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A Zinc-less Zinc Regimen for Adults: Draft 4

vitamin d zinc vegetarian depression

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#21 databased

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Posted 30 July 2009 - 02:45 PM

QUOTE (anonymousss1234 @ Jul 29 2009, 12:58 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
would taking a zinc supplement, as well as being outdoors in the day and darkness at night, be more helpful?

IMO, when taking a zinc supplement helps, that is an indication that you have an impaired melatonin cycle. Unlike some nutrients, there is no shortage of zinc in our food supply. The exception is vegetarians, since meat is a primary source of zinc (and tryptophan -- the molecule the body must consume to produce melatonin). Vegetarians are even inexplicably low on some chemicals that ought to be plentiful in vegetables; if I were a vegetarian I would try to understand why that it is, but I ain't and I got other fish to fry. :D

When zinc helps, it is because it is managing to turn a few percent more SOD molecules into ZSOD. This is a situation of diminishing returns in all aspects. The bigger zinc dose you take, the less the intestines let through. The more zinc that turns into ZSOD, the fewer SOD molecules (what you're really short of) around to supply the zinc. Further, it's a good bet that melatonin also directly impacts acne apart from its ability to supply SOD; it probably influences the androgen system in the skin.

That said, I'm not above popping some zinc pills if I know I'm going to be in public and for some reason cannot maintain the regimen at that time (e.g., stuck in hotel conference rooms for a week). But I won't mess with 30mg zinc in that case, it's 180mg or more.

#22 databased

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Posted 30 July 2009 - 03:29 PM

QUOTE (Believe @ Jul 30 2009, 02:08 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
@databased:
Just think for a minute about what people are eating nowadays and you may too come to the conclusion that most people are extremely deficient in zinc. Compare traditional diets with the westernised diet.


I see no evidence that the typical American diet (built on food from soil where farmers regularly add zinc) is deficient in zinc. If you ever find any such evidence, I would be interested in seeing it.

If you want to say there's a zinc problem, well that's what I'm saying, although with enough specificity to create a testable hypothesis. As I've been saying, carbohydrate malabsorption may interfere with zinc absorption, and caffeine may deplete a certain amount of zinc.

In my own experience, I can remove acne (if I tend the nighttime melatonin surge) with large (~200mg) zinc. Or, I can remove acne by taking absolutely no zinc supplement and getting all-day retinal outdoor light exposure, which I propose reduces or eliminates carbohydrate malabsorption so it can't interfere with the absorption of zinc of which I have every reason to believe there is plenty in my meat-based diet. This does not prove my hypothesis, but it does fit it exactly, which is the most a single data point can do to move a hypothesis towards becoming a theory.

QUOTE
In the short time I googled books.google.com I read in two books that one reason for the lack of data on this issue, is that there is no practical accepted indicator to use.

This is nearly circular reasoning. We're deficient of X, which we cannot measure, but if we could, the measurement would show we're deficient.

I see zero evidence the American diet is zinc deficient. If one or more particular zinc compartments (to use the terminology of zinc researchers) in the body exhibit deficiency on a widespread basis in Americans, IMHO that is most likely due to interference with zinc absorption caused by living in dim light (and Starbuck's ain't helpin').

#23 databased

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Posted 30 July 2009 - 03:57 PM

QUOTE (mikito @ Jul 29 2009, 05:12 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I would like to ask to Databased, if you notice improvement in acne, when you stay much time outside. ¿Why do you think that it,s because of the melatonin cycle, and not because of the benefits of the sun (necesary to produce vitamine D, antiseptic....?


I explained in some detail in the FAQ how Vitamin D was ruled out. If you want to talk about some other benefit of the sun, you'll have to be more detailed about precisely what sun effect you're talking about.

I would imagine by "antiseptic", you mean the ability of ultraviolet light to kill bacteria. As I mentioned, I get my retinal light exposure while in the shade, resulting in so little UV exposure that I have had no change in skin color at all. Also, any antiseptic effect would logically have to explain why acne would disappear not just from the relatively few parts of my body unclothed, but also from other parts (upper arms, back, legs) that are completely shielded from even indirect, bounced UV light at all times (even the most rabid anti-UV dermatologists do not fear sitting fully clothed in the shade).

Of course, I am also always heavily influenced to believe a hypothesis when it makes a strange, detailed prediction, I test it, and it comes true. Thus, when I read the Japanese research and formed the hypothesis about outdoor light, I predicted it would suppress acne while allowing me to eat about anything (including massive sugar), suppress acid reflux and other digestion issues like eating legumes, and make my sleep sounder. When I tested it, it produced all that strange collection of effects as predicted, and that tends to make me think I have understood at least the basics of the underlying mechanism correctly.

#24 and1

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Posted 31 July 2009 - 12:40 AM

QUOTE (databased @ Jul 30 2009, 11:29 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (Believe @ Jul 30 2009, 02:08 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
@databased:
Just think for a minute about what people are eating nowadays and you may too come to the conclusion that most people are extremely deficient in zinc. Compare traditional diets with the westernised diet.


I see no evidence that the typical American diet (built on food from soil where farmers regularly add zinc) is deficient in zinc. If you ever find any such evidence, I would be interested in seeing it.

If you want to say there's a zinc problem, well that's what I'm saying, although with enough specificity to create a testable hypothesis. As I've been saying, carbohydrate malabsorption may interfere with zinc absorption, and caffeine may deplete a certain amount of zinc.

In my own experience, I can remove acne (if I tend the nighttime melatonin surge) with large (~200mg) zinc. Or, I can remove acne by taking absolutely no zinc supplement and getting all-day retinal outdoor light exposure, which I propose reduces or eliminates carbohydrate malabsorption so it can't interfere with the absorption of zinc of which I have every reason to believe there is plenty in my meat-based diet. This does not prove my hypothesis, but it does fit it exactly, which is the most a single data point can do to move a hypothesis towards becoming a theory.

QUOTE
In the short time I googled books.google.com I read in two books that one reason for the lack of data on this issue, is that there is no practical accepted indicator to use.

This is nearly circular reasoning. We're deficient of X, which we cannot measure, but if we could, the measurement would show we're deficient.

I see zero evidence the American diet is zinc deficient. If one or more particular zinc compartments (to use the terminology of zinc researchers) in the body exhibit deficiency on a widespread basis in Americans, IMHO that is most likely due to interference with zinc absorption caused by living in dim light (and Starbuck's ain't helpin').


I agree, there might be enough zinc in the diet, but the poor diet has caused malabsorption, IBS, diabetes, stress etc., which eventually makes people deficient in zinc. Furthermore nutritional deficiencies in other areas probably make you prone to becoming deficient in zinc. Jsut adding up the number of people who suffer from illnesses affecting zinc levels one probably arrives at around 30 to 40 percent of the population being zinc deficient. Furthermore an overexposure to heavymetals such as mercury from regular consumption of fish (see http://fora.tv/2008/...agnosis_Mercury or http://fora.tv/2009/...ics_and_Poison), will make you deficient, because it will put your body in a dis-eased state.

People always want those studies. I researched again and could not find anything, but read that the research does not exist, because of the associated costs. Pharma would not make money selling something they can't patent, namely zinc, so why should they do the research?

#25 Aaron123

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Posted 01 August 2009 - 08:50 AM

Hey databased, this is really great research you're doing, and it sounds plausible, but I'm wondering: what if I wear glasses? Will any of the sun's indirect rays be able to enter my eyes? Do I need UV specifically, or just the light?

#26 databased

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Posted 01 August 2009 - 11:54 AM

QUOTE (Aaron123 @ Aug 1 2009, 08:50 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
what if I wear glasses? Will any of the sun's indirect rays be able to enter my eyes? Do I need UV specifically, or just the light?

Sunglasses are a problem, but not prescription glasses (I wear pretty thick prescription glasses).

The ganglion cells in the eye that connect to the pineal gland are driven largely by intensity, and are most sensitive in the blue-green area of the spectrum, so UV is pretty much irrelevant. They are slow to trigger compared to other cells in the retina, so it can take on the order of a minute of being in bright light before they turn on.

Blue-blocker sunglasses should be the absolute worst thing for acne sufferers to wear, since they not only reduce the intensity of light, but particularly block the frequencies that are best at suppressing daytime melatonin.
I think impaired zinc metabolism is the root cause of chronic acne.
A Zinc Regimen. | My crappy blog.
"When you believe in things that you don't understand, then you suffer -- superstition ain't the way" -- S. Wonder

#27 pea*nut*butter

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Posted 01 August 2009 - 12:29 PM

great post.

saSVt4t.gif


#28 Aaron123

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Posted 01 August 2009 - 02:12 PM

I ask because I actually have transition lenses, which seem to completely block UV rays. However, they also seem to reduce the intensity of the light rays that enter the eye, so I'm a bit unsure whether I should be wearing them outside or not.

#29 databased

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Posted 01 August 2009 - 03:49 PM

QUOTE (Aaron123 @ Aug 1 2009, 02:12 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I ask because I actually have transition lenses, which seem to completely block UV rays. However, they also seem to reduce the intensity of the light rays that enter the eye, so I'm a bit unsure whether I should be wearing them outside or not.

Ah, yes -- me too, since I bought this prescription before I discovered how critical eye-light was going to be to me. Those effectively become sunglasses when hit by UV so, in a way, they're not as bad as sunglasses, but still not a good bet for acne if this hypothesis is correct.

I actually get most of my outdoor retinal light exposure sitting in the shade. Even now (during one of the few months Seattle gets large amounts of UV) that doesn't result in enough UV to make them more than just slightly dark, even though there's a direct line from the sky (not the sun) to the lenses. When I'm in direct sunlight, it's usually because I'm out walking, so I just take them off during walks (even as bad as my vision is, I can still see to walk biggrin.gif).

It may be that transition lenses aren't problematic at all; it could be that their variable nature means that they never really reduce the intensity enough to impair pineal melatonin suppression. But I don't know that, and since it's already hard enough to get lots of outdoor light per day, I'll pass on the Transitions when I get my next prescription.

I was trapped indoors for 3 days due to the Seattle heat wave, and that alone (since I didn't take massive zinc to compensate) was enough to get acne again (although it didn't show up for a couple of days). There's some evidence that the effects of day-long bright light exposure on the melatonin/digestive cycle can last more than a day (Park, Tokura 1999 -- though you have to dig through the paper to find this).


#30 mikito

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 04:35 AM

Has anybody experiment the same efect as Databased?

It would be very interesting to test this research that Databases in different people.

keep reporting.

#31 Shum

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 01:38 AM

Very very interesting and unique research!

#32 marty a

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Posted 14 August 2009 - 07:29 PM

Hey Databased. RE: magnesium affecting tryptophan/zinc conversion cycle.
I recall you mentioning that magnesium (from your calcium pill) may be a factor. The study (abstract bellow) suggests that taking zinc has an inhibitory effect on magnesium. I wonder if magnesium then should be taken at a different time than zinc, say, on an empty stomach in the morning, the only worry with that being that it may have a calming effect (per some supplements claims). Any thoughts about the timing of magnesium/zinc supplements?


Inhibitory effects of zinc on magnesium balance and magnesium absorption in man.
Spencer H, Norris C, Williams D.
Metabolic Research and Research Service, Veterans Administration Hospital, Hines, IL 60141.
OBJECTIVE: Both zinc (Zn) and magnesium (Mg) are widely used as nutritional supplements and the possibility was considered that Zn may interfere with the absorption of Mg, similar to previously reported results [1,2] obtained with the same dose of supplemental Zn on the absorption of calcium (Ca). METHODS: Mg absorption studies and metabolic balances of Mg and of Zn were carried out in three groups of adult males in a metabolic research unit during the intake of supplemental doses of 142 mg Zn as Zn sulfate (ZnSO4) during Ca intakes of 230, 500 and 800 mg/day. RESULTS: The Zn intake of 142 mg/day decreased the Mg balance and Mg absorption only during the 500 mg Ca intake compared to control values. However, the overall effect of the high Zn intake of the three groups combined, regardless of the Ca intake, was a highly significant decrease of Mg absorption and of the Mg balance. CONCLUSION: Zn supplements of 142 mg/day decreased Mg absorption and the Mg balance significantly during all Ca intakes for the three groups combined.


#33 databased

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 05:39 PM

QUOTE (marty a @ Aug 14 2009, 07:29 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Any thoughts about the timing of magnesium/zinc supplements?

Wow, back from the days when they still used zinc sulfate in studies! (And that was a pretty hefty daily dose.).

When I take zinc (not currently taking any), I pretty much always take it on an empty stomach just before bedtime to the reduce the odds of interference (at least at the point of the gut lining) with anything else (and vice versa).

For me, magnesium comes in a calcium pill and AFAICT bone researchers are in relative agreement that taking the calcium with a meal is more important than most other factors in determining absorption. So that automatically separates the zinc and magnesium intake for me.

The tight regulation of zinc in the body starts at the gut lining, where absorption starts shutting down when the zinc arrives. So it makes sense that zinc can interfere with the absorption of other things. By taking it on an empty stomach at bedtime, everything else that's gone done the gullet that day has already had a fair shot at being absorbed (although a much better shot if you lived the day in bright light than in dim indoor lighting).
I think impaired zinc metabolism is the root cause of chronic acne.
A Zinc Regimen. | My crappy blog.
"When you believe in things that you don't understand, then you suffer -- superstition ain't the way" -- S. Wonder

#34 databased

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 05:56 PM

QUOTE (QuirkyPixy @ Jul 30 2009, 11:44 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Also- do you think that working under a sun lamp would have an effect on melatonin levels similar to the effect of working outside?

I have installed in my office 2 banks of 4 4-foot fluorescent tubes providing partially direct and partially indirect (bounced off the white ceiling) light. It's not blinding, but it's no doubt the brightest lit place in the house by far. I used GE bulbs with more blue spectrum than normal (Chroma 50 40W bulbs if you look on the bulb markings and not the packaging). There exists a bulb that better emulates sun spectrum but I couldn't find a local dealer so went with cheaper and easily available. How effective this is is hard to say, but I'll have a stronger opinion when the rainy season returns and it's harder to work outdoors and get many hours of outdoor light. In the meantime, I can certainly see everything that needs dusting in my office!


#35 stay strong

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 09:41 PM

Hi databased, I started your regimen yesterday, and am currently sitting in my garden on day 2 of spending all my days outside plan, if anything all this natural light and fresh air is helping with my depression. My skin just got really bad over this winter (I live in Australia). Reading your posts makes so much sense in my case, as during this time I spent all my days shut away inside my house where little daylight can get in. I have a ton of theories as to why my skin, almost perfect after so long of trying before winter is now literally the worst it has ever been, but I'm gonna roll with your regimen and see what happens. I'm currently doing a course of omnilux as well so hopefully combined I can knock this SOB over the head for good.

I have a few questions, after I came inside when the sun was starting to set I didn't know what I could do. Can I watch T.V.? Should I keep all the lights off in the house? It was only 4-5pm, far too early to go to sleep. Will doing these things until I am ready to go to bed suppress my night time melatonin, or are we only concerned with this when we are actually going to sleep. What do you do? Would it be possible for you to give me a day in the life of you with times? I'm currently not working and it is about to be summer with plenty of blue sky days, so I think I could mimic your current routine pretty easily.

I'm a vegetarian so I currently take iron, some naturopathic herbs and a zinc complex for the skin which includes vit A, echinacea and evening primrose oil. I was taking a B complex and D daily for quite a while, but I have kind of gotten lazy with them, I think I'll get back on to it though. With this mix and following your latest draft, I think I'm on the right track. Should I add anything else do you think?

Thanks so much for presenting your research to the rest of us, it's much appreciated.

#36 databased

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 10:03 PM

QUOTE (stay strong @ Aug 30 2009, 09:41 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I have a few questions, after I came inside when the sun was starting to set I didn't know what I could do. Can I watch T.V.? Should I keep all the lights off in the house? It was only 4-5pm, far too early to go to sleep. Will doing these things until I am ready to go to bed suppress my night time melatonin, or are we only concerned with this when we are actually going to sleep.


How the melatonin cycle works is still a very active area of research, but here are some basic ideas I believe are holding up:

  • Hours of bright light during the day gives you a bigger (i.e., closer to what we are designed to get) melatonin surge at night.
  • Not living in bright daytime light affects your digestion which, ironically, can interfere with absorbing the chemicals you need to make melatonin and avoid acne.
  • The intensity of light required during the day to count as the "daytime signal" can vary significantly from one person to another. Outdoor bright sunlight is pretty much bright enough to do the trick for anybody.
  • Caffeine can affect your sleep (duh!). It also (proven in rodents, not tested in humans AFAICT) may make you lose zinc.
  • Varying the time you go to sleep can decrease your nocturnal melatonin surge.
  • At night, even a small amount of light getting to the eye can start to shut down the nocturnal melatonin surge.
My typical day:

a) wake up around 7-8am, open all the shades in the house.
b) if the weather's nice, it's a morning walk with the dogs in the sunlight.
c) work outdoors on the deck or in my office with uber-bright lights on.
d) if I've been working indoors, I make a conscious effort to try to get into the bright sunlight (if available!) for 30-60 minutes before lunch. I want my guts to know it's daytime and that they should be up and working correctly before I eat. I try to avoid caffeine after the noon meal.
e) Rest of the day is pretty much the same. I try to push any dim light/indoor activities towards bedtime. So, if I'm going to sit in watch TV in relatively dim light, I try to leave that for 8-9pm.
f) I start trying to get to bed somewhere around 9-10pm. I close all the blinds in the house and sleep in a highly darkened bedroom (tinfoil + plastic blinds + cloth curtains). I wear a thick sleep mask.

QUOTE
Should I add anything else do you think?

It is plausible, but not tested outside the test tube, that you need sufficient selenium for zinc to transfer from other molecules into the zinc superoxide dismutase that I suspect is key to avoiding the inflammation portion of acne. I doubt any doctor would look askance at you taking a 200mcg selenium pill each day just to help ensure you're not deficient.

Being a vegetarian just makes the goals of this regimen harder to achieve. It's harder to get enough tryptophan (can't make it, you have to eat it, required to make melatonin) from non-meat sources. If you're low on B3, the body may use up more tryptophan just to make B3. If I were a vegetarian, I think I would be pretty religious about taking that B-complex pill every day.

I've looked at pill solutions for tryptophan and not found them compelling. Just taking L-tryptophan as a pill would be reasonable -- except there is significant scientific disagreement about how safe that is (I'm comfortable taking it every day for a few weeks as an experiment, but not every day for months). There's 5-HTP which... just isn't a natural way to get tryptophan into the brain, and therefore also makes me uncomfortable. Have tried both these forms of tryptophan-as-pill, my experience was that I got better effects by spending the day in sunlight than by taking either of them. You might try eating more of foods rich in tryptophan. There's a processed gourd seed solution a-comin', but AFAICT no product on the market yet.

It's interesting that of the two acne-free primitive tribes Cordain studied, the really large study (and therefore most stunning) was of the Trobriand Islanders, which is pretty darn near the equator (latitude about 8 degrees, if I read correctly). That means both that they get more sun than me, and that there's way less seasonal variation in the number of hours of sunlight they get each day. I think the data suggests strongly that Vitamin D is not sufficient to cure acne, but it's harder to suggest that it might not be a necessary ingredient (especially with the suggestion that it may be needed to aid zinc absorption). Probably all the folks in those acne-free tribes get more Vitamin D3 than you or I. If you're an (insanely!) strict vegetarian, you may refuse to take D3 which has (necessarily) a meat source (pig ears, often -- God help you if you're a kosher vegetarian!). In that case, your options are tanning bed, getting UVB exposure from the sun (in both those cases you become the meat source of D3 biggrin.gif), or taking the vegetable form of Vitamin D (D2) and hoping it does some good (even though we evolved to get very little Vitamin D2 from plants -- most provide little compared to what's in a pill). Most researchers don't even study D2; it's clear that D3 (the stuff we used to get from living naked in the sun) is the crucial hormone that affects almost every system in the body. If you do opt for UVB exposure to get D3, you really want to avoid ever getting any reddening of the skin, and there's some thought it's a good idea to wash before, not after, UVB exposure.

The core trick (assuming you're not zinc-deprived) is achieving that big/long surge of melatonin each night. Because it's circadian, there's no easy way to test yourself for it, short of checking into a sleep lab. Just sleeping 10 hours is no real indication of your melatonin cycle; depressed people can sleep 10 hours and awake feeling like total tired crap because their melatonin cycle is seriously disrupted. For me, I watch my melatonin cycle via the indirect indicators of a) being sleeping at bed time, b) sleeping soundly, and c) awakening refreshed and feeling good. When I start to get excessive REM sleep (dreams that feel like they never end) and waking up feeling fuzzy instead of clear-headed, I know I'm in trouble.

Finally, you might want to consider fructose. Part of the point of daytime sunlight exposure is to avoid carbohydrate malabsorption that can keep tryptophan and zinc from getting digested. Carbohdrate malabsorption can be induced in just about anybody by just giving them enough fructose at one sitting. My read of the literature is the gut can efficiently digest fructose so long as there is a glucose molecule to pair it with. Thus, in contrast to what some people believe, this indicates that you are not the least bit better off (vis a vis carb malabsorption at least) eating high fructose fruits than drinking sodas made with high fructose corn syrup. My calculations are that (shockingly) a large sweet apple can have as much or more excess fructose as a can of Coke (assume the usually quoted 55/45 ratio for HFCS in soft drinks). If my hypothesis is right, then the digestive benefits of living your day in sunlight can be lost by eating lots of the wrong kinds of fruit all day long (I just shake my head at people going on apple-only fasts to treat their acne).

This article has a nice table that ranks fruits/foods by how "bad" they might be for malabsorption. I wouldn't bother with any extreme diet (I can stay acne-free and still have a 32-ounce Coke for lunch, which influences my thinking on the subject), but if I were vegetarian, I would take a look at that list and compare with my usual diet. This hypothesis says that if you're getting a hefty chunk of your calories from high-fructose fruit, that won't be doing your acne any good.

That should be more text and links than you would ever want to read biggrin.gif. I hope you find something that works well for you. Good luck!
I think impaired zinc metabolism is the root cause of chronic acne.
A Zinc Regimen. | My crappy blog.
"When you believe in things that you don't understand, then you suffer -- superstition ain't the way" -- S. Wonder

#37 databased

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Posted 01 September 2009 - 06:10 AM

This article on what wild monkeys eat was interesting with regard to problems of vegetarian nutrition. If humans did evolve as largely vegetarians, that vegetarian diet may have looked nothing like what civilized vegetarians eat today. It's pretty hard to find jungle leaves and undomesticated fruits to eat at the local supermarket. It may have been much easier to get (e.g.) tryptophan from what monkeys are still eating than from the vegetarian options easily available today.
I think impaired zinc metabolism is the root cause of chronic acne.
A Zinc Regimen. | My crappy blog.
"When you believe in things that you don't understand, then you suffer -- superstition ain't the way" -- S. Wonder

#38 stay strong

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Posted 02 September 2009 - 09:05 PM

Ah ok so if I'm understanding you correctly, its actually better to have all the house lights on and to watch tv/ use computer until you are actually going to bed or an hour or two before, because we want to continue to suppress melatonin until this point. Rather than what I had first gathered, that when it becomes dark outside you want to keep all lights out of your eyes to allow your melatonin to build up and make you tired for bed time. Well thats a lot better then, I was thinking I had to fumble around in very dim or no light from when the sun goes down and there would be no time to watch any T.V ha!

So I'm on day 5 of spending all day in natural light and wearing a sleep mask at night, we've had beautiful sunny days up until today, it's overcast and rainy so I'm indoors by the window with the blinds open, so hopefully thats ok. I'm not sure if I can tell if my skin is improving just yet as there is a lot of preexisting acne on it, after day two I had a few pus filled heads, whereas before all acne coming up was cyst like, so I guess that is an improvement. There is a lot of crap under my skin, I can feel it all when i touch my face, that needs to come out so I think anything I do will take some time to show results.

I've added selenium to my intake, as well as magnesium and 5-HTP, I know what you've said about that stuff but my step dad is taking it atm and he's raving about how great he feels, so he's given me some to trial it. Back on the B regularly now, and it is the D3 that I'm taking, but the bottle says free from animal derived ingredients, so I'm figuring must be ok for vegies, if you know otherwise please don't tell me, I know it sounds hypocritical or something but I would rather stay in ignorance! Though it might not make sense to others.

Well I'm currently on one of those extreme diets given to me by a naturopath. I don't eat any sweets, sugar, chocolate, not even honey atm. And I have an apple maybe every few days, thats it for the fruit, so I think there is very little fructose in my diet. I do want to be able to eat these things in moderation again at some point, so does that mean if I do I just have to eat them only when my gut fully knows that it is daytime and after my savory meals? oh yeah, what time do you eat dinner?

I've been thinking about this a lot, and it confused me that there are some people I know who spend way more time in dim light during the day, even sleep in the day and are up all night and eat crap, and have no acne. And then when I read about how tryptophan converts to serotonin which in turns develops into melatonin, I thought I could have found a connection. A few years ago I got into recreational drug taking, mostly ecstasy (yes I was a stupid teenager who didn't think about consequences, these days I don't even have an occasional drink, so don't judge me people!) which we've all heard of how it amps up your brains serotonin, and I guess essentially uses it all up. Could this then be the link, I had depleted my serotonin therefore my night time melatonin became screwed? Another interesting thing I read from a quick google search was that healthy melatonin and seratonin cycles ares important for a normal menstrual cycle, ta-da! my other big problem, absent or very infrequent periods. I've had my hormones tested and the results were normal, melatonin is a hormone right? But not a sex hormone so I don't think I would have been tested for it.

I dunno, I'm just fumbling round some ideas that I haven't really researched, correct me where I'm talking rubbish please!

And another point I was gonna ask you about was in reference to even the slightest bit of light can destroy your night time melatonin surge. What about moon and star light? Surely the neo-Paleolithics had this in their environment, so why can't we?

Your reply was not at all more than i cared to read, I really appreciated you taking all that time to respond to me! Thank you. And sorry for throwing a whole bunch more questions and stuff at you!

#39 databased

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Posted 04 September 2009 - 12:08 PM

So far, I don't know of any research to suggest that there are important effects related to the transition from night to day and vice versa. There is some research to suggest that before electricity, when you could easily see 12 hours of darkness, people would go to sleep at sunset (nothing else to do), wake up in the middle of the night, lie there and talk quietly (still in darkness), then fall back asleep.

It's worth noting that the melatonin cycle and sleep are related but not identical. If you wake up in the night but keep light from getting to your eyes, the act of waking up does not shut down the melatonin cycle as far as I can see from existing research. But if you get up 2 hours early and turn on the lights, you will both send a signal to shut down pineal melatonin, and also nudge the 24-hour clock to try to start the melatonin cycle earlier the next day (loads of detailed research into clock-nudging, due to desire to extract maximal labor from night/swing shift workers!).

QUOTE
I know it sounds hypocritical or something but I would rather stay in ignorance!

Being 100% rational is not the best way to get through life. Rationality is good for choosing medicines, not so good for choosing sofas and life partners. biggrin.gif

QUOTE
And I have an apple maybe every few days, thats it for the fruit, so I think there is very little fructose in my diet. I do want to be able to eat these things in moderation again at some point, so does that mean if I do I just have to eat them only when my gut fully knows that it is daytime and after my savory meals? oh yeah, what time do you eat dinner?

My (current) hypothesis says that I can eat just about anything when I'm spending all day outdoors in bright light. Exceptions are: caffeine, (possibly) dairy, and there's always some large-enough amount of fructose that can hurt anybody (though I claim living in bright light raises the amount you can process). I try to eat dinner (aka "supper" in some parts!) several hours before bedtime. There was a recent mouse study that showed mice put on way more fat when fed more calories during their normal sleep period. It will be interesting to see if that turns out to be a side-effect of the fact that the intestines are on the same 24-hour light-controlled clock as other parts of the body.

QUOTE
I've been thinking about this a lot, and it confused me that there are some people I know who spend way more time in dim light during the day, even sleep in the day and are up all night and eat crap, and have no acne.

The "why us" question is really hard, given that we're still waiting for someone to prove that any of the many different theories of how acne actually works is the right one. There is existing data to show that the ability of light in the eyes to suppress melatonin can vary greatly from one person to another (almost every study -- and these are usually small studies -- shows at least one freak who is a total outlier if you look through the details of the dataset). One study claims brown eyes have more difficulty suppressing daytime melatonin. But if it were fairly easy to distinguish who gets acne from who doesn't, that would have been a giant clue and research would be further along by now.

Could drugs affect your melatonin cycle? Sure, but less obvious is how they would produce long-term changes. The relationship of the menstrual cycle to melatonin/acne has more interesting facts. It's a fact in rats at least that estrogen helps suppress pineal melatonin. My hypothesis says that's probably true in humans as well, and therefore explains both monthly "hormonal acne" in menstruating women and "menopausal acne", when estrogen levels go on a permanent significant decline, making it harder for artificial light to have enough intensity to effectively suppress daytime melatonin. (Menopausal acne is interesting because it tends to "go away" much like adolescent acne, posing the question whether there's some mechanism for adapting to an impaired melatonin cycle that chronic acne sufferers lack.)

QUOTE
I've had my hormones tested and the results were normal, melatonin is a hormone right? But not a sex hormone so I don't think I would have been tested for it.

The definition of "hormone" is in the eye of the beholder. Essentially, any chemical one cell emits that travels to some other cells and tells them to do something is a "hormone". So there are innumerable "hormones" in the body, most completely unrelated to sex organs (Vitamin D3 is a hormone). Because melatonin is strongly cyclical, it makes no sense to measure it, unless you measure it periodically through an entire day's cycle. That's why I say you can't measure melatonin without checking into a sleep lab, where they hook you up to something to sample blood or urine periodically.

QUOTE
And another point I was gonna ask you about was in reference to even the slightest bit of light can destroy your night time melatonin surge. What about moon and star light? Surely the neo-Paleolithics had this in their environment, so why can't we?

First, our eyes ability to detect light is non-linear, meaning that even though we might think a sky full of stars looks as bright as the LEDs on the alarm clock next to our bed, they really aren't. Like all radiation, light is an inverse square law phenomenon. The intensity drops with the square of the distance (double the distance, you get one-fourth the intensity). The stars are a really long ways away. Your alarm clock LED is very, very close to your head compared to the moon or stars and needs way less energy to affect your eyes.

Second, the moon probably is bright enough to have an effect on human pineal melatonin (and has been proved to have an effect on various fish). I know of no human study to try to measure the degree of suppression moonlight can have. In the meantime, I'll assume it's not highly effective at suppressing melatonin (doesn't have to be highly effective to offer a big enough signal to influence things). It is even suggested that the moon may have gravitational effects on our physiology, but that sounds to me like the speculation of a biologist who doesn't actually understand how insanely tiny the gravitational differential of the moon is within the space of one 6-foot human.

It's also interesting to note that humans don't seem to like to sleep exposed to moonlight. (well, probably we just don't like being rained on) Certainly the acne-free Trobriand Islanders that Cordain studied sleep in huts. Probably not 100% effective at eliminating moonlight, but probably greatly reducing the amount that reaches the eyes.

But in the big picture, it seems to me that even if acne-free tribes slept with their eyes open looking at the moon, the stark comparison of that light signal with being outdoors (often in bright sunlight) all day everyday just gives their body's system clock a much better defined signal of day versus night than most of us get. Combine that with: no easy daily access to caffeine (AFAICT), no easy daily access to high-fructose fruits or sodas (AFAICT), no dairy, regular exercise (exercise helps get tryptophan into the brain where it can be used to make melatonin), low glycemic load diet, lots of Vitamin D the natural way -- then even while admitting nobody knows exactly how acne works, you can sure see a whole lot of factors in favor of making their entire island of people free of acne. They've got a bunch of possible exacerbators covered.

From this panoply of factors, Cordain focuses on low glycemic load and dairy, which I think is probably what he went into it looking for (I'm guessing the effects of light and melatonin never occurred to him). He may be right, but I doubt he's more than partially right. He now sells acne cure courses on the side, but hasn't produced a single study showing some better-than-usual results that could come anywhere close to being a "cure" (though the word "cure" appears a lot in his marketing literature). He also eventually started saying more or less "and, um, you might need to take a zinc pill". I infer from that that his diet probably produces the usual mixed results of most attempts to treat acne via diet, so he's then left to fumble for whatever else can be thrown against the wall to see what sticks. Maybe I'm wrong and he's got a stunner of a diet study just around the corner... but he has had a few years to get that together. I fear he's found what so many have before: curing acne is damn tough (probably because there's something crucial we don't understand), but there's good money in selling anything that offers just marginal improvements.

Edited by databased, 04 September 2009 - 12:15 PM.

I think impaired zinc metabolism is the root cause of chronic acne.
A Zinc Regimen. | My crappy blog.
"When you believe in things that you don't understand, then you suffer -- superstition ain't the way" -- S. Wonder

#40 CelloIsLove

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Posted 05 September 2009 - 11:52 AM

Awesome.

I always knew there was something missing in my life wub.gif

But honestly, lately I've been sleeping like crap from stress. I try to not stress during the day, but I stress like mad when I sleep. Whether it's bad dreams, or whatever, I always wake up with my body tensed and my teeth clenched. I got very little direct sunlight in the past two weeks or so. But I have been sleeping a regular schedule, so hopefully more sunlight will

I'm CelloIsLove.

 

Here's the problem I see:

People want to heal their acne through diet and lifestyle. Great. But then they get obsessed only with their skin and not how they FEEL. Physically. Emotionally. What is the quality of your life? It's not directly connected to your flesh, I can tell you that. Then obsess over their food. They hear "diet" and think low-fat, juicing, fasting, cleansing, starving. You're young. Do you really think you have liver failure? Do you really think you need more fiber?

Paleo changed my life. It's the only lifestyle that ever helped me-not just with my skin, but with my life. My happiness. My fitness. It says, "Eat good quality meats. Eat lots of veggies. Eat fruit too. Some nuts. Then go outside. Walk around. See the world. Play with friends. Lift heavy things. Get some sun. Then go sleep, wake up and do it again." What that means to me is to live an enjoyable, happy, dynamic life where I can be the best me for the people I love, not anxious, not angry, not depressed.

Be gentle to your skin, your heart, your tummy, and your life.

Get out there and live.

And also eat bacon.





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