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ROSACEA

Rosacea

 

 

 

 

Rosacea is an inflammatory skin condition that causes facial redness and produces small, red, pus-filled pustules (bumps). Rosacea worsens with time if left untreated and is often mistaken for acne, eczema or an allergic reaction of some kind. Genetics are a factor as up to 40% of people affected have a relative with the condition.

Rosacea was thought of to be more common among fair-skinned people of northern European ancestry. However, studies have since revealed that it is now appearing in many parts of Asia, including the Middle-East, South Asia, and China, especially in regions that have  become more developed which suggests that lifestyle and diet may be responsible instead of skin colour as was originally thought.

Intensive farming techniques can leech many important minerals from the soil and result in food crops being deficient. If these crops become the main food source for people and are highly processed and refined, which strips even more nutrients from them, it may explain why rosacea only affects people in developed countries. Alcohol, coffee and medications are more commonly consumed by developed nations and this too can lead to mineral and vitamin deficiencies which may be an underlying cause of rosacea.

Rosacea symptoms

Rosacea symptoms may be mild with facial flushing or, if left untreated, develop into a more extreme condition which can include chronic fatigue syndrome, digestive issues such as heartburn and acid reflux and various other related conditions.

Pre-rosacea: the first sign is flushing that can last as long as five minutes. The red blush can spread from the face down to the neck and chest and some people experience  an unpleasant hot feeling during flushing episodes. This can cause social difficulties because it looks so similar to the blushing that occurs due to emotional shyness or embarrassment.
Hypersensitivity of the face: Sensitive blood vessels may dilate very easily to topical triggers (touch) and some other physical stimuli such as sunlight. Many mistakenly believe this is caused by sensitive skin, however, it is the blood vessels reacting in episodes of rosacea and not the skin.

Facial redness: Sometimes the flushing episodes may eventually be followed by bouts of persistent facial redness which resembles a patch of sunburn and this may not subside. It occurs because hundreds of tiny blood vessels near the surface of the facial skin have dilated (expanded).

Inflammatory rosacea: Small spots, papules and pustules sometimes appear on the face and are often misdiagnosed as they resemble teenage acne spots but with rosacea there are no blackheads unlike acne.

Vascular rosacea: If left untreated rosacea progresses and small blood vessels on the nose and cheeks swell and become visible (telangiectasia) and sometimes look like look like tiny spider webs. This is similar to symptoms that can occur through heavy drinking. Alcohol can cause face and neck flushing and inflamed blood vessels in susceptible people, especially those of Asian descent, however, vascular rosacea can also happen in people that do not drink.

Rhinophyma: Severe rosacea can result in the thickening of facial skin, especially around the nose. The nose can become bulbous and enlarged (rhinophyma). This is a very rare complication and tends to affect males more than females.

Ocular rosacea: Around 50% of people with rosacea experience eye discomfort. such as a burning and gritty sensation in the eyes which makes them appear bloodshot. The inside of the eyelid may become inflamed (blepharitis) and appear scaly causing conjunctivitis. Some people may not be able to tolerate contact lenses and styes may develop. In very rare cases the vision may also become blurred due to damage to the cornea.

Facial swelling: Excess fluid and proteins leak out of the blood vessels and eventually overwhelm the lymphatic system as it is unable to drain the leakage away fast enough. This results in fluid build-up in the facial skin.

NOTE: Rosacea rashes usually only affects the face and neck. If a rash is present in the scalp or on the ears it generally means there is a different condition causing rosacea-like symptoms. 

 

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Possible causes of rosacea

Alcohol causes the loss and destruction of the B complex of vitamins and forces the expulsion of many essential minerals and hampers absorption of all of them which can contribute to developing rosacea.

Arsenic is found in many foods, especially rice and can build up in the system and lead to inflammatory conditions as well as redness and swelling of the skin. The organic forms of arsenic found in seafood are generally considered to be nontoxic, and are excreted in urine within 48 hours of ingestion. However, many water sources in the world have high levels of inorganic arsenic in them, both due to normal arsenic leaching out of the ground and from mining and industrial processes and pesticides that contain arsenic.

Industrial uses of arsenic

  • Algaecides.

  • Chemotherapy cancer treatment.

  • Coal-fired power plants.

  • Components in electrical semiconductor devices discrete microwave devices, lasers, light-emitting diodes and photoelectric chemical cells.

  • Desiccants used in mechanical cotton harvesting.

  • Glass manufacturing.

  • Glues.

  • Hardening of metal alloys.

  • Herbicides.

  • Naturopathic and homeopathic remedies from Asia.

  • Purifying industrial gases (removal of sulphur).

  • Wood preservatives

Foods that can contain high levels of inorganic arsenic when not produced organically

  • Apple juice

  • Beef

  • Cereals

  • Milk and dairy products

  • Potatoes

  • Pork

  • Poultry

  • Rice

  • Wine

The fact that rosacea is common in both Ireland and Asia may be due to the fact that Irish farmers used a potent arsenic based pesticide against the invasion of the potato beetle which contaminated the soil and Asians consume so much rice.Rice absorbs arsenic from soil or water much more effectively than most plants and this is mainly because it is one of the only major crops grown in water-flooded conditions, which allow arsenic to be more easily taken up by its roots and stored in the grains. This is of great concern in certain at-risk populations (especially children). It may be useful to try eliminating rice and potatoes from the diet for one month and consuming far more green leafy vegetables, coriander and algae such as chlorella and spirulina which can help to remove arsenic from the body to see if there is a reduction in the symptoms of rosacea. Sulphur-rich foods also help to remove arsenic from the body and are mentioned further on in more detail.

