Hope for acne sufferers as dermatologists identify possible link between key nutrients and skin condition

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Dermatologists in Germany have identified what may be a crucial link between acne and omega-3 fatty acid deficiency.

The findings, published at the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (EADV) Spring Symposium, could offer new opportunities for the management of a disease that is estimated to affect nearly 23 million people in Europe. .

The team behind the research, based at the Department of Dermatology and Allergy in Munich, studied 100 patients diagnosed with acne and, by measuring nutritional parameters in their blood, found that 94% of patients had lower than recommended levels (8 to 11%) of omega-3 fatty acids (ω-3-FA).

They also studied patients’ diets and found that those who said they regularly ate legumes, such as chickpeas and lentils, as well as abstaining from sunflower oil, had higher levels of the key fatty acid. .

The dermatology team behind the research called on clinicians to ask about the eating habits of acne patients when discussing the diagnosis and treatment of their condition.

“Nutrition plays a central role in the prevention, onset and course of many diseases, including dermatological disorders such as acne vulgaris,” says Dr Anne Gϋrtler, lead author of the team from the Department of Dermatology and Allergy from the Ludwig-Maximilian University. , Munich, Germany.

“As part of a modern treatment approach, clinicians should provide patients with information on how their dietary choices could impact their dermatological diagnosis and could potentially improve treatment outcomes.”

“For years, a negative impact on acne vulgaris has been attributed to a Western diet due to its direct effects on IGF-1 levels. The accompanying preventive and therapeutic nutritional measures, however, have not yet been sufficiently addressed. In this regard, omega-3 (ω-3) fatty acids (FAs) seem most promising due to their anti-inflammatory effects.”

His comments were supported by Asli Bilgic, assistant professor in the department of dermatology and venereology at Akdeniz University, Turkey and member of the EADV communications committee, who said the results “reinforce the idea healthy diet as essential for long-term remission of acne”. vulgar.”

Omega-3 fatty acids, found in foods such as legumes, seaweed, nuts, seeds, unfarmed fish like wild salmon and sardines, reduce inflammation by stimulating the production of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins. -inflammatory E1 and E3, leukotriene B5 and lower levels of insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1, the central hormone that induces acne.

In the study, patients with omega-3 levels below 8% showed higher IGF-1 levels, compared to patients without this nutrient deficiency.

When patients were subdivided into groups with a severe deficit of less than 4%, levels of the acne-inducing hormone increased further.

“To determine an effect that a supplement may have, baseline levels must first be studied to assess whether there are any real deficiencies,” says Dr. Gürtler.

“The aim of the present study was to explore the blood levels of ω-3-FA of acne patients in erythrocytes (red blood cells) and to correlate them with the clinical severity of the disease and the dietary habits of the patients. While the data show a trend toward ω-3-FA deficiency in the general population, our study describes worsening in acne patients.The results of this study could serve as a basis for future interventional trials.

Assistant Professor Asli Bilgic added, “Acne vulgaris is a disease that takes a heavy toll on many people, including a negative impact on their personal and professional lives.

“It is also one of the most frequent reasons for consultation in general medicine, as patients seek ways to alleviate their symptoms.

“This exciting research helps us take a step closer to providing effective treatments for the millions of people who face the embarrassment and stigma of this skin condition, looking beyond topical skin ointments. and conventional systemic treatments towards a pathway that may have additional health benefits.It also reinforces the idea that a healthy diet is essential for long-term remission of acne vulgaris.

“As dermatologists, we are acutely aware of the impact on a person’s quality of life that a highly visible condition like acne can have.

“While this pathway requires further exploration, it may provide hope for people looking for a way to manage their condition.”

EADV’s Burden of Skin Diseases study found that 5.4% of adults surveyed in 27 European countries suffered from acne which causes spots, cysts and oily skin mainly on the face, back and chest which can lead to scars. If this figure is extrapolated to the entire population of these countries, it indicates that 22,870,000 people, mostly women, are affected.


High glycemic index/loading diet linked to acne vulgaris


More information:
Abstract 314 submitted to the EADV Spring Symposium: eadvsymposium2022.org

Provided by EADV Spring Symposium

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