Food Friday: Does Whey Protein Cause Acne?

(another) Friday Night's in America

Does whey protein cause acne? A new study shows it might.

This past August, Dr. Nancy Silverberg, a New York dermatologist, published a study in the journal Cutis that suggests whey protein supplements may exacerbate acne in adolescent males.

Some relatively recent studies show that whey is potentially comedogenic (pore-clogging) in certain teenage males. Intrigued by these studies, Dr. Silverberg looked at five male adolescent patients who were developing globular acne who were also consuming whey supplements to gain weight. When the boys stopped the supplements their acne was much more responsive to treatments. One young man who had two courses of isotrentinoin (Accutane), didn’t see an improvement in his acne until he stopped taking whey supplements during the second round.

Dr. Silverberg thinks that doctors should begin asking both male and female teenage patients who are looking to gain weight if they’re taking whey supplements and to suggest that discontinuation may help improve their acne.

Moving forward, she plans to investigate how whey protein induces acne flares by looking at both specific age groups and the amount of whey protein used. Since many patients were resistant to stopping whey protein supplements, she’s also interested in exploring if there is some addictive property.

Click here to read an annotated version of Dr. Silverberg’s article and here to listen to Dr. Silverberg’s audiocast.

Drawbacks: Only 5 patients studies. More research and studies needed.

Has your acne worsened on whey?

Photo credit: FCC, jdanvers

Movember: Men and Depression

Sad Icelandic sculpture

Based on the explosion of reality TV shows, you might think that anyone would feel comfortable sharing their problems in the privacy of a doctor’s office. Unfortunately, you’d be wrong.

When it comes to depression women are three times more likely to seek help. And though more women attempt suicide, more men actually commit suicide. Indeed, some 5 million men experience depression each year. And those are only the ones we know about.

Men often forget that psychological pain is as legitimate as physical pain. If you had a broken arm, you’d go to your doctor to fix it. Right?

Although both men and women suffering from depression experience feelings of loneliness and helplessness, there are some characteristic differences in men: Depressed men are more likely to exhibit aggression and engage in addictive behaviors, like alcohol abuse and risky behaviors, like unsafe sex.

Here are some common signs of depression in men:

Fatigue: Despite sleeping 10-12 hours a night, you still feel exhausted and depleted of energy.

Chronic Pain: Backaches, headaches, and stomach pain that won’t go away can also be signs of depression.

Anger and Irritability: Rather than sadness, men suffering from depression tend to show signs of irritability and anger, which often masks that there’s a deeper problem. Are you blowing up at people over minor problems? Are you itching for a fight? Are you unable to tolerate everyday tasks and activities without losing your cool?

Difficulty Concentrating: Are you having trouble getting your work done? Is your mind wandering during important tasks? Are you forgetful?

Isolation: Are you pulling away from your relationships? It’s not uncommon for depressed men to push away loved ones; it’s a defense mechanism.

Sexual Dysfunction: Are you having difficulty becoming aroused or experiencing orgasm? Are you less satisfied with sex than you used to be? Are you suddenly craving or engaging in unsafe sex? These are common in men suffering from depression. No matter how embarrassing, your best bet is to discuss it with your doctor. He’s there to help you, not judge you.

Men are less likely than women to seek help. Why? Is it just that we’re too proud? Sometimes. But, there are many more important reasons why men don’t seek help for depression, including:

  • Men often mischaracterize signs of depression such as fatigue and irritability as something other than depression.
  • They think it’s just something temporary that will go away.
  • They’re more likely to blame an issue or person such as their marriage or boss as the source of their problem.
  • Men are more concerned about the social stigma surrounding depression and fear of looking weak or less masculine.

If you or a man in your life is exhibiting signs of depression, then contact a doctor as soon as possible. This is a health issue that shouldn’t be ignored.

Photo credit: FCC, WorldIslandInfo.com

Food Friday: Grandpa, Don’t Eat That Bread

A new study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, shows that older people who eat a lot of carbs have nearly four times the risk of developing mild cognitive impairment (MCI), which is often a precursor to Alzheimer’s.

Old Man of Lisboa

A new study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, shows that older people who eat a lot of carbs have nearly four times the risk of developing mild cognitive impairment (MCI), which is often a precursor to Alzheimer’s.

All I can say is, thank goodness my Italian grandmother never lived to hear about this. The woman ate pasta about four times a week and bread every day her life and lived to her 90’s, still sharp as a tack.

