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Though acne is usually seen as a male hormone excess concern called androgen-mediated acne, in many cases it’s actually driven more by insulin, which will also make the other hormonal based acne from thyroid hormones or estrogen issues worse. It directly stimulates skin cells to produce more sebum and keratin but it also increases the secretion and bioavailability of other hormones related to acne.

Insulin affects acne-relevant hormones in these ways:

• Increases androgen secretion.
• Increases androgen bioavailability by reducing sex hormone binding globules (substances that bind to sex hormones and inactivate them).
• Increases IGF-1 bioavailability by reducing IGF-1 binding proteins.

All of these factors contribute to more sebum and more acne.

To date scientists have been reluctant to investigate the connection between diet and acne. However, some studies that show reduction in acne include:

• Reduction of dietary glycemic index (GI).
• Simultaneous reducing dietary glycemic index and increasing protein intake.
• Higher risk of acne in people who drink more milk, likely due to the lactose (a dietary sugar) in cows’ milk.

Acne – Not Just About Insulin

By now it should be clear that insulin is an important factor in acne, but it is certainly not the only factor contributing to acne.

Acne begins with oxidative damage (inflammation) to squalene, a fatty acid in sebum (an oily secretion of the sebaceous glands). Oxidative damage converts squalene into squalene peroxide, which is highly comedogenic, or clogging. Research has quite clearly shown that there can be no acne without initial oxidative damage to sebum.

Sebum oxidation leads to blocked pores, allowing bacteria to colonize in the pores, thus setting the stage for acne.

Insulin stimulates sebum production and increases the proportion of squalene. A reduction in insulin does the opposite. More sebum on your face that is being constantly exposed to inflammatory damage from UV rays, air pollution, toxins, etc, means more acne. Without sufficient antioxidant protection, sebum will suffer oxidative damage resulting in acne.

Clearly there’s a case to be made for using ketogenic diets to treat acne.

That said, not everyone with acne is insulin resistant. In some cases, acne is linked to PCOS or other hormonal abnormalities, while in other cases, it not caused by hormonal issues at all, but has more to do with the gut, lifestyle and stress. In such cases, a low-carb diet may be part of the solution, but repairing the gut and correcting an out of balance lifestyle takes precedence.

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Nutrient deficiencies are prevalent in our diets today due to mononculture farming, pesticides and herbicides and soil deficiencies. You might be surprised to find that you are deficient in quite a few of these vitamins.

Lack of protein in a vegetarian diet of a thyroid deficient person can also cause problems.

Vitamin A (not carotene)

A healthy body should convert carotene to vitamin A, but an underactive thyroid gland is unable to efficiently convert carotene to usable vitamin A. Protein is also necessary to make vitamin A available to the body — if you are on a low protein diet, you may be deficient in vitamin A.

Vitamin B Complex

The various B vitamins are necessary for good thyroid function, and each one has a different role to play.

B1 (Thiamine)

The main responsibility of B1 — or thiamine — is to change carbohydrates into energy. B1 also aids in the digestion of proteins and fats. Thiamine is a sulfur-containing vitamin that necessary for the release of hydrochloric acid in our stomachs, which is required for the digestion of protein. In most cases of Hashimoto’s, low stomach acid is an issue.

B2 (Riboflavin)

Riboflavin is important for body growth and the production of red blood cells. It also helps with the release of energy from proteins. The lack of Vitamin B2 suppresses thyroid function, causing the thyroid and adrenal glands to fail to secrete their hormones.

B3 (Niacin)

The body uses vitamin B3 in the process of releasing energy from carbohydrates. It is needed to form fat from carbohydrates and to process alcohol. Niacin can also be used to improve cholesterol levels and lower cardiovascular risks.

B6 (Pyridoxine)

Vitamin B6 helps the body to make antibodies to fight disease, maintain normal nerve function, produce hemoglobin to carry oxygen in the red blood cells to the tissues, break down proteins and maintain a normal blood sugar. It is also the main vitamin to assist with zinc metabolism. Too much zinc depletes copper, and a copper deficiency can cause hyperthyroidism. Without B6, the thyroid cannot utilize its iodine raw material efficiently to make the hormones.

B12

B12 has a key role in red blood cell metabolism of your entire body, giving you energy, sharpness in your brain and healthy function of the central nervous system.

Vitamin C

Numerous studies have confirmed that people with thyroid conditions generally have excess oxidative stress and a deteriorated antioxidant defense system, and low levels of vitamin C were also found in many studies, confirming an association with vitamin C deficiency and thyroid function. Adrenal fatigue may explain why vitamin C is deficient people with thyroid conditions.

Vitamin D

When people with an overactive thyroid take vitamin D, it counteracts the usual rapid excretion of calcium, helping to avoid osteoporosis.

Vitamin E

Lack of vitamin E encourages the thyroid gland to secrete too much hormone, and too little TSH by the pituitary gland. People with an overactive thyroid often need to Increase intake of vitamin E to counteract the large amounts of the vitamin depleted from the system.

Calcium

Calcium is vital in preventing bone loss, yet many of us consume too little calcium in the form of dairy products.

Magnesium

Magnesium is required for the conversion of T4 into T3 so this mineral should be supplemented in people with thyroid conditions.

Selenium

Selenium is a crucial component of the enzyme that converts T4 to T3 in the body. Without it, the right amounts of T3 cannot be produced and organs will function as if hypothyroidism was present, even though blood test levels are normal.

Zinc

Research has shown that both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism result in zinc deficiency. Zinc also plays a role in the function of a healthy immune system. Zinc is also needed to convert T4 into T3.

Many of these vitamins and minerals can be found fruits and vegetables, as well as other foods like dairy products, meat and fish. Talk to your doctor to determine if a supplement is needed to help you get the right amounts of each of these essential vitamins.

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Oxalate is a naturally occurring, “organic acidic salt compound” commonly found in foods of plant origin, such as berries, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. Your body also produces oxalates by the metabolism of glyoxylic acid or ascorbic acid (vitamin C). Oxalate is normally excreted out of the body via urine, and sometimes the bowels.

Consistently eating foods containing high levels of oxalates can result in excessive levels of oxalates in your body. High oxalate levels can make it difficult for your body to absorb minerals and they are excreted via urine.

Symptoms of excess oxalate

If your body is not getting rid of the oxalates, these reactive molecules can cause a lot of problems for your health. Symptoms of excess oxalates in your body may include:

• chelating (a bonding of ions and molecules) with toxic metals like mercury
• painful or inflamed joints, similar to fibromyalgia or arthritis
• painful or burning urine or bowel movements
• leaky gut or other gut problems
• kidney stones
• developmental disorders in children, such as autism
• external female genital pain or irritation (vulvodynia)
• depression
• hives

Foods that contain oxalate can combine with calcium-rich foods or supplements creating oxalate crystals. These crystals can also form in your kidneys, joints, bones, blood vessels and even your brain.

Calcium oxalate stones can also form inside the thyroid, damaging the tissue and is associated with low thyroid function. If oxalates combine with iron, iron levels will go down and you will have oxidative damage.

High Oxalate excretion exacerbates many diseases such as fibromyalgia, interstitial cystitis, vulvodynia, depression, arthritis, autism and a variety of digestive disorders (which, in turn, exacerbate hyperoxaluria by allowing even more oxalate to be absorbed).

According to LowOxalate.info, leaky gut syndrome, in which molecules are absorbed from the digestive tract at a higher than normal rate, can cause hyperoxaluria. Hyperoxaluria is an excessive excretion of oxalate and is often seen in individuals who have calcium oxalate kidney stones.

While it can be difficult to say much about hyperoxaluria and other diseases due to a lack of research, many people have reported improved health on a low-oxalate diet and given the high amount of oxalate in some plant foods,

Symptoms of oxalate excess in urine

• joint pain
• painful urination
• excessive urination/bed wetting
• burning with bowel movements
• sandy bowel movements
• white or black flecks in bowel movement
• skin rashes
• brain fog
• eye pain
• insomnia
• anxiety/depression

If you think you may be experiencing problems caused by oxalate, here are some tips to help relieve your symptoms.

• Eat foods that are high in calcium or take a calcium supplement with meals. If you have a history of calcium-oxalate stones, take calcium citrate.
• Stay hydrated.
• Avoid putting large amounts of high-oxalate vegetables in your green smoothies.
• Do not take large amounts of vitamin C.
• Boil high-oxalate leafy greens and discard the water.

If you have a history of calcium-oxalate kidney stones or think you may have hyperoxaluria, limit oxalate as much as possible, add citrate to your diet (through orange or lemon juice, or calcium citrate), minimize added fructose and sodium, or try a probiotic supplement with Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Bifidobacterium lactis.

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Many people first stumble upon the idea of ketosis while looking for a weight loss strategy. They’ve tried one diet after another, but have found that cutting calories isn’t effective and are in search of something more. When counting calories doesn’t work, a ketogenic diet may be the answer.

Why Calorie Counting Doesn’t Work

Have you been counting calories only to be met with frustration when you aren’t losing weight? One of the reasons calorie-restricted diets tend to fail is because cutting calories increases hunger and food cravings. Cutting calories to lose weight doesn’t suppress your appetite. In fact, it causes your hormones to work against you, by telling your brain to eat more.

Ketosis, on the other hand, is an effective appetite suppressant.

How Ketosis Suppresses the Appetite

Appetite suppression through ketosis happens in more than one way. First, by eating more fat and cutting bad carbs (sugar, bread, etc), your blood sugar will stabilize.

Scientists have found that ketones have an impact on hormones that regulate hunger and satiety. Ketones help to increase production of cholecystokinin (CCK), a hormone, which makes you feel full, and reduce production of ghrelin, which is known as the “hunger hormone.”

After you eat, your intestines release CCK — a powerful regulator of food intake. Your body secretes less CCK after you lose weight. When you are thinner, you will feel less satisfied with the same meal than you did before losing the weight and your cravings for unhealthy foods will increase.

A ketogenic diet for weight loss keeps you from getting caught in this trap.

Ghrelin (a.k.a. “the hunger hormone”) is released from your intestines and stomach and increases hunger. During normal fasting, grehlin levels go up, and when you eat, grehlin drops in response to nutrients circulating in your blood. It goes up during normal fasting. When you eat a meal, ghrelin drops in response to nutrients circulating in your blood.

If you are in a ketogenci state, grehlin levels do not increase with weight loss.

How Much Ketosis Is Enough?

How much ketosis do you need to effectively lose weight? A recent study published in January 2015 in Obesity Reviews found that a blood ketone level of 0.5 mM was sufficient to significantly suppress appetite in participants on a variety of diets. In the average person, circulating levels of ketones are typically at ~0.1 mM after an overnight fast.

Read more about the kegotenic diet in this article.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 English cucumber

  • 1 avocado

  • 2 green onion

  • 1/4 cup of fresh parsley

  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk from a can

  • 1 and 1/2 cups of cold water

  • 1 tsp coconut aminos (soy sauce substitute)

DIRECTIONS

  • Wash and trim the ends off the cucumber. Cut the cucumber into thirds. Chop 2/3 and dice 1/3. The diced cucumber will be used for garnish.

  • Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit and the skin.

  • Chop the green onion into 1-inch pieces.

  • Add the chopped cucumber, avocado, green onions and parsley to the blender. Pour in the coconut milk and water.

  • Blend until smooth, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper

  • Chill for up to 3 hours before serving

  • Garnish with diced cucumber

The last holiday party of the year is here and it’s time to ring in a New Year! Staying healthy and eating nutritious food during the holidays is challenging for anyone. Even if you’ve gotten off track this holiday season, pick yourself up and get back on track with these ideas for a healthy New Year’s celebration!

Low-Cal Cocktail Recipes

If alcohol will be part of your NYE party this year, try one or two of these recipes to keep the calories down.

Piña Colada (the average piña colada has more than 600 calories, but this recipe contains just 165 calories!)

  • 1 1/2 ounces coconut-flavored rum

  • 3 ounces pineapple juice

  • 4 ounces sparkling water

  • 1 tablespoon of Coco Lopez Cream of Coconut Lite (found in the drink mixers section of many supermarkets)

Pour ingredients over ice and stir.

Strawberry Citrus Vodka Mixer (259 calories)

  • 2 strawberries

  • 1 sprig of mint

  • 3/4 ounce light agave nectar, such as Wholesome Sweeteners

  • 1 3/4 ounces citrus vodka (for a non-alcoholic drink, swap vodka for a low-cal soda like Fresca)

  • 3/4 ounce lemon juice

In a shaker, muddle together mint and strawberries, then add the rem...

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