8. The Mystery of Milk

Doctor Jacob here today, and we're going to be talking about the mystery of milk, in particular how it relates to acne. Now, in 2014 a study that was done on a Swedish population revealed that adults who drink milk over three glasses a day had increased mortality risk, that means they died more often. Today we're talking about milk and acne, but the underlying principle is the same. We do know from experimental data, we have good data that shows that milk can worsen acne, and milk does worsen acne. We know that no milk is better for your acne that whole milk, and that whole milk is better for your acne than skim milk. Skim milk is pretty much the worst for your acne. I have a couple of insights as to why, if people are curious, but we do know that as a great alternative there are things such as almond milk, hemp milk, rice milk, and these will not worsen your acne. I would recommend the brands without carrageenan, but that's a separate story.

So why is it that milk worsens acne? Well, the sugar in milk is lactose, and it is broken down into galactose and glucose. Now, glucose is everywhere, it's a common metabolic currency of cells, and that's not really the bad thing for you. Here it's the galactose, and we do know that exposure to galactose contributes to chronic inflammation in the body and oxidative stress. That's what's causing the damage in terms of the inflammation and making the acne pimples worse or more inflamed.

We know that milk also increases inflammatory cytokine. The cytokine is the messenger of the immune system that floats in the blood, called interleukin 6. That is a cytokine that's elevated in the blood in certain inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, and they even have drugs that block the interleukin 6 in order to treat these diseases of rheumatoid arthritis. Now, that just demonstrates how significant interleukin 6 is, and milk we know increases the levels of this inflammatory cytokine, interleukin 6 in the blood. So this chronic oxidative stress from milk exposure and the inflammatory cytokines create the inflammation that can worsen the acne. How does that tie into the no milk being than whole milk, and whole milk being better than skim milk? Well, it means that when you remove the fat, in your serving there's more of this milk that contains the galactose in it, and that's the inflammatory portion. It also means there's more whey, which is the milk protein.

We know that whey increases the level of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) to build muscles in the developing animal who's taking milk as a youth, as a baby, to get big and strong, as happens throughout the animal kingdom. This insulin-like growth factor 1 also promotes oil glands to spew out more oil. So we know that through at least two mechanisms - the first mechanism is the chronic inflammation oxidative stress from the galactose sugar that results from the breakdown of lactose, and the second, the insulin-like growth factor 1 production that results from the consumption of the whey, which is the milk protein - those two mechanisms, the milk is inflammatory.

So it's the inflammation that milk triggers that really worsens the acne breakouts.

I'm Doctor Jacob, we'll see you next time.