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A Zinc-less Zinc Regimen for Adults: Draft 4

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#41 databased

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Posted 05 September 2009 - 04:26 PM

QUOTE
I always wake up with my body tensed and my teeth clenched.

Yikes. That seems pretty extreme!

One thing I like about this hypothesis as it evolves is it ties stress to acne in a simple but non-traditional way. Most people just imagine that stress "causes" the acne. This hypothesis says stress is just a symptom of what's causing the acne, not an actual cause itself. Cortisol (aka "the stress hormone", though it's possible to take that label too literally) fluctuates in opposition to melatonin. As melatonin shuts down during the early morning, cortisol levels start to rise to help you become alert and awake. If you want to experience more hours of cortisol each day (also blamed in late-night infomercials for storing fat around your belly) just get less hours of melatonin surge each night.

Disturbed sleep is also a feature of both depression and a disrupted melatonin cycle, which led me to this relatively new study.

Effect of sunlight exposure on cognitive function among depressed and non-depressed participants.

Key result:
QUOTE
Among depressed participants, a dose-response relationship was found between sunlight exposure and cognitive function, with lower levels of sunlight associated with impaired cognitive status


That's what I would have hoped the result would be. We're just at the beginning of researchers starting to pay attention to the importance of the daytime portion of the melatonin cycle in affecting the nighttime portion of the cycle. Of course, it's always possible other direct retina-to-brain effects are in play besides just the suppression of daytime pineal melatonin.

The ability of the sunlight to help us avoid carbohydrate malabsorption that can screw up digestion of tryptophan (the fuel required for making melatonin) seems really likely to be part of how sunlight (indirectly) affects the brain. It is possible for melatonin to be synthesized from tryptophan outside the brain, but it seems like the really big system-wide dose of melatonin still comes from the nightly pineal gland production. That makes me think that getting the tryptophan across the blood-brain barrier is still potentially important to results (including depression and acne).

Now that I know more about getting the tryptophan absorbed by the gut, I need to go back to some experiments with moving more tryptophan in to the brain. Exercise helps move it, and carbs in the absence of fat (taking a glucose pill on an empty stomach) can do it as well. Timing probably matters (want to get the tryptophan in place near the time the pineal gland starts to want to burn it up, I imagine). I will redo my old experiment of early supper, and then taking a glucose pill before doing an aerobic run on an empty stomach within 1-2 hours of bedtime.
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

#42 eastonia

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 03:17 PM

This is very interesting. First time I've seen this kind of an explanation. I like the simplicity of it. I can see from my own experience how my relationship with caffeine triggers almost immediate skin disturbances. My case is one that appears to be rosacea and acne together. (I'm menopausal and have a lot of health stuff going on alongside it.) It was at the end of this past winter (I live in NZ and spring is only just arriving), a time when I rarely got outdoors and never without a hat, that my skin got so bad that two people asked me, "What happened to your face"? The amount of indirect light getting into the cottage I live in and where I spent most of the winter was miniscule. There's a hill situated next to it that blocks sun for a couple months in winter. I was hibernating in a sense, but in true hibernation, mammals I suppose do not eat a thing. Human that I am, I carried on eating. I could hardly get my fill of apples and rice, eggs and yoghurt doing a vegetarian thing this winter. I was sleeping very very poorly, though I went to bed at the same time most nights. So, big wow to read your theory. As an aside I did find myself craving sulphur containing foods like onion and eggs, but I haven't investigated which, in the vegetable world, are the best zinc containing ones. I adore chickweed and I know it contains a lot of good minerals and other nutrients. Sulphur drugs are often used in the treatment of acne and I wonder how sulphur absorption might fit into your theory or if you see a correlation at all.

