Very few of us survived our teenage years completely blemish-free. I remember being self-conscious of my skin, and I wasn't at my most confident while dealing with breakouts. In a distant memory, it seemed that one day my mild case of acne was gone, and so was the schoolyard teasing. Fast forward, and Mother Nature began to taunt me like a teenager again! This time around, dealing with spots and wrinkles! I know I am not alone. And while I no longer have to deal with acne, (only the wrinkles!) there has been an increase in adults, primarily women, from the age of 30 seeking specialist care for acne treatment. Most studies indicate this is because of stress, poor dietary choices and fluctuating hormones. The thing is, breakouts in teenagers tend to subside once the hormones do, but adult acne has no such set point.
Acne develops when sebum (a skin oil) is produced in excess. The sebum and dead skin cells get clogged in hair follicles, creating an environment for bacteria to multiply. Our immune system naturally begins to fight the bacteria and triggers an inflammatory response causing redness, swelling and pustules.
The quest for clear skin is not a new thing. Back in the 1800s herbal medica texts offered remedies to address skin pimples and blemishes. The 1900s brought with it a shift in pharmaceutical antibiotics to help change the appearance of inflamed skin. These days we are looking more holistically into how to address the inflammation of acne using stress management, quality topical skin care, diet and food-based supplements, in particular Omega-3 fish oil.
There is extensive scientific research on Omega-3 fish oil supplementation and how it reduces acne. Some of this information was collected through targeted studies of the effect of Omega-3 and acne. Other data was discovered as a side effect of supplementing with fish oil to treat health conditions. These studies show that taking a good quality Omega-3 fish oil supplement may make your skin less prone to spots and blemishes.
The essential fatty acids in fish oil benefit the skin by reducing your body's inflammatory response to bacteria. The fatty acids can also help regulate acne-causing hormones such as testosterone and androgens. In particular, most studies will refer to Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) levels and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) because these are the essential fatty acids that regulate hormones and calm inflammation.
EPA and DHA are most bioavailable (absorbed by the body) from fish sources. You can get DHA and EPA from plant-based sources such as flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and vegetable oils containing omega-3 fatty alpha-linolenic (ALA). The body can convert some ALA into EPA and DHA. It is important to remember that this conversion rate is usually poor, and it is suggested that the health benefits are less potent, so an algal oil would be a better option for a vegan diet.
When looking for fish oil, you want to know that the oil comes from a small fish like a sardine or anchovy and has been highly purified. This will ensure a low or nil toxic load. Also make certain that the capsules themselves are of high quality to know that the oil will not oxidise; otherwise, all you will be taking is a rancid oil, turned free radical, that will damage your cells.
The link between diet, particularly the Western Diet, and skin conditions such as acne and premature ageing is strong. The Western Diet is abundant in Omega 6, vegetable and seed oils found in most processed food, and the quantity consumed causes inflammation. Omega-3 consumption, which the body cannot produce, is lower, often deficient, causing oxidative stress and inflamed skin conditions, with acne being one of them. Many years ago, the ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 in our diets was 1:1. These days, we are looking at it being closer to 1:15, bringing with it a host of inflammatory lifestyle diseases.
Let’s get back to the fish oil supplements and how they help with acne and skin inflammation. The support comes from the Omega-3 as it regulates the hormones that trigger excessive sebum production, such as testosterone. The EPA in fish oils can also help inhibit scarring due to its effect on collagen production. While Omega-3 is effective, it isn't a quick fix and needs to be taken daily for at least three to four months to see the effects on your skin. My recommendation is to improve your skin holistically. Add fatty fish into your diet, eat mostly plants, use a good quality fish oil supplement, manage your stress levels, and reduce (preferably eliminate) refined sugars and processed food from your diet. Enjoy daily movement and ensure you get regular good quality sleep. Combined these recommendations will equip you to win the battle against the blemishes.
I want you to remember that not all Omega-3 fish oil is created equal, and concentrations of EPA, DHA and purity of ingredients are what you need to look out for.
I am particular about the supplements I choose to take. You should be too! Supplements can impact your health positively or negatively! You must know the quality and purity of ingredients and their sources. I choose the Mannatech Omega-3 with vitamin D3, it is tasteless, has no artificial flavours or colours, is naturally gluten-free, and the fish oil concentrate is processed by high vacuum molecular distillation, purified to reduce contaminants common in natural fish oils. It is ultra-pure and produced according to pharmaceutical standards. A good quality fish oil supplement will also support your cardiovascular and bone health. If you would like to try the fish oil supplement I use, you can buy it here.
As always, remember your reasons, your health, your mission, and the people you love.
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Blog posts are not intended to provide medical advice or take the place of medical advice and treatment from your doctor. Readers are advised to consult their qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Ocea Marie does not take any responsibility for possible health consequences for anyone reading or following the information available on the blog. All readers, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their doctor before beginning any nutrition or supplement program.
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