Avoid Milk and Sugar for a Clear Complexion

Acne sucks and no one likes it….

Why is it so prevalent in our present times and how can we rectify this current epidemic? 

Well, an interesting, yet alarming tidbit is that currently 85% of our adolescents are experiencing acne as well as men and women in their twenties. It is common knowledge to assume the main culprit of this problematic condition is hormone related, and pubescent teens are pulsing the greatest hormone production of their lives during these times. Fluctuating hormone levels do elicit side effects such as acne, BUT there might be some environmental factors that are magnifying these effects.

Let's face it, our current nutritional guidelines that are being recommended is insanity. High carbohydrates, low fat and low protein based nutrition. Also, how many teenagers do you know that adhere to meticulous nutritional regimens and properly stay hydrated and avoid excessive empty calories and other "anti-nutritious" foods?

I would guess your answer is "not many." 

Recent research has demonstrated that the consumption of milk and dairy-based products are major players in contributing to the acne epidemic we currently face. Milk is loaded with hormones and growth factor's such as; bGH (bovine growth-hormone) IGF-1 and also trigger's insulin release. Elevated plasma IGF-1 levels from milk further exacerbate endogenous production of hormones that are already high during puberty. The presence of 5a-pregnanedione, 5a-androstanedione and other precursors of 5a-dihydrotestosterone add to the potency of milk to increase the formation of acne. 

Most cheaper milk products currently available derive milk from prenatal cows, which are jacked full of hormones from the pregnancy. DHT is then transferred into the milk product and then consumed by adolescents and young adults in conjunction with their sugary morning cereal!

(High consumption of milk & high glycemic carbs like French fries can trigger acne)

 Let's consider the role DHT plays on the production of sebum. As DHT gets elevated from milk consumption, new sebocytes are produced which ignite more sebum production, which trigger more acne. This vicious cycle is even further magnified by a diet rich in sugar and high-glycemic carbohydrates. Sugary foods with high glycemic loads will induce abrupt pulses of insulin production by the pancreas. The bolus amount of insulin will also spike IGF-1 levels, which are already high in teens and young adults to begin with. 

IGF-1 is a mitogen and after IGF-1 attaches to its receptor sites in various tissues, it induces cell division, cell proliferation, and prevents cell apoptosis (which is the death of cells) Keratinocytes (epidermis cells), sebocytes (epithelial cells) as well as the adrenals and gonads, which get stimulated by IGF-1 production.

Here is something to think about – 

Notice how you will occasionally see what appears to be a young women, meaning fully developed and looks "of age,' then your jaw drops when you realize that this young female is 12 or 13 years old…..

There is sound reasoning for this mind-boggling occurrence. It would be unethical and twisted to inject 8-9 year old females with several hormones such as; estrogen, progesterone, prolactin, testosterone, IGF-1, rHGH and various other growth factors right? Well drinking milk in high amounts is doing just that – saturating their endocrine system with a multitude of growth spurting, powerful hormones. There is research indicating that average height's and body weights of young females have increased dramatically in the last 50 years. I suppose drinking a substance that contains over 59 bio-active hormones can have such an affect.

Back to the subject at hand pertaining to dairy & sugar promoting a greater incidence of acne.

What can be done?

Well, for starters stay away from milk or dramatically decrease its consumption. I would suggest exchanging milk for Almond Milk or Coconut Milk. These 2 substitutes are low in calories and do not contain unpredictable hormonal fluctuations and contain MCT fatty acids (coconut milk) & Monounsaturated fatty acids (almond milk). Trust me – YOU CAN STILL ENJOY CEREAL! Of course to keep insulin under control and igf-1 levels stable, the cereal selection should be scored low on the glycemic index and be enriched with dietary fiber

Some useful herbal based supplements to take for insulin control would be gymnema sylvestre, banaba leaf, bitter melon and cinnamon. For pharmaceuticals Metformin also known as Glucophage would lower IGF-1 levels and keep insulin and blood sugar at low baseline levels.

If persistent acne stays with you well into adulthood, you need to take charge immediately and get your IGF-1 levels down. As adulthood acne may be considered a health risk factor for increased risk of cancer, which will require dietary modifications and proper natural or pharmaceutical treatment of insulin-sensitizing agents.