#43 databased

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 10:21 PM

You have in common with me notable and extended periods of no days spent in bright light. There is a disturbing study I'm waiting to see replicated that showed that hours of dim light exposure could be used to dampen the ability of bright light to suppress melatonin. If true, what I would really like to know is if it's possible to at least semi-permanently induce that diminished natural response to bright light. If I had a spare 6-figure bank account laying around, I would just get to the heart of the matter by commissioning a study to see if chronic adult acne sufferers have statistically elevated daytime melatonin levels compared to people without acne.

Not low enough levels of melatonin during the day, not high enough levels of melatonin during the night -- I believe that that will eventually prove to be as big a culprit in auto-immune disease as Vitamin D (the other major "sunshine hormone") is proving to be in cancer. From my perspective, acne, rosacea, psoriasis and that ilk are all reasonably reasonably viewed as auto-immune diseases once you accept the importance of melatonin in regulating immune response (a perspective only recently growing among researchers). We have drastically messed up these two ancient hormones for a couple hundred years by changing our relationship to light without understanding what the consequences might be.

QUOTE (eastonia @ Sep 8 2009, 04:17 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Sulphur drugs are often used in the treatment of acne and I wonder how sulphur absorption might fit into your theory or if you see a correlation at all.

AFAICT, about the only way sulfur is going to make it into the body is in the form of one of the amino acids that contains sulfur. Those are going to appear everywhere in the body, so there's probably no disease that can't be connected to sulfur by an amateur kibitzer like myself -- even though sulfur is certainly irrelevant to most of them.

If sulfur matters, my best bet is it is via the sulfurous amino acid methionine, which you might get, for example, from eggs. Methionine is happy to carry around a zinc or a selenium atom under conditions I don't entirely understand. A molecule that is still poorly understood (though becoming hotly studied), metallothionein, also looks like an active participant in moving zinc around; zinc can induce metallothionein production, and metallothionein (MT) can sequester free radicals. MT also appears to be particularly good at reducing the oxidative stress of diabetes, which ties zinc metabolism (influenced by melatonin) to insulin, possibly shedding light on why low glycemic load diets may help, but probably not cure, acne. But, one can follow such connections day and night. The Holy Grail is still unfound: being able to find the simplest steps that effectively cures acne in most people.

But, ignoring down and dirty biochemical specifics, I can just quote from real researchers making the general statement that: Dietary sulfur-containing amino acids influence zinc and copper status. So, given that zinc reliably produces a statistical (though small) improvement in acne, that's all one needs to know to say it's at least plausible that dietary sulfur could have some modest affect too via the same underlying pathway.

It could be that I'm off-track in suspecting methionine, and that cystine is the sulfurous amino acid more likely to affect acne. Cysteine is the upstream version of cystine, and also a precursor to the anti-oxidant glutathione. I suspect the people getting improvements via massive doses of niacin are simply marginally increasing cell levels of glutathione (niacin being required to regenerate glutathione), in much the same way I was probably able to marginally increase levels of zinc superoxide dismutase (or perhaps metallothionein if I've mis-guessed) by megadosing zinc. My hypothesis says both these paths are inadequate substitutes for the real underlying problem: lack of the large, long nightly dose of melatonin that can increase the availability of both glutathione and super oxide dismutase (as well as slow cell division, dampen the skin-local production of sex hormones, and impact acne in other ways).

But in the big picture, this hypothesis still lumps sulfur in with zinc as something that can improve acne but probably not cure it in normal doses, since the root problem is a lack of something else. Of course, vegetarians have it trickier, since they have more danger of getting insufficient amounts of a variety of nutrients -- especially in the modern day when almost all meat and plant life is industrially farmed (which I was reminded of when I ate my neighbor's backyard tomatoes and compared the taste to the best my uber organic grocery store could offer; no comparison). But if you're willing to eat eggs (hey, Gandhi would eat eggs -- who wants to be holier-than-him?), you have a dandy source of sulfurous amino acids even without eating meat.
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

#44 runningupthathill

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Posted 09 September 2009 - 01:05 AM

I have been following this thread with much interest as it may be a piece of the puzzle for me. I work from home 4 out of 5 days, and since starting this job a couple years ago, my acne has worsened over the past year. I have never minded being a 'mole person', but perhaps lack of sunlight and irregular circadian rhythms are causing some issues.

databased - have you ever done one of those melatonin level test kits that you send into a lab? In the instructions of one test kit I was looking at, it says to collect a saliva sample at 8am and midnight, but if other times of day and night are more interesting based on your research, then why not go with those. At $75, the test is not chump change, though. Do you think something like that would be worthwhile?