Bacteria: The balance of the intestinal flora is important for proper nutrient absorption and some species of these beneficial bacteria manufacture essential nutrients. Helicobacter pylori is a bacteria found in the gut that stimulates the production of bradykinin, a protein known to cause blood vessels to dilate and is also known to cause damage to the stomach lining which will interfere with the proper absorption of nutrients. It can also lead to leaky gut syndrome which causes the immune system to attack normal cells in the body because proteins from food have escaped undigested into the blood stream. This leads to inflammation in various parts of the body. Therefore an excess of this bacterium in the intestines may be the cause of rosacea in some people.

Caffeine hampers absorption of many essential nutrients and can increase blood flow to the skin. Coffee and fizzy drinks should be avoided.

Corticosteroids: The long-term use of topical corticosteroids, a common skin therapy to reduce inflammation and redness, can actually cause rosacea-like symptoms.

Lectins are a type of glycoprotein found in many plant foods. Seeds of the grasses such as rice, rye, spelt and wheat have exceptionally high levels of this defensive glycoprotein, which, if accumulated in high quantities can cause an inflammatory response. This may explain why certain nations such as the Irish and Scottish who consume high amounts of wheat products and Asians who consume large amount s of rice have particularly high occurrences of rosacea.

See Lectin Intolerance

Medications such antibiotics and as those used to treat blood circulation problems, diabetes, high blood pressure and peripheral neuropathy and some painkillers such as aspirin may worsen rosacea symptoms.

Mono sodium glutamate: Excitotoxins are formed due to too much glutamic acid which is necessary in small amounts but toxic when present in high amounts. Combine the glutamate amino acid with sodium and it becomes mono-sodium glutamate (MSG) which is often used in Chinese foods as a flavour enhancer and may lead to headaches and other allergic and inflammatory reactions due to the over consumption of glutamic acid. Foods to watch out for include: soya bean milk (naturally high in glutamate and often has hydrolysed vegetable protein added to it), kombu, miso and soy sauces all contain MSG.

See Mono-sodium glutamate.

Pesticides: Because rosacea occurs in developed countries, where mass food production and intensive farming have become prevalent, it may be that the chemicals used are showing an effect upon people and causing inflammatory conditions such as rosacea. Because rosacea is not a life threatening condition the research that could link it to environmental factors, such as pesticide use, has not been done however, any harmful chemicals that are ingested can cause inflammation, intestinal disruption and skin disorders. Therefore it would be wise to choose only organically grown fruit and vegetables and products from organically reared, naturally fed and free range animals. Food from wild sources never need antibiotics either which are best avoided by anyone with an inflammatory health issue that is not life threatening.

See Pesticides.

Skin mites: Demodex folliculorum is a tiny mite that lives on human skin and usually causes no problems. However, people with rosacea have much higher numbers of these mites than normal. It has not yet been discovered whether the abnormal numbers of mites causes the rosacea or that rosacea causes the abnormal number of mites.

Other possible causes of rosacea

  • An underlying medical condition such as lupus.

  • Extremes of temperature.

  • Food sensitivities to compounds such as gluten in grains like wheat or casein and lactose in cow’s milk.

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure).

  • Hot baths and saunas.

  • Hot foods and drinks.

  • Humidity.

  • Intense exercise.

  • Spicy foods that contain chilli, garlic or ginger can increase blood flow to the skin.

  • Stress, anxiety, anger and embarrassment increase blood flow to the skin.

  • Sunlight.

  • Viral infections including colds, cough and fever.

  • Windy weather.

Natural dietary remedies for rosacea

Because rosacea is an inflammatory condition often caused by food allergies, natural foods that combat inflammation are helpful in treating the condition.

Aloe vera: take the gel directly from an aloe vera leaf and gently rub into affected areas. Aloe vera has powerful antibacterial properties and aids fast healing of the skin. A teaspoonful of the gel can also be consumed blended with fruit juice for internal cleansing which can help treat rosacea.

Apple cider vinegar, half a freshly squeezed lemon and a teaspoon of locally produced honey taken in a cup of warm water first thing every morning (before anything else) can help with symptoms of rosacea. Apple cider vinegar (especially organic and unpasteurised)  is a powerful internal cleanser as is lemon juice and locally produced honey can often reduce allergic reactions.

Apples: consume one apple per day, including the skin, as the pectin and fibre can help to improve the digestive system and reduce inflammation. Choose organic red apples that have not been waxed.

Barley grass, chlorella, coriander leaves and spirulina have powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties due to their rich chlorophyll, minerals and vitamin content . They remove toxins like heavy metals from the system and cleanse the blood of waste materials. Barley grass is one rare plant that contains vitamin B12 and they are all rich in the B complex of vitamins especially B2 (riboflavin) that people with rosacea are often lacking in. They can be obtained in a dried powdered form and a teaspoon can be added to meals or taken as a tea with warm water daily.

Burdock root has powerful detoxification and soothing properties for skin inflammations.

Calendula, cleavers and mullien are three powerful herbs that can stimulate and cleanse congestion and mucus from the lymph system and relieve the symptoms of rosacea and other related swellings.

Cats claw is a herb that can help to restore intestinal health but should be avoided by pregnant or breast feeding women and people taking blood thinner medications or those who have had an organ transplant.

