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A Zinc-less Zinc Regimen for Adults: Draft 4

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The problem with this, is although getting sunlight in the eyes is likely the most effective way of dealing with carbohydrate malabsorption, in our American society, more and more lifestyles are being made sedentary and put indoors. Surely there are other ways to try and combat carbohydrate malabsorption? Perhaps through some degree of dietary change?

Also, you mentioned that fructose is generally more well-absorbed if combined with carbohydrates. Can the reverse be true? Can carbohydrates in the diet be more well-digested if the diet is supplemented with more fruit?

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The problem with this, is although getting sunlight in the eyes is likely the most effective way of dealing with carbohydrate malabsorption, in our American society, more and more lifestyles are being made sedentary and put indoors.

Again, as a species, we clearly have some control over the indoor lighting we choose to work in. As an individual, you may be forced to work in a factory where you are not allowed to install your own lights, of course. We can reproduce most any spectrum of the sun -- if we know what parts of the spectrum actually matter. The Japanese studies demonstrating the relationship between bright light exposure and carb malabsorption had subjects stick their heads in light boxes that were using fluorescent bulbs. Clearly artificial lights can substitute for sunlight, though the optimal intensity and spectrum are far from established. Light intensity drops with the square of distance, so even people who imagine they work in a bright office are likely getting significantly less intensity than was used in these studies.

Surely there are other ways to try and combat carbohydrate malabsorption? Perhaps through some degree of dietary change?

The FODMAP diet. Or, a simplified guide. Obviously, it is also plausible to supplement with zinc, tryptophan, and Vitamin B, the stuff that goes into making zinc superoxide dismutase.

However, if it is the melatonin surge that is crucial to avoiding acne, then diet alone should not expected to be a reliable cure. People who spend the day in bright light have a bigger nocturnal melatonin surge. It has not been teased out whether that is due to decreased carb malabsorption, the affect of light on the circadian clock, better suppressed pineal melatonin production during the day, something else, or some combination of many things.

In fact, one of the most attractive things about this theory is that it explains why diets effect on acne is so variable. Most long-term sufferers have the strong feeling that a) diet has some kind of effect and b) sometimes it just doesn't -- because we've all seen periods where acne was improved or even just gone at the same time we were eating "unhealthy" foods. Light exposure controls the degree to which diet can affect acne. Which is why people are startled to see their skin get better when they go camping for extended periods, long enough exposure to the natural light cycle to restart a normal melatonin cycle.

Also, you mentioned that fructose is generally more well-absorbed if combined with carbohydrates.

No, there is a highly specific biochemical effect. A fructose molecule by itself has trouble passing through the intestine wall. If that fructose molecule can be paired with a glucose molecule, they can pass through together much easier (so it doesn't hang around in the intestine, binding with other nutrients and keeping them from being digested).

Most sugars in nature come with both fructose and glucose. The higher the ratio of fructose/glucose, the more left-over fructose molecules you have that aren't getting digested. I believe that's why some people find their acne gets worse when they switch to a "healthy" diet that is, in reality, a high-fructose diet. A large sweet apple has about as much excess fructose as a can of Coke.

Can the reverse be true? Can carbohydrates in the diet be more well-digested if the diet is supplemented with more fruit?

I know of no such effect. If the additional fruit has a high fructose/glucose ratio, or if it has a modest ratio but you just eat a lot of it (which is what happens when you drink OJ instead of just eating a small orange), I would predict worsening acne.


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


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databased, I just want to say that you are making so much sense. I don't know if you already got 100% right, but it certainly seems to be. I had a really bad winter 2008, after a summer where I deliberately exposed myself to as much light as possible. After that, I went back to being indoors literally 23h a day.

My acne was worse than ever, although it only started to grow worse than usual in ~end of october. Maybe some deposites depleted themselves only by then because my acne literally got worse from one day to the other. I had a pimple (as usual) but for the first time in my life it (yes gross) refilled after I squished it. Never had scarring problems because of that, my healing was always fine until that day!

