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Kit

Could it be gluten?

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Kit

So, a bit of history.

 

I've had a horrible problem with acne since about the age of 12.  My mom swore to me that it would go away before I hit 30.  She lied.  It went all the way into my 40s.

 

Then I was diagnosed as diabetic.  I started metformin.  I went low carb.  And behold, the acne went away and I haven';t had an outbreak for over a year now.

 

Last week Mr Fuzzy discovered Atkins now has little frozen pizzas and he got me a couple of the cheese ones.  Not something I would have chosen for myself, but he was proud he had found them and was excited for me to try.  So I did.

 

I had one for lunch on Saturday and the second for lunch on Sunday.  They were ok.  Nothing special.  I suspect I have lost my taste for pizza.  They were ok with my blood sugar, but way too small for the hit on my measly little carb budget to make it something I'd want to do very often

 

By Sunday night the outbreak started.  By Tuesday morning it was on my face, chest, back, and arms.  By today I think I have hit the peak of the outbreak and thankfully things are showing signs of healing up.  Trust me, acne on a 40 something year old woman is embarrassing.

 

I looked at the ingredients list.  While yes, it is processed and there's a lot of unpronounceable items in the list (but not much of that I haven'[t had through other items), I also noticed a few things in it that I haven't touched for over a year now.  Specifically Wheat Gluten, Oat Fiber, Whole Wheat Flour, and similar.

 

I am strongly suspect that those pizzas were the trigger as I ate or drank anything else that wasn't usual.  I was at home the entire weekend, no new soaps or other triggers I could think of either.

 

So now I'm starting to suspect either the whole wheat, or the gluten, or maybe the oat fiber.  I'd been meaning to try out oat fiber at some point, even bought some, but never got around to giving it a try.

 

I've noted before that I had horrible gastric issues ever since I had my gall bladder removed over 15 years ago.  That also went away once I went low carb.  They always said my gastric issues were due to fat and I tried to cut as much out of my diet as I could.  In doing so, I greatly increased the carbs in my diet.  I leaned on whole wheat breads and pastas heavily during that time.

 

I've said before that I didn't think the gastric issues were due to gluten because I'd never had issues prior to my surgery.  But now I'm starting to wonder if I was wrong, as I had increased my intake of those items significantly after that surgery.

 

So, what do you guys think?  I'd be tempted to try a couple again after a few weeks to see if it happens again, but they just aren't worth it to me.  I am still going to try some oat fiber one of these days, but I don't think that's it as oats were never a consistent part of my diet.

 

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mbc1963

I think you could be onto something.

 

It seems to me that sensitivities might be linked to more than a single item. For example, I've been fairly lactose intolerant for a decade or more. But since going LCHF, I can eat much more cheese than I could before, without having digestive problems. So yes, I am sensitive to lactose, but it also seems to be somehow linked to other foods I eat, as well. Maybe I'm more lactose sensitive when I have gluten in my system? Maybe I have a tiny bit of gluten sensitivity and a bigger bit of lactose intolerance, and both act together to make me ill?

 

The real test would be for you to go completely gluten-free again for a while, and then eat some gluten again and see if your acne flares up again. But that's a dreadful test for anyone to do, because who wants to make herself sick to test a hypothesis?

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JanetP

Me, too with the lactose sensitivity.  I had the same thing happen to me.  As long as I stay low-carb I can get most of my fat calories from dairy, which works well since I need the typtophan to make serotonin. Add wheat and here comes the GERD and the GI upset and the "metformin moments", yet I have been tested twice for celiac disease and both times have been negative.

 

Who knows what wheat can do to us nowadays?  Especially with the way it is is farmed and processed.

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jwags

The problem with wheat and gluten is the way it is grown. In the US fields are sprayed with Round Up to kill the weeds before harvest. Organic wheat or some ancient wheat grown in other countries does not have this chemical sprayed on. I do much better with Einkorn wheat or organic wheat products.

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predb4

I think you could be onto something.

 

It seems to me that sensitivities might be linked to more than a single item. For example, I've been fairly lactose intolerant for a decade or more. But since going LCHF, I can eat much more cheese than I could before, without having digestive problems. So yes, I am sensitive to lactose, but it also seems to be somehow linked to other foods I eat, as well. Maybe I'm more lactose sensitive when I have gluten in my system? Maybe I have a tiny bit of gluten sensitivity and a bigger bit of lactose intolerance, and both act together to make me ill?

 

The real test would be for you to go completely gluten-free again for a while, and then eat some gluten again and see if your acne flares up again. But that's a dreadful test for anyone to do, because who wants to make herself sick to test a hypothesis?

 

before low carb, i had serious gastric issues with eating peanuts, with cholocolate and other things.

now i can eat peanuts freely,

 

maybe, one day, i will be brave enought to try beets, but they have sugar, so just as well.

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Kit

I had a coworker who was testing and showed signs of problems with a number of foods, including gluten.  She cut them all out of her diet and once she felt better, started adding things back in one at a time.  It seemed she was fine with all of the other items as long as gluten was not one of them, so I'm not surprised to hear others say similar.

