Transcript: Saving Lives By Treating Acne With Diet
Acne is an epidemic skin disease of industrialized countries, reaching prevalence rates of over 85% of teenagers. In the US, acne nowadays persists even after adolescence into the third decade of life in nearly half of men and women. But it’s considered a disease of Western civilization, meaning in some places, like Okinawa, it was rare or even nonexistent.
In this regard most common acne is not some “physiological” phenomenon of puberty, but may represent a visible risk indicator pointing to aberrant nutrient signaling promoting chronic epidemic diseases of civilization. This is what they mean: the dairy, junk foods, meat, and egg proteins in Western diets all conspire to raise the activity of the enzyme TOR, contributing to acne and obesity. So using diet to suppress TOR may not only improve acne but may prevent the march to more serious chronic TOR-driven diseases of civilization. So the excessive TOR stimulation induced by the standard American diet may first just manifest as premature puberty and acne, but then may contribute to obesity, diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s.
A lot of this is relatively new. Until recently, for example, only a weak association has been accepted for the role of milk and dairy products in acne formation, but there is now substantial evidence supporting the effects of milk and dairy products as enhancers of acne aggravation. Milk is not just food but appears to represent a most sophisticated hormone signaling system activating TOR, which is of critical concern given that TOR recognized is the fundamental driving force for a number of diseases. But if milk is naturally supposed to stimulate TOR, why the problem? Because we’re drinking milk from the wrong species. Cow’s milk is designed for calves. Cow infants grow nearly 40-times faster than human infants. Cow’s milk has three times more leucine, the primary activator of TOR, so it may lead to human TOR over-stimulation. It’s like where they do experiments giving donkey milk to rats to see what happens. Makes no sense. And of course milk is for babies, continued consumption of any kind of milk during adolescence and adulthood is something that never really happened naturally, and may have long-term adverse effects on human health.
In this regard it's kind of frightening to realize that more than 85% of teens in Western countries exhibit acne. This implies that the majority of our population is living with over-activated TOR signaling, a major disease-causing factor, which probably may pave the way for the development of other more serious diseases. A history of acne has been associated with breast cancer risk in women, for example, and prostate cancer in men.
So early dietary counseling of teenage acne patients is thus a great opportunity for dermatology, which will not only help to improve acne but may reduce the long-term adverse effects of Western diet on more serious TOR-driven diseases.
So just like urologists use erectile dysfunction as an opportunity to save lives by putting people on heart-healthy diets, dermatologists can use acne as a way to save lives by putting people on a cancer prevention diet.
So how do you turn acne on and off via dietary manipulation of TOR? A comprehensive dietary strategy to treat acne can only be achieved by higher consumption of vegetables and fruit, given preliminary evidence for the effectiveness of natural plant-derived TOR inhibitors in the treatment of acne, and the reduction of animal-derived food.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.
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