Yet, as the study shows, there might be a link between high carb intake and MCI. Study participants who ate the most carbs showed early signs of cognitive impairment including problems with memory, language, and thinking and judging. The study’s lead author said that although not everyone with MCI will develop Alzheimer’s, many will. Currently, Alzheimer’s affects over 5 million US adults, so researchers are keen to find ways to stop MCI from progressing.

The study also found that those with diets highest in fats (nuts and healthy oils) were 42% less likely to get cognitive impairment. And those with the highest protein diets (chicken, meat, fish) had a 21% reduced risk.

So what does this mean for you?

  • It doesn’t mean carbohydrates cause dementia or Alzheimer’s. More studies need to be done to determine causality.
  • Don’t throw away all your pasta and bread. Like most things in life, moderation is key. The American Diabetes Association has some good information on carb counting and serving size.
  • Eat as many non-starchy vegetables as possible, including broccoli, Swiss chard, spinach, and salad greens, which are some of the healthiest carbs you can eat.
  • Remember, that many different foods contain carbs including less healthy crackers, chips, and pastries as well as healthier milk, yogurt, and beans. So rather than banish carbs from your diet, choose smart, healthy carbs like these recommended from The Harvard School of Public Health. You might also like to read WebMD’s article on “Good Carbs, Bad Carbs,” and why they matter to you.

Photo credit: FCC, KevinPoh

My Movember Update: The Easy-Rider Moustache

After a chat with my 10-yr-old niece, I decided to go with the Easy-Rider moustache for Movember.

Movember Easy Rider Moustache

Here’s an recent FaceTime conversation I had with my 10-year-old niece in Rhode Island:

Me: Hey, Kiddo! How’s it goin?

Niece: What happened to your face?

Me: It’s my ‘stache for Movember. You like it?

Niece: No. It looks like you have chocolate cake all over your face.

Me: Yeah, but it’s for a good cause. (I go on to explain Movember to her)

Niece: Why not just make a donation and shave the moustache?

Based on feedback from her and my wife, I have decided to go with the Easy-Rider moustache. According to my niece, it makes me look like I can ride a motorcycle. Which apparently is a super cool thing.

For more information about raising awareness of men’s health issues, check out my post on Movember and becoming a member. And please consider donating to this cause.

Here are two more Movember posts you might enjoy reading: Why More Men Are Dying From Skin Cancer and The Truth About Men and Dandruff.

The Truth About Men and Dandruff

Men are more likely to get dandruff. Here’s how to treat dandruff.

First Snowfall of Winter

It’s happened to the best of us. You’ve had a greet meeting with your boss or just given a killer presentation. You go out to celebrate with your buddies. As you remove your navy sport coat, you notice, to your horror, white flakes on the shoulders. And it’s not snowing outside.

Don’t beat yourself up. Dandruff is normal. Everyone has it to some degree and nearly everyone experiences a full-blown case of it at least once in his or her lifetime. Unfortunately, men get dandruff more than women.

Skin cells (including those on your scalp) are constantly sloughing off and being replaced with new ones. For people with dandruff, this skin cell turnover goes into overdrive resulting in more dead skin being shed. The result— tiny white flakes in your hair. In addition to your scalp, you can get dandruff on your eyebrows, eyelashes, beard, and inside your ears, and some unlikely few will get it on their chest hair.

Before you buy anti-dandruff shampoo, determine whether or not the flakes are actually dandruff. In many instances, it’s simply hair product that has dried and begun to flake. Notice, do you get flakes only in the afternoon or evening after the product has had time to dry out? If so, it’s likely not dandruff. In general, hair gels are more prone to drying out and flaking whereas creamy pomades are less likely.

Though unsightly, dandruff is not dangerous. It won’t make you sick. It’s not contagious. And it won’t cause balding. Nevertheless, I’ve never met anyone who wants to keep his dandruff.

So, here’s how to treat dandruff and stay flake-free:

1. Try OTC medicated shampoos specially formulated for dandruff with ingredients such as ketoconazole (Nizoral shampoo), selenium sulfide (Selson Blue and Head and Shoulders), pyrithione zinc 1% (Clear Men Scalp Therapy), and tar (Neutrogena T/Gel). Yes, coal tar. It reduces both inflammation and flaking. If you don’t like the medicinal smell of these shampoos, try Clear Men Scalp Therapy which has a much more pleasant, fresh fragrance.

