Pistachios boast the skin enriching nutrients vitamins A, C and E plus, zinc and folic acid. Yet, new research from University of Toronto’s Department of Nutritional Sciences could add pistachios to a growing list of acne treatments that already includes benzoyl peroxide and antibiotics.
The study’s findings revealed that pistachios could help regulate the body’s blood sugar levels.
In addition to a diabetic therapy, pistachio’s effect on the body’s blood sugar levels also marks it as a potential acne preventative. Biological traits characterizing acne onset include improper skin cell shedding, inflammation and excess bacteria. However, because of a pistachio’s effect on blood sugar levels, this nut could prevent acne resulting from excess facial oil secretion caused by a rise in circulating androgens.
Thus, pistachios could inhibit acne lesions induced by a condition called “insulin resistance”.
The relationship between acne and insulin resistance
The pancreas secretes the hormone insulin. The body needs insulin to access its primary energy source- blood sugar (glucose). Insulin binds to key receptors in the blood to release glucose as the body requires more energy.
Insulin resistance happens when the normal amount of insulin the pancreas secretes proves insufficient to signal the release of glucose. So, to compensate, the pancreas secretes more insulin in order to free the needed glucose.
Insulin resistance can incite acne lesions due to increased circulating androgens. Now, the Toronto study’s observations suggest that pistachios can stop androgen surges caused by blood sugar fluctuations.
Pistachios act as a blood sugar regulator
Dr. Cyril Kendall, lead researcher of the study explained, “…Our preliminary findings demonstrate that suppressing the glycemic (blood sugar) response of high carbohydrate foods may be part of the mechanism by which pistachios contribute to cardiovascular health and to the prevention and control of diabetes.”
Other scientists like Loren Cordain, PhD have noticed a link between insulin resistance and acne. In his work, “Implications for the Role of Diet in Acne”, Cordain writes, “Dietary interventions using low glycemic load carbohydrate may have therapeutic potential in the treatment of acne because of the beneficial endocrine effects these diets possess.”
Most acne treatments typically act on one or two symptoms such as surplus bacteria or clogged pores. Adding pistachios to the diet could help create a more robust acne therapy by also counteracting blood sugar shifts that produce excess oils and pimples.
Cordain, Lorent. Implications for the Role of Diet in Acne. Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery; 2005, vol 24, pp 84-91.
Eating Pistachios May Reduce the Impact of Carbohydrates on Blood Sugar Levels. Henson Consulting; Newswise. May 1, 2007.
Wijeyaratne, Chandrika N, Adam H Balen, Julian H Barth, Paul E Belchetz. Clinical manifestations and insulin resistance (IR) in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) among South Asians and Caucasians: is there a difference? Clinical Endocrinology; September 2002, vol 57, no 3, pp 343-350.