Of all the vitamins for acne I’ve tested, this vitamin has got to be the most critical. Don’t get me wrong, for vitamins to work for maximum benefit they generally need to be combined with cofactors.
They don’t work in isolation.
But if I were to choose just one vitamin for acne this would be it.
What is it?
It’s a fat-soluble vitamin (meaning it can only be absorbed if you ingested with facts) commonly known as vitamin A.
It is in the highest concentrations in animal products such as…
- Butter and other animal fats
- Organ meats
The precursor to vitamin A it is beta carotene. Beta carotene comes from the carotenoid family. Beta carotene is the plant source of vitamin A. However, in order for beta carotene to be utilized by your body it must first be converted by your liver into vitamin A.
Some may find they have a vitamin A deficiency even though they eat plenty of carrots. This is because the beta carotene in the carrots isn’t being converted very well to vitamin A.
For this among other reasons I suggest you include animal sources of vitamin A in your diet.
My favorite sources of vitamin A for acne sufferers:
(I prefer food sources over pills whenever possible. Whole-food sources of nutrients are the way I believe you body is made to get nutrition and is best absorbed. They come in a more complete nutrient spectrum and often include the all-important cofactors that enhance absorption.)
Here are the best whole-food sources I’ve found:
- Cod liver oil
- Grass-fed, raw butter (if you can get it), conventional butter if you can’t. (More about the importance of grass-fed animal fat and hormonal balance in later reports.) There are a few caveats about butter and androgenic hormones you need to know about. We’ll cover later. Please be sure to read the sections on butter and androgenic hormones.
- Red palm oil (not red palm kernel oil) (A rich source of the vitamin A precursor beta carotene but not vitamin A… more about that later)
If you can’t get grass-fed, raw butter, then you can get many of the same benefits through a mix of cod liver / fish oils along with conventional butter. Grass-fed sources of butter are not only rich in vitamin A they’re also rich in another hormonally balancing nutrients we’ll cover in later reports.
Conventional butter that comes from cows being fed primarily grains as their diet does not contain this hormonally balancing nutrient. However cod liver oil and fish oil has one aspect of it. So if you can’t get grass-fed, raw butter you can still give much of the same hormonally balancing benefit using cod liver oil along with conventional butter.
I’m getting ahead of myself. We’ll cover this all-important, and so very little understood link to hormones in later reports in detail. So stay with me. And please just take it one step at a time. Don’t get overwhelmed. We’ll bring it all together in the final report.
Possible problems with cod liver oil – what you need to know
Here’s the deal, cod liver oil it is one of you of most potent, bio-available available sources of vitamin A. But it has a few problems…
- It oxidizes, or goes rancid fast.
- It can contain heavy metals.
Both these problems can be overcome with quality manufacturing. If the oil is processed in a low-oxygen environment oxidation is minimized.
Through process of vacuum distillation heavy metals can be removed without harming the oil.
So be sure you get a brand that’s vacuum-distilled and processed with low oxygen.
Lastly, some companies are deodorizing the oil. This removes the vitamin A and D. Then they are adding back synthetic versions of these vitamins to meet consumer demand. This will not work. Synthetics cause serious problems in my opinion. You need to get natural forms of vitamin A.
Be sure you check with the manufacture and know what you are getting. Don’t waste your money on an inferior brand.
I’m constantly testing brands for you. To get an up to day list of my current favorites subscribe to my newsletter. To do that enter your name and email below. You’ll be sent my most up to date list whenever I find something new…
Vitamin A toxicity
My observation is that most acne sufferers require greater doses of vitamin A then non-acne sufferers. However vitamin A can become toxic in too high of doses.
If you ingest too much vitamin A or vitamin A rich foods the vitamin A was slowly build up in your system and it could reach a toxic level.
Toxicity symptoms include:
- Muscle and joint pain
- Flaking skin
- Nausea and vomiting
Chronic toxicity can result in liver damage.
No worries. It doesn’t happen overnight. It takes months and even years of chronic overuse of vitamin A to develop toxicity symptoms.
Now I’ve seen studies that suggest amounts as little as 50,000 IU per day over a period of 18-24 months resulted in toxicity in some individuals.
