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Acne: Fats, Oils... Saturated, Unsaturated... Omega-3, Omega-6, Omega-9... What does this have to do with Acne anyway?



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The information available on the proper intake of fats ranges from one end of the spectrum to the other. On one side you have those who say to cut your fat intake to almost nothing, 10% or less. Then you have other groups pushing for you to eat 40% of your calories of fats. On the other side of the debate, is what type of fats should be eaten. There are many who argue strongly for you to stop eating so much red meat, and to instead increase your intake of olive oil. Others want you to start eating fish every day.

This article will cut through some of the confusion and let you know what you need to do to help heal your body.
 

Fats Overview
 

First, you need to understand that fats are critical to your well being. Without fats your brain will shut down. You must get fats from your diet. Your body does not produce any fat.

Omega-3 to Omega-6 Ratio

This ratio is very important. You need to be getting a 3:1 to 1:1 ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fats in your diet. This doesn't sound so hard except the normal Western diet is around 20:1. Where is all this excess coming from? Here's a list of foods that have high proportions of Omega-6 ratios:

High Omega-6:

All regular meat - beef, chicken (non grass fed)
All nuts (with very few exceptions)
Peanut butter and other nut butters
All cookies, cakes, commercial desserts
All commercial snacks, chips, popcorn, any packaged snack

Wow, looks like a virtual shopping list for the standard Western shopper, right?

Here's the High Omega-3 list:

Fish
Flax seed
Avocados
EFA supplements
Walnuts

How many of these items have you eaten in the last year? Chances are, not many times. Many you have had a couple servings of fish or a few walnuts in a dessert.

So, as you can see from these lists, what ends up happening is that most people have a massively unbalanced ratio, with a far too high intake of Omega-6, and a far too low intake of Omega-3. The University of Maryland Medical Center lists heart disease, cancer, depression, asthma, and arthritis as the results of too much Omega-6 intake and too low Omega-3 intake. This is serious stuff. If the improper balance can cause those, don't you think it is possible it could aggravate acne? I think the answer is quite clear.

So, our first conclusion is that we need a higher intake of Omega-3, a lower intake of Omega-6, and most importantly, a good balance between the two.

What percent of the diet should be fat?

Most people will feel much better when their dietary intake of fat is correct for them. The level is different for everyone. You need to find out what percent works best for you. How do you do this? Listen to your body. When your diet is 35% fats, how do you feel? When you are at 20%, how do you feel?

The proper amount will vary by individual from around 20-40% of total calories. The much more important thing is to increase your intake of Omega-3.
 

How to increase Omega-3 Intake, and How to Decrease Omega-6 Intake
 

When fighting acne you desperately need to increase your Omega-3 levels. To do this you are going to need to supplement. There is simply no way around it. The fish today has too much mercury in it to be eaten safely. But you must get these fats from fish into your diet. The only way to do so is by supplementing with fish oil. I thought this was too disgusting at first and wouldn't try it. But if you go with the right brand it tastes quite good. I was very surprised. It doesn't taste like fish at all.

The brand I recommend is Carlson's. Dr. Mercola had this brand independently tested and found it had no mercury in it. This is critically important. If you get a different brand you are wasting your time. You just cannot put mercury into your body and expect your acne to get better. So, get fish oil from Carlson's. Get the "Cod Liver Oil." If you liver in a very sunny area you might want to go with regular fish oil from Carlson's because your Vitamin D levels could get too high. Be careful of taking Cod Liver Oil if you go to the beach for a week or somewhere similar. The regular fish oil won't overload you with Vitamin D. For most people most of the time the Cod Liver Oil is the way to go. You can get either the capsules or the liquid.

Most people are deficient in Vitamin D levels anyway, so this supplement takes care of two deficiencies at once.

The second supplement you will need is a good full spectrum EFA formula. The reason for this is you can't get all of your Omega-3 needs from just a single fish oil capsule. You need to get a good broad range of quality fats. The best and cheapest formula I know that does this is called the Total EFA. This is a very cheap product for what it does. You can get 24 oz for about $20. I really like this product. It has a slight nut flavor to it and I haven't ever had a big bottle go rancid.

You need about a tablespoon per day for maintenance. At the beginning you might want to increase to 2 tablespoons per day as your body is likely starving for these fats. At 1 tablespoon per day a bottle will last 48 days. This is a great deal. Note that you will need to keep the bottle refrigerated.

If I was extremely limited in choosing supplements, I would get the supergreens, the fish oil, and the Total EFA. With these three you will see the most benefit.


Decreasing Omega-6 Intake
 

You have got to decrease Omega-6 intake. So which food items need to go? The first is all commercial snack products. You have just got to get rid of the cookies, chips, and various snacks that are packed with Omega-6 oils (and often hydrogenated oils, more on those later).

Second, peanut butter and nuts need to go for a while. These aren't bad foods in themselves, but getting the Omega-3, Omega-6 balance to help heal acne is absolutely critical. You can add these back in in a few months and see how you do.

You should not cut back on chicken or meat intake. If you can, switch to grass-fed versions of these products. Unfortunately, for most people this is just too much money. Just try to get the highest quality meat you can at the store. Try to shop at a grocery store that has a very high turnover rate so you get fresh meat. I've never heard from anyone who had their acne caused by meat. Now if the meat you are eating comes from fast food joints, then you are in trouble. But otherwise you should be fine. There are much more important things to worry about than eliminating meat. Most people find out that eliminating meat is not a great idea.

What tends to happen is people blame their health problems on meat, when in reality the problem comes from all the sugar, hydrogenated oils, and grains they are consuming.
 

Eliminating hydrogenated oils
 

Hydrogenated oils must be eliminated 100% from your diet.
Hydrogenated oils must be eliminated 100% from your diet.
Hydrogenated oils must be eliminated 100% from your diet.

I don't know how else to say this. They must be eliminated. As I mentioned in the beginning guide, they are absolute brain poison. Try going one month with ZERO hydrogenated oils. Then eat a bunch of cookies made with them. You'll notice that your body simply shuts down. The glands and veins around your neck will swell as they are choked by these oils. You will get a massive headache as blood flow is blocked to your brain. And you will likely spend a few days recuperating from that binge. When you experience this it is easy to see how the massive increase in hydrogenated oil intake correlates with the increase in heart disease. Your veins are being clogged by them.

Do that a couple more times and you won't touch hydrogenated oils again.

Where are hydrogenated oils found?

Any fried food
Most commercial snacks, cookies, cakes
Peanut butter
Chips, Popcorn
Most desserts

Another important reason for eliminating them is that they prevent the absorption of good oils. The body tries to use the hydrogenated oils and so their is no room for the good fats. If you eat hydrogenated oils while consuming good portions of the Total EFA and fish oil, you will be worse off and will likely see an increase in acne!

Hydrogenated oils have no place at all in the diet of the acne sufferer. They must be eliminated immediately.

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