Vitamins to Cure Acne

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is an antioxidant that belongs to the class of compounds called retinoids. The active alcohol form of vitamin A is known as retinol. Vitamin A, commonly known as Retin-A (Tretinoin Cream 0.05%), has been prescribed for decades by dermatologists to treat acne topically. Accutane, a prescription oral medication, has been used to treat severe nodular acne by dermatologists for years as well and is also a form of vitamin A. Low levels of this vitamin have been associated with inflammation and acne. In the body, vitamin A is responsible for red blood cell production, immune system support, healthy skin, normal vision, and overall growth and development of the body. Food sources include orange and yellow fruits and vegetables, sweet potatoes, spinach and cod liver oils.

Why is it of value for treating acne?

Vitamin A is essential to the normal shedding of dead skin cells that build up inside the pore and ultimately cause acne- this sticky build up and excess production of skin cells is one of the main causes of acne! Click here to read about other causes of acne. This vitamin functions by preventing this build up that would have otherwise caused a clogged pore. In addition, the antioxidant properties of vitamin A act as an anti-inflammatory for the skin and help to calm swollen, red and sore acne breakouts.

Who should increase their Vitamin A intake?

It is highly recommended that individuals with inflammatory acne on the face and/or body should be eating foods high in vitamin A and supplementing with 10,000 iu’s of vitamin A per day. I have had great success with the Vitamedica Healthy Skin supplement and Clear Skin Formula Daily Packs. If you are pregnant, please consult a physician before starting on vitamin A supplements.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) is an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish and seafood, particularly oily, ocean fish such as mackerel, sardines and anchovies. It is arguably the best anti-inflammatory found in nature.

Why is it of value for treating acne?

Inflammation is at the core of acne (externally and systemically), therefore an anti-inflammatory supplement is key to clearing acne. The inflammation process is triggered at the systemic level and then, with many other factors, causes acne at the skin level. An important side note, inflammation is also connected to nearly all chronic disease such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, etc.

Omega-3 fatty acids work to clear acne by inhibiting two inflammatory chemicals that are responsible for acne breakouts, they are called PGE2 and LTB4. One way to inhibit the production of these two chemicals is with the drug Accutane and the other way is, naturally, with EPA omega-3 fatty acids. To find out if you have inflammatory acne click here. EPA Omega-3 supplements and foods are the best way to put out the flame. Research shows that people consuming diets higher in omega-3 fatty acids, such as in Japan, the coastal regions of North Carolina and Papua New Guinea all have a low rate of acne.

Who should increase their Omega-3 intake?

It is highly recommended that individuals with inflammatory acne on the face and/or body should be eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids and supplementing with 2 grams (2,000 mg) of EPA omega-3’s per day. I have had great success with the OmegAvail High Potency Fish Oil and the Flax Seed Oil. Be sure to check your labels, as you want to have a minimum of 1,000 mg of EPA per day. This is because EPA is the better anti-inflammatory over DHA. Most Fish Oil supplements will contain more DHA than EPA so be sure to check your labels. If you are pregnant, please consult a physician before starting on fish oil supplements.

In addition to supplements, oily fish such as anchovies, sardines and mackerel as well as oils such as flax, walnut and canola oil are fantastic resources of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 enriched eggs are also recommended. Soybean, peanut, sunflower, palm oil and other vegetable oils should be strictly avoided as these will make acne worse by stimulating the PGE2 chemical that causes acne.

Zinc

Zinc is a mineral that is responsible for contributing to many, many functions within the body. To name a few: growth and develepment, brain function, reproduction and immune function. In food, zinc is in beans, nuts, seeds, oatmeal, whole grains, lean meats and oysters.

Why is of value for treating acne?

Zinc has many important functions for acne clearing. One, zinc assists with the metabolism of omega-3 fatty acids. Two, zinc is an important antioxidant and anti-inflammatory for the skin. Three, zinc helps break down substance P, the nerve chemical that causes sebum production when the body is stressed. Four, zinc is responsible for transporting Vitamin A. an antiacne nutrient, from the liver. Recent studies have shown that people with acne have low levels of zinc in their system.

Who should increase their Zinc intake?

As you can see, Zinc is an important supplement to take with Vitamin A and Omega-3 Fish Oils. Zinc is highly recommended if taking either of these supplements to assist in the uptake and metabolism. It is also recommended as part of a basic supplement regimen for non-inflammatory and inflammatory acne. Approximately 40 mg per day is the therapeutic dose of zinc. Check all your supplement labels as zinc is often added to a multi-vitamin and the Vitamedica Healthy Skin. If taking the Healthy Skin, no additional zinc is needed.

Selenium

Selenium is a minor mineral as well as an antioxidant that works to protect other antioxidants. In can be found in grains, nuts, seafood salmon and halibut.

Why is it of value for treating acne?

Selenium has been proven to work synergistically with as well as preserve the levels of other antioxidants, such as zinc. Selenium functions in glutathione peroxidase, an enzyme which is very important in preventing the inflammation of acne. This selenium-dependent enzyme that controls glutathione is low in acne patients, and low levels of blood selenium have also been documented. Small amounts of selenium and vitamin e have been shown to improve acne, particularly in those with low baseline glutathione enzyme activity. In addition, research has shown that a deficiency in selenium may play a role in inflammatory conditions such as acne, eczema and psoriasis.

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