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Jennifer Yee

Jennifer Yee
20
Expertise
38
Contributions

About Me

I recently graduated with a M.A. in Integrative Health Studies from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, CA.

How I Stay Healthy

Yoga, meditative walking with my dog, hiking, healthy home cooking, sleeping, regular acupuncture, supplementation, juicing, jin shin jyutsu (on myself and the doggies)... (more)

My Experience with Health Challenges

Depression and anxiety
Yoga therapy
Acne

Omega-3 essential fatty acids are considered “essential” because they are not manufactured by the body and must be taken in as part of a diet. They are long-chain, polyunsaturated fatty acids. There is an optimal ratio of different fatty acids in one’s diet for proper enzymatic metabolism. For example, the typical American diet is high in omega-6 fatty acids, from cornflower, safflower, corn oils, etc., but omega-3 acids, from fish and plants tend to be underrepresented. The ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids may be more important than the actual levels in the diet. The best-studied omega-3 fatty acids include eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are both found in marine animals such as fish.

Psychiatrists have been particularly interested in omega-3 fatty acids because they are “selectively concentrated in synaptic neuronal membranes and regulate vascular and immune functions that affect the central nervous system” (Freeman et al., 2006, p. 1954). Insufficient intake of omega-3 fatty acids may have psychiatric effects.

The American Heart Association recommends that adults eat fish twice a week and patients with coronary heart disease consume one gram of EPA and DHA combined each day (Freeman, 2009, p. 8). Based on this precedent, the American Psychiatric Association examined the evidence for a recommendation for psychiatric disorders and suggested that adults should consume fish at least two times a week, per the APA guidelines. Patients with a mood disorder should consume at least one gram of combined EPA and DHA (Ibid. p.9). While the APA has not taken any position on acupuncture for depression, its openness to nutritional supplementation is very progressive for such as conservative organization accustomed to scientism.

Epidemiologic data suggest that countries with lower fish consumption have 30- to 60-times higher prevalence of major depression, bipolar disorder, and post-partum depression than countries with greater fish consumption, such as Iceland and Japan (Freeman et al., 2006, p. 1955).

Su et al. conducted a double blind, placebo-controlled trial in 2003 with the combination of EPA and DHA (9.6 grams/day) and found significant decreases in HAM-D scores compared with placebo after eight weeks (p. 267). Peet and Horrobin conducted a randomized, placebo-controlled study that used one gram of EPA/day for 12 weeks in 2002. They found a 50 percent reduction in HAM-D scores and notable improvements in depressed mood, anxiety, sleep disturbance, libido, and suicidality (p. 919).

Appleton, Hayward, Gunnell, Peter, Rogers, and Kessler et al. looked at the effect of omega-3 fatty acids on depression in 18 randomized trials in 2006. They found “considerable heterogeneity” in the data and could not find much support for their thesis. They suggested larger trials to detect “clinically important benefits” (p. 1308).

Given the APA recommendation and the low risk in consuming omega-3 fatty acids, I recommend that your try this nutritional supplement.

References:

Appleton, K.M., Hayward, R.C., Gunnell, D., Peters, T.J., Rogers, P.J. & Kessler, D. et al. (2006). Effects of N-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids on depressed mood: Systematic review of published trials. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 84(6), 1308-16.

Freeman, M.P., Hibbeln, J.R., Wisner, M.D., Davis, J.M., Peet, M., Marangell, L.B., Lake, J., et al. (2006). Omega-3 fatty acids: evidence basis for treatment and future research in psychiatry. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 67(12), 1954-67.

Su, K.P., Huang, S.Y., Chiu, C.C., et al. (2003). Omega-3 fatty acids in major depressive disorder. A preliminary double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. European Neuropsychopharmacology, 13(4), 267-71.

Omega-3 essential fatty acids are considered “essential” because they are not manufactured by the body and must be taken in as part of a diet. They are long-chain, polyunsaturated fatty acids. There...

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Edited Acne Diagnosis: Overview 8 years ago

Acne is often discovered by the person with acne and self-diagnosed and self-treated with over-the-counter medications. Acne can be diagnosed by a dermatologist.

... (more)
Edited Acne Diagnosis: Overview 8 years ago

Acne is often discovered by the person with acne and self-diagnosed and self-treated with over-the-counter medications. Acne can be diagnosed by a dermatologist.