Citrus fruits: Consume at least one lemon, lime, orange or tangerine per day. Also consume the zest of half a fruit as this contains many powerful antioxidants which can help to keep the blood vessels and skin healthy. Add zest to meals at the end of cooking and add half a freshly squeezed citrus fruit in green tea to increase its medicinal properties.

Coconut oil contains monolaurin which has powerful antibacterial properties and can help to eliminate helicobacter pylori which may be a root cause of rosacea. Consume one tablespoon per day. Use for cooking and adding to vegetables and fruits that contain fat-soluble nutrients such as carotenoids. It can also be used externally as a soothing skin moisturiser and as a natural toothpaste mixed with bicarbonate of soda.

Fermented foods: Brine pickles are fermented through the action of lactic acid and can provide the beneficial bacteria that may be lacking in the guts. Other fermented foods that can help correct the balance of internal bacteria are kefir milk, kimchi, Kombucha, miso and plain yoghurt with live cultures. Choose one of these to consume daily on an empty stomach.

Flaxseeds and flaxseed oil contains omega-3 fatty acids that can help to reduce inflammation.

Gotu kola is a herb that can help to repair the skin.

Grape seed extract can assist with to formation of collagen and has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Green tea is rich in polyphenols that are anti-inflammatory and antioxidants and has photo protective properties that help to reduce sun sensitivity in rosacea sufferers, making them far less susceptible to the sun’s ultra-violet rays. Adding half a freshly lemon juice to green tea increases its powerful properties tenfold. Drink at least three cups per day to see an improvement. Adding other anti-inflammatory herbs can be beneficial for the treatment of rosacea.

Hemps seeds are rich in nutrients that can help treat rosacea and is the one food that contains the correct balance of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. Consume a tablespoon every day. They can be ground into a powder and sprinkled on any meal.

Krill oil: Taking one high strength (1000 mg) per day provides omega-3, vitamin D and vitamin E which are all important for collagen and skin health and may reduce symptoms of rosacea. Krill oil also contains the most powerful antioxidant known, astaxanthin, that can help fight off infection and eliminate toxins.

Liquorice root contains coumarins, flavonoids, glycyrrhizin and phytosterols that have powerful anti-inflammatory properties and is especially effective in the skin.

Nuts are rich in essential minerals, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E. Consume a small handful of mixed almonds, cashews, two brazil nuts and five walnut halves every day especially when eating fruits as the vitamin C in fruit must be consumed with equal amounts of vitamin E as they have opposite effects on mineral absorption.

Olive leaf extract contains oleuropein which is known to boost the immune system with its anti-inflammatory properties. Because olive leaf extract helps to remove toxins from the body it can cause detoxifying symptoms (Herxheimer’s reaction) such as diarrhoea and sweating. If this occurs reduce the amount taken then increase it slowly to 300 mg per day over a period of weeks. Then take 300 mg for six weeks then reduce it to a maintenance amount of about 50 – 100 mg per day.

Peppermint tea can help to restore the normal balance of bacteria in the intestines as it kills off the yeasts that may be crowding out the beneficial bacteria. Drink one cup of peppermint tea with the freshly squeezed juice of one lemon or lime after each meal.

Prebiotic foods feed the beneficial bacteria in the intestines and this can help to reduce yeast and pathological bacteria overgrowth, improve digestion and aid in the absorption and manufacture of many essential nutrients. Inulin is a prebiotic form of starch which enhances magnesium absorption in the intestines. Magnesium is important for the treatment of rosacea and natural sources can be found below. Consume at least one of these inulin rich foods daily:

  • Agave

  • Apples

  • Asparagus

  • Banana

  • Beans

  • Bran

  • Broccoli

  • Burdock root

  • Cabbage

  • Cauliflower

  • Chicory root

  • Cocoa (raw)

  • Coconut flesh

  • Dandelion root

  • Elecampane

  • Garlic

  • Globe artichokes

  • Kale

  • Leeks

  • Lentils

  • Mugwort

  • Oats

  • Onions

  • Parsnips

  • Peas

  • Radish

  • Rampion

  • Salsify

  • Swede

  • Sweet potato

  • Turnips

  • Whole grains

  • Yam

  • Yacon root

Red clover taken as a tea twice a day is known to reduce the redness and irritation caused by rosacea.

Wild black rice, as opposed to white rice, is rich in antioxidant anthocyanins, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), zinc and the essential amino acids such as lysine and methionine which are all important nutrients when treating rosacea. However, it is all high in lectins that may be a trigger of rosacea in some people. It is worth adding to the diet for its exceptional nutritional value but if rosacea symptoms worsen it could be due to the lectins mentioned in more detail above. Rice may also be contaminated with arsenic and therefore should be consumed just two to three times a week along with green leafy vegetables, algae and seaweed which all help to remove heavy metals such as arsenic from the body.

Nutrients that can help to treat rosacea

A small amount of the six different colours of fruits and vegetables (including the skins when possible) should be consumed daily when rosacea is present. Each colour provides different nutrients and powerful antioxidants and all can help to reduce inflammation and reduce symptoms of rosacea. These colours are:

  • Black/blue/purple

  • Brown

  • Green

  • Red

  • Yellow/orange

  • White/cream

Make soups, smoothies and salads and mixed cooked vegetable dishes using a varied number of different coloured fruits and vegetables with herbs such as basil, coriander, marjoram, oregano, parsley, sage, tarragon and thyme to provide even more benefits.