 

jwags, yes, wheat as we know it now is not the same wheat people ate a few hundred years ago.  Its not just things pesticides and herbicides.  Through various hybridization and genetic modifications, the plant itself is not the same plant it used to be.

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Ela

Fascinating. 

 

I have no smart thoughts on the issue, but my conclusion of reading of this thread is that it's not so simple (as almost nothing in real life is!) and it seems that gluten makes your other allergies worse.   It's like grapefruit can enhance some medication potency - gluten might make the body more susceptible to allergens. 

 

But it could be not just gluten, but something else they put in the bread (maybe that particular pizzas you ate) - all those stabilizers and other fancy crap.  I can eat bread in small quantities (knock on the wood), but the bread we're often buying, while low carb make me feel kind of queasy, like I ate too much of something sour and also make me hungry much faster.  Some other breads, which even have higher carb content don't have this effect on me.  So there is something in that particular bread,..... which never spoils BTW. 

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fjordscape

Acne. . . . I got acne at 14. It began to decrease about 45 -- any little bit helps.

 

The main cause of acne is testosterone, which even women have a teeny bit of. People with chronic acne have skin which is hypersensitive to testosterone.

 

Acne and sensitivity to gluten are both inflammation diseases, so I readily believe that gluten could trigger acne.

 

At the same time, I wonder whether your pimples are acne. People with as much experience of pimples are you and me should know the difference, of course. I get both acne and nonacne. The nonacne started in my 30's and the percentage of my pimples that are nonacne has gradually risen. I think most of my pimples are still acne, although I don't keep track. I've never read that nonacne is promoted by testosterone, but that doesn't mean it couldn't be. . . . Since age 14, I have never been free of acne for more than a week. . . . For most of my adult life, I have been an infrequent bread eater, especially since the 1990's.

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fjordscape

It seems to me that sensitivities might be linked to more than a single item. For example, I've been fairly lactose intolerant for a decade or more. But since going LCHF, I can eat much more cheese than I could before, without having digestive problems.

 

Hmm, interesting possibility. I'm lactose intolerant, but it not 100%. I discovered lactase in the 1990's, and it was one of the best things that's ever happened to me.

 

Yogurt and "real" cheeses don't have lactose. Neither does sour cream. Cottage cheese and ice cream do have it. Cottage cheese has more protein than cheeses and twice the protein of yogurt.

 

There was a long period, a decade or more in the middle of my adulthood, when my lactose intolerance increased. Outside of that period, I can eat cottage cheese or ice cream once and not seem to get sick, that is, when I have mislaid my lactase tablets. When I was young and before I had heard of lactose intolerance, I would eat these foods for a week, get progressively more sensitive, and lay off of them for anywhere from one week to an entire season. I went through many of those cycles. Immediately upon puberty, I couldn't tolerate milk, but it would be two decades before I understood why. Even with lactase available, I have never resumed drinking milk.

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JanetP

Real acne is basically an overgrowth of staphlococcus bacteria on the skin.  Which strain, I don't know.

 

Acne past puberty is called rosacea and is an entirely different type of thing.

 

Now I have to start googling (or Firefoxing, as the case may be.)  :)

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Kit

Janet:  Not the kind of acne I get.  I get great big zits, large black heads, etc.  No rashes at all.  I get them on my face, chest, back, shoulders, arms, and hair line.  Definitely acne vulgaris.

 

Ela, I looked at the ingredient list, and all of those other ingredients listed I have had from other products that I eat on a semi regular basis.  The ones I mentioned are the ones I haven't had in my diet since a few months after I was diagnosed.

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Ela

Acne. . . . I got acne at 14. It began to decrease about 45 -- any little bit helps.

 

The main cause of acne is testosterone, which even women have a teeny bit of. People with chronic acne have skin which is hypersensitive to testosterone.

 

Acne and sensitivity to gluten are both inflammation diseases, so I readily believe that gluten could trigger acne.

 

At the same time, I wonder whether your pimples are acne. People with as much experience of pimples are you and me should know the difference, of course. I get both acne and nonacne. The nonacne started in my 30's and the percentage of my pimples that are nonacne has gradually risen. I think most of my pimples are still acne, although I don't keep track. I've never read that nonacne is promoted by testosterone, but that doesn't mean it couldn't be. . . . Since age 14, I have never been free of acne for more than a week. . . . For most of my adult life, I have been an infrequent bread eater, especially since the 1990's.

 

Your problem might be triggered by all those OJs and all other sugary drinks you consume in abundance as sugar is known breeding ground for all kinds of bacteria.

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Ela

Janet:  Not the kind of acne I get.  I get great big zits, large black heads, etc.  No rashes at all.  I get them on my face, chest, back, shoulders, arms, and hair line.  Definitely acne vulgaris.

 

Ela, I looked at the ingredient list, and all of those other ingredients listed I have had from other products that I eat on a semi regular basis.  The ones I mentioned are the ones I haven't had in my diet since a few months after I was diagnosed.

 

So I guess in your case it more likely IS gluten.