As always, I write these articles to give you (the reader) something to think about and consider. Do I personally stay away from all dairy products? I would be a liar if I said yes. I eat cottage cheese, low-fat mozzarella cheese, Greek yogurt (occasionally), and as a competitive Bodybuilder, various forms of dairy protein in powder form is consumed at key times of the day. I do however; avoid milk consumption and use almond & coconut milk instead. 

If you suffer with mild to severe acne, try eliminating the consumption of dairy products and also monitor your carbohydrate intake, namely simple sugars. I personally adhere to high fluid intake to constantly stay hydrated and to flush toxins out of the body. I find when I drink 2 gallons of water per day, my complexion improves dramatically.

 

References:

1.)Danby FW.Nutrition and acne.Clin Dermatol. 2010 Nov-Dec;28(6):598-604.

2.)Melnik BC, Schmitz G.Role of insulin, insulin-like growth factor-1, hyperglycaemic food and milk consumption in the pathogenesis of acne vulgaris.Exp Dermatol. 2009 Oct;18(10):833-41. Epub 2009 Aug 25.

3.)Melnik BC.Evidence for acne-promoting effects of milk and other insulinotropic dairy products.Nestle Nutr Workshop Ser Pediatr Program. 2011;67:131-45. Epub 2011 Feb 16.

4.)Melnik B.[Acne vulgaris. Role of diet].Hautarzt. 2010 Feb;61(2):115-25. 

5.)Melnik B.Milk consumption: aggravating factor of acne and promoter of chronic diseases of Western societies.J Dtsch Dermatol Ges. 2009 Apr;7(4):364-70. Epub 2008 Feb 20.

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Thou Shall Cut on Gear and Bulk off Cycle

How many times have you heard someone say “I’m going to bulk up while on cycle and cut up once I’m finished?” They are probably under the train of thought that they can eat everything in sight as long as it has protein in it. The trainee is most likely using aromatizing bulking agents for their cycle, which elicits estrogenic body fat accumulation in Alpha-2 enriched adipose sites.

Estrogenic Alpha-2 Receptors Shown Below:

A poorly planned diet disregarding quality calories on top of highly aromatizable compounds is a perfect recipe for looking like a sumo wrestler instead of a bodybuilder! These misinformed individuals typically think that they will magically cut up once they cease their cycle of anabolics. Due to an ignorant nutrition program and a lack of understanding about the way hormones work, they set themselves up for a major disappointment.  Sure they naturally lose excessive water retention from discontinuing the aromatizing compounds and fool themselves into thinking they are on their way to being shredded, but that surely isn’t the case. In fact, they will most likely lose everything they gained on cycle, and perhaps look worse than before starting the cycle. An insufficient recovery, due to excessive calorie cutting and ineffective PCT products will yield a catabolic environment. Deciding to diet down during your post cycle therapy is perhaps the most catastrophic time to do so. You see, when in PCT, your endogenous hormone levels are plummeted and high calories from protein, carbohydrates, and fats are crucial in holding size, and keeping cortisol levels under control.  When you diet during a post cycle therapy phase you are essentially pouring more gas on the catabolic fire. You increase cortisol by reducing calories lower than on cycle, incorporating more cardiovascular training, and opting for lighter weight and higher reps for your weight training.  Please do not make this mistake and throw your muscle gains and money down the toilet, and keep reading to learn a better approach to proper hormone cycling.

——–OR——–

The wisest approach when cycling would be to aim for an extreme composition change where you diet stringently to achieve the lowest body fat possible, while gaining muscle mass in the process. In order to accomplish such a feat, you need to be incredibly meticulous with your diet, training, and cardio regimen.  You should plan a cycle that is safe and effective so you have adequate time to meet your goal. A 12-18 week cycle would be recommended as you want to gradually lower body fat and increase muscle mass. The first half of the cycle and sometimes a little longer is what I refer to as “the grace period,” meaning, at that time you should still have adequate nutrition for muscle accrual yet low enough calories to continuously shed body fat. The final 4 weeks of the diet should be brutally strict and at this time you will you go from “ripped” to “shredded.” Calories are further reduced and cardiovascular exercise is maximized, the exogenous hormones will be able to prevent you from burning up muscle.

