Tag Archives: acne

Oyters on Grill |The Paleo Diet

Zinc! It’s the essential mineral that’s praised by many advocates involved in the Paleo community. Most people generally recognize zinc for its reputation as a potent cold and flu virus prevention solution, but its numerous benefits also extend beyond its role as an immunity-boosting mineral.

Ensuring adequate zinc intake in one’s diet is absolutely necessary for achieving long term health goals while following an ancestral eating plan. Zinc is essential for maintaining numerous physiological functions within the human body including tissue and epithelial integrity, immune system regulation, cellular growth, gut health, and inflammation suppression. The current USA government’s recommended daily allowance (RDA) for zinc averages in at approximately 10 mg. The USA RDA for zinc might be adequate for maintaining proper zinc levels for most healthy human beings that do not suffer from a zinc deficiency, but higher short-term dosages are likely needed to correct a deficiency. Physical indications of zinc deficiency include but are not limited to frequent viral infections, white spots or streaks on the fingernails, poor physical growth in childhood, hair loss, impaired vision, diarrhea, acne, dandruff, chronic dry skin, and impaired mental functioning (i.e. depression, anxiety, brain fog). It’s worth noting that all of the listed conditions can also result from the manifestation of other nutrient and mineral imbalances, and ensuring a highly varied nutrient rich ancestral diet that is rich in omega-3’s is crucial to preventing and resolving any of the aforementioned health issues.

Zinc in excess can be equally problematic as zinc deficiency. The daily upper limit threshold for zinc in healthy individuals is about 40 mg for adults over 19 and 25mg for those under 19. Excessive zinc consumption is characterized by severe headaches, nausea, vomiting, and decreased appetite. Over the long term, excessive zinc intake in the absence of copper will result in the gradual depletion of copper from the human body. For this reason it is recommended that those looking to supplement zinc in their diets should avoid zinc dietary supplements and instead opt for “au-naturel” food-based sources of zinc that are inherently proportionately balanced with copper.

Those looking to ensure optimum zinc intake in their diet must decide whether to source their zinc from animal sources or plant sources. Below are two tables demonstrating a handful of the highest ranking sources of zinc from both plants and animals. The zinc content of each source is listed in mg. Note that many of the listed zinc-rich plant foods do not adhere to the Paleo lifestyle.

Zinc Sources Table | The Paleo Diet

When examining the table above, it becomes obvious that ratio of zinc in animal-based foods is significantly higher than the ratio of zinc found in plant-based foods. Additionally, all of the animal-based sources of zinc naturally have appropriate zinc to copper ratios, so you don’t have to worry about creating a mineral imbalance while consuming these foods.

Now you might be wondering if it is still worth considering plant-based sources of zinc in your diet. From the tables above, it is immediately apparent that one would have to consume much higher quantities of zinc-containing plant foods to achieve the same proportion of zinc found in the animal foods listed above. Besides pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, all of the other listed plant-based zinc sources are off limits for Paleo followers. Additionally, it is worth mentioning that many of the zinc-rich plant foods such as legumes, seeds, nuts, and grains contain phytates (i.e. phytic acid). Phytates have been demonstrated to bind to zinc and other important dietary minerals such as iron and manganese. The bonding of phytates with zinc and other minerals upon digestion drastically reduces your body’s ability to absorb these key minerals, thus making you more prone to mineral deficiencies. Animal foods do not inhibit the absorption of zinc or other minerals and instead aid in absorption during digestion.

Oysters rank supreme amongst all other zinc containing food sources available for human consumption, and thus are ideal for treating individuals with zinc deficiency, and for those simply looking to incorporate zinc-rich food sources into their diets.

Oysters have long been revered for their rich taste and nutritional qualities across all parts of the globe. Preference for oyster consumption has shown up in historical documentation dating back to the ancient Greeks and Chinese. In fact, in Europe up until the 18th century oysters were considered a “luxury” food only reserved for the highest classes. Within the colonies of North America, oyster consumption was never restricted to the rich and thus most colonists and Native Americans consumed oysters regularly. The 19th century in The United States was marked by the widespread establishment of “oyster bars” that originated on the eastern seaboard and quickly became popular throughout the west. By 1881 there were nearly 379 oyster bars in Philadelphia alone! Zinc deficiency was likely not a major problem for oyster-loving 19th century Americans.