I’ve also seen studies with doses of 1,000,000 IU per day for five years with no toxicity at all.
Why such a discrepancy?
I believe it has a lot to do with the form that was used and whether other key vitamin A cofactors were present in the individual.
Example: Vitamin C helps prevent vitamin A toxicity (among other things). Vitamins E and the mineral zinc compound the absorption of vitamin A.
So what’s the bottom line?
As an acne sufferer you’re going to need a higher dose of vitamin A then the usual.
To prevent any toxicity I suggest first using the whole-food sources of vitamin A. And that’s what you’ll be doing by adding butter and cod liver oil to your diet.
In addition to that, you can compound the absorption of vitamin A by including some synergistic cofactors. That way you can take less vitamin A and still get the therapeutic and anti-acne effects.
Lastly, the precursor to vitamin A also known as beta carotene doesn’t build up to toxic levels in your system. By including some beta carotene in your diet you’ll be giving yourself an extra boost of potential vitamin A without any risks of toxicity. That’s one of the reasons I suggest red palm oil for acne sufferers (among other things we’ll get to later).
So how much do you need to take? Well, that’s going to vary depending on your weight and how well you absorb. For now I suggest you keep your dose to roughly less then 50,000 IU.
One tablespoon of quality cod liver oil contains about 21,000 – 36,000 IU of vitamin A.
A tablespoon of butter has about 400 IU of vitamin A. This is going to vary a bunch depending on the quality of the diet of the cows the milk came from.
So for now, I suggest you ingest 1-2 tablespoons of cod liver oil daily and lots of butter. Several tablespoons a day would not be too much. Evidence suggests butter and cod liver oil work synergistically together so include both in your diet.
But isn’t butter unhealthy?
I’m sure you’ve been brainwashed into believing butter causes heart-disease and is a “bad” fat.
Trust me, that’s all BULL! Total bull pontificated by the same people that tell you bastardized fats like margarine are “healthy” fats.
Now think about that…
The same people telling you a hydrogenated, artificially created fat like margarine is healthy, and a natural, vitamin-rich fat like butter is “unhealthy”. Do you really think you can trust these people? They don’t have a clue. Don’t listen to them. Just trust me on this one.
Butter is a very healthy fat, and one of your best sources of concentrated fat-soluble vitamins that are so important for healthy skin and healthy hair.
In generations gone by when we had far fewer degenerative disease butter was consumed in liberal amounts. Heart disease skyrocketed with the promotion and use of hydrogenated vegetable fats as butter replacements.
So don’t buy into the bull. Include butter in your diet. The only factor you need to be aware of is not to heat the butter too much. Oxidized butter is not good. And heating it tends to oxidize it. (The best fat to use for cooking in my opinion would be coconut fat. It’s more stable at heat.)
Butter is good for you and grass-fed butter will improve your skin, your hair, and it will help your acne symptoms.
Just try it. See what adding butter does to the health of your hair and skin.
Butter and androgenic hormones
There is something you need to be aware of with butter and all animal fats with regards to acne.
Your body makes hormones from fat. And it makes the all-important hormone for proper sexual maturation, testosterone, from saturated animal fats.
So the best way to hormonally castrate someone is to take away all saturated animal fat from their diet. Both men and women need saturated fat to create the proper hormones for your body to function. Both men and women need testosterone to function properly.
That’s the facts of the matter. However, here’s the deal… If your have been on a diet low in saturated fat and low in animal fats (which I do not recommend), your body has learned to compensate for that
becoming more efficient at creating these all important hormones on less fat.
Once you start adding to these all-important fats to your diet your body suddenly has more of the basic building blocks to make these critical hormones.
What will happen then is you will experience a temporary surge in testosterone. It will take a bit of time for your body to adjust and find balance again. While its’ rebalancing you may notice an aggravation in your acne. It’s not always the case, but it is a possibility.
If that happens understand what is going on. Stick it out. Don’t make the mistake of thinking butter is the culprit. It’s NOT. What the culprit is was your years of lack of the critical nutrition for your body to make the hormones it needs to function properly.
There will be a rebound and rebalancing period. So that highlights another point. Try to keep your dose of these fats fairly consistent. That way your body has an easier job of making hormones in balance to start with.