... (more)
Edited Acne Symptoms: Overview 8 years ago

Acne typically appears on the face, neck, chest, back, and shoulders because these are the areas with the most oil glands. Acne can come in the following forms:

  • Comedones (blackheads and whiteheads). Comedones occur when hair follicles become clogged with oil, dead skin cells, and sometimes bacteria. Blackheads occur when the comedo enlarges and pops through the skin. The black color is due not to dirt but to a build-up of melanin. Whiteheads happened when the comedo stays below the surface of the skin; the white bubble seen is the trapped sebum and dead cells.
  • Papules are small raised bumps that signal inflammation or infection in the hair follicles. Papules may be red and tender.
  • Pustules are red, tender bumps with white pus at their tips.
  • Nodules are large, solid, painful lumps beneath the surface of the skin. They're formed by the buildup of secretions deep within hair follicles.
  • Cysts are painful, pus-filled lumps beneath the surface of the skin. These boil-like infections can cause scars.
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Edited Acne Causes: References 8 years ago
  1. Dubrow, T.J., & Adderly, B.D. (2003). The Acne Cure: The Revolutionary Nonprescription Treatment Plan that Cures Even the Most Severe Acne and Shows Dramatic Results in as Little as 24 Hours. USA: Rodale.
  2. Goodheart, H.P. (2006). Acne for Dummies. Indianapolis: Wiley Publishing.
  3. Haider, A., Mamdani, M., Shaw, J.C., Alter, D.A., & Shear, N.H. (2006). Socioeconomic status influences care of patients with acne in Ontario, Canada. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 54(2):331-5.
  4. Katsambas, A., & Dessinioti, C. (2008). New and emerging treatments in dermatology: acne. Dermatologic Therapy, 21, 86-95.
  5. Logan, A.C., & Treloar, V. (2007). The Clear Skin Diet. Nashville: Cumberland House Publishing.
  6. Perricone, N. (2003). The Acne Prescription. New York: HarperCollins.
  7. Pitchford, P. (2002). Healing with Whole Foods. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books.
  8. Spencer, E.H., Ferdowsian, H.R., & Barnard, N.D. (2009). Diet and acne: a review of the evidence. International journal of dermatology, 48(4), 339-47.
... (more)
Edited Acne Causes: Overview 8 years ago

Acne Vulgaris is the most common dermatologic condition in the United States, affecting more than 17 million people of all ages. 80-90% of adolescents have had acne.7 Teenage acne often begins around the ages of 10 to 13, when teenagers are going through puberty. Some teenage girls get acne at a younger age than boys, but boys often have much more severe acne than girls 2 Teenagers often get blackheads, whiteheads, and inflammatory lesions, often centered around the T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin). However, acne can also affect anywhere on the face and trunk in teens.

Some people, especially women, have adult-onset acne that begins in her 20s and 30s. According to Dubrow and Adderly, more than 50% of adults over the age of 25 experience acne breakouts (2003, p. 23). Often there are less blackheads and whiteheads than teenage acne and there may be mild breakouts of inflammatory lesions on the lower cheek, chin, and around the mouth. For adult onset acne in women, the acne often occurs two to seven days before the woman’s menstrual cycle, when estrogen levels fall and progesterone levels rise and produce excess sebum.2

Acne often occurs in the first trimester of pregnancy, when estrogen and progesterone levels are rising; it often clears up in the second and third trimester. After the birth however, acne can return due to hormonal changes. It is also a symptom in some endocrine disorders, such as polycystic ovary syndrome.

Since acne affects people from all socio-economic levels, there is not a huge health disparity in the incidence of acne. However, there is a health disparity over the treatment of acne. While many acne medications such as benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are available over-the-counter, medications for chronic acne such as Retin-A and Isotretinoin are only available with a prescription. Even in Canada, where there is universal health care, Haider, Mamdani, Shaw, Alter, and Shear found that those people who have a lower socioeconomic status were less likely to visit a dermatologist for a consultation, even with a referral from their general practitioner (2006, p. 331).

Many researchers have concluded that acne is due mainly to genetic predisposition and hormonal influences. The role of diet and acne is currently being debated. Some researchers think that genetic factors do not explain the whole situation and there is an environmental influence on gene expression.