Alpha-lipoic acid is a particularly versatile antioxidant because it is both fat-soluble and water-soluble, allowing it to work in every part of the anatomy and protect cells both inside and out. It also has the ability to rehabilitate other antioxidants such as glutathione, vitamin C and vitamin E. Foods containing taurine and alpha lipoid acid have shown the ability to help repair of damaged collagen fibres.

Highest sources of alpha lipoic acid

  • Brewer’s yeast

  • Broccoli

  • Brussel sprouts

  • Flaxseeds

  • Organ meats

  • Peas

  • Rice bran

  • Spinach

  • Swiss chard

  • Tomatoes

Anthocyanins give fruits and vegetables their black, blue, purple and red colourings and exhibit powerful anti-inflammatory activity and do it as well as drugs, for the same purpose, without negative side effects. They are a very useful addition to the diet of those with rosacea and one or more portions of the following should be consumed on a daily basis:

  • Acai berry

  • Apples (red)

  • Aubergine

  • Beans (black and red)

  • Beetroot

  • Bilberries

  • Blackberries

  • Black currants

  • Black rice

  • Blueberries

  • Broccoli tops (purple)

  • Cabbage (red)

  • Cherries

  • Chokeberries

  • Cranberries

  • Elderberries

  • Grapefruit (pink)

  • Grapes (red and black)

  • Kidney beans

  • Maqui berries

  • Mulberries

  • Onions (red)

  • Oranges (blood)

  • Pears (red)

  • Plums

  • Potatoes (red skinned)

  • Pomegranates

  • Radishes (red)

  • Raspberries

  • Red currants

  • Rhubarb

  • Rosehips

  • Saw palmetto berries

  • Strawberries

  • Sumac

  • Sweet potato (purple variety)

  • Swiss chard

  • Winged beans

NOTE: Anthocyanins are mostly concentrated in the skins of fruits and vegetables and maqui berries are the richest source of anthocyanins.

Anthoxanthins are water-soluble components which give the white/cream or red pigment colour to foods. Consuming a daily portion of foods rich in anthoxanthins can help to reduce inflammation such as:

  • Bananas (just ripe)

  • Butter beans

  • Butternut squash

  • Cashew nuts

  • Cauliflower

  • Celery

  • Chestnuts

  • Coconut

  • Garlic

  • Jerusalem artichoke

  • Leeks

  • Macadamia nuts

  • Mung beans

  • Mushrooms

  • Navy beans

  • Onions

  • Parsnip

  • Peanuts

  • Pine nuts

  • Potatoes

  • Radishes

  • Soya beans

  • Spring onions

  • Turnips

Betalains are very powerful anti-inflammatory antioxidants that provide the yellow to orange and red to violet pigments in some plants. They can be very helpful in the treatment of rosacea. Natural foods that contain betalains are:

  • Amaranth

  • Apples

  • Apricots

  • Artichokes

  • Basidiomycota mushrooms

  • Beetroot (golden and red)

  • Broccoli (purple tops)

  • Cactus

  • Cucumber

  • Prickly pear

  • Swiss chard

  • Whole grains

Glutamine and glutamic acid. Gastrointestinal damage and stomach ulcers caused by the Helicobacter pylori can be addressed with the amino acid glutamine which is produced from glutamic acid in the muscles and then distributed by the blood to the areas that need it for repair and maintenance.  Although the body does produce it consuming natural foods rich in glutamine can help to repair damage cause to the stomach lining and reduce inflammation. Foods rich in glutamine are:

  • Beef

  • Beetroot

  • Cheese

  • Cabbage

  • Chlorella

  • Halibut

  • Legumes

  • Milk

  • Oily fish

  • Organ meats

  • Parsley

  • Propolis

  • Poultry

  • Rabbit (wild)

  • Seaweed

  • Spinach

  • Venison

Lysine is an essential amino acid, meaning it must be supplied by the diet as the body cannot manufacture it. Vitamin C is required to change proline (a non-essential amino acid) into hydroxyproline and lysine into hydroxylysine which both help to repair collagen connective tissue damage and promote healthy skin. Lysine works in conjunction with proline, vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin C (ascorbic acid), vitamin P (bioflavonoids), copper and iron. All these nutrients are important when treating rosacea.

Highest natural sources of lysine in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Spirulina (dried) 3025 mg

  • Chlorella (dried) 3000 mg

  • Whelks 2930 mg

  • Chicken 2635 mg

  • Pumpkin and squash seeds 2463 mg

  • Tuna (tinned ) 2343 mg

  • Pheasant 2230 mg

  • Beef (lean mince) 2211 mg

  • Calf’s liver 2141 mg

  • Mackerel (tinned) 2130 mg

  • Cod 2108 mg

  • Cheddar cheese 2072 mg

  • Quail 1977 mg

  • Rabbit (wild) 1908 mg

  • Shrimp/prawns 1820 mg

  • Lobster 1784 mg

  • Venison 1756 mg

  • Caviar (fish roe) 1699 mg

  • Lamb’s liver 1653 mg

  • Turkey 1609 mg

  • Crab 1592 mg

  • Black beans 1483 mg

  • Crayfish (wild)1388 mg

  • Crayfish (farmed) 1253 mg

  • Mussels 1179 mg

  • Squid 1164 mg

  • Soya beans 1108 mg

  • Peanuts 945 mg

  • Sunflower seeds 937 mg

  • Eggs 914 mg

  • Flaxseeds 862 mg

  • Quinoa 766 mg

  • Rye 605

  • Almonds 580 mg

  • Pine nuts 540 mg

  • Brazil nuts 492 mg

  • Walnuts 424 mg

  • Wheat 378 mg

  • Brown rice 303 mg

Vitamins of the B complex are interdependent upon each other and therefore if any are lacking in the diet the processes they are responsible for will fail. They are water soluble and therefore are not stored in significant amounts and many drugs and alcohol will force expulsion causing deficiencies. Alcohol and caffeine also block absorption of the B complex of vitamins.

