High Androgens: Acne, oily skin and facial hair?
Many teenage girls suffer from skin issues including acne, oily skin and facial hair. These symptoms although not life threatening can be emotionally disturbing. I remember having terrible acne as a teen; it was very depressing. If you visit your family physician, they will often prescribe a birth control pill which has been shown to help with acne but also have many disadvantages. All of these symptoms are indicative of high androgens. Androgens are sex hormones, one of which is testosterone. While testosterone is mainly known as a male sex hormone, it also plays a role in women as well. While medication can help acne, there are many natural ways that researchers have identified to lower androgens in the body. In this blog, I outline the symptoms, and scientifically proven ways to help symptoms and signs of high androgens.
Common symptoms and signs of excess androgens
Below are the common symptoms of excess androgens that I hear from clients:
- Changes in female body shape.
- Decrease in breast size.
- Increase in body hair in a male pattern, such as on the face, chin, and abdomen.
- Lack of menstrual periods (amenorrhea)
- Oily skin.
Common signs of high androgens include polycystic ovarian syndrome and ovarian tumours.
Scientifically proven natural ways to help high androgens
If you have 3 or more of the symptoms of increased androgens, try implementing, one at a time, the suggestions below.
Lifestyle changes and supplementation
Exercise and lose weight. Weight loss reduces both insulin resistance and excess testosterone.
Eat for lower androgens. The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how much food will raise blood sugar. Eating a low GI diet reduces androgens by up to 20 percent.
Eat more fibre. Scientists agree that a high fibre diet lowers androgens. Foods that contain fibre include fresh fruits and vegetables.
Eat foods containing zinc. Zinc deficiency is associated with excess androgens and acne.
Avoid dairy and eggs. Evidence shows that milk, cheese and eggs can cause increased androgens and acne.
Eat more protein. Research has shown that a low carbohydrate, high protein diet lowers androgens. I recommend eating grass fed meat, organic chicken and wild caught fish.
Limit sugar. Excess sugar increases insulin, which raises androgens.
Eat more foods high in Omega 3. Women with more Omega 6 compared to Omega 3 have more elevated androgens. Good sources of Omega 3 include wild Alaskan salmon and taking a good quality fish oil supplement.
Take up yoga. Yoga has been shown to be more efficient than other forms of exercise at improving insulin resistance in women with PCOS.
Take chromium. Chromium helps to lower insulin and blood glucose levels when they are high. I recommend a dose of 200mcg/day.
Supplement with inositol. Researchers have shown that inositol reduces testosterone. I recommend a dose of 600mg twice daily of inositol.
Get more Vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with PCOS.
Acupuncture stimulated regular ovulation in women with PCOS, suggesting that they may help reduce insulin resistance and decrease testosterone.
Avoid BPA. Women with PCOS have higher levels of BPA and the amount correlated with elevated levels of androgens.
Cinnamon has been shown to lower blood glucose which helps to lower insulin resistance and lower androgens.
This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.