Adult onset acne in women is not well understood. Although most women do not have elevated androgens, they seem to have an increased response to androgens. Estrogen is often used to treat acne because it has the opposite effect than androgens (estrogenic effect). Adult-onset acne may also be related to the consumption of hormones and drugs in foods and medications. 2

Katsambas and Dessinioti noted that “…the prevalence of acne is lower in rural, non-industrialized societies than in modern Western population… it has been suggested that the absence of acne reported in non-Westernized societies is attributable to local diets, which have a lower glycemic index than a Western diet” (2008, p. 91). They speculate that adolescents are “hyperinsulinemic” due to a high-glycemic diet. Another consideration is that many non-Western societies do not consume milk, and milk has been associated with acne due to the hormones in it (Ibid.). In a meta-analysis conducted by Spencer, Ferdowsian, and Barnard, a high-glycemic diet and dairy consumption are associated with increased acne. They concluded, “population-based studies have suggested that, as diets Westernize, acne prevalence increases” (2009, p. 344). Observational reports noted that residents in Kenya, Zambia, and the Bantu in South Africa have far less acne than the descendants from these countries that currently live in the United States or United Kingdom (Davidovici & Wolf, 2010, p. 13). Another report observed that only 2.7% of the 9,955 schoolchildren in rural Brazil had acne (Ibid.).

Stress is another factor with acne. The more stress a person has, the more cortisol the person produces, and the “fight or flight” response is initiated. According to Perricone, elevated cortisol levels bring about a rise in blood sugar, which causes a cellular inflammatory response (2003, p. 31). Stress can also increase androgen production (Logan and Treloar, 2007, p. 149). A specific neuropeptide, which is a chemical released by nerve endings on the skin, called Substance P is implicated in making sebaceous glands more active. When someone is stressed, Substance P is released from the skin nerves and causes an inflammatory response with the production of cytokines, which can promote free-radical production and ensuing oxidative stress (Perricone, 2003, p. 31-3, Logan and Treloar, 2007, p. 151).

Some doctors think that acne is a systemic inflammatory disorder. Perricone noted, "scientists have been puzzled for years because there are so many factors that influence the onset and course of acne, they know hormonal effects are important; that bacteria play a role. Genetics and other precipitating agents contribute to acne. Now they mystery is solved because whether it is endocrine, psychological, excess oil in the skin, the final common pathway of initiation and progression is inflammation (2003, p. 34)."

From a Functional Medicine perspective, acne is caused by:

Digestive, absorptive, and microbiological imbalances. The high-glycemic Western diet and milk consumption has been associated with acne as discussed above.

Detoxification and biotransformational imbalances. One concept in natural medicine is that skin imbalances are due to non-optimal detoxification. According to Yarnell and Abascal, “…if the liver and its detoxification and excretory functions are not functioning optimally, the body will attempt to compensate by eliminating toxic compounds through other routes in the body, including the skin” (2006, p. 303). Pitchford also noted “even though the vitality of the skin is related to the lungs, eruptions surface because of faulty blood cleansing by the kidneys and liver. These two organs purify the blood, and when they are overburdened toxins in the blood are excreted through the skin” (2002, p. 441).

Hormonal and neurotransmitter imbalances. Androgens have certainly been implicated in the production of acne. And the fluctuations of estrogen and progesterone often are implicated in adult women getting acne before their period.

... (more)
Edited Acne Causes: References 8 years ago
  1. Dubrow, T.J., & Adderly, B.D. (2003). The Acne Cure: The Revolutionary Nonprescription Treatment Plan that Cures Even the Most Severe Acne and Shows Dramatic Results in as Little as 24 Hours. USA: Rodale.
  2. Goodheart, H.P. (2006). Acne for Dummies. Indianapolis: Wiley Publishing.
  3. Haider, A., Mamdani, M., Shaw, J.C., Alter, D.A., & Shear, N.H. (2006). Socioeconomic status influences care of patients with acne in Ontario, Canada. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 54(2):331-5.
  4. Katsambas, A., & Dessinioti, C. (2008). New and emerging treatments in dermatology: acne. Dermatologic Therapy, 21, 86-95.
  5. Logan, A.C., & Treloar, V. (2007). The Clear Skin Diet. Nashville: Cumberland House Publishing.
  6. Perricone, N. (2003). The Acne Prescription. New York: HarperCollins.
  7. Pitchford, P. (2002). Healing with Whole Foods. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books.
  8. Spencer, E.H., Ferdowsian, H.R., & Barnard, N.D. (2009). Diet and acne: a review of the evidence. International journal of dermatology, 48(4), 339-47.
... (more)
Edited Acne Causes: Overview 8 years ago

Acne Vulgaris is the most common dermatologic condition in the United States, affecting more than 17 million people of all ages. 80-90% of adolescents have had acne.7 Teenage acne often begins around the ages of 10 to 13, when teenagers are going through puberty. Some teenage girls get acne at a younger age than boys, but boys often have much more severe acne than girls 2 Teenagers often get blackheads, whiteheads, and inflammatory lesions, often centered around the T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin). However, acne can also affect anywhere on the face and trunk in teens.