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) helps to improve the secretion of mucus in the skin, which may help to clear up rosacea. Riboflavin is manufactured industrially using yeast or other fermenting organisms, used as a yellow colouring and as vitamin fortification, but is difficult to incorporate into most foods due to poor solubility and it is destroyed upon exposure to light.

Highest natural sources of vitamin B2 in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Yeast extract 17.5 mg

  • Lamb’s liver 4.59 mg

  • Baker’s yeast 4 mg

  • Parsley 2.38 mg

  • Cheese 1.38 mg

  • Almonds 1.10 mg

  • Lean beef 0.86 mg

  • Soya beans 0.76 mg

  • Wheat bran 0.58 mg

  • Mackerel 0.58 mg

Vitamin B3 (niacin) is required for proper circulation and healthy skin, functioning of the nervous system and normal secretion of bile and stomach fluids. The body manufactures vitamin B3 from tryptophan and vitamin B6. Bran is a food rich in vitamin B3 which is typically lost during the refining process. Anyone who eats high amounts of white bread, white rice or other refined products will not receive adequate amounts of vitamin B3. Even though most of these foods are now fortified, it is still best to eat unrefined food products because the synthetic version of vitamin B3 has anti-vitamin properties meaning it inhibits the absorption of other vitamins and so should be avoided.

Highest sources of vitamin B3 in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Yeast extract 127.5 mg

  • Brewer’s yeast 40.2 mg (dependent upon source)

  • Rice bran 34 mg

  • Tuna fish (fresh) 22 mg

  • Anchovies 19.9 mg

  • Lamb’s liver 16.7 mg

  • Chicken breast 14.8 mg

  • Shiitake mushrooms 14.1 mg

  • Peanuts 13.8 mg

  • Tuna fish (tinned) 13.3 mg

  • Spirulina 12.8 mg

  • Calf’s liver 12.6 mg

  • Venison 10.8 mg

  • Duck 10.4 mg

  • Paprika 10 mg

  • Sun dried tomatoes 9.1 mg

  • Chia seeds 8.8 mg

Vitamin B7 (biotin) is required for healthy hair, skin and sweat glands and is therefore an important nutrient when treating rosacea. There is a substance in the raw egg whites called avidin that is a glycoprotein that binds with biotin preventing its absorption therefore only egg yolks should be consumed.

The highest sources of vitamin B7 in micrograms per 100 grams

  • Chicken livers 180 µg

  • Egg yolk 60 µg

  • Walnuts 39 µg

  • Oatmeal 35 µg

  • Peanuts 34 µg

  • Fish 20 µg

Vitamin D: Cathelicidin is an anti-microbial peptide found normally on human skin and appears to have a role in the onset and exacerbation of rosacea. People with this condition have abnormally high levels of cathelicidin which cause an inflammatory immune response within the body, which in turn can make the skin inflamed and more vulnerable to infection. Vitamin D normalises the effects of cathelicidin so it can help greatly with the treatment of rosacea. Vitamin D is one of the most common vitamins to be deficient in people especially those in the Northern hemisphere during the winter months as the sun’s rays cannot create vitamin D through the skin as it is too weak from October to April. Added to this, rosacea sufferers may avoid the sun anyway reducing their vitamin D levels even further.  

Taking one krill oil capsule (1000 mg) per day can redress this imbalance and provides the powerful antioxidant astaxanthin which gives the red pigment to krill and the essential omega-3 fatty acids. Cod liver oil and oily fish (wild) also supply healthy amounts of vitamin D but they have the disadvantage of often being contaminated with mercury which may add to the toxic overload that may worsen symptoms of rosacea.

The highest sources of vitamin D in milcrograms per serving listed

  • Krill oil - 1 teaspoon: 1000 IU

  • Eel - 85 g or 3 oz: 792 IU

  • Maitake mushrooms - 70 g: 786 IU

  • Rainbow trout - 85 g or 3 oz: 540 IU

  • Cod liver oil - 1 teaspoon: 440 IU

  • Mackerel - 85 g or 3 oz: 400 IU

  • Salmon - 85 g or 3 oz: 400 IU

  • Halibut - 85 g or 3 oz: 196 IU

  • Tuna - 85 g or 3 oz: 228 IU

  • Sardines - 85 g or 3 oz: 164 IU

  • Chanterelle mushrooms - 85 g or 3 oz: 155 IU

  • Raw milk - 1 glass or 8 oz: 98 IU

  • Egg yolk - 1 large: 41 IU

  • Caviar - 28g or 1 oz: 33 IU

  • Hemp seeds - 100 g or 3.5 oz: 22 IU

  • Portabella mushrooms - 85 g or 3 oz: 6 IU

Vitamin P is a group of water-soluble crystalline substances found in many fruits and vegetables but especially rich in citrus juices. They function as bioflavonoids and promote capillary resistance to haemorrhaging by strengthening blood vessel walls and regulating permeability. They also soothe inflammation and improve tissue health of the intestinal wall. The term bioflavonoids refers to many different substances and include hesperin, hesperidin, eriodictyol, quercetin, quercertrin and rutin, etc. These bioflavonoids cannot be manufactured by the body and must be supplied in the diet and at least one of the following bioflavonoid rich foods should be consumed every day:

