Ninety-four-percent of acne patients in a dermatology study in Germany were found to have below recommended levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood.
The dermatologists behind the study believe that this potential link between low omega-3 fatty acid levels and acne could offer new opportunities to help manage the skin condition, thus giving hope to millions of acne sufferers.
Omega-3 fatty acids are key for fighting acne as they reduce inflammation by stimulating the production of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins E1 and E3, leukotriene B5 and lower levels of the insulin-like growth factor (IGF) -1, the central hormone that induces acne.
The team behind the research, based at the Department of Dermatology and Allergy in Munich, also investigated the patients’ diet and found that those who said they regularly consumed pulses, such as chickpeas and lentils, as well as abstaining from sunflower oil, had higher levels of the fatty acid.
Dr Anne Gϋrtler, the lead author from the team at the Department of Dermatology and Allergy said: “Nutrition plays a pivotal role in the prevention, onset and course of many diseases, including dermatologic disorders such as acne vulgaris.”
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in foods such as legumes, algae, nuts, seeds and non-farmed fish like wild salmon and sardines.
Assistant professor Asli Bilgic said that this research will help get closer to providing effective acne treatment.
“As dermatologists, we are acutely aware of the impact on a sufferer’s quality of life which a highly visible condition like acne can have. Although this path needs further exploration, it can give hope to people looking for a way to manage their condition,” he said.
Acne has been previously linked to lowered mental health, with 46% of acne patients more likely to develop major depression.