Some people, especially women, have adult-onset acne that begins in her 20s and 30s. According to Dubrow and Adderly, more than 50% of adults over the age of 25 experience acne breakouts (2003, p. 23). Often there are less blackheads and whiteheads than teenage acne and there may be mild breakouts of inflammatory lesions on the lower cheek, chin, and around the mouth. For adult onset acne in women, the acne often occurs two to seven days before the woman’s menstrual cycle, when estrogen levels fall and progesterone levels rise and produce excess sebum.2

Acne often occurs in the first trimester of pregnancy, when estrogen and progesterone levels are rising; it often clears up in the second and third trimester. After the birth however, acne can return due to hormonal changes. It is also a symptom in some endocrine disorders, such as polycystic ovary syndrome.

Since acne affects people from all socio-economic levels, there is not a huge health disparity in the incidence of acne. However, there is a health disparity over the treatment of acne. While many acne medications such as benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are available over-the-counter, medications for chronic acne such as Retin-A and Isotretinoin are only available with a prescription. Even in Canada, where there is universal health care, Haider, Mamdani, Shaw, Alter, and Shear found that those people who have a lower socioeconomic status were less likely to visit a dermatologist for a consultation, even with a referral from their general practitioner (2006, p. 331).

Many researchers have concluded that acne is due mainly to genetic predisposition and hormonal influences. The role of diet and acne is currently being debated. Some researchers think that genetic factors do not explain the whole situation and there is an environmental influence on gene expression.

Adult onset acne in women is not well understood. Although most women do not have elevated androgens, they seem to have an increased response to androgens. Estrogen is often used to treat acne because it has the opposite effect than androgens (estrogenic effect). Adult-onset acne may also be related to the consumption of hormones and drugs in foods and medications. 2

Katsambas and Dessinioti noted that “…the prevalence of acne is lower in rural, non-industrialized societies than in modern Western population… it has been suggested that the absence of acne reported in non-Westernized societies is attributable to local diets, which have a lower glycemic index than a Western diet” (2008, p. 91). They speculate that adolescents are “hyperinsulinemic” due to a high-glycemic diet. Another consideration is that many non-Western societies do not consume milk, and milk has been associated with acne due to the hormones in it (Ibid.). In a meta-analysis conducted by Spencer, Ferdowsian, and Barnard, a high-glycemic diet and dairy consumption are associated with increased acne. They concluded, “population-based studies have suggested that, as diets Westernize, acne prevalence increases” (2009, p. 344). Observational reports noted that residents in Kenya, Zambia, and the Bantu in South Africa have far less acne than the descendants from these countries that currently live in the United States or United Kingdom (Davidovici & Wolf, 2010, p. 13). Another report observed that only 2.7% of the 9,955 schoolchildren in rural Brazil had acne (Ibid.).

Stress is another factor with acne. The more stress a person has, the more cortisol the person produces, and the “fight or flight” response is initiated. According to Perricone, elevated cortisol levels bring about a rise in blood sugar, which causes a cellular inflammatory response (2003, p. 31). Stress can also increase androgen production (Logan and Treloar, 2007, p. 149). A specific neuropeptide, which is a chemical released by nerve endings on the skin, called Substance P is implicated in making sebaceous glands more active. When someone is stressed, Substance P is released from the skin nerves and causes an inflammatory response with the production of cytokines, which can promote free-radical production and ensuing oxidative stress (Perricone, 2003, p. 31-3, Logan and Treloar, 2007, p. 151).

Some doctors think that acne is a systemic inflammatory disorder. Perricone noted, "scientists have been puzzled for years because there are so many factors that influence the onset and course of acne, they know hormonal effects are important; that bacteria play a role. Genetics and other precipitating agents contribute to acne. Now they mystery is solved because whether it is endocrine, psychological, excess oil in the skin, the final common pathway of initiation and progression is inflammation (2003, p. 34)."