  • Alfalfa

  • Apples

  • Apricots

  • Asparagus

  • Avocados

  • Beetroot

  • Bell peppers (green and red)

  • Berries (black, blue, purple and red)

  • Blackcurrants

  • Broccoli

  • Brussel sprouts

  • Buckwheat

  • Cabbage

  • Cauliflower

  • Chia seeds

  • Cress

  • Dandelion leaves

  • Fennel seeds

  • Garlic

  • Grapes (black and red)

  • Grapefruit (pink)

  • Green tea

  • Kale

  • Kiwi fruit

  • Lemons

  • Limes

  • Liquorice root

  • Mango

  • Maqui berry

  • Melon

  • Mustard greens

  • Nectarines

  • Onions

  • Oranges

  • Parsley

  • Rosehips

  • Propolis

  • Radishes

  • Rosehips

  • Strawberries

  • Tangerines

  • Thyme

  • Watercress

  • Watermelon

Vitamin E helps to repair damaged skin and reduces redness. The body also needs vitamin E to boost its immune system so that it can fight off invading bacteria, viruses and yeasts. A deficiency of vitamin E can contribute towards inflamed blood vessels.

Highest sources of vitamin E in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Hemp seeds 55 mg

  • Hazelnut oil 47 mg

  • Almond oil 39 mg

  • Sunflower seeds 38.3 mg

  • Rice bran oil 32 mg

  • Grape seed oil 29 mg

  • Almonds 26.2 mg

  • Oregano 18.3 mg

  • Hazelnuts 17 mg

  • Flaxseed oil 17 mg

  • Peanut oil 16 mg

  • Hazelnuts 15.3 mg

  • Corn oil 15 mg

  • Olive oil 14 mg

  • Soya bean oil 12 mg

  • Pine nuts 9.3 mg

  • Cloves (ground) 9 mg

  • Peanuts 8 mg

  • Celery flakes (dried) 6 mg

  • Spirulina 5 mg

  • Dried apricots 4.3 mg

  • Bell peppers (red), eel, olives and salmon 4 mg

  • Jalapeno peppers 3.6 mg

  • Anchovies 3.3 mg

  • Broccoli, chicken, cod, crayfish, dandelion greens, egg yolk, pecan nuts, spinach, tomatoes (tinned or pureed) turkey and turnip greens 3 mg

  • Avocado, beef, bilberries, blue berries, chicory greens, cinnamon (ground), crab, halibut, herring (pickled), mackerel, marjoram, mustard greens, pistachio nuts, poppy seeds, sardines, sesame seeds, Swiss chard, trout, tuna, turnips and walnuts 2 mg

  • Fish roe 1.9 mg

  • Asparagus, kiwi fruit and parsnips 1.5 mg

  • Black berries 1.2 mg

  • Chlorella 1.1 mg

Essential minerals for the treatment of rosacea

Boron is a mineral often lacking in the modern day diet due to intense farming techniques which have leeched many essential minerals from the soil and never replaced them. Boron has shown to be useful treatment in those with rosacea however supplements are not advised as toxicity can be harmful Symptoms of toxicity are: red rash, vomiting, diarrhoea, decreased blood circulation, shock followed by coma. Symptoms occur at doses of approximately 100 milligrams. In adults a dose of 15 to 20 grams is fatal and for children 3 to 6 grams is fatal. Eating natural boron-rich foods will not overdose the consumer with boron.

Richest sources of boron

  • Almonds

  • Apples (red)

  • Avocados

  • Bananas

  • Broccoli

  • Carrots

  • Chia seeds

  • Chick peas

  • Grapes (red)

  • Hemp seeds

  • Honey

  • Legumes

  • Onions

  • Oranges

  • Pears

  • Prunes

  • Raisins

  • Potatoes

  • Parsnips

  • Sumac

  • Teff

  • Walnuts

Magnesium is important for regulating the body temperature amongst many other essential roles it has in bodily processes and is therefore essential for the treatment of rosacea. Often magnesium is lacking in foods that are processed or in crops that are intensely farmed and is therefore deficient in many individuals and may be a cause of rosacea. It is estimated that 80% of the population of developed countries are magnesium deficient.

Some bottled mineral waters contain good amounts of magnesium but some do not so it is best to always check labels. The processing treatments of some bottled waters and tap water can remove the magnesium content altogether.

The body does not store magnesium like it does calcium and it is excreted as a result of drinking alcohol or high caffeine drinks such as coffee and fizzy drinks, high stress, diarrhoea, sweating or high levels of protein and sugar in the diet.