I found a barely used Verilux HappyLite light on Craig's List for $35 and an Apollo GoLite on eBay for $34, so I'm going to incorporate those into my work days to try to improve potential body clock issues.

#45 databased

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Posted 09 September 2009 - 11:13 AM

QUOTE (runningupthathill @ Sep 9 2009, 02:05 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
databased - have you ever done one of those melatonin level test kits that you send into a lab?

I looked into them a year or two ago but decided to wait. The saliva test for melatonin (as opposed to urine or blood) seemed not to have established a track record of accuracy at that point. The other problem is that I'm really interested in the daytime portion of the melatonin cycle, which would both increase the expense and decrease the usefulness -- I'm not sure anyone's done enough testing of daytime melatonin to establish what "normal" levels are.

QUOTE
I found a barely used Verilux HappyLite light on Craig's List for $35 and an Apollo GoLite on eBay for $34, so I'm going to incorporate those into my work days to try to improve potential body clock issues.

I am starting to suspect my giant bank of blue-skewed fluorescents in my office can produce some of the same effects as bright outdoor light. At least I seem to be relatively acne-free without zinc even though I'm spending much more time indoors as the rainy season arrives. However, it does not seem able to produce the really stunning effects on digestion that being outside all day in bright sun does; I can't have a 32-oz Coke + giant burrito in the evening and experience zero indigestion or acid reflux. It takes an insane amount of artificial light to get to the intensity of outdoor light at the eyeball.

I also find that it's really easy to end up inserting periods of dim light in the day. If I sit down to fold laundry in front of the TV instead of dragging it into the one-and-only really bright spot -- my office -- to do the work, for example. I think that problem gets worse with these little lights like the Verilux. They quote it as 10,000 LUX, but the fine print says that's if you have it 9 inches from your face. So, instead of just having to keep all my work in my office all day, I would have to keep my head positioned correctly all day. Of course, they are selling it as a "treatment" for limited use, not really an attempt to reproduce 12 hours of outdoor light, so the idea that you would just sit still in front of it for some # of minutes makes sense from their point of view. It's funny that one of their ads shows a woman reading a book in darkness with just the Verilux off to one side to provide light. Unfortunately, the exact angle you put it off to one side will significantly vary the intensity that will get to the retina. I'm guessing some of the highly variable results that people get from using such devices to treat depression come from the fact that small changes in how you use the device can greatly vary how much light is actually getting to the eye. The other part probably comes from the fact that 30 minutes per day first thing in the morning is just not going to be as effective as being in bright light all day long as we evolved to be (though in fairness to the makers of these devices, the evidence of the effects of all-day bright light exposure is relatively recent in the research literature). OTOH, sitting with small lights close by is more of a light signal than not having them at all -- it will be interesting to see what results you get.

I can't actually ever find any detailed spectrum specifications for these sorts of lights, which always put me off buying one. If I knew they were using one of the tri-band special bulbs designed specifically to get closer to sunlight spectrum, I would be more interested. OTOH, if they're just using bulbs with a bit more blue than normal, I can buy those for $7 apiece at the local Fred Meyers myself.
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

#46 runningupthathill

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Posted 09 September 2009 - 01:14 PM

For me, the low start-up cost for purposes of experimentation, easy set-up in my office, portability of these lights (especially the GoLite for travel), and long life-time of the bulbs (for Verilux) and LED (for the Apollo) made this the most appealing route for me. I would not have been willing to pay full retail, but these were a bargain given their sources. The Verilux is full-spectrum, while the GoLite is a specific blue designed for a "circadian response".

