There has been lots of buzz in acne forums about using vitamins to treat adult acne. I’ll cover briefly the most common vitamins for acne.For our purposes vitamins could be divided into two groups: co-enzymes (B vitamins) and antioxidants (A, C & E vitamins). These groups have significantly different functions. Co-enzymes are necessary for the proper activation of various biochemical reactions. Antioxidants work as protection mechanism, they protect the body against the effect of many toxic substances. More specifically they protect the body against free radicals. According to a large number of medical studies vitamin C is also boosts immune system and kills bacteria and virus in the body.
Antioxidants – Vitamin C And E
Vitamin C is by far the most important ‘adult acne fighting’ vitamin. When it comes to adult acne the main functions of vitamin C are:
- Antioxidant – vitamin C prevents/ reduces the damage toxins to do cells.
- Detox agent – vitamin C removes toxins and other pollutants from your body
Most of the animals manufacture their own vitamin C and there is evidence that stress, trauma and disease will increase vitamin C production.
“For example an adult goat will manufacture more than 13,000 mg of vitamin C per day in normal health and as much as 100,000 mg daily when faced with life-threatening disease, trauma or stress.”
Vitamin C seems to also act as a protective agent in the body. For example seminal fluid (sperm) contains 8 times the vitamin C as the blood does. Current medical research says that vitamin C protects the DNA in sperm against mutation and damage by free radicals.
Vitamin C is also used as a part of many detox programs, for example Dr. Janet Hull recommends taking Vitamin C in her 10 Days Detox Program.
For more information in vitamin C please go to www.vitamincfoundation.org/
Vitamin E acts also as an antioxidant. The main difference between vitamins C and E is that vitamin C is water-soluble and vitamin E fat-soluble. When taken in excess the fat-soluble vitamins accumulate in the fatty tissues. According to current medical understanding fat-soluble vitamins are more dangerous when taken in ‘mega doses’. Even though there is very little evidence about the dangers of vitamin E overdose, doesn’t mean that ‘mega doses’ of vitamin E would actually be healthy.
The damage caused to the liver (which is one of the root causes of adult acne) by toxins, bacteria and parasites is largely due to free radicals. Vitamin C, E and other antioxidants could play an important role in reversing and preventing adult acne.
Co-Enzymes – Vitamin B
B vitamins are also important in fighting and preventing acne. Among other things, B vitamins are essential for:
- Digestion of carbohydrates, proteins and fats
- Maintenance of healthy skin, nerves and digestive tract
- Production of red blood cells
- Manufacture of sex hormones
In short B vitamins are absolutely necessary for proper functioning of the body and indirectly may affect adult acne.
In my opinion the fact that B vitamins are involved in digestion makes them very important ‘acne fighting’- vitamins. A typical Western diet is chronically deficient in most vitamins and the body is forced to use its vitamin reserves to compensate. Over time these reserves will empty out, digestion slows and the road eventually leads to acne.
Unlike vitamin C a large doses of vitamin B are not likely going to help you in anyway. B vitamins are required to activate different chemical reactions in the body. However, once the body has enough vitamin B available additional amounts will not help you in anyway.
Vitamin B actually consists of 8 different vitamins. Since these vitamins generally work in combination and are required in precise balance it doesn’t make sense to separate them.
Out of all these Vitamin B3 shows the most promise for acne. Several clinical studies have confirmed that Vitamin B3 (in niacin and nicotinamide forms) is an effective treatment for acne and other inflammatory skin conditions. It can be used orally and topically. Read more: Vitamin B3 and acne.
B vitamins are water-soluble and according to current medical understanding (which may change as scientists and doctors learn more) excess amounts of vitamin B will be lost in urine. As such there seems to be few, if any, known dangers of taking too much vitamin B.
However, please understand that B vitamins don’t work alone. When a specific B vitamin (like B5) activates a biochemical reaction (like digestion of fats) other B vitamins (for example B1, B2 and B12) and possibly other vitamins are also required. So a ‘mega dose’ of a specific vitamin B may lead to deficiencies in other vitamins and thus health problems. You can read more about this here: adult acne and vitamin B5.