Highest sources of magnesium in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Sesame seeds 1331 mg

  • Chlorella (dried) 1300 mg

  • Whelks 1205 mg

  • Spirulina (dried) 1149 mg

  • Sunflower seeds 1033 mg

  • Brazil nuts 1008 mg

  • Chicken 859 mg

  • Tuna fish (tinned) 755 mg

  • Calf’s liver, pumpkin seeds and squash seeds 740 mg

  • Quail 716 mg

  • Pheasant 710 mg

  • Beef (lean mince) 694 mg

  • Mackerel  (tinned) 686 mg

  • Cod 679 mg

  • Lamb’s liver 664 mg

  • Salmon (Atlantic farmed) 654 mg

  • Cheddar cheese 652 mg

  • Shrimp/prawns 589 mg

  • Lobster 577 mg

  • Caviar (fish roe) 553 mg

  • Rabbit 545 mg

  • Mussels 537 mg

  • Crab 515 mg

  • Venison 505 mg

  • Turkey 495 mg

  • Sunflower seeds 494 mg

  • Eggs 380 mg

  • Flaxseeds 370 mg

  • Squid 351 mg

  • Quinoa 309 mg

  • Peanuts 291 mg

  • Pine nuts 259 mg

  • Rye 248 mg

  • Walnuts 236 mg

  • Soya beans 224 mg

  • Wheat 212 mg

  • Brown rice 179 mg

  • Almonds 151 mg

NOTE: The recommended dietary allowances for magnesium are 420 mg per day for an average build adult man 320 mg for women and 450 mg during pregnancy and lactation.

Methionine is an essential amino acid which means it must be consumed as the body cannot manufacture it. It has a role in the supply of sulphur and other nutrients needed by the body for repair and the reduction of inflammation. Without an adequate intake of sulphur, the body will not be able to make and utilize a number of antioxidant nutrients. Therefore consuming methionine rich foods is important.

Highest source of methionine in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Almonds

  • Apples

  • Asparagus

  • Bamboo

  • Beetroot

  • Cherries

  • Cucumber

  • Grapes

  • Green leaves of most vegetables

  • Honey

  • Mineral water

  • Onions

  • Peanuts

  • Radishes

  • Yams

Silicon has a powerful influence on the absorption of other minerals required by the body for optimal health. It enhances the function of boron, calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium and protects against irritations in mucous membranes and skin disorders. Because boron is an essential mineral for treating rosacea, sufficient levels of silicon are also important.

Highest natural sources of silicon

  • Rice bran 781 mg

  • Basil, coriander, dill and sage 694 mg

  • Hemp seeds 640 mg

  • Pumpkin and squash seeds 535 mg

  • Raw cocoa 499 mg

  • Flaxseeds 392 mg

  • Brazil nuts 376 mg

  • Sesame seeds 353 mg

  • Sunflower seeds 346 mg

  • Chia seeds 335 mg

  • Chlorella 315 mg

  • Wheat germ 313 mg

  • Cashew nuts 292 mg

  • Almonds 268 mg

  • Caraway seeds 258 mg

  • Black strap molasses and dulse 242 mg

  • Buckwheat 231 mg

  • Spirulina 189 mg

  • Oats 177 mg

  • Durum wheat 144 mg

  • Macadamia nuts 130 mg

  • Adzuki beans 127 mg

  • Kelp 121 mg

  • Millet 114 mg

  • Kale 88 mg

  • Amaranth 65 mg

  • Globe artichoke 60 mg

  • Okra and nettles 57 mg

  • Chestnuts 54 mg

  • Rocket 47 mg

  • Dates 43 mg

  • Plantain 37 mg

  • Lentils 36 mg

  • Butternut squash 34 mg

  • Coconut 32 mg

  • Potatoes with skin 30 mg

  • Passion fruit 29 mg

  • Savoy cabbage, halibut 28 mg

  • Bananas, rabbit 27 mg

  • Green beans 25 mg

  • Peas 24 mg

  • Raspberries 22 mg

  • Guava 22 mg

  • Blackberries 20 mg

  • Courgettes 18 mg

  • Kiwi fruit, fennel, figs 17 mg

  • Endive 15 mg

  • Cucumber, lettuce 13 mg

Sulphur: The main purpose of sulphur is to dissolve waste materials. It helps to eject some of the waste and poisons like heavy metals from the system and helps to keep the skin clear of blemishes. It is also effective against skin mites which can help to treat rosacea.

Highest sources of sulphur in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Scallops 520 mg

  • Lobster 510 mg

  • Crab 470 mg

  • Prawns 370 mg

  • Mussels 350 mg

  • Haddock 290 mg

  • Brazil nuts 290 mg

  • Peanuts 260 mg

  • Cod 250 mg

  • Oysters 250 mg

  • Chicken livers 250 mg

  • Cheese (parmesan) 250 mg

  • Caviar (fish roe) 240 mg

  • Peaches (dried) 240 mg

  • Cheese (cheddar or stilton) 230 mg

  • Salmon 220 mg

  • Beef 220 mg

  • Eggs 200 mg

  • Apricots (dried) 160 mg

  • Almonds 150 mg

  • Rabbit 130 mg

  • Walnuts 100 mg

  • Peppercorns 100 mg

  • Cabbage 90 mg

  • Spinach 90 mg

  • Brussel sprouts 80 mg

  • Chickpeas 80 mg

  • Figs (dried) 80 mg

  • Coconut 80 mg

  • Hazel nuts 80 mg

  • Mung beans 60 mg

  • Dates 50 mg

  • Split peas 50 mg

  • Onions 50 mg

  • Leeks 50 mg

  • Radishes 40 mg

Zinc: There are 156 enzymes in the body that require zinc for their functioning. Those drinking excess alcohol have low levels of zinc because it decreases zinc absorption and increases urinary secretion. Diuretic medications also adversely affect zinc levels. If an individual ingests excessive amounts of caffeine, drugs or sugar, it is more than likely that a zinc deficiency will develop. Copper, together with zinc improves the absorption of vitamin D and therefore it is important to consume natural foods rich in this mineral when drinking alcohol or suffering from rosacea.