Nowadays oysters are becoming an increasingly obsolete food source. Oysters can be difficult to source fresh, especially if you are like myself and live thousands of miles inland from the nearest ocean. The best economical solution for inlanders is to purchase canned oysters from your local grocery store. A large majority of the oysters on store shelves are canned in cottonseed oil, which you will definitely want to avoid if you are sticking to a Paleo eating plan. Fortunately, Crown Prince offers a line of smoked oysters that are canned in extra-virgin olive oil. I have seen these oysters available in Sprouts, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s for about $2 – $3 per can. If you are not quite adjusted to the “delicious” taste of oysters yet, try topping them with a few drops of Paleo-friendly hot sauce.

References

1. Berger, Abi. “What does zinc do?.” BMJ 325.7372 (2002): 1062.
2. Hambidge, M. (2000). Human zinc deficiency. The Journal of nutrition,130(5), 1344S-1349S.
3. Lönnerdal, B. O. (2000). Dietary factors influencing zinc absorption. The Journal of nutrition, 130(5), 1378S-1383S.
4. Ma, J., & Betts, N. M. (2000). Zinc and copper intakes and their major food sources for older adults in the 1994–96 continuing survey of food intakes by individuals (CSFII). The Journal of nutrition, 130(11), 2838-2843.
5. Office of Dietary Supplements – Zinc. (n.d.). Retrieved December 28, 2015, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfessional/

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Congratulations to the winner of The Real Paleo Diet Cookbook Giveaway, Karla! Thanks for sharing your inspired journey with us!

“I began the Paleo Diet with my daughter January 8, 2013 and within 2 weeks I had more energy, my mind felt clearer, I no longer had constant sinus drainage and nasal stuffiness, my digestive problems resolved and I didn’t feel bloated. I then segued to the autoimmune protocol due to having Rheumatoid Arthritis and my SED rate dropped dramatically (per lab tests) to the point where I went off Methotrexate (which wasn’t working anyway) and didn’t have to go on Humira. I virtually eliminated my R.A. joint pain and swelling.

My daughter who was 17 at time experienced loss of belly fat, more energy and though she had been on Solodyn for her acne for years, never really eliminating it, she experienced a dramatic reduction of her acne for the first time. But the most amazing change she experienced was no longer having exercise induced asthma, which was huge since she is a competition dancer and had to use an inhaler 30 minutes prior to dancing but still had the fear of experiencing an attack. The Paleo Diet gave her freedom and gave me a life back.”

Karla

Paleo Diet Health

I’ve been doing Paleo for 4 weeks now, read The Paleo Diet, and am making progress in my eating, in a major way. All my breakouts are gone; my skin, overall, is completely clear. Bloating is gone; inflammation in my joints has improved significantly. I’m so energetic. I’m so full and satisfied; rarely, truly hungry anymore. I fall asleep faster. My body feels cleaner and stronger. I am so grateful for this journey!

Thank you, Dr. Cordain and fellow researchers for publishing research surrounding a diet that is truly revolutionizing for a human body. I cannot believe how good I feel.

Lauren

Endurance Athlete's Secret Weapon: The Paleo Diet

I recently read Dietary Intervention in Acne as well as Dr. Bodo Melnik’s studies about how diet is very much linked to acne, and I was very surprised at how little it is publicized on other websites. Acne.org is one of the biggest forums for helping people clear their skin, but when they discuss diet, they almost completely discount any possibility linking diet to skin issues.

After consulting some websites on the Paleo Diet, I started it abut 35 days ago and my skin is in amazing condition. My acne has stopped. It’s that simple. I am ecstatic about the results and want to share it with others.

It got me to thinking. America spends countless billions of dollars fixing acne with topical products that give minimal if any improvement to skin condition. (If not further exacerbating the condition of the fragile skin) Dermatologists are bombarded by millions of patients who are seeking a cure to their skin ailments, but really the solution is a simple dietary change.

I’ve stopped all products on my skin for over two months now, minus occasional coconut oil.

NutriSystem is a successful business with shipping meals to customers’s doors for weight loss, why couldn’t targeted anti-acne meals work in a similar way?