I tried everything then. I changed my diet to ONLY "healthy" stuff. I daily ate at least 2 apples, I tried to be a vegetarian for 5 months, I even stopped eating any form of candy for 3 months. I took alot of zinc, but that only helped a little for ~2 weeks. As always, my body seems to have adopted to the change and just went back to normal = bad acne after a while.

It just grew worse and worse. (even though I felt more energetic, I can certainly recommend dropping the candy for that reason. Or maybe my hormones were completely out of wack somehow. Can you explain this? I was running around in snowy winter with a t-shirt and didnt really feel too cold. I did 30 pull ups when I can usually only do 10-15.)

The only thing I do not understand, is why my high intake of fruit juice is not seeming to have any effect. I still drink daily 1-2 liters of pure juice for around 6 months already. I havent seen any bad effect. I'm still indoors practically 23 hours a day, even in summer now. (first real job, im 21) Well my acne IS getting a tiny bit worse in the last month, but that is probably just accutane wearing off. (i had to take that, after I started scarring that winter. 5-6 new pimples that sometimes keep refilling daily was too much)

To conclude: I would love to hear more ideas on how to better my melatonin surge and even better: get detailed description on what lights I should buy. I'm already going to sleep daily at 22:00 and, believe it or not: my skin healing has improved almost immediately. After it was practically non existent since that day 2008!! I have red marks that date back >1 year...that's how bad my healing became.

One last thing: it's funny how wise the old sayings go. My grandmother used to say that a nice walk after and before eating is good for a getting a hunger and digesting. I always thought that it was of minor importance. I did believe her, but thought that any positive effect was probably because of bowel movements and "fresh air" and can safely be ignored. And for that matter, almost nobody takes a walk after eating, why would I need to? It just didn't seem like something that made sense for me to do.

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Wow, you got a lot of stuff going on, with all the diet changes and accutane. I would say all bets are off after a course of accutane; nobody knows its precise mechanism for working, and one proposal is that it may affect the retina in such a way as to affect pineal melatonin. After accutane, it may (or may not!) be that the mechanism of light in the eyes won't work quite the same in you, at least for some time.

See this post, for a description of the cheapest way I know to put together a lot of indoor light intensity that favors the blue spectrum.

IME, long hours of intense light during the day are the biggest factor in getting a melatonin surge, but others include:

  • Go to bed at same time every day.
  • Eat your meals during the day time when you're active and in light, not close to bedtime.
  • black out your bedroom, wear a heavy sleep mask, and keep your eyes covered if you have to get up in the night.
  • Don't exercise real close to bedtime.
  • avoid caffeine, or at least within 8 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


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>>Eat your meals during the day time when you're active and in light, not close to bedtime.

I totally agree. I do not eat anything after 19:00 anymore. I think I should move it even one hour earlier, but that would leave me with no time to eat after leaving work...

Another weird thing: I used to have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. (pretty much exactly at 3:00 every night). The actually weird thing is, that in winter 2008, my urin was pretty much always clear and white. People usually say that white urin is good.

I tend to think now, that it means that no filtering is going on anymore.

All waste has to come out some other way, and the only way the body can do that, is by pushing it out from under the skin. No idea why I stopped filtering.

After accutane cleared me up my urine was yellow again as before. I actually think that accutane is a good thing for the majority of people and if I had taken it a year earlier, I'd have flawless albeit fatty skin right now. I will take it again, I'm under no illusions that other cures will come up. Accutane might even be a hidden cause for cancer in late life, who knows. As you rightfully say, nobody actually knows what it does.

Your described measures are good and necessary for a healthy life. I will do them diligently nonetheless. But they do not cure. After maybe 2 more sessions accutane can hopefully let me worry about my life for the first time, instead of my skin.

I had no side effects other than a bunch of skin lesions on my head, and of course very dry skin.

If you find a way that only a few hours of special artificial light each day suffice for total peace of mind in regard to skin, I will proclaim cure! :). That's the only way. Nobody wants to enjoy life when he has to deal and be reminded of his illnesses 12 hours daily.

Maybe these lights can have a stronger effect? http://www.acne.org/messageboard/guys-t217...;hl=white+scars

http://www.theledman.net/index.html

The guy in that acne.org forum post is so remarkable because it is the only post I ever saw, of a guy who actually proved his scar healing. Everybody posts some kind of stuff that helped him. He actually had some before/after pictures. I bring him up because he uses light too.