“RIPPED to SHREDDED”

——TO——

Once the cycle is concluded you should be in the best shape of your life and looking absolutely amazing with paper thin skin, pronounced vascularity, and very chiseled features. By having the discipline and mental toughness to get yourself into such lean condition, you have set yourself up for a very productive Post Cycle Therapy and mass gaining phase simultaneously. You will need to plan your off cycle and bulking phase to perfection to yield the desired results. I would recommend Human Chorionic Gonatropin to have been sporadically implemented into the cutting cycle to keep luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone still functioning at some capacity. Proper SERM selection would be ideal for PCT alongside natural hormonal boosters such as, trans-resveratrol, d-aspartic-acid and quality Bulgarian tribulus.

HCG + Sustain Alpha + TCF-1 + Tribestan = Superior Hormonal Recovery.

+ + +

In the initial stages of your post cycle phase you want to really take advantage of your rebound, and voracious appetite, and ingest copious amounts of quality foods. Months of dieting dramatically increases your insulin sensitivity, which makes processing glucose from carbohydrates very efficient, driving nutrients into muscle cells opposed to adipose tissue.  You should prioritize nutritious carbohydrate sources from whole oats, yams, Ezekiel bread, various beans and berries. Fats should be from whole eggs, red meat, and essential fatty acids. Protein should be in ample supply from all sources. The first 2 weeks of this off-cycle and bulking phase will be incredible as you will soak up nutrients like a sponge and muscle cells will be engorged with glycogen, minerals, and amino acids. Strength will be creeping up from the extra weight gain and water retention, while fat accumulation hasn’t started to  manifest itself yet.

Ideal protein sources:                      Ideal carb sources:                    Ideal fat sources:
-Bonesless,skinless chicken breast       -Whole oats                                 -Egg yolks
-Lean and fatty fresh fish                      -Yams                                           -Olive oil
-Cottage cheese                                   -Flourless Breads                         -Fish oil
-Lean cuts of red meat                         -Black beans                                 -Raw nuts
-Whole eggs                                         -Berries                                         -Fat from meat

Keep in mind, what goes up, must come down. Meaning, you cannot keep forcing high calories like the first 3-4 weeks or else you are asking for excessive body fat accumulation. After week 4, you must put on the brakes and begin cycling your carbohydrates and calories accordingly to make sure you stay in acceptable condition for your bulking phase. This cycling practice is very common amongst competitive Bodybuilders who choose to stay natural in the off-season and only use hormonal assistance when preparing for a competition.  This method will allow you to get into amazing condition while on cycle and essentially grow off cycle. You also increase your post cycle recovery by introducing an influx of calories, which will boost insulin and testosterone from the carbohydrate and dietary fat intake.  You also get to give your endocrine system a nice break and clean out, so you can be receptive for your next bout of cycling. By now you should realize how detrimental it is to not diet or “cut up” once you conclude your steroid cycle, and that doing the exact opposite will be your best plan of action in achieving the optimal results for the goal at hand.

References:
1.) Demling RH, Orgill DP. The anticatabolic and wound healing effects of the testosterone analog oxandrolone after severe burn injury.  J Crit Care. 2000 Mar;15(1):12-7.

2.) D’Aniello A, Di Cosmo A, Di Cristo C, Annunziato L, Petrucelli L, Fisher GH:
Involvement of D-aspartic acid in the synthesis of testosterone in rat testes. Life Sci. 1996, 59:97-104.

3.) D’Aniello A, Di Fiore MM, D’Aniello G, Colin FE, Lewis G, Setchell BP: Secretion of
D-aspartic acid by the rat testis and its role in endocrinology of the testis and
spermatogenesis. FEBS Letters 1998, 436:23-27.

4.) Meikle AAW, Stringham JJD, Woodward MMG, McMurry MMP. Effects of a fat-containing meal on sex hormones in men. Metabolism, clinical and experimental 1990;39:943-6.

5.) Ferrando AA, Chinkes DL, Wolf SE, Matin S, Herndon DN, Wolfe RR. 1999 A submaximal dose of insulin promotes net skeletal muscle protein synthesis in patients with severe burns. Ann Surg. 229(1):11–18.

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