I did some number researching and found that most people spend around $300 dollars per month on their Standard American Diets. If food that adhered to Paleo standards was purchased in wholesale quantities and then packaged in easy to work with meals, the costs would not be too much higher than the $300 a month mark. Considering how much people spend on their skin products, I think even a $100 increase in food costs per month for them would be worth it to people, seeing as results would be attainable in a month to two months

Millions of Americans would have their suffering put to an end if the Paleo Diet were more accessible, affordable and more importantly, known.

Joshua K.

Changed My Life with The Paleo Diet

Hi Dr. Cordain,

Trust you are well. I would like to take this opportunity to share my success story with you…

Paleo has seriously changed my life forever. I started my new lifestyle 19/08/2012. Since then, I have lost 50 kg without the assistance of any medical intervention.

I learned about Paleo via Fat-Burning Man – Abel James’s Podcast which I stumbled upon while searching for a way to improve my life. After only listening to one podcast, I was convinced that Paleo is for me and that it will change my life, which, fortunately for me, it did.

My life before Paleo was seriously miserable. It was almost like as if I was collecting illnesses/conditions, Gastro Esophageal Reflux, Hernia, Cellulitis, High Blood Pressure, Depression, Sleep Apnea, Insomnia, Migraine and Acne just to mention a few.

Moving around, doing physical tasks really became very difficult. Socially, I did not gel anymore. Buying clothes really become a huge problem, as I was unable to find suitable clothes that I like and in my size. Suicide almost became a daily thought…

Today, I am a completely different person. My social circle has grown from just a handful of friends to many. My cholesterol is now normal and all of my past daily illnesses/conditions are also gone. I have gone from size XXXL to M shirts and from a 44” waist to 30” waist.

My mindset about health and food has changed completely. I am a Software Engineer/Developer by trade, but am considering a new profession and adventure as a Nutritionist/Dietitian.

I am advocating Paleo on a daily basis, motivating people to follow my lead and Paleo. Paleo is not a complex lifestyle and really easy to follow.

Thank you for letting me share my story! I hope that it will motivate and encourage other people.

My photos as proof, as photos do not lie.

Paleo is the best…!!!

Regards,

Adriaan

Dr. Cordain’s Response:

Adriann,

Congratulations upon your wonderful success story. I know that it will motivate others to follow as well. Keep up the good work and thank you for sharing it with me.

Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus

Fountain of Youth | The Paleo Diet


LX Magazine Interview

1. Do you feel proper diet can be a fountain of youth? Why or why not?

All human physiological functions decline with aging, and we all die. Proper diet can slow, but not prevent the decline in our body’s function with aging.

2. What are some foods that help people stay young?

It’s not so much the foods that we eat, but rather the foods that we don’t eat which slow the aging process. In the typical western diet refined cereal grains, refined sugars, refined vegetable oils and dairy products comprise 70% of our total daily calories. By eliminating these foods and replacing them with fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, seafood, grass produced meats and poultry, and nuts we can reduce the known elements in our diet that promote inflammation, disease and in turn slow the aging process.

3. What makes these foods so powerful?

Fresh fruits, veggies, fish, seafood, grass produced meats and nuts emulate the nutritional characteristics of our hunter gatherer ancestors. These dietary characteristics shaped our present day genome, and wehn we make our contemporary diet consistent for which our genes have evolved, we can reach our genetic potential including age span.

4. What are some staple items people can incorporate into nearly every meal?

The Paleo Diet as it has become to be known is simplicity itself. Limit your purchases at the supermarket to the outside aisles (produce, seafood, meat) and you are about 85% of the way there. Stay away from the middle aisles in which cereal grains, processed, canned and packaged foods run rampant.

By eating “real living foods” (fresh veggies, fruits, fish, grass produced meats) at nearly every meal, you will increase the nutrient (vitamin, mineral and phytochemical) density of your diet as you abandon nutrient poor cereal grains, refined sugars, refined oils and processed foods.

5. Is it difficult to eat this way? Why or why not?

People who are seriously addicted to candies, sugars, bread and cereals and ice cream may have withdrawal symptoms upon their first week or two of “Paleo,” but after eating real food for a few weeks, going back to processed food and junk typically makes most people feel so bad, that they “get it.”