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What's the connection between nocturnal melatonin production and quality of sleep?

Is it causal? Or can you sleep like crap (i.e. wake up tired) and still have had a good melatonin 'surge'?


For me, acne seemed to have been caused by consuming dairy and fruit, and not keeping a regular sleep schedule. And something else I haven't been able to pin down....


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What's the connection between nocturnal melatonin production and quality of sleep?

Is it causal? Or can you sleep like crap (i.e. wake up tired) and still have had a good melatonin 'surge'?

It's hard to judge "quality" of sleep numerically, but AFAICT this is generally supposed to be causal. When they test a tryptophan supplement, they look for the resulting soundness of sleep, under the assumption tryptophan's conversion to melatonin is doing the trick, I believe. OTOH, you also need tryptophan to make serotonin in the brain (as opposed to the pineal gland), so it's not clear to me you can rule out the relaxing effect of increased serotonin in the brain.

Certainly a messed-up melatonin cycle is often seen with messed-up sleep and depression.

Probably getting enough tryptophan is always going to be required for good sleep, and part of the effect is from it crossing the blood-brain barrier so it can increase brain serotonin supplies, and the other part is from it feeding the pineal gland (outside the blood-brain barrier) so it can convert tryptophan->serotonin->melatonin to make you feel like laying down and going to sleep on time. IMHO.


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


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The actually weird thing is, that in winter 2008, my urin was pretty much always clear and white. People usually say that white urin is good.

I tend to think now, that it means that no filtering is going on anymore.

If your kidneys ever stopped filtering you'll be in the hospital pretty quick. You can induce clear urine in anybody if you just make them drink enough clear liquids.

Maybe these lights can have a stronger effect?

Those mostly appear to be for inducing direct skin effects, not for shining in the eyes. To get bright but not eye-damaging, you kinda want a lot of cumulative wattage that you can keep at least a couple feet from the eyeball, IMHO.


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


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So I'm pretty much sold on this theory now.

The past 3-4 days I have been sleeping like crap (waking up tired, vivid dreams). Also, I've gotten my first cyst in ~3 months. Coincidence?

The trouble is, I can't pinpoint what's causing it. I'm getting the same amount of light during the day, I'm going to bed at roughly the same time (though I'm waking up later), no extra caffeine, same diet....

The only thing that is different is that I'm taking a different multivitamin. Unlike my last one, it has 100%DV iodine, and I'm wondering if that is causing the acne. It also has less zinc, copper, and other minerals. I'm doubtful as to whether that could impact sleep, though.

Very frustrating.


For me, acne seemed to have been caused by consuming dairy and fruit, and not keeping a regular sleep schedule. And something else I haven't been able to pin down....


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UVA theory notes: melatonin in the retina itself is circadian, possibly to regulate sensitivity. Elevated melatonin in the retina may make it more susceptible to light damage. So, just as avoiding all sunlight (resulting in Vitamin D deprivation) can then make you more susceptible to cancer if you get a sunburn, living in dim light constantly (elevating daytime melatonin in the retina when it's supposed to be low) can analogously make the eye more susceptible to damage if you then get bright light exposure. This is relevant to the hypothesis that the way accutane works is by acting on retinal cells, thereby impacting the melatonin cycle.

If one then damages the eye enough that way to produce acne, abnormal sleep, etc., how long would be required for that to heal and return to "normal"?

I wonder if I would notice a difference if I replaced the topmost T12 bulb of my office "wall of lights" with a blacklight. Would enough make it over the tops of my glasses to matter? Hmmm.


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


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Ok I got some questions, some are more relevant than others:

1. Is it dangerous to have the bright artifical light very close to your eyes (20-50cm) for long periods of time?

2. Is there an explanation why Vitamin B5 works for acne in some cases according to your theory?

3. Why a blacklight?

Thanks again


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1. Is it dangerous to have the bright artifical light very close to your eyes (20-50cm) for long periods of time?