2. Wash hair with medicated shampoo daily. It’s a myth that shampooing makes dandruff worse. Dandruff is not dry scalp. The more frequently you wash, the more yeast you remove, leading to less dandruff.

3. You can use medicated shampoo anywhere you get dandruff including your beard, eyebrows, and chest. Just be careful when you wash around your eyes.

4. For redness and itching try hydrocortisone cream 1%, readily available at drug stores.

5. For those looking for all-natural treatments, try this: Mix 1 part white vinegar to 3 to 4 parts water and massage into your scalp while you’re in the shower. You can do this 1 to 3 times a day. You can also massage it into your scalp and leave on overnight  (that is, if the smell doesn’t make your partner run from the room). Having said that, vinegar, however natural, isn’t as effective as medicated shampoos.

In severe cases where your dandruff doesn’t respond to any treatments, see your dermatologist. You may have psoriasis, or another condition that warrants medical attention.

For more information about raising awareness of men’s health issues, check out my post on Movember and becoming a member. And please consider donating to this cause.

Here’s another Movember post you might enjoy reading: Why More Men Are Dying From Skin Cancer.

Photo credit: FCC, martinak15

Why More Men Are Dying From Skin Cancer

Male baby boomers have twice the risk of dying from melanoma as female baby boomers. Reasons include: working outdoors, not regularly wearing sunscreen, not doing self skin checks, and not going to doctors appointments.

Construction worker places rebar

Scary truth: Male baby boomers (born between 1946-1955) have twice the risk of dying from melanoma as female baby boomers. Why? There are many reasons, most involving lifestyle choices:

  • Men tend to work more outdoors in fields such as construction, landscaping, and farming.
  • Men are less likely than women to wear sunscreen regularly and to cover up with clothing and hats.
  • Men spend lots of time outdoors for recreational activities such as weekend club sports. More men, especially over the age of 50, play golf. (Just one round of golf takes about 5 hours, so you do the math.) Recent statistics say about half of all melanoma skin cancers occur in men 50 and older.
  • Men are less likely to do self skin checks or schedule regular doctors visits.
  • Men are less informed about the dangers of sun exposure. Studies have shown that many national education and awareness campaigns are directed more towards women than men.

Does that mean there’s no hope? Not at all. It’s all about implementing lifestyle changes that will keep you safe.

  • Simple things like wearing hats, wrap-around sunglasses, and long-sleeved shirts go a long way in keeping your skin protected. The guy pictured above is doing it right.
  • Using broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 daily and reapplying it is probably the toughest sell to men who often feel it’s a hassle. If you’ve got a man in your life, I encourage you to help him wear sunscreen regularly. I’d avoid guilt as a motivator, which doesn’t work, and opt for humor or positive comments:  Maybe something like: “I’d really like to get the kids in the habit of using sunscreen every morning. I’d love it if you’d apply it along with them to show them it’s important.” OR “I really like having you around, honey. Who would take out the garbage every Wednesday?” You get the idea.
  • Do monthly self-skin checks, or better yet, do it with your partner. You’ll have more fun and help keep one another safe. You’re looking for new and changing moles. (Please see this video on the ABCDEs of nodular melanoma.)
  • Know your family history. If you’re at high-risk for melanoma based on genetics or lifestyle choices, then find a dermatologist you like and go for regular screenings. He or she could be the best connection you’ll ever make.
  • For more information, visit The Skin Cancer Foundation at www.skincancer.org.

For more information about raising awareness of men’s health issues, check out my post on Movember and consider becoming a member. And please consider donating to this cause.

Photo credit: FFC, USACEPublicaffairs

Grow a Moustache With Me This Movember

Movember is the month when 1000s of men will grow moustaches in order to raise awareness of men’s health issues.

It’s Movember, the month when 1000’s of men across America will put down their razors and grow a moustache. Why? Because it’s a sign of solidarity in an effort to educate men on health issues, particularly testicular and prostrate cancers. Through their actions, words, a little help from testosterone, these men will spread awareness of health issues affecting men today.

Known as “Mo Bros,” these men will either go it alone, form teams, or partner with their “Mo Sistas,” women in support of the cause. (Don’t worry, the gals don’t need to grow a moustache.)

Want to join? Visit http://us.movember.com/ and register. Then explore ways you can participate — donate, host an event, attend a gala event, blog about it, tweet about it @movember and use the hash tag #movember, get in the press — whatever you can do.

And please consider helping me by donating to this cause.