Diagnostics testing is imperative in order to develop a personalized nutrition program to control acne. The basic work up for our patients at Invigorate Clinic includes the following tests:
1. NutrEval Test
This test (blood and urine) measures antioxidants, B vitamins, nutrients for digestive support, the essential fatty acids and minerals. Deficiencies of Vitamin A, D, E, B6, Zinc and Selenium have been associated with the development of acne. These nutrients are important for quenching free radicals, regulating sebum production, aiding liver function and keeping hormones in balance. Improperly processed fatty acids can aggravate excess sebum production and interfere with skin cell turnover.
2.Food Allergen Cellular Test: A cellular food allergy assessment, covering both immediate and delayed hypersensitivity reactions (IgE mediated and non-IgE mediated inflammatory reactions.). chronic consumption of food we are sensitive too can lead to acne flare ups.
3. GI Effects: This test (stool) evaluates digestion and absorption, bacterial balance and metabolism, yeast and immune status as well as parasites for patients with irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion, malabsorption, and other GI-related problems. So why is it important for acne patients? 50% of acne sufferers have imbalances in their levels of good bacteria in the gut which can result in the fermentation of food in the digestive system, as well as allowing the overgrowth of bad bacteria, both of which submit additional burden on the liver.
4. Rhythm Plus (Female Hormone profile) or Male Hormones Plus : This test (saliva) measures oestradiol, progesterone (female only), testosterone (male and female) as well as cortisol, DHEA, and melatonin. Testosterone is one the major triggers for sebum secretion. If produced in excessive quantities or the sebaceous glands are testosterone hyper-sensitive, overproduction of sebum can occur.
Certain nutritional imbalances can cause testosterone to be converted into a more aggressive form (10 times more potent) called dihydrotestosterone which can easily upset the delicate hormonal balance in the body.
Many women experience premenstrual acne flare-ups. This generally occurs when the levels of female hormones (oestrogen and progesterone) in the lead up to menstruation are insufficient to compete with the circulating testosterone and the sebaceous glands become over-stimulated.
This test also measures cortisol (the body’s stress hormone). New research has shown that stressful situations can trigger acne outbreaks. This explains the low-grade persistent acne common in hard-working professionals as well pre-exam flare ups experienced by many students.
5. Functional Blood Chemistry: This biochemistry analysis (blood) assesses Glucose (blood sugar) & lipid (fat) metabolism, Renal Function, Adrenal Function, Liver Function, Thyroid & Parathyroid Function and Iron & Inflammation status.
The HbA1c marker gives us some insight into your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar.
When you eat starchy/sweet foods or drink alcohol, they are broken down by the body into glucose, which is absorbed by the intestine into the blood, so that the cells can use it for energy. As blood sugar rises, so too does a hormone called insulin which helps to bring blood sugar levels back down.
When you consume a lot of these “high GL” foods, your blood sugar rises very rapidly, sending your body into a panic releasing lots of insulin to bring blood sugar back to normal. Too much insulin can cause the body to produce certain growth factors that stimulate sebum production, encourage skin cell manufacture and exacerbate the hormone imbalances that can cause acne.
Liver function tests are also an essential component of an acne workup.
A high toxic load can congest the liver, putting extra pressure of the detoxification of the skin. It can also interfere with the liver’s ability to process hormones. This excessive toxic burden will be worsened if the lymphatic system, kidneys or bowels are also sluggish.
If you have any questions about testing or would like to book an appointment with Dr. Fionnula McHale, click here.