Yes. You can cause retinal lesions, probably more easily with blue light. The problem is getting the intensity right. The sun is enormously bright and enormously far away. That enormous distance keeps the max intensity stable -- whether you are at sea level or climb a 500 foot hill to get 500 foot closer to the sun, the intensity will still be about the same. With a bulb that's in the same room, the intensity can vary greatly if you just move your head several inches. That makes it harder to get bright light, and still ensure it's always about the same intensity as you move your head. That's why I say the safer route is lots of wattage, but at least a couple of feet from your eye.

2. Is there an explanation why Vitamin B5 works for acne in some cases according to your theory?

Coenzyme A is a catalyst for dozens of different reactions in the body, so it's often easy to tie it to a particular disease, in theory at least. I've done that here.

3. Why a blacklight?

A blacklight produces UVA, which is a frequency present strongly (most times of year, most latitudes, not all) in sunlight. However, it's blocked by most any kind of glass, so modern people with acne get very little UVA in their eyes. UVA affects melatonin in the eye (implied by animal experiment, not direct human tests). What's melatonin doing in the eye, as opposed to the pineal gland? That's still a very active research question, but it appears to at least be implicated in regulating eye sensitivity and protecting certain cells from damage.

I'm interested in the idea that part of the variation in the degree of acne among people comes from relatively persistent changes in the eye ("damage", if you like), possibly caused by living mostly in dim indoor UVA-free light. By using a blacklight (40-watt, 4-foot bulb, 3 feet from eye) in my bright office lights (mainly around the 11am-4pm range) I hope to better simulate the frequencies we evolved to get from the sun when everyone lived outdoors all day every day. The theory may be wrong, or the bulb may not be intense enough, or I may not get enough UVA over the tops of my glasses to matter, etc. But it's an easy experiment; bulb cost $15.


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


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I have been taking 50mg of zinc per day for about two months now, and I haven't seen any improvement--in fact, my skin is worse now, and I have way more pimples, than I ever have in 16 years of acne. Just wondering, does this mean the bright outdoor light thing wouldn't work for me either?

So, I wouldn't bother taking zinc if you can't get sleepy at the same time each day, sleep deeply for 9 hours, and wake up feeling totally alert without an alarm clock at the same time each day.

>>I have always had difficulty with this. No matter what I do (I tried going to a sleep doctor for a while, took a bunch of different meds and tried all of the usual sleep-regulating methods) I have just always had horrible sleep--insomnia, waking up frequently, and waking up feeling like crap. It's been like this as long as I can remember, but it seems to be something I'm stuck with.

Furthermore, zinc is difficult to digest.

Recently, a friend pointed out that my acne has really only been flaring up in recent years when I have been eating a lot of soy products (meat replacements, etc) I started researching soy, and found some articles that claimed it can block the absorption of some nutrients, and one article even mentioned zinc. Made me wonder if the soy could have had an effect on the absorption of the zinc--have you read/heard anything about this?

Of course, tryptophan is another nutrient whose absorption appears to be impaired by living in dim light, and it's the raw fuel required to make melatonin (also required for serotonin, which suggests a mechanism for connecting acne to depression).

I am vegetarian, and I think your previous posts mentioned that tryptophan is primarily found in animal sources and that supplements of tryptophan are not really safe. Do you know of any way for vegetarians to get this nutrient and make melatonin?

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Databased, are you saying that the culprit is eye exposure to UVA rays, or light that enters the eyes? In other words, is UVA here being described as the primary causal factor, or just a factor in addition to light exposure, because I may be in trouble as I wear glasses?

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I have just always had horrible sleep--insomnia, waking up frequently, and waking up feeling like crap.

Did the sleep doctor put you in a sleep lab for a couple of nights hooked up to probes? If not, I would suggest there might be a better specialist to see. It would be nice to know if you have some specific health issue that is impacting your ability to sleep.

I've spent a lot of time tinkering with factors related to sleep, and all my self-experiments lead me back to concluding that the most important contributor by far is light exposure. Timing, frequency, intensity all have significant roles, and the easiest way to actually get all those "right" is to walk out of the house and live outdoors with no artificial light, with eyeballs that are naked to the sky. I think it's possible to simulate that indoors, but it requires non-trivial effort.

When it comes down to it, modern humans just aren't willing to give up things like sleeping 6 hours instead of 9 and being able to stay active in darkness instead of having to go to bed when the sun goes down. Even if it came to be proved that our casual destruction of hormonal light cues raises the odds of cancer, auto-immune disease, etc., I doubt most people would give it up.

Furthermore, zinc is difficult to digest.

This is most likely by design. You don't need much, and zinc can turn from essential to poisonous in the wrong place at the wrong concentration, so the body is picky about digesting it and about how it is moved around to different molecules. However, the fact that living in dim light can increase carb malabsorption, which in turn is associated with lower serum zinc levels, implies that modern man may be exposed to long-term modestly lowered zinc intake. Probably a modest zinc supplement is enough to make up for that, is my guess.

Made me wonder if the soy could have had an effect on the absorption of the zinc--have you read/heard anything about this?

You made me go look. This study suggests that adding soy protein to grains actually enhances the bioaccessibility of zinc in that context.

Probably, the general argument (such as seen in this study) is that soy (and most vegetarian diets, really) supply phytate, which can interfere with zinc absorption. It's not an enormous blocking of absorption, but enough compared to meat eaters to cause some health/growth issues for children in vegetarian countries. I would argue that a modest zinc pill (e.g., 15mg zinc picolinate) timed some distance from primary meals would likely make up any difference.

I am vegetarian, and I think your previous posts mentioned that tryptophan is primarily found in animal sources and that supplements of tryptophan are not really safe. Do you know of any way for vegetarians to get this nutrient and make melatonin?

Pumpkin seeds (e.g., lightly roasted). Or, you could try pumpkin seed oil in pill form. In theory, the latter should be a bigger, quicker dose of tryptophan, so you might just want to try a bottle of that before trying to make constantly munching pumpkin seeds part of your lifestyle.


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


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In other words, is UVA here being described as the primary causal factor, or just a factor in addition to light exposure, because I may be in trouble as I wear glasses?

We evolved to live in sunlight without UVA-blocking devices covering our eyes. Along with the rest of the sun spectrum, UVA intensity ramps up in the morning, peaks in the afternoon, and declines in the evening.

Although I can find no studies on human eyes, there is an animal study to suggest that UVA causes changes in the retina that could protect it from light damage, among other possible effects.

So, I'm interested in the possibility that by living in UVA-free indoor light, and using UVA blockers when we go outdoors (including about any kind of prescription or non-prescription glasses), we may be producing changes in the retina that make it hard to have a normal melatonin cycle and avoid auto-immune diseases like acne.

As an experiment, I try to remove my glasses whenever I'm outdoors during peak UVA hours, and I've added a blacklight (UVA source) to my bright office lights, which I turn on during the hours the sun would be producing peak UVA. It will be an easier experiment once the rainy season ends and being outdoors in the afternoon doesn't require getting soaked. There's still UVA and bright light to be had on rainy/overcast days, but it's no fun walking in the rain for hours.


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


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why are men significantly more acne prone than women?

What leads you to believe that's true? For example, in this study of late adolescents, self-reported,

The prevalence of acne was 14.4% among the males and 12.8% among the females.

Is that a big difference?

OTOH, from Hong Kong comes this better study which listed "female gender" as a predictive factor, presumably meaning more girls than boys got it.

From Nigeria comes a study that finds

no significant gender difference in prevalence at all ages of adolescence.

In studying just adults, the finding was

an overall prevalence of 54% (95% confidence interval [CI], 49-58) in women and 40% (95% CI, 35-45) in men (P <.001)

But the margin of error is such that the true percentages could be awfully close to even.

I just don't see any convincing evidence that men are more acne-prone to any degree that would be interesting to think about. If the reverse is true, I'm inclined to chalk it up to the fact that women have fluctuating estrogen levels, and estrogen modulates the production of melatonin in the pineal gland (proven in rats, not tested yet in humans 'cause they squirm too much when ya cut'em open).

:D


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


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The more I read about the tryptophan-melatonin cycle, the more I find they are correlated with other symptoms I've had besides acne (Depression, insomia, fatigue, ocd, fructose digestion etc.). For example I read things like "At least one study has shown that people with OCD tend to have depressed melatonin levels, along with elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol (Monteleone P et al 1995)." etc...

Incredible...

You said that living in dim light (from the age of 12 till recently, that was my 'lifestyle' unfortunately) could have caused some temporary (or permanent?) damage to the retina. I was wondering if you too had 'grown up' in such an environment. It would be interesting to see how many people actually lived most of their lives OUTSIDE and still got acne. Of all the people I know who would fit into that group, none has acne. (Of course that doesn't prove anything)

Furthermore, according to this study, the mean melatonin suppression by light in both males and females was dose dependent (17%[200 lux], 40%[500 lux], 56%[1,000 lux] and 74%[3,000 lux]). It's difficult to extrapolate it, but typical daylight ranges from 10,000 to 25,000 lux. (Which I guess would result in 100% suppression). The lamp I have now emits about 10k. Problem is, you have to be at 20-50 cm from it. So now I would have to either find a formula for lux and distance relation to calculate the amount of bulbs or better buy a 'lux meter' to get that amount safely with more bulbs. I just looked up and they're not that expensive apparently.

Is this reasoning correct?

Also, why would acne 'appear' at puberty in a lot of people and then mostly go AWAY?


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The more I read about the tryptophan-melatonin cycle, the more I find they are correlated with other symptoms I've had besides acne (Depression, insomia, fatigue, ocd, fructose digestion etc.).

One of the most interesting correlations is to polycystic ovary syndrome. PCOS is highly likely to be accompanied by acne, and my hypothesis says that means it is highly likely to be accompanied by an abnormal melatonin cycle. In 2001 it was discovered that women with PCOS tend to have increased melatonin metabolites in their urine, and at least some researchers are examining the link.

Rosacea and acne share many features, and it has now been discovered superoxide dismutase levels are lower in rosacea patients, as with acne patients. I think there's just a family of auto-immune problems that get more likely when you mess up the melatonin cycle.

You said that living in dim light (from the age of 12 till recently, that was my 'lifestyle' unfortunately) could have caused some temporary (or permanent?) damage to the retina. I was wondering if you too had 'grown up' in such an environment.

For sure. I have an indoor job. I've always been a night owl. And during peak acne years it turns out I was working night shifts all summer.

There's a lot of cell turnover in the eye, so I doubt that any eye changes wrought by living in dim indoor light are irreversible. OTOH, I can't see a logical argument that it might not take a year or more of living in a normal light cycle to reverse the changes. Fortunately, the effects on acne can take place in a matter of days.

Also, why would acne 'appear' at puberty in a lot of people and then mostly go AWAY?

First, for most people, it does not go away at all -- it just gets milder. The best studies show about half or more of adults have an acne lesion on any given day.

My current guess is that the usual explanations for adolescent acne are sufficient to explain why it is usually significantly worse in adolescence. The more skin cell division you have (puberty goes with lots of growth), the more opportunities for keratinocytes to touch a P. acnes bacteria and spew too many superoxide anions. Also, the immune system simply gets less aggressive as you age, and my hypothesis says the immune system is the problem, not the solution, so the overall trend should be less acne as you age.

For safety sakes, I believe you want to achieve your target lux with lights big enough they can be >2 feet from your eye. Otherwise, I think just moving your head a few inches puts you in significantly greater brightness than you intended. You do want the most brightness near the center of the day; uber-bright lights first thing in the morning or closer to bed time will likely phase-shift your melatonin cycle, which will not be helpful. As usual, the proof is in how you sleep. If you get sleepy right on time and can sleep like a log for 9 hours and awaken totally alert, then you probably had the melatonin cycle nature intended.

I remain hopeful that a more modest eye exposure to full sky light (no glasses to block UVA) of, say, a couple of hours at midday might be nearly as effective as keeping my butt planted in front of a bank of fluorescents for 12 hours a day.


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


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not to crap on your elegant theory or anything but this is totally not true for me at all

i've been getting loads of sunlight the last couple of weeks and i have found that when i masturbate more than once every 2 or 3 days i break out regardless of the amount of sunlight i have been exposed to. milk products also seems to break me out and though the sun can help cover it up i will still get the pimples, they might not last as long but i will get them just as easily as i did with no sun

for me its all about the hormones. i know melatonin and d3 are linked with sun exposure and they are hormones as well but they don't affect DHT/testosterone/insulin/IGF the same way ejaculation and milk do

i think intermittent fasting helps a lot too, not sure how but i notice my acne is better after IFing for a week or so, that and reducing calories.

acne is a complicated problem and there is almost never a simple solution, you may have a piece of the puzzle but i don't think its the whole picture

just my .02$

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i've been getting loads of sunlight the last couple of weeks

Interesting.

  • How many hours per day does "loads" mean?
  • Which hours of the day were the "loads" done? How variable was the time of day you got the exposure?
  • Were you wearing glasses? hat? sunglasses? contacts? anything else between your eye and the sky?
  • How variable was the time you went to bed? Went to bed the same hour on the weekends as the week days?
  • Did you get sleepy at bedtime each day of the two weeks and sleep for >=9 hours, awakening without an alarm clock, feeling totally refreshed?
  • Do you abstain from caffeine, alcohol, and drugs?
  • Is the bedroom you sleep in so dark that you can't find the door if you get up in the middle of the night?

It's very easy for modern people to get sunlight exposure and still not have anything like a melatonin cycle.

acne is a complicated problem and there is almost never a simple solution, you may have a piece of the puzzle but i don't think its the whole picture

The moment you say "simple solution", I assume you didn't understand the hypothesis at all. It's damn hard work in the modern world to have a normal melatonin cycle, since all you gotta do is drink some tea in the evening or have a streetlight outside your bedroom to screw it up.

It is a simple solution only in the sense that you could get there automatically if you're thrown naked onto a deserted South Sea island and have to survive. I would love to take about 100 hard-core acne sufferers wilderness camping for 2 weeks with no caffeine/alcohol/drugs, no artificial lights, no glasses of any kind, and see how the results compared to all other treatments for acne. That would be interesting.

It's surely true that this hypothesis could be partly, mostly, or completely wrong. Like any hypothesis, it's unlikely to be completely right. It is close enough to reality for me personally that I can turn acne on or off within a couple of days, and almost always predict in advance any outbreak and point to what will cause it. But however wrong it might be, it is certainly not so simple a hypothesis that seeing people get some sun exposure and still have acne invalidates it. Heck, I can easily get sunlight exposure and still get acne; just get it at different times of day, phase shift my melatonin cycle until it wants to peak when I'm already up with my eyes open in the light. I was getting more than a few hours of sunlight per day when I worked the night shift and had the worst acne in my life. Of course, my melatonin cycle was almost certainly severely flattened at the same time.

i know melatonin and d3 are linked with sun exposure and they are hormones as well but they don't affect DHT/testosterone/insulin/IGF the same way ejaculation and milk do

Since I currently believe the biochemical trigger for acne has been discovered and is the uncontrolled production of superoxide anions when P. acnes hits a keratinocyte, I don't think DHT/testosterone/insulin/IGF theories of acne are right.

Of course, melatonin certainly affects androgens:

Melatonin elicits nuclear exclusion of the human androgen receptor and attenuates its activity.

and melatonin probably can strongly affect insulin:

Removal of Melatonin Receptor Type 1 Induces Insulin Resistance in the Mouse.

But I'm guessing none of that matters much (to acne -- might matter to getting metabolic syndrome), and melatonin primarily prevents acne by upregulating multiple anti-oxidant genes in keratinocytes that are real good at mopping up superoxide anions.

Melatonin travels not just into the cell, but into the cell nucleus, where it affects multiple genes. What-all it can affect is still being uncovered, but it is no doubt an ancient hormone that does many different things in many different parts of the body (just like calcitriol).

But I could be wrong. :D


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


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Interesting theory! Looking forward to hearing how your experimenting goes.

I tried staying 10 hours outdoors yesterday now that I'm on holiday... