I came across Stinging Nettle in a roundabout way.
I have been working to add muscle mass by lifting weights and performing body-weight exercises. While researching natural supplements that potential help with increasing muscle mass, I came across a plant called Stinging Nettle.
Stinging Nettle, also known as Urtica dioca, is a perennial plant that has hollow spikes on the leaves and stems that sting when touched. Stinging nettles have been used throughout the ages for multiple purposes.
While I learned that stinging nettle does potentially help to stimulate muscle growth by increasing the amount of free, active serum testosterone levels by causing the release of testosterone from sex hormone binding globulin, known as SHBG.
When testosterone is locked up with SHBG, it is not able to bind with receptors in the muslce cells. The lignans found in stinging nettle help by unlocking the binding mechanism to SHBG, the “free testosterone” is now able to bind with muscle cell receptors. This supposedly results with higher levels of free testosterone circulating in the body, which helps to stimulate muscle tissue growth.
What is interesting is that unlike most treatments that increase testosterone, they also increase the rate of acne. While testosterone replacement therapy, natural “testosterone boosters” and steroids commonly result in an increased rate of acne formation, stinging nettle is found to decrease the formation of acne!
Here are 3 major ways that stinging nettle has been shown to help with the reduction of acne formation…
1) Stinging nettle helps to reduce inflammation levels, which is a major cause of acne.
Reduction of inflammation levels within the body is one of the keys to reducing acne levels. Stinging nettle has been to interrupt the production of inflammation producing compounds.
A study conducted in 2013 showing that Stinging Nettle reduced levels of inflammation concluded that:
Taking into account the above results, it can be concluded that U. dioica leaf extract has considerable anti-inﬂammatory and analgesic activities and this study provides pharmacological evidence for its folkloric use in arthritis and other inflammatory complications.
2) Stinging nettle reduces blood glucose levels. High blood glucose levels create a cascade effect that leads to acne formation.
Increased levels of blood glucose levels increase IGF or ILGF (Insulin-like growth growth factor). IGF increased the production of the sebaceous glands to produce excess levels of sebum (oil) that is basically food for acne bacteria. Excess levels of sebum therefor are a contributor to acne formation. By reducing blood glucose levels, stinging nettle helps to reduce sebum production.
IGLF also promotes keratin formation. Keratin is a protein that binds and helps create strength and stability for your skin as well as other organs. It is like a glue holding cells together.
However, too much keratin production in your skin (called hyperkeratosis) creates problems that lead to acne formation. It basically stops dead skin cells from flaking off, which leads to blocked pores, which causes sebum (oil) to become trapped in your hair follicles. This is a perfect condition for acne to thrive in!
So since stinging nettle helps lower blood glucose levels, it helps prevent the domino effect that leads to excess levels of keratin formation.
3) Stinging nettle helps reduce levels of a very potent acne causing hormone called DHT.
Stinging nettle also helps stop the transformation of testosterone into 3,4-Dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This particular androgen is WAY more potent than regular testosterone. Excess androgen levels and DHT in particular lead to the chain reactions that cause acne.
Not only is DHT a more potent form (actually it’s a metabolite of testosterone, but…whatever) of testosterone, it is synthesized in the skin, hair follicles and the prostrate, as well as other areas. Actually, it has been shown that as a result, stinging nettle can help reduce the onset of male pattern baldness and prostrate related problems!
Stinging nettle has been shown to interfere with the process that produces DHT, thereby reducing DHT levels. If you have happen to have high levels of DHT, or are overly sensitive to DHT’s affects, you can experience acne that forms from this form of testosterone.
So give this nasty sounding stuff a try! It’s not expensive, comes in a pill or tea form and could be a part of your regime of fighting acne breakouts from the inside.