From a Functional Medicine perspective, acne is caused by:

Digestive, absorptive, and microbiological imbalances. The high-glycemic Western diet and milk consumption has been associated with acne as discussed above.

Detoxification and biotransformational imbalances. One concept in natural medicine is that skin imbalances are due to non-optimal detoxification. According to Yarnell and Abascal, “…if the liver and its detoxification and excretory functions are not functioning optimally, the body will attempt to compensate by eliminating toxic compounds through other routes in the body, including the skin” (2006, p. 303). Pitchford also noted “even though the vitality of the skin is related to the lungs, eruptions surface because of faulty blood cleansing by the kidneys and liver. These two organs purify the blood, and when they are overburdened toxins in the blood are excreted through the skin” (2002, p. 441).

Hormonal and neurotransmitter imbalances. Androgens have certainly been implicated in the production of acne. And the fluctuations of estrogen and progesterone often are implicated in adult women getting acne before their period.

... (more)
  1. Katsambas, A., & Dessinioti, C. (2008). New and emerging treatments in dermatology: acne. Dermatologic Therapy, 21, 86-95.
... (more)

Conventional treatment for acne consists primarily of oral or topical antibiotics, cleansing agents, and chemically modified versions of vitamin A.

Standard treatments for acne include topical retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, azelaic acid, antibiotics, oral isotretinoin, and oral birth control. Some new allopathic treatments are being developed. There is concern of increasing antibiotic resistance to the standard treatments of tetracycline’s, trimethoprim, and macrolide antibiotics; new antibiotics such as lymecycline, azithromycin, and new tetracycline formulations have been developed to combat this resistance. Insulin sensitizing agents such as metformin have been developed to combat hypoandrogenism, a common factor of polycystic ovary syndrome. Zinc gluconate has been proposed as an alternative treatment for inflammatory acne, especially in pregnant women. New topical treatments such as clindamycin/zinc, picolinic acid gel, and dapsone gel have been added to the topical arsenal. Photodynamic therapies using a topical cream of with aminolaevulinic acid or methyl aminolaevulinate then employing lasers, red light, or blue light have been tested for inflammatory acne.1

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The “Spirit” section on foundhealth comprises treatments that have to do with intention, energy healing, prayer, and in some cases god. These terms may be volatile for some, and for others they resonate. Some of these treatments have proven to be profoundly healing for certain individuals. Though some people are skeptical, prior notions of these words should be set aside when reading about these healing treatments, as many of the are truly incredible!

Many of the treatments that live in other sections on FoundHealth could easily live in this “Spirit” section as well. For example, Yoga, though a treatment that mostly involves the body, certainly has spiritual undertones and components to its practice. Meditation lives under the Mind category, but really is a blend of body, mind and a spiritual/energetic component as well. Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda are examples of healing systems that have branches that span all six of FoundHealth’s treatment categories, including spiritual components.

Sometimes acne manifests because of bio-psycho-social-spiritual issues, and many kinds of treatments (including some to treat the spirit) can help in the treatment of acne.

Sometimes environmental toxins can cause acne, and spending time in the environment is also a form of spirituality for some individuals, so consider spending more time outdoors to help your physical and spiritual states.

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Edited Acne Treatment: Body: Overview 8 years ago

In a study by Magin, Adams, Heading, Pond, and Smith (2006), 26 subjects were interviewed on their CAM usage for acne. The majority of those interviewed used CAM therapies such as witch hazel, tea tree oil, citrus washes, aloe vera, zinc tablets, “tissue salt” tablets, and evening primrose oil. The researches found that the CAM therapies were considered “to be more efficacious than ‘mainstream’ topical therapies, although less efficacious than oral isoretinoin and, perhaps, less efficacious than oral antibiotics.” The subjects felt the CAM therapies gave them more self-efficacy and control over their acne (p. 452-3).

Other hygiene suggestions are to cleanse the skin daily with a gentle non-medicated soap. You may want to apply 5-50% tea tree oil diluted in jojoba oil once or twice a day after skin cleaning. Use natural skin moisturizers as needed. Continue using exfoliants such as salicylic acid and cell renewal creams like topical retinoids.

Physical Activity is important. Exercise has the potential to help acne by reducing stress, reducing the “flight or fight” response, and increasing circulation. Any exercise is good: walking, running, hiking, biking, strength training, tennis, swimming, etc. for at least 30 minutes most days of the week.

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