For years, experts believed that diet didn`t had any influence on the acne development or severity. Now, scientists learn that the aspects related to the diet play indeed a particular role in the development of acne. Although several factors tend to have an influence, data suggest that vitamin A, which includes a form of beta-carotene, is one of these factors. Making some nutritional adjustments may help in improving your acne condition. However, talk to your doctor before making changes in your diet.
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What Is Beta-Carotene?
Beta-carotene is one of the 2 forms of vitamin A. It can be found in your diet, and according to the Food Supplement Office, is the most important vitamin A carotenoid. Beta-carotene is inactive. However, when required, the body converts it into retinol, the vitamin A`s form. This vitamin aids maintain the health of your skin, protects the skin from any possible damage caused by ultraviolet light, aids in maintaining collagen levels in the balanced cells of the skin and promotes the development of healthy cells.
Vitamin E can be obtained from food, through beta-carotene, or from supplements. The advantage of beta-carotene sourced from food is that our organism only converts the amount it needs.
Vitamin A in excess is toxic. Toxic levels of vitamin A may happen if you consume supplements in large amounts.
Beta-Carotene Is an Antioxidant
Like all carotenoids, beta-carotene is also an antioxidant. These are substances which inhibit the oxidation of other molecules and offers protection against free radicals, which can destroy the cells of the body by oxidation. In the end, the damage that is caused by these free radicals may in turn lead to more chronic illnesses.
Low Levels of Vitamin A & Acne
According to a study published in 2006 in the Journal of Experimental Dermatology, a low level of vitamin A in the body may play a role in the development or even worsening of acne. A research published in the summer of 2014 came to the very same conclusion. It has been found that volunteers experiencing mild to serious acne, compared to the non-acne group, had lower vitamin A, E and zinc levels in the blood in a significant way. Zinc and vitamin E are 2 other nutrients which have an essential role in the health of the skin. The expert advised making some nutritional changes in favor of foods that have a high content of these particular nutrients as an acne treatment.
Foods Rich in Beta-Carotene
The following foods have a high content of beta-carotene:
- Chinese cabbage.
- Dandelion leaves.
- Sweet potatoes.
Beta-Carotene Side Effects
There was a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, performed on French adult females, which found that smokers with high levels of beta-carotene compared with other smokers had a high risk of developing lung cancer as well as other cancers related to smoking. The study also found that the females that didn`t smoke and had a high intake of beta-carotene had a lower risk of developing lung cancer.
They found that the risk of developing lung cancer over a period of 10 years was:
- 8 for 10.000 women for non-smokers with a low intake of beta-carotene.
- 7 for 10.000 women for non-smokers with a high intake of beta-carotene.
- 174 for 10.000 women for smokers with a low intake of beta-carotene.
- 3 for 10.000 women for smokers with a high intake of beta-carotene.
Further studies have suggested that the high beta-carotene intake among smokers is almost always because of supplements, not necessarily intake of food.
Is Vitamin D Good for Acne?
Experts are uncovering solutions for acne that are very promising, and vitamin D is one of them. There are a few studies that outlined the relationship between acne and vitamin D. These particular studies show that people experiencing acne are more prone to be deficient than those who don`t experience this condition and that taking supplements based on vitamin D can decrease acne.
Supplements with vitamin D can reduce acne by almost 35%. Korean scientists compared the levels of vitamin D of people experiencing acne to those who didn`t experienced acne. The results discovered that patients with acne were a lot more prone to be deficient of vitamin D than those not experiencing acne; only 22.5% of people without acne were vitamin D deficient vs. 48.8% of patients who experienced acne.
The below graph outlines average levels of vitamin D concerning people who experience various acne severities.
Is Beta-Carotene Bad for You?
As already mentioned, beta-carotene converts in the organism into retinol, also known as vitamin A. We need this vitamin for a strong immunity, mucous membranes, eye health and for a healthy skin. Taking high doses of this vitamin might become toxic, although the organism will just convert as much vitamin A from the beta-carotene is received as it requires, meaning that beta-carotene is seen as a safe vitamin A source. Too much of this form of vitamin A might be harmful for smokers. However, getting beta-carotene from food in high amounts from food, not supplements, is considered safe.
How Much Beta-Carotene Can You Take a Day?
The dose of beta-carotene will be distinct from patient to patient. You should always follow the doctor`s orders.
When it comes to dietary supplements:
- Teenagers & adults – 6 – 15 mg of beta-carotene.
- Children3 – 6 mg of beta-carotene.