Tag Archives: acne

Myo-inositol: a safe and effective supplement for PCOS

Recently, there has been a lot of interest in the role of inositol in the treatment of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). A recent systematic review has weighed up the evidence behind the claims (1).

The systematic review looked at the clinical outcomes of myo-inositol supplementation as a treatment for PCOS. Specifically, it examined the effects of myo-inositol on ovarian function and metabolic and hormonal parameters in PCOS sufferers.

What is inositol?

Inositol
Inostiol is crucial for a whole range of processes from nerve signals to the breakdown of fats

Inositol is a substance that occurs naturally in the human body, and is also present in foods such as fruits, seeds, grains and nuts. It was once thought to be a member of the B Vitamin group, but this is not strictly true – vitamins are essential nutrients that the body cannot make on its own, whereas our body can actually synthesise inositol from glucose.

Inositol is used by the body to form signalling molecules, and so it is crucial for a whole range of processes, from nerve signals to the breakdown of fats. There are several different forms of inositol, and the two forms that are considered helpful in PCOS are myo-inositol and d-chiro-insolitol.

How is inositol helpful in PCOS?

The researchers found evidence that suggests myo-inositol is helpful in PCOS because it decreases levels of excessive androgens. The study also found evidence that the nutrient improves the ovarian response to hormones called gonadotropins, helping to achieve regular menstrual cycles and successful ovulation.

Women with PCOS often have a defect in the way that their body processes insulin. This has a knock-on effect on other hormones and proteins. Sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) is decreased, testosterone levels are raised, and the results are problems with acne, hirsutism (excessive hair growth) and fertility.

The insulin-signalling pathway is heavily dependent on myo-inositol. Supplementing extra myo-inositol therefore appears to correct the mal-functioning insulin pathways, reducing the signs and symptoms of PCOS.

The blights of PCOS: ovulation problems, acne and hirsuitism

Other studies echo these findings. A previous randomised controlled trial investigated the effects of myo-insolitol supplements versus placebo on ovarian function (2). Ninety-two women with PCOS were given either 2g myo-inositol twice daily, or a placebo pill for 16 weeks. At the end of the study, significantly more women in the inositol group were found to have normal levels estrogen and progesterone, and experienced normal ovulation. The women in the myo-inositol also showed a significant amount of weight loss over the study period. The researchers concluded that the results indicate “a beneficial effect of myo-inositol in women with oligomenorrhea and polycystic ovaries in improving ovarian function.”

A further study investigated the benefits of myo-inositol on symptoms such as acne and excessive hair growth in women with PCOS (3). After three months of supplementation, levels of insulin, testosterone and luteinizing hormone were significantly reduced. At the six-month mark, both hirsutism and acne had also decreased. The researchers concluded that myo-inositol is a “simple and safe treatment that ameliorates the metabolic profile of patients with PCOS, reducing hirsutism and acne.”

Myo-inositol is not considered toxic even at high doses. It has been supplemented in doses up to 18g daily without significant side-effects, though digestive symptoms may be experienced at this level (4). Of course, it is not at all necessary to supplement at such as high dose for PCOS where results are seen at levels of around 2-4g daily.

I always consider the two most important questions to ask when considering supplementation to be ‘is it safe?’ and ‘is it effective?’ In light of the supporting evidence for the safety and effectiveness of this particular nutrient, I would not hesitate to use myo-inositol alongside a low G.I diet as an initial therapeutic approach to address PCOS.

References

  1. Unfer V, Carlmango G, Dante G, Facchinetti F (2012) Effects of myo-inositol in women with PCOS: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Gynecol Endocrinol 28(7):509-15.
  1. Gerli S, Papleo E, Ferrari A, Renzo GC (2007) Randomized, double blind placebo-controlled trial: effects of Myo-inositol on ovarian function and metabolic factors in women with PCOS. European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences 11: 347-354.
  1. Zacchè MM, Caputo L, Filippis S, Zacchè G, Dindelli M, Ferrari A (2009) Efficacy of myo-inositol in the treatment of cutaneous disorders in young women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Gynecol Endocrinol 25(8):508-13.
  1. Lam S, McWilliams A, leRiche J, MacAulay C, Wattenberg L, Szabo E (2006) A Phase I Study of myo-Inositol for Lung Cancer Chemoprevention. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 15: 1526.
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Acne Diet Link – New Evidence

A new study has confirmed the important role that diet plays in acne. The link has been a topic of discussion since it was first noted that acne is rare in non-westernized populations such as the Inuit and tribal populations. Genetics alone does not account for this difference. Environmental factors such as diet have therefore long been suspected.

Diet is important for Acne Sufferers
We're all in search of beautiful skin...Recent research suggests that diet is important for acne sufferers (2.)

