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Women with Acne can Enhance Better Life Quality with Antioxidant-rich diets


A recent study published in the Nutrients journal delves into whether dietary antioxidants affect the quality of life (QoL) of young women with acne vulgaris (AV), a chronic skin condition that commonly emerges during adolescence and, in some cases, persists into adulthood. AV affects approximately 9% of the global population and is characterized by features such as pustules, papules, nodules, and scars. It predominantly manifests on the face and can have adverse effects on mental health and overall QoL. Therefore, a comprehensive intervention is essential to mitigate both the physical and psychological repercussions of acne.

Previous research has identified various factors implicated in the pathophysiology of acne, including age, sedentary lifestyle, gender, and diet. Additionally, hormonal, inflammatory, environmental, and genetic factors have been demonstrated to contribute to the development of AV.

Consistent consumption of diets like vegetarian or Mediterranean, along with prebiotics, dietary probiotics, polyunsaturated fatty acids, fiber, and foods with a low glycemic index, has been linked to reduced acne lesions. Conversely, the consumption of ultra-processed foods high in sugar, saturated fatty acids, and milk may exacerbate acne lesions. Hence, the dietary habits of young individuals could potentially correlate with acne vulgaris (AV); however, further research is necessary to fully understand the role of diet in AV development.

Oxidative stress is a significant factor in the pathogenesis of AV. While a small amount of reactive oxygen species (ROS) is necessary for proper immune function, excessive production has been associated with cell damage that can lead to skin diseases. Dietary antioxidants, such as vitamins, minerals, and polyphenols, have the potential to mitigate oxidative stress.

In a recent study, the relationship between the Dietary Antioxidant Quality Index (DAQI) and the quality of life (QoL) in young women with AV was examined. The study involved 165 young women with AV aged between 18 and 35, all following a daily diet ranging from 500 to 5000 kcal.

Baseline data, including socio-demographic, lifestyle, and acne-related information, were collected from all participants. Information regarding height, education, marital status, body weight, smoking, alcohol consumption, and physical activity levels (ranging from low to moderate to high intensity) was also obtained using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ).

Dietary intake was evaluated using a randomized three-day food diary, covering two weekdays and one weekend day. Participants recorded details of their food consumption on these specified days, and the quantities of calories, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other dietary nutrients were calculated.

The Dietary Antioxidant Quality Index (DAQI) scale was employed to assess various dietary components, including vitamin C, vitamin E, β-carotene, copper, manganese, iron, zinc, selenium, dietary antioxidant capacity, phytosterols, lignans, and polyphenols. Additionally, the levels of antioxidant enzymes such as superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, and catalase were examined.

The average age of the participants was 23.6 years, with approximately 88% being single and 65% having a moderate level of education. More than half of the study group had been dealing with acne vulgaris (AV) for a period ranging from two to five years, while some had experienced it for over five years. Severe acne was reported in about 9% of the cohort.

The impact of acne vulgaris (AV) on the quality of life (QoL) of the study participants was determined to be moderate, as indicated by the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS) test, which showed that they were moderately satisfied with their lives. Approximately 33% of the study cohort displayed symptoms of depression, as assessed by the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) test.

Despite many participants having an average body mass index (BMI), occasional alcohol consumption, and engaging in moderate physical activity, a notable portion exhibited low levels of physical activity, obesity, smoking habits, and weekly alcohol consumption. Importantly, the majority of participants had dietary antioxidant intake below the recommended levels.

Diet plays a significant role in influencing AV through various mechanisms such as the gut microbiota, hormones, immune system, and carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. Interestingly, developing countries with lower adherence to the Western diet showed a lower prevalence of AV compared to developed nations.

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