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fjordscape

Your problem might be triggered by all those OJs and all other sugary drinks you consume in abundance as sugar is known breeding ground for all kinds of bacteria.

 

Sugar comment, yes. Bacteria comment, no. The involvement of bacteria in acne is overstated because the pimples are not necessarily infected. 

 

This year I found speculation about insulin provoking acne. Extra sugar means extra insulin. Insulin directly or indirectly causes inflammations. Kit's question led me to an article by Dr. Mercola's Website. Time and again, my searches have led there. He offers explanations that are more comprehensive than other medical pundits. That makes me skeptical, but at the same time, it's food for thought. He seems level headed. But his rhetoric is the most strident and his claims the most sweeping of any health pundit Website I trust. In this case, you can Google on acne insulin. 

 

Kit's case is interesting. She hadn't had an outbreak in several years, but I'll bet she had had some other moments of extra carbohydrate. The gluten hypothesis is reasonable. 

 

Bacteria. Even dermatologists misunderstand acne, slightly, by playing up infection. Acne's like having a sliver. The sliver -- the irritant -- is a mass (comedo) of congealed skin oil that was secreted into a pore and congealed there. This may or may not lead to inflammation (eg blackhead). Inflammation may or may not be accompanied by infection. Inflammation includes infusion of extracellular fluid into the irritated or damaged area. This fluid causes swellling and tenderness. The pressure is what cause the comedo and the fluid to spurt all the way to the mirror when the pimple is popped. The inflammation is the body's attempt to digest the comedo. 

 

For some mysterious reason, redness became a much reduced element of my pimples some years ago (I don't remember when). That's nice insofar as the active pimple is less unsightly. They hurt just as much. 

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fjordscape

Real acne is basically an overgrowth of staphlococcus bacteria on the skin.  Which strain, I don't know.

 

Acne past puberty is called rosacea and is an entirely different type of thing.

 

 

I'm sorry friend, no. Rosacea does not consist of pimples, just a rash. I've never had rosacea, but my sister did. Acne is acne regardless of age. There certainly are different kinds of acne, like cystic, papular, pustular. 

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Stl-T2

I think excess insulin in women stimulates the ovaries to produce more testosterone (the basics of the pathway underlying PCOS, if I'm remembering it correctly) which could lead to more acne.  But like you, Kit, I've also seen a huge reduction in GI issues/IBS since going lower carb.  However, I haven't had to cut out all bread, so I'm still getting quite a bit of gluten.  I can't speak to the acne as I've never had it bad and what I have had hasn't changed much.

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fjordscape

Your problem might be triggered by all those OJs and all other sugary drinks you consume in abundance as sugar is known breeding ground for all kinds of bacteria.

 

I remembered to investigate the species that infects acneed pores (I made up that spelling). It doesn't feed on sugars, after all. 

 

Dermatologists believe there is only one bacterium that feeds on the comedoes in the pores, surprising as that is. It's Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes). It eats the oil of oily skin. It eats "sebum, cellular detritus, and metabolic byproducts of the surrounding skin tissue". 

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fjordscape

This naturopathic physician has an explanation that's easy to understand and ties a lot of things together. A provoked immune system "triggers the release of insulin". From 2013. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/maura-henninger-nd/gluten-and-acne_b_2601648.html

 

In sensitive individuals, gluten acts in two ways. First, it alters the integrity of the gut, creating cracks in the gut lining that allow toxins to recirculate back into the system. Second, because gluten-sensitive people cannot properly digest gluten, these large molecules enter the bloodstream, and the immune system recognizes them as invaders, activating an immune response that increases inflammation, which in turn can result in acne. This kind of immune response also triggers the release of insulin, which results in raised hormone levels, another cause of acne.

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JanetP

I'm sorry friend, no. Rosacea does not consist of pimples, just a rash. I've never had rosacea, but my sister did. Acne is acne regardless of age. There certainly are different kinds of acne, like cystic, papular, pustular. 

 

I have to respectfully disagree with you on this one.  I have seen some pretty bad cases of rosacea on a few patients in my day.

 

http://www.rosacea.org/weblog

 

Thanks for the other information on acne.  Mine was obviously very outdated.

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fjordscape

Your problem might be triggered by all those OJs and all other sugary drinks you consume in abundance

 

Yet two more reasons why this is does not match my total situation closely (I've posted other replies). There was an era when I lost my taste for soft drinks for a decade or more, approximately ages 35-45, while the acne raged on. In recent years, the acne declined permanently -- I do still have it all the time, and it's painful, but the pimple count and overall severity are much reduced.

 

This change was 40 years coming, for which reason alone I almost wasn't even grateful. But see, what caused the amelioration? Probably, the male menopause. Women stop menstruating, while men lose a lot of testosterone. It's inevitable, and I knew about it in advance, but I saw the milder acne as a ratification.

 

I also am skeptical that I consume sugars in abundance. A temporary increase may have goosed an A1c test last week, but over the long term, I haven't drunk soft drinks daily. And on my income, a gallon of orange juice is a luxury I indulge in twice a month. High fat foods take priority!

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