Cordially,

Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus

Whey Protein | The Paleo Diet

Hello Dr. Cordain,

In your book The Paleo Answer you discuss how dairy products increase the insulin response in the body.

Do whey protein shakes do the same?

Thank you in advance,

Larry

Dr. Cordain’s Response:

Hi Larry,

Indeed whey protein is one of the key factors along with lactose in dairy products that likely causes insulin resistance. Two very recent studies show that whey protein consumed by body builders and athletes causes acne (see the citations and abstracts below).

Simonart T. Acne and Whey Protein Supplementation among Bodybuilders. Dermatology. 2012;225(3):256-8.

Abstract

Accumulative evidence supports the role of nutritional factors in acne. I report here 5 healthy male adult patients developing acne after the consumption of whey protein, a favorite supplement of those engaged in bodybuilding. These observations are in line with biochemical and epidemiological data supporting the effects of milk and dairy products as enhancers of insulin/insulin-like growth factor 1 signaling and acne aggravation. Further prospective studies are required to determine the possible role of dietary supplements in the fitness and bodybuilding environment.

Silverberg NB. Whey protein precipitating moderate to severe acne flares in 5 teenaged athletes. Cutis. 2012 Aug;90(2):70-2.

Abstract

Acne vulgaris has been linked to milk ingestion, both whole and skim milk. The milk fraction that promotes acne is unknown. Five case reports are presented of male patients aged 14 to 18 years who experienced onset of acne shortly after initiation of whey protein supplementation; 3 teenagers used the supplement for muscle building in football training and the other 2 for attempting to gain weight. All 5 patients had poor response to acne treatment regimens of oral antibiotics, topical retinoids, and benzoyl peroxide. Lesions fully cleared in 4 patients after discontinuation of whey protein supplementation, but 1 patient’s acne flared after reinitiation of the whey protein supplement. Two patients did not immediately discontinue whey protein supplementation; 1 of them cleared after he discontinued whey protein during his second course of isotretinoin and 1 was lost to follow-up. Among these patients, at least 6 different brands of whey protein supplementation had been used, including whey protein shakes and reconstituted powders. Whey protein may be the fraction of dairy products that promote acne formation. Larger studies are needed to determine the mechanism of comedogenesis.

Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus

Impetigo Or Acne | The Paleo Diet

I have read all of your website about curing acne naturally through diet and purchased the book. I had a baby a month ago and my face broke out very badly afterward, so I decided to try this. I’ve been doing it solidly for a week and a half and my face has gone from bad to ABSOLUTELY WORSE! There are nodules that are so inflamed on my upper lip that my lip itself is swollen. I have two on my forehead that are making the area between my eyes swollen. Not to mention–they hurt so bad!!

My questions is if going Paleo makes the acne worse before it gets better? If that’s not it, I need to see a dermatologist and get on meds. I can’t handle this much longer if it doesn’t mean it is a sign of improvement. I really don’t want to go on meds since I’m nursing my little one, but I need something because of how swollen and inflamed my face is.

Dr. Cordain’s Response:

The majority of acne patients see improvement in their symptoms within weeks. They typically don’t get worse in the beginning. I am aware of some patients who see their symptoms dramatically worsen in the beginning–typically they are Rheumatoid Arthritis patients. This is due to the fact that in order to resolve inflammation an acute response is compulsory. Maybe this could be your case. Moreover, these RA patients noticed great improvement in 6 weeks. We don’t know if your case will take the same amount of time.

However, this is a extremely strange phenomenon. We strongly recommend you use some helpful supplements:

  • Vitamin D start with 5000 IU per day and measure your blood levels
  • Omega-3 take between 3-4 grams of DHA+EPA per day
  • Zinc 50 mg per day
  • Probiotic 6-9 billion per day

Please keep us posted.

Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus

Follow-up response: Thank you for your response. You gave me enough to know that this probably wasn’t normal. I went to a naturopathic doctor today who said I have impetigo. After doing my own research online, I see that this is probably the correct diagnosis for me.

Once the impetigo clears up, I think I’ll stick with the Paleo Diet to clear up my regular acne. I will keep you posted!