I doubt my office set-up is even in the same ballpark as perfect as far as mimicking real daylight, but I think it's an improvement from how my office was before - which was more like a cave. I don't aim to keep my head positioned perfectly correct all day...it wouldn't be realistic, and I'd start to resent the whole set-up instead of enjoying it. For the Apollo, however, I do try to do 15-30 minutes how they recommend - with it catching the corner of my eye and glancing at it occasionally.

At any rate, I'm grateful for all of the information you have posted, as this concept wasn't even on my radar until I came across this thread. I'd always assumed that light therapy was just for S.A.D., but circadian rhythm issues go beyond that and can really affect quality of life in many ways. Thanks again.

#47 databased

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Posted 12 September 2009 - 09:18 AM

QUOTE (databased @ Sep 8 2009, 11:21 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I suspect the people getting improvements via massive doses of niacin are simply marginally increasing cell levels of glutathione (niacin being required to regenerate glutathione)

Although another interesting possibility is that the niacin megadosing is interfering with an enzyme (DGAT2) required for manufacturing fatty molecules.

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

#48 baikepan

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Posted 18 September 2009 - 10:17 PM

Fascinating stuff, db. I have been on Zinc, B-Complex and D3 for a number of months now (based on your initial research) and it has not failed me. I'd rather die 20 years early from a liver disorder than go back to how things were, so I know the risk and am willing to pay the price, should there be one.

I cannot possibly follow this new regimen. As much as I hate the alternative, it's just not possible without winning the lottery. I hope you or someone else participating can narrow it down to sufficient daylight exposure before meals, no light when sleeping and a fairly consistent sleeping pattern. That's something I could do.

Interestingly, I have a roommate who is also a work colleague and he has no acne at all. I guess he does not need the same amount of daylight exposure as I do? I doubt your theory that you could induce acne in those you have never had the problem. My actions are not that unusual to justify this kind of punishment. There must be some kind of deficiency or genetic trait that makes me far more sensitive to these factors.

Please keep up your work, it's very interesting. Just try to make sure you can bottle your final theory - you can't sell sunlight ;-)

#49 m_tyrant

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Posted 18 September 2009 - 10:23 PM

These are some interesting discoveries databased. I can definitely look back at the times when i was clear and notice the sun exposure I was getting. But on the other hand i've always slept with the tv on so you'd think that would cancel that all out? My acne came back during a successful BP reg I had going on for almost a year, maybe a couple few months after i started my OFFICE JOB. On top of acne i have chronic fatigue like symptoms that developed during my clear period with BP. Perhaps this melatonin cycle is also related here as well? I'm definitely going to give this a decent shot. I can only do so much when it comes to getting sun exposure with my desk job and living in an apartment complex. But i can go outside for lunch and keep my blinds open, as well as finding ways to make my room pitch black at night. I'm curious to see how this turns out for me.

Thanks for the research you've done!

#50 databased

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Posted 18 September 2009 - 11:57 PM

QUOTE (baikepan @ Sep 18 2009, 11:17 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I cannot possibly follow this new regimen.

If this hypothesis were correct, it should be possible to construct indoor lighting that produces the same effect as sunlight (power LEDs are available for just about any frequency of interest, and certainly for the blue-green areas most able to induce a signal in the intensity-sensitive retinal ganglion cells). It would probably still end up being damn bright for indoor light, though.

QUOTE
Interestingly, I have a roommate who is also a work colleague and he has no acne at all. I guess he does not need the same amount of daylight exposure as I do?
I don't think there'll be any satisfying answer to the "why me not him?" question until someone has broken down all the exact biochemical steps in acne and there are tests to examine all the factors that can make a difference. I should live so long. There definitely is significant demonstrable variation in the ability of light to suppress melatonin from one person to another. I can't see any reason to rule out the possibility that that alone could explain the variation, but nor is there good data to make that highly likely.

