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Genetic Makeup of Acne Revealed

Scientists recently discovered the genome sequence of the acne bacterium Propionibacterium acnes which has revealed thousands of genes that give the organism the potential to cause skin disease. Acne is a common problem affecting more than 80 percent of U.S. teens.

For a long time, experts believed if a large number of bacteria were present, that would trigger the inflammation and immune response associated with acne. New data revealed the bacterium can produce proteins that actively cause acne. A scientific team sequenced the 2.5 million bases in the genome of a P. acnes strain and identified 2,333 genes, including some which code for enzymes that break down human skin.

After sequencing the whole genome, researchers found the bacterium can actively degrade human skin tissue because of the massive presence of these enzymes, and also that there are specific immunogenic proteins which are present in this bacterium which trigger the immune response.

Most doctors and dermatologists say that acne is not related to diet, but I can confidently tell you that there is indeed a strong link. In my own practice, most patients' acne clears up when they follow the no-grain diet described in my nutrition plan.

As I struggled with acne for the first 40 years of my life, I wish I would have known this information when I was younger. However, since I have come to understand the influence of grains on health, acne has been a non-issue for me.

New Scientist July 29, 2004

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