Monday, October 8, 2007

Acne and Vitamin Supplements

For years, scientists, doctors, biologists, dermatologists, and dieticians have searched for and studied all of the various causes of acne. Since the majority of the worlds population suffer from acne at some point in their lives, there is no surprise that such efforts are invested in finding out how to it. While there have been some definitive answers on whether acne is hormonally induced (yes), and what can be done to prevent it (prescription drugs, certain herbal remedies, etc), there are still many unknown factors that cause acne.

However, of all the many acne questions that science is yet to find answers to, the most controversial is whether or not diet has an effect on acne.

Historically, diet was thought to be linked to acne. Doctors and housewives alike believed that a high fat content in ones diet would cause an oilier complexion, and this in turn would create acne breakouts.

However, as time went on, science found no directly link between a diet high in lipids (fat), and acne. Since acne is caused by a bacterial growth in sebum trapped in clogged pores, there is no such thing as "extra oil secretion". So, for at least the last 15 years, western medicine has claimed there is no connection between diet and acne.

However, a study conducted in 1997 has rekindled the flame in the "diet causes acne" argument, and this time, with a bit more heat.

This study, conducted by Dr. Lit Hung Leung, states that Acne breakouts are because the body cannot create enough of Coenzyme A to break down the fatty acids that create sebum. The reason is, Coenzyme A is probably the single most needed enzyme in the body. This Coenzyme-A is what synthesizes sex hormones, and what breaks down fatty acids.

The only part of Coenzyme-A that the body does not produce itself is vitamin B5. So, if there is a shortage of B5, there is a shortage of Coenzyme-A. And if there is a shortage of Coenzyme-A, the body will use it to synthesize sex hormones, not break down fatty acids.

So, you can see where this is going?more fatty acids, more sebum production, more acne.

Now, the interesting thing is that Dr. Lit Hung Leung substantiated this claim by testing it on 100 people. The group took 10 grams or more per day of pantothenic acid ( B5 ), and used a B5 topical cream of 20% by weight. After 2-3, sebum production was reduced, and many people with acne noticed a reduction. For those with more extreme acne, a higher dosage of B5 was used (approx. 15-20 grams per day), and treatment was prolonged to see an effect, sometimes up to 6 months.

So, while one study does not definitively prove whether B5 can prevent or reduce acne, it may well be worth considering, particularly for those who want a natural or herbal cure for acne, and do not want to use chemicals such as benzoyl peroxide, or other prescription acne treatments.

As with any medical treatment, it is best to consult a doctor before trying a B5 regimine.

Greg Podsakoff is a former acne sufferer, and is the editor of acne treatments website,


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