QUOTE
I doubt your theory that you could induce acne in those you have never had the problem. My actions are not that unusual to justify this kind of punishment.

You probably would doubt it less if you knew the true odds. You and I probably say "acne" to refer to our own experience of "crap, I don't want to show my face" and imagine that few people have acne. In fact, one of the best surveys we've got of a civilized population found some facial acne in 54% of women and 40% of men over 25. Once you realize that a very large percentage of folks are having regular acne (albeit probably much less severe than you or I), the idea that I could push most adults into visible acne with just manipulations of light and fructose may sound less unlikely.

QUOTE
Just try to make sure you can bottle your final theory - you can't sell sunlight
A pill would sure be nice, but if it's true that the nightly pineal melatonin surge is key, that's going to be hard to emulate. Come to think of it, though, I think someone is going to sell a prescription melatonin pill with a timed release in the EU that they claim is a breakthrough for sleep disturbances. It would be interesting to see someone do a study to see if that pill can significantly reduce acne. Can't remember if that's out yet or not -- I checked far enough to see they don't plan to sell it in the U.S., so then lost interest. If someone across the pond is willing to badger a doctor into getting it, I would be happy to try to look up the details again...

BTW, you probably can't hurt yourself taking a few thousand IU of D3 or a B complex pill every day, but if you're taking large (>50mg) doses of zinc per day, you might try taking a modest 200mcg selenium pill to see if that lets you get the same effect with less zinc. Depending on what the exact mechanism is by which zinc helps acne (there are at least 3 possibilities, probably more), selenium may help move the zinc to where it's needed.

Edited by databased, 19 September 2009 - 12:03 AM.


#51 databased

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Posted 19 September 2009 - 12:28 AM

QUOTE (m_tyrant @ Sep 18 2009, 11:23 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
But on the other hand i've always slept with the tv on so you'd think that would cancel that all out?

Good question. I suspect the answer would involve: how bright was the TV, how many inches was it from your face, which direction was your head with respect to the TV when you slept, etc. I think it's been proven that you can't get enough light through closed eyelids to trip the intensity-sensitive ganglion cells, so it's the blinking and eyelid leakage that should matter. When you look at the sum total of studies on light at night versus melatonin, it paints a complicated picture.

In my own experience, getting 12 hours of bright sunlight seems to more or less swamp everything else I do to avoid acne. This summer, I had 10-day periods or more where I could totally be "bad" and have my caffeine-laden Coke in the evening (bringing the daily total to 64 ounces), still sleep halfway decent, and stay acne-free. That's unfortunate, since it's hard in modern life (but inevitable in primitive life) to get outdoor light all day. Now that winter's coming, I'll have to rely more on avoiding/managing fructose/caffeine and getting that >=9 hours of effective sleep.

Of course, it's always possible that I'm doing something I'm unaware of that affects my acne and my model is bogus. It sure seems like I have fairly good control over it; in the days when I tried to cure my acne via various extreme diets, nothing that seemed to "work" ever worked for very long, but that's not been my experience with this model of acne. These days, instead of looking back to try to guess what caused my acne, I can predict when it will appear based on my behavior. I chose to have a whole lot of pie, ice cream, and Coke during a big celebration (when I was not getting 12 hours of sunlight) and knew I would pay the price. But I also knew I could pop some zinc pills (which I normally avoid these days) to decrease the inflammation, be strict for a few days, and be quickly clear again, and that's just what happened. In a perverted way, I almost feel like it's a good thing to get visible acne again once in a while so I never forget what a blessing it is to be clear and walk around like a normal person.