Highest sources of zinc in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Oysters 78.6 mg

  • Chlorella 71 mg

  • Wheat germ 16.7 mg

  • Beef 12.3 mg

  • Calf's liver 11.9 mg

  • Hemp seeds 11.5 mg

  • Pumpkin and squash seeds 10.3 mg

  • Sesame and watermelon seeds 10.2 mg

  • Bamboo shoots, endives and gourds 9 mg

  • Chervil (herb) 8.8 mg

  • Lamb 8.7 mg

  • Venison 8.6 mg

  • Alfalfa seeds (sprouted), amaranth leaves, Crimini mushrooms, Irish moss and tea 8 mg

  • Crab 7.6 mg

  • Lobster 7.3 mg

  • Agave, basil, beefalo, broccoli, elk, emu, oats, ostrich, spinach and turkey 7 mg

  • Cocoa powder 6.8 mg

  • Asparagus, chicken livers, laver seaweed, mushrooms, parsley and rice bran 5.7 mg

  • Cashew nuts 5.6 mg

  • Pork 5.1 mg

  • Jute (herb), lemon grass, mung beans, Portobello mushrooms, radishes and shiitake mushrooms 5 mg

  • Agar seaweed, butterbur, cauliflower, chicory, Chinese cabbage, chives, coriander, green beans, lentils, lettuce, okra, rocket, spring onions, summer squash, Swiss chard, tomatoes and wasabi (yellow) 3.4 mg

  • Peanuts 3.3 mg

  • Cheddar cheese 3.1 mg

  • Mozzarella cheese 2.9 mg

  • Anchovies and rabbit 2.4 mg

  • Cabbage, cucumber, jalapeno peppers, , kidney beans, navy beans, spirulina and turnip greens 2 mg

  • Arrowroot, artichokes (globe), beetroot, bell peppers, black eyed peas, borage, broad beans, Brussel sprouts, butter beans, cabbage, carrots, celery, chilli peppers, courgettes, dandelion greens, garlic, horseradish, kale, kelp, mustard greens, peas, pinto beans, potatoes, pumpkin, turnips, Swede, sweet potato, tomatoes (red), wakame (seaweed), watercress and winged beans 1.2 mg

NOTE: The recommended dietary allowance of zinc is approximately15 mg daily for an average build adult. Do not exceed 100 mg of zinc per day from all sources.

External natural remedies for rosacea

Aloe vera: Take the gel from the inside of a fresh aloe vera leaf and use like a moisturising lotion. This will greatly reduce redness and help the skin to heal quickly.

Apples can be used daily as a face mask as they have powerful cleansing and anti-inflammatory properties but are gentle on the skin.

Chamomile tea can be effective at reducing swelling and redness when used as a cold compress. Make a tea as normal then allow to cool and refrigerate. Dip a face cloth into the tea then press onto the face and leave for five or ten minutes.

Coconut oil: cold pressed coconut oil is an effective but gentle moisturiser and cleaner for the skin.

Coriander and turmeric: Mix two teaspoons of turmeric with four teaspoons of coriander powder in a little milk and refrigerate before applying the resulting paste to the affected area. Leave for 15 minutes before rinsing off with water. Use this once a day.

Cucumber: used as a mask can help to reduce redness and swelling.

Feverfew can prevent blood pooling in capillaries when applied to the skin.

Green tea, used as a face wash, can help to reduce redness and eliminate bacteria and is gentle on the skin. It can also be used as a cold compress by refrigerating then soaking a face cloth and applying to the face.

Horse chestnut, when used as a face cream has been reported to help reduce symptoms for some people with rosacea.

Potato: Slices of raw potato can be applied to the skin as it has effective healing and anti-inflammatory properties. After 10 minutes remove the potato slices and wash the residue off gently with water.

Oatmeal is a powerful skin healer and will reduce the redness and irritation of rosacea. Make a paste by adding a tablespoon of oatmeal to a little water and apply to the face. Leave for 15 minutes then rinse off with warm water and pat dry.

Rosehip oil is an effective skin healer and a few drops on cotton wool pad can be dabbed onto the effective areas daily.

Rosewater: Use as a fragrant and calmative skin repairing toner after using any of the treatments listed here.

Vitamin E oil: Using cold-pressed nut and seed oils can help to heal the skin and reduce redness especially sesame or flaxseed oils. Apply a thin layer of one of the oils to the face after washing and allow to soak in. Pure vitamin E oil can be purchased from some pharmacists as well.

Other ways to reduce rosacea symptoms

Antibiotics are often prescribed to people with severe rosacea symptoms which may provide temporary relief, however, it will also upset the balance on intestinal flora causing further problems afterwards.

Avoid alcohol and caffeine consumption completely when suffering an attack of rosacea.

Avoid sugar and sugary products including agave nectar and corn syrup and processed foods that contain these sugars as this can severely disrupt the balance of the intestinal flora.

Avoid using steroid creams or any facial cosmetics or washes which contain unnatural chemicals and alcohol. Add sea salt to lukewarm water to wash the face then rinse well with cold water and use a natural moisturiser such as cold-pressed coconut oil. Never use antibacterial washes on the face as these also kill off the beneficial bacteria that reside on the skin and harsh chemicals remove the skins natural oils.

Click here  to find out how to make natural cleaning and cosmetic products.

Exercise is important to keep the lymph system working well but, as becoming too hot can trigger rosacea, gentle exercise such as walking, swimming and yoga are more beneficial.

"Nature cures not the physician..." Hippocrates 460 BC

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