But isn’t excess testosterone the cause of my acne problems?
No, that’s not what’s going on. What is happening is your overwhelming your body’s natural hormonal regulating systems. It’s not excess testosterone that is the problem per say. You need testosterone. Study after study has shown low levels of testosterone equate with a host of health problems.
The problem is when that testosterone is not deactivated (conjugated by your liver) and filtered from the blood after it’s had its biological effects. (This is the same root problem with male hormonal driven health problems such as prostate problems, hormonally driven hair-loss, prostate cancers, excess body-hair, and others). We’ll cover this critical aspect of hormonal balance in later reports.
For now you just need to understand what’s going on once you start adding these all important fat soluble vitamin sources to your diet.
Cod liver oil and vitamin D
One the last thing you need to know regarding cod liver oil…
If you’re getting lots of sun you’re getting loads of vitamin D. Your body converts sunlight into vitamin D. Too little vitamin D causes your bones to lose calcium. Too much vitamin D causes over calcification.
But here’s the deal, cod liver oil is also rich in vitamin D. So if you’re getting lots of sun and your ingesting cod liver oil it is possible that you might get too much vitamin D. So if this is you, cut back a bit on your cod liver dose when you’re getting lots of sun. Make up the difference with other vitamin A rich foods.
On days when you don’t get sun cod liver oil is your best defense against a vitamin D deficiency.
But I’m vegan. I don’t eat animal products like you baby-seal-clubbing, fur-wearing, dolphin killers!
Listen, if you are vegan I feel for you. I really do. I don’t like the idea of having to kill something so that I can live. But you know, those carrots were living to. And they had to be killed when you ate them.
The reality it’s very hard to be vegan and get the all-important fat-soluble vitamins that you as an acne sufferer so desperately need. I’m not saying it can’t be done, but it is very hard to do.
Having said that. As a vegan you’ve got one thing going for you. You’re not clogging yourself with conventional dairy…
…I would not advise any acne sufferer to ingest pasteurized, bastardized, grain-fed, steroid and anti-biotic laced factory-farm milk and milk products.
Those clearly I can say cause congestion and allergens in the system that aggravate acne.
But please hear me…
I believe after much research and testing the problem is not with dairy products, the problem is how they are bastardized, denatured, and destroyed through pasteurization and other factory farming atrocities.
Once exposed to heat during pasteurization the delicate amino acids found in the milk are damaged and become “gluey”. As a results they not only congest but become extraordinarily hard to digest. This leads to allergies among other things. Even calves die when fed pasteurized milk. This should tell you something.
But this isn’t the case if you can get raw or cultured dairy. Raw dairy, raw butter, raw yogurt, and the very best food for acne sufferers raw, raw non-pasteurized cultured goat milk kefir get them. Include them in your diet…
… Those are readily digested and carry with them all the important fats and fat-soluble vitamins acne sufferers so desperately need.
The key is to get raw, grass-fed dairy. Goat milk dairy I believe is the most readily used by humans and I prefer that to cow dairy if you can get it.
But I digress…
I believe vegans, if not careful develop chronic fat-soluble vitamin deficiencies. And if not careful end up ingesting too much starch, sugars, and omega 6 fats. All of which has a tendency to aggravate acne. That I believe is why you see so many vegans with bad skin and hair.
So if you’re vegan you’ve got to be much more diligence.
If that’s you the next best source of vitamin A is beta carotene. However I don’t think you can eat enough carrots to make up for the concentrated sources of vitamin A you would get from cod liver oil, butter, and other animal fats.
The best concentrated food source I found for that is red palm oil (not red palm kernel). However, even with that it is likely you’re going to need to supplement to get the dose you need for therapeutic anti-acne effects.
If you’re going to supplement with a pill be sure to get natural beta carotene, not synthetic.
But please consider at least adding butter to your diet (nothing had to die to give you butter). Do it for a few weeks, and judge by the health of your skin, your hair, and your nails. (You can always go back to being a strict vegan).
That way you don’t end up with a bad skin you see in so many health food store patrons.
All right, now that we got that out of the way… Next up we’ll cover a critical nutrient that not only compounds the effects of vitamin A but helps protect fat oxidation and I believe plays a critical although indirect role in hormonal balance…Continue »