#52 m_tyrant

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 06:44 PM

I went out and bought some zinc and melatonin to "jumpstart" this cycle as you mentioned in an earlier post. Then if i get some results taper those off. About how much zinc would be a good dosage to start at? Some say not to go over 50mg but you mentioned like ~200mg. Melatonin dosage as well?

I was hoping you could weigh in on the chronic fatigue issue as well. Do you think it could be related to the serotonin/melatonin cycle? I have yet to do any research so this cycle is new territory for me. When I wake up every morning it feels literally like i didn't even sleep, regardless of how many hours i get. And that feeling lasts all day. Could this cycle have gotten "bumped" off kilter just a little bit more every day until one day toppling over so to speak? Just a guess!? Heck everything else i've tried hasn't helped any. The only inconsistency is that this happened overnight. I was fine one day, screwed up the next. I never experienced a gradual decrease in energy.

Any input would be awesome

#53 databased

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 12:13 AM

I wouldn't bother with more than 50mg zinc picolinate/day. Taking a Vitamin B complex and 200mcg of selenium are probably more important than going over 50mg/zinc. I would just follow the directions/dosage on the melatonin pill bottle, and if it's not an under-the-tongue pill (sublingual), I wouldn't bother -- I'm not sure there's good evidence that melatonin can reliably make it past the intestines (which has it's own large pool of melatonin, since it is effectively a "second brain" and needs to create neurotransmitters like serotonin, which degrades into melatonin).

QUOTE (m_tyrant @ Sep 20 2009, 07:44 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The only inconsistency is that this happened overnight. I was fine one day, screwed up the next. I never experienced a gradual decrease in energy.

That sure sounds weird to me; I would try to find a doctor who likes to debug tough problems.
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

#54 Crooked I

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 06:54 AM

Your research here, as with your other drafts, is very interesting.

I'm currently 98% clear using Dan's BP, which I have used for almost 6 years with success. It has kept me clear for most of that time, with a couple of blips in the last year - in February 09 when it was extremely cold here, and bizarrely in June/July when it was much warmer.

The first one was, I thought, attributable to the cold weather and lack of sunshine.

The second one stumped me. The only thing I could think of was a couple of weeks before I had stayed in the hot sun for a good while, and this had somehow caused the breakout. Other than that, I didn't change anything in the regimen. I eventually got it under control and got clear, except with the red marks which remain.

Anyway, I never paid attention to vitamins/supplements before, but that experience made me realise how unreliable and aggravating BP can be. It works for me, but the daily time it takes and problems with irritation and dryness made me look elsewhere.

After doing some reasearch, I stumbled upon the 1938 trial done on vitamin D3, of which I'm sure you will be well aware:-

http://www.pubmedcen...mp;blobtype=pdf

I always did think sunlight helped my face, but not by preventing spots - rather by tanning my face and "hiding" the red marks temporarily. I started taking 5 x 1000IU d3 daily, along with 100mg of zinc, as I read that D3 aids the absorbtion of zinc.

This is with the ultimate aim of coming off BP for good....however(!) the thought scares me as I simpy do not know what will happen to my skin should i stop. I was hoping that by taking supplements, and perhaps making some other lifestyle choices (sleep, diet etc) that my skin would eventually become totally clear, rather than waking up with a spot every few days. This would hopefully lead to reducing and finally eliminating BP from my skincare regime.

I read yesterday in one of your drafts how BP also kills not only the p.acnes bacteria, but another component in the skin that doesn;t hurt us. I wonder if applying BP every single day can cause acne in certain circumstances - we know BP can irritate the skin, and in my experience is not always 100% reliable - so could this lead to producing rather than eliminating acne on some occasions? It certainly makes me think. Another factor is that having used it for 6 years, I actually have no idea what my skin is like when untreated. Over-medicating is a theory I am interested in as well.

At 26 it appears likely that I'll be stuck with acne for the forseeable future. I think I'll continue with the zinc/d3 for a while and see how it goes - I've been on it for 3 - 4 weeks now. I'll also take up your suggestion and add 200mcg Selenium.

