Help for a female friend with acne

aquaman

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Aug 9, 2013
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Hi

A female friend of mine (she's 24), has developed acne for the first time in her life in the last 9 months, since April 2013. It seemed to get worse towards middle/end of 2013.

She's been pescetarian since 15, but went vegan from Jan to Dec 2013, although ate SOME fish in the year. She's now back eating fish as before.

She also took ayahuasca a fair amount in 2013, but mainly after the acne kicked in. I think this had an impact on the acne staying, as I saw her in October after she'd done a number of consecutive weekends taking ayahuasca and her skin was at its worst. Aya is a poison on the liver I believe.

She says the acne started at the time of her first major university exams for her new degree, so she thinks it's related. But also it's about 3-4 months after having gone full vegan.

She says her periods have become more painful, although they are still regular.

Her hands and feet are cold a lot, but she says "they've been cold since I was a child".

All of her health "knowledge" comes from having been a model when younger and now from having lots of vegan friends now, so it's hard to talk to her about this stuff. She says things like "I don't believe in calories", "I'm sure it's not what I eat".

She says her breasts have got a bit smaller in 2013, but this also matches her having dropped 5-6 pounds from 2012.

I've never thought from a woman's perspective on the hormonal issues, so it's harder for me to talk to her about it. She says her ability to deal with various stresses, worries etc has gone down - so it's all linked. She's getting upset that the acne is affecting her confidence, so stuck in that cycle. It seems the stress hormones are affecting her physically and psychologically.

She messaged me her normal diet:

Porridge in the morning (with almond or rice milk), or some fruit.
Soup for lunch with lentils or quinoa
Egg, avacado, salad for dinner or salmon with veg

So I'm guessing this is around 1200 calories per day. Maybe not even that.

She does gym + yoga, 5 times per week (2 or 3 gym, 2 or 3 yoga).

My thinking is the vegetarianism + modelling has always been a stress on her body but she's been able to take it, even though the cold hands and feet have shown some signs of issues. Now the effect of uni stress, plus veganism, plus ayahuasca, plus a distance relationship means that she's broken over her threshold for maintaining the stress, so it's coming out in various ways. Plus exercise 5 times a week and hugely insufficient calories means her stress hormones are going nuts. It's more the effect on progesterone etc that I'd like to be able to explain to her.

Any particular suggestions for supplements to take to help the acne?

And general recommendations particularly from women who have gone through the same things and come out the other side?

And any specific diet recommendations for her.

Any summary I can copy and paste to her would be great. THANKS!
 

HDD

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She says her periods have become more painful, although they are still regular.

From "Nutrition for Women"-
"Symptoms in cycling women are most common around ovulation and in the premenstrual week, when the progesterone/estrogen ratio is normally highest. The early twenties and the late thirties and menopause are the ages when the ratio is most often disturbed - and these are also the ages when thyroid disorders are commonest in women."

"Besides a family tendency to have related symptoms, the individual who suffers from one aspect of the progesterone deficiency will tend to develop others at different times. With cyclic depressions or migraine headaches at age 22, there will possibly be breast disease and often there will be problems with pregnancy, and menopause may bring on a complete collapse."

"Excess stress (by elevating estrogen and/or depleting progesterone, etc.) may bring on symptoms in someone who never had them. Spending a summer in Alaska, with an unusually long day, may relieve the symptoms of a chronic sufferer. Dark cloudy winters in England or the Pacific Northwest are powerful stressors, and can cause lower progesterone in women and testosterone in men. Toxins, such as copper and lead, can produce similar symptoms. Porphyria and zinc deficiency are often caused by the hormone imbalance. A very common cause of an estrogen excess is a dietary protein deficiency - the liver simply cannot detoxify estrogen when it is undernourished (see Lipschutz references)."


Her hands and feet are cold a lot, but she says "they've been cold since I was a child".

Basal body temperature should be between 97.9 and 98.2 (IIRC) with temperature rising to 98.6 mid-morning and staying up for several hours.

I used to think my low temperature and my children's low temperature of 97 was our normal.

Any particular suggestions for supplements to take to help the acne?

"Nutrition for Women"-
(Progesterone)
"Even very intense emotional or perceptual symptoms typically disappear within 40 minutes when a dose of 300 mg. is given transdermally, dissolved in vitamin E or olive oil. Ovarian cysts, menopausal flushing, acne, sprains, and menstrual cramps can also be relieved with dramatic speed. "

My daughter just used minocycline for a throat infection and was very pleased with how clear her skin became, especially since it was during her menstrual cycle when she normally has some acne.

A couple of carrots or the carrot salad would be good.

"Nutrition for Women"-
"A few years ago, most of the nutritional problems that I saw were caused by physicians, by refined convenience foods, and by poverty. Recently, most of the problems seem to be caused by badly designed vegetarian diets, or by acceptance of the idea that 40 grams of protein per day is sufficient. The liver and other organs deteriorate rapidly on low-protein diets. Observe the faces of the wheat-grass promoters, the millet-eaters, the "anti-mucus" dieters, and other low protein people. Do they look old for their age?"


"Animal proteins, and fruits, because they contain the lowest levels of toxins, should form the basis of the diet. Not all fruits, of course, are perfectly safe--avocados, for example, contain so much unsaturated fat that they can be carcinogenic and hepatotoxic."

