Friday, September 21, 2012

Fish oil for Acne?

 inflamed acne
Fish oil for acne? Are you kidding? Well, why not, fish don't have acne. Jokes apart, it is very well known that fish have beneficial fatty acids that help build up our repertoire of HDL or good cholesterol as it is called, reducing the risk of atherosclerosis. Omega-3 and omega-5 fatty acids are essential building blocks of healthy fat in our system that is utilized for the biogenesis of cholesterol, steroids and hormones. It is also to be noted that all the benefits of these beneficial fatty acids are not yet fully known. Recent research is only coming up shedding light on the positive effects of consuming these fatty acids, most abundant source of which is fish and hence they are popularly known as fish oils.
Studies have found that omega-3 fatty acids may prevent hyperkeratinization of sebaceous follicles of the skin. Acne, a large part of its causal mechanism is inflammatory, most certainly shows a reduction in occurrence when treated with inflammation blockers or anti-inflammatory drugs. Leukotriene B4, one of the most important pro-inflammatory cytokines has been identified to be involved in causing acne. This cytokine among many others is synthesized from omega-6 fatty acids. Dietary reduction of omega-6 fatty acids and increased supplementation with fish oils (omega-3 fatty acids) has been found to reduce acne break-outs by 70%. Thus, there is indeed a relationship between fish oils and acne. 
Omega-3 fatty acids like eicosapentanoic acid and  Docosahexanoic acid (DHA)are natural blockers of the biosynthesis of leukotrienes and other pro-inflammatory cytokines and prostaglandins. Aestheticians who recommend taking fish oil often combine it with bowel detoxifying flax seed. Reducing total fat intake by 20% combined with 1000 - 1700 mg fish oils and flax seed seemed to reduce acne by a significant and visible measure.
However, many are skeptic because of the high presence of heavy metals in some sea fish. Oily fish like sardines, meckerel, salmon, cod and herring do run the risk of having heavy metals like mercury in them, the fact remains that the fish do not synthesize the oils, but they get it from the algae and planktons they eat. Therefore, consuming the omega-3 caplets instead of the whole fish might be a safer option. Fish oils are marketed as pills of omega-3 and omega-5 fatty acids and are available over the counter.Scientists argue that the benefits of consuming fish, far outweigh the risks posed from the heavy metals and endocrine disrupting chemicals present in them. However, if fish consumption is not so yummy for some folks, sources of omega-3 fatty acids can be found in abundance from plant oils. Flax seed oil, linseed oil, butternuts, pecans, hazelnuts - to name a few. Fruits like kiwis and black raspberries too are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Isn't it a good idea to try something healthy before resorting to antibiotics for acne treatment?
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