Unfortunately I work shifts and getting 9hrs of sleep at night is impossible for me at the moment. But what works for you may not necessarily work for me and vice versa!
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#55 databased

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 10:16 AM

QUOTE (Crooked I @ Sep 21 2009, 06:54 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
After doing some reasearch, I stumbled upon the 1938 trial done on vitamin D3, of which I'm sure you will be well aware:-

Much like the more modern report (neither constitute a trial at all) of using B5 to treat acne, this very old D3 report is a case report. He was free to only report successes, no factors were controlled for at all, and most of the patients studied were in an age range where acne often "clears up" on its own. Not even the simple test of stopping Vitamin D3 to see if the acne returns was performed. I continue to doubt the ability of D3 to have any affect on acne -- beyond the fact that being severely D3-deprived can affect all sorts of processes in the body, and many people in modern society definitely are severely D3-deprived.
QUOTE
I wonder if applying BP every single day can cause acne in certain circumstances

Personally, I would be surprised if it caused acne, because IMO the cause is tightly tied to cellular signals you're unlikely to create by externally rubbing anything on the skin. An ability to sometimes exacerbate the skin-level symptoms seems less impossible.

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At 26 it appears likely that I'll be stuck with acne for the forseeable future. I think I'll continue with the zinc/d3 for a while and see how it goes - I've been on it for 3 - 4 weeks now. I'll also take up your suggestion and add 200mcg Selenium.

There's good reason to not be D3-deficient for many reasons beyond acne, not least of which is the evidence that not keeping your D levels up is nearly 3 times worse for certain cancer risks than smoking. Try a B complex pill as well. I think most are from a single manufacturer and contain a hefty dose of most of the B family (with the qualification that their folic acid content may not quite qualify as "hefty"). If you happened to not be getting enough B in your diet, it could cause large amounts of tryptophan to be diverted to create it, and therefore be unavailable for getting into the brain to be available to create pineal melatonin. Also, folic acid itself has to be present for the chemical reactions that transform tryptophan->serotonin->melatonin, and there are other reasons a good-sized dose of B is a good bet if you're taking zinc for acne.

QUOTE
Unfortunately I work shifts and getting 9hrs of sleep at night is impossible for me at the moment. But what works for you may not necessarily work for me and vice versa!

If you're on a swing shift, then this model says you're going to have a tough time getting clear. It would be nice if there were a trick that could be used instead of constant bright light exposure to get the intestines switched into "daytime mode". Unfortunately, because of the need for the switch to go both ways every 12 hours, it's hard to imagine that there could ever be a pill solution for this.

I suspect it's possible rig a battery-powered baseball cap with LEDs that can effectively suppress pineal melatonin. The problem is, at that distance from the eyes, there is a very fine line between being intense enough to suppress melatonin and being intense enough to cause lesions on the retina when worn for hours per day.

Simple solutions seem elusive. OTOH, if there were a simple solution to acne, someone would have found it by now...
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

#56 SimonUK

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 04:10 AM

Hi databased,

Great read as usual, just like to comment about the new theory. I'm originally from the UK but moved to Dubai 2 yrs ago. Now the climate in Dubai is basically sun and more sun so i get a ton of outdoor light exposure. The flat i am living in has a full height window which is south facing and my office seat is also the same. I also spend the majority of my daytime during the weekend on the beach yet the dam acne is still here since i moved from the dark and grim UK.

I've read your older threads about Zinc and it worked for 3 months and then the all mighty happened and acne returned to its previous form without much change to my lifestyle.

Whats your take on this? By the way i hope i dont sound like i am trying to discount your theory as i'm not but tying to get a better understanding of the new thoery, as you seem to have a better theory than these dam dermatologists.

#57 databased

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 09:26 AM

QUOTE (SimonUK @ Sep 24 2009, 05:10 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
the climate in Dubai is basically sun and more sun so i get a ton of outdoor light exposure.