"Protein deficiency itself contributes to the harm done by toxins, since the liver’s ability to detoxify them depends on adequate nutrition, especially good protein. In the 1940s, Biskind’s experiments showed that protein deficiency leads to the accumulation of estrogen, because the liver normally inactivates all the estrogen in the blood as it passes through the liver. This applies to phytoestrogens and industrial estrogens as well as to the natural estrogens of the body. At a certain point, the increased estrogen and decreased thyroid and progesterone cause infertility, but before that point is reached, the hyperestrogenism causes a great variety of birth defects. Deformities of the male genitals, and later, testicular cancer in the sons and breast cancer in the daughters, are produced by the combination of toxins and nutritional deficiencies."

http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/vegetables.shtml
 

HDD

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From "PMS to Menopause"-

"Over the years I have seen transdermal progesterone used in hundreds of women suffering from the full range of perimenstrual symptoms, including migraine, acne, depression, mastalgia, edema, and lethargy. Nearly all the women, applying the lotion themselves, are able to find the appropriate dosage for controlling their symptoms."

"Often thyroid therapy or a change in diet or light- exposure or amount of activity is necessary for complete relief from symptoms. Progesterone therapy can offer quick relief to many people whose real problem is diet-induced hypothyroidism, but it shouldn't be considered as a substitute for the correct diet, or for thyroid supplementation when that is needed."
 

arinryan

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Mar 1, 2014
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This has been my biggest health issue as well, its what led me to read Ray Peat. My sister and I both had bad issues with it, she ended up using Accutane. I unfortunately tried to "fix" it with birth control pills for several years. Tell your friend, no matter what, do not let doctors put her on the Pill, of any kind!
I had some benefits from progest-e (Dr. Peat's progesterone). After using it and also cooking with some coconut oil for a while, I noticed acne would be much better, in fact pretty much gone, during the summer...and then would return around Oct-November. First I thought aha, vitamin d gets low in the winter...but supplementing that didn't help. I am light-skinned and am outdoors a great deal, in a sunny high-altitude desert location, so it didn't seem likely that I already had low vitamin D by October.

When I read RP say that thyroid is naturally higher in the summer, that was my biggest clue...and also I read others on this board who have cleared their skin using thyroid. I have been taking natural thyroid (Thiroyd from Pimpomproduct, they are great)! for a few weeks, and my skin is clear, definitely a new thing for this time of year! I also generally feel much better taking it. I felt some improvements taking progest-e, as well. (after an adjustment period with some estrogen dominance symptoms) (remember to tell her to avoid the Pill!) But I suspect thyroid does even more.

Progest-e will mellow you out very very quickly if you take a good dose :cool: and thyroid has made me much more upbeat and energetic, a nice combo.

I am 38, by the way, and never "grew out" of acne, really. Mine started at about 16, and I wish so much I had known then what I wrote above.
 

aquaman

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A quick update - after me telling her she's probably estrogen dominant, and has low progesterone, she had Saliva Tests done (are these good?) and found exactly that:

Estradiol: 8.2 - range 0.8-10.8

Progesterone: 11.0 - range 100-450

Ratio: 1.2:1 (says should be more than 100:1)

Next recommendation is to get her Thyroid checked?
 

aguilaroja

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Jul 24, 2013
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aquaman said:
A quick update - after me telling her she's probably estrogen dominant, and has low progesterone, she had Saliva Tests done (are these good?) and found exactly that:
Estradiol: 8.2 - range 0.8-10.8
Progesterone: 11.0 - range 100-450
Ratio: 1.2:1 (says should be more than 100:1)
Next recommendation is to get her Thyroid checked?

If it's a covered or reasonable costs, yes, thyroid function tests might give additional helpful information. None of the testing (serum, saliva, urine) is perfect, but the saliva testing seems to confirm the brief impression from the story. If it's covered by insurance, I'd probably do the serum estrogen and progesterone tests (and others, e.g. DHEA, prolactin) too. There's different posts on the forum that mention more serum survey testing.

The main question here is what views your friend will accept and what remedies will she follow.

Things sound depleted enough that there's a chance it will show up on "normal" (usual) interpretation of thyroid tests.

Influencing even friends and family is a skill I have no special expertise in. If I had a quick solution to reversing some common (un-)knowledge about what's "healthy", maybe I'd be producing a major motion picture about Dr. Peat :^}

The probability is high for models and vegans being undernourished. It's understandable for a young woman to be concerned about acne. Over the long term, there are serious possible problems for well being. The long standing cold intolerance is telling. I'd guess that if she did a longer inventory, there would be many other difficulties. They might include things like leg/foot cramps/aching, irritability especially in between meals, uncomfortable or irregular periods, appearing to underperform in thinking/concentration though intelligent, little perspiration compared to others in hot weather, non-restorative sleep, many others. Looking at a low thyroid or estrogen excess checklist and see how many categories fit her may be a wake up call.

Probably many Peat-y guidelines would help her. It sounds like high adrenalin compensation is part of the picture. Adequate protein, salt, and fruit would help. Even though she listed egg on a day's meal report, she may have very low cholesterol intake, since you've guessed her total calorie intake is low. The good thing is that she appears to minimize processed "foods", so when presented with information, supportive foods may be appealing. By description, the next steps hinge more on this person's preference than on the clearest priority.
 

aquaman

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thanks, this is a good post.

The good news is, I wrote her an email about her symptoms when i originally posted this thread, and said "you probably have low progesterone and estrogen dominance", initially she was shocked when she read my dietary recommendations but since the test, she has freaked out a bit and also it's made the information I sent her seem more true, so she's willing to try out some of the diet ideas.
 
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