The study investigated the effect of a Low Glycemic Load diet on participants with acne. Glycemic Load is way of measuring the effect of a food on blood sugar levels.

The Western diet, based around processed foods and refined carbohydrates, has a tendency to stimulate insulin as well as a hormone called insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1). These substances trigger off a sequence of hormonal changes, resulting in increased sebum production and changes in skin cell growth.

Participants were divided into two groups. The Low Glycemic Load (LGL) group were instructed to substitute high GI foods with lower GI foods such as barley, wholegrain bread, beans, fruits, vegetables and fish. The control group received no information on Glycemic index, and were instructed to continue their regular diet based on carbohydrate-rich foods.

After 10 weeks of following the programme, those in the LGL group showed decreased inflammation, and a decreased number of both inflammatory and non-inflammatory lesions. Sebaceous glands were also reduced in size. The authors concluded “these results show that a reduction in glycemic load can result in a reduction in the level of acne lesions.”

For those who are interested in trying a low GL diet, some simple rules can help get you started:

  • Include plenty of low GL fruit and veg with every meal. Try broccoli, asparagus, spinach, tomatoes, yellow and red peppers, berries and cherries.
  • Add a protein rich food – such as fish, chicken, tofu or eggs – to each main meal
  • Use pulses such as beans and lentils, rather than pasta or rice, to accompany your meal
  • Eliminate highly refined High GI foods, such as sweets, crisps, and foods containing white flour and sugar
  • Nutrients such as cinnamon and chromium, such as those in Patrick Holford’s Cinnachrome, can provide additional blood sugar support

All in all, this is great news for all who suffer with acne. It represents a way to take control over a condition that is all too often difficult to treat with prescription drugs and over-the-counter lotions and potions.

Written by Nadia Mason, BSc MBANT NTCC CNHC

References

(1.) Kwon HH, et al. Preview of article: Clinical and Histological Effect of a Low Glycaemic Load Diet in Treatment of Acne Vulgaris in Korean Patients: A Randomized, Controlled Trial Acta Dermato-Venereologica 2012. DOI: 10.2340/00015555-1346

(2.) Image courtesy of Vikor Habbick

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Healthy skin the light therapy way

The health of our skin is often the first thing people notice when we speak to them.  It can tell the tales of the past whether it be sun damage or pigmentation from enjoying just that little bit too much sunshine, or wrinkles and age spots just because of the inevitable ageing process.  It can also display some of the more confidence-sapping conditions such as rosacea, eczema or acne.  Like it or not, we can often be judged on our appearances and the health of our skin and if it isn’t looking or feeling its best it can make us feel insecure.

Skin Light Therapy
Of late, more people are turning to light therapy to help their skin regain its natural balance.

There are all sorts of lotions, potions and treatments out there to help improve the appearance of our skin, some more natural than others.  Many people don’t fancy botox or collagen injections in search of eternal youth or want to take high strength prescription medicines to dry out their acne vulgaris.  Often these prescriptions have negative side effects sometimes associated with these treatments, such as digestive complaints or further skin inflammation.  Of late, more people are turning to light therapy to help their skin regain its natural balance and help improve the appearance of wrinkles, spider veins, acne and roseacea the natural way.  Light therapy is the exposure to specific wavelengths of light for a specific amount of time in order to treat a particular disorder, problem or concern.

Daylight is a vital ingredient for our existence and since time began humans have responded to their natural environments.  We feel happier in sunny months and our skin is often healthier when the sun is out for longer with more natural daylight available.  Light lamps emitting red and/or blue wavelengths are often used for those with skin concerns such as acne vulgaris, p.acnes, rosacea, spider veins, wrinkles or inflammation.  Blue wavelengths are used for anti-bacterial treatment, while red wavelengths are best for reducing inflammation, pigmentation and fine lines.

Britebox Dermaclear
Models such as the Britebox dermaclear now combine both red & blue wavelengths in order to reduce both bacteria and inflammation.

Blue wavelengths are primarily used for the treatment of acne and to reduce bacteria, however many models such as the Britebox dermaclear now combine both red & blue wavelengths in order to reduce both bacteria and inflammation and for better, faster results.  Infrared and red wavelengths are primarily used for skin pigmentation, wrinkles and fine lines, roseacea, spider veins and age spots.

Treatment times vary between models and can range from 3 minutes to 30 minutes per day with results being seen from anything between 24 hours and 8 weeks – depending on severity of the skin concern.

View our Skin Health Light Therapy Comparison chart here

We have many other blog posts on supporting the health of the skin written by Ani Richardson RNutri. For further reading, see her posts here.

Written by Katie Guest

References

*Extracts taken from bodykind’s Light Therapy Knowledge Base

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