Define "ton", exactly. Are you actually working outdoors with a straight line (no hats, glasses, sunglasses, etc.) from the sky to your eyeballs 12 hours per day?

The reason I say this regimen is impossible for most people is, that's pretty much what I mean by daylong bright light exposure -- exactly what the acne-free Trobriand Islanders have no choice but to experience every day.

QUOTE
The flat i am living in has a full height window which is south facing and my office seat is also the same.
I've never been able to get anything close to the same effect by sitting indoors. I had to move my office (laptop + desk, really) outdoors where I'm surrounded by light and sky.

QUOTE
I also spend the majority of my daytime during the weekend on the beach yet the dam acne is still here since i moved from the dark and grim UK.
Unlike most people you're not wearing sunglasses or a hat on the beach? Do you go to bed at the same time each day and sleep >=9 hours? Do you naturally get sleepy right at bedtime and then wake up >= 9 hours later feeling total alert and refreshed?

QUOTE
I've read your older threads about Zinc and it worked for 3 months and then the all mighty happened and acne returned to its previous form without much change to my lifestyle.
It took me a long time to figure out that even enormous doses of zinc wouldn't keep me clear unless I had a significant nocturnal melatonin surge. It took even longer to figure out that the most powerful tool for achieving that was to live all day in outdoor light -- powerful enough that no zinc was required at that point.

QUOTE
By the way i hope i dont sound like i am trying to discount your theory

It's just a theory, and it could be that it only works for me, or that I'm doing something else I'm unaware of. All I can say is, every time I repeat the same experiment, I get the same results. Let me live each waking hour in outdoor light and get my 9 hours of functional sleep at the same time each night, and I can go from 10 big zits on my face to clear (even redness disappears much faster) in 5 days at the very most. I'm in the midst of repeating this experiment yet again, as we're getting a last burst of warm weather. Today was the morning after Day 2 and there are zero new zits, and all existing lesions are significantly less inflamed. After just 2 days in day-long outdoor light exposure, my sleep cycle was significantly improved. I slept more soundly and woke up feeling better. Several days ago, I was waking up not feeling rested, with an urge to take a nap multiple times before the day was over.

FWIW, I am also usually taking: 200mcg selenium, a Vitamin B complex, and a calcium/magnesium pill. I don't bother with zinc if I'm living outdoors.

#58 John Alex Worhopper

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Posted 26 September 2009 - 12:19 AM

I've tried the getting enough sleep waking up bright and earlier and going in the sun routine for the past week and I've noticed a vast reduction in inflammation. Old pimples that were all inflamed are now hardly visible and starting to disappear. It's pretty awesome. Check this article out it says melatonin is a better antiinflammatory than any other antioxidant: http://www.molmed.or...rkmaz.00117.pdf

#59 Aaron123

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 09:54 AM

Some questions:

1. So you're spending the entire time in daylight, then approx. how many hours is that? 14 hours awake, so 14 hours in daylight?

2. Do you go to sleep RIGHT when the sun goes down? That'd be like 7 or 8 PM here. What time do you go to sleep and wake up?

#60 databased

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 03:54 PM

QUOTE (John Alex Worhopper @ Sep 26 2009, 12:19 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Check this article out it says melatonin is a better antiinflammatory than any other antioxidant: http://www.molmed.or...rkmaz.00117.pdf

Thanks for the article pointer, which had a couple points I hadn't seen before. What's missing there is the realization that both halves of the melatonin cycle are crucial. In fact, this paper cites the folks who tried (but failed) to improve rheumatoid arthritis by administering melatonin. The Italian researchers who've spent the most years studying melatonin's relationship with RA were horrified by this experiment, since they know melatonin can be both pro- and anti-inflammatory and they believe RA is related to excess melatonin (I think they're almost right, but it's the failure to suppress daytime melatonin that is causing the immune system disruption, not the nocturnal surge).





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