Friday, November 04, 2005

"Back Engineering" the Causes of Acne from an Ancestral "Template"

From: The Paleo Diet Newsletter-November 1, 2005

Dr. Loren Cordain reports that "in the dermatology community, diet has long been dismissed as an underlying factor in the development of acne (1), but unfortunately no alternative hypotheses regarding its fundamental origin have been proffered. Consequently for most dermatologists, the root cause of acne remains unknown (1). When my research group and I originally began to examine whether or not diet had anything to do with acne, our first and foremost question was, "does it occur in hunter gatherers and other less westernized people?" Once we were relatively certain that acne was a "disease of civilization" and was virtually nil or absent in non-westernized populations (2), it then became a matter of "back engineering" how certain western dietary elements could influence the known proximate causes of acne (1, 2). Proof that diet causes acne now exists from a dietary intervention involving 47 acne patients in Melbourne, Australia from the laboratory of my colleague Neil Mann. Hence, the insight and ability to answer this formerly contentious diet/health question (does diet cause acne?) came not from years and years of directly studying acne per se, but rather by examining the origins of this disease from an evolutionary perspective."

Dr. Cordain Explains that breakthroughs in understanding human nutrition and health can be achieved once one understands the ancestral/evolutionary model that underpins it all, when he states that "controversies typify the chaos and disarray that run rampant in the science of human nutrition. By placing the evolutionary template over [dietary controversies], you can gain instant insight into the dietary patterns for which our species is genetically adapted."

1. Cordain, L. Implications for the role of diet in acne. Semin Cutan Med Surg 2005;24:84-91.
2. Cordain L, Lindeberg S, Hurtado M, Hill K, Eaton SB, Brand-Miller J. Acne vulgaris: A disease of western civilization. Arch Dermatol 2002; 138:1584-90.

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