutathione peroxidase levels in patients with acne and other skin disorders. Clinical trials with selenium or selenium plus vitamin E supplementation have given positive results. Bruce A: Swedish views on selenium. Ann Clin Res 18(1):8-12, 1986.
Juhlin L et al: Blood glutathione peroxidase levels in skin diseases: effect of selenium and vitamin E treatment. Acta Derm Venereol (Stockh) 62(3):211-4, 1982.

Michaelsson G et al: Erythrocyte glutathione peroxidase activity in acne vulgaris and the effect of selenium and vitamin E treatment. Acta Derm Venereol (Stockh) 64(1):9-14, 1984.

Acne rosacea

Some causative factors
  • B vitamin deficiency
  • Gastric acid and/or pancreatic enzyme insufficiency
  • Intolerance to tea, coffee and alcohol

Promising nutritional research

Of 30 acne rosacea patients, those with a hydrochloric acid deficiency improved after treatment with hydrochloric acid and B vitamins. Allison JR. The relation of hydrochloric acid and vitamin B complex deficiency in certain skin diseases. South Med J 38:235-241, 1945.

Adapted from the Nutritional Health Bible by Linda Lazarides
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