ACNE: The result of an omega-3 deficiency?

The results of the study show that 94% of acne sufferers have blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids below recommended levels.

In addition, the study confirms a high prevalence of the disease: 5.4% of adults in 27 European countries suffer from acne with various signs and symptoms, spots or scars, cysts and oily skin mainly on the face, back and chest. If this figure were extrapolated to the entire European population, more than 20 million Europeans would be affected. First author Dr. Anne Gürtler from the Department of Dermatology at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität recalls: “Nutrition plays a central role in the prevention, onset and progression of many diseases, including dermatological diseases such as acne.

Baseline ω-3-FA levels should be determined in acne patients

The study followed 100 patients diagnosed with acne and analyzed blood nutritional markers. The analysis shows the following:

  • 94% of patients have lower than recommended levels (8-11%) of omega-3 fatty acids. (ω-3-FA);
  • patient diet correlates well with key fatty acid values;
  • Patients with omega-3 levels below 8% have higher IGF-1 levels compared to non-deficient patients;
  • Severe deficiency (less than 4%) is associated with higher IGF-1 levels and further increased acne severity.

Appeal to dermatologists: The researchers urge their colleagues to take an interest in the diet of their acne patients: “As part of a ‘modern’ approach, clinicians should educate their patients about the importance of nutrition in dermatology diagnoses and provide advice to improve patient outcomes.”

The authors point out that the Western diet has been blacklisted for many years for its direct impact on IGF-1 levels. However, the accompanying preventive and therapeutic nutritional measures have not yet been adequately addressed. In this regard, omega-3 (ω-3) fatty acids hold the most promise due to their anti-inflammatory effects.

Omega-3 fatty acidsFound in foods like legumes, seaweed, nuts, seeds, fish like salmon and sardines reduce inflammation by stimulating the production of the anti-inflammatory prostaglandins E1 and E3, leukotriene B5, and levels of insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), the central hormone that triggers acne.

In acne sufferers, baseline levels of omega-3 (ω-3-FA) in erythrocytes (red blood cells) should be checked to determine if a true deficiency is present, and then supplementation may be considered. If this avenue needs further exploration, it already brings hope to affected patients, with an alternative – to be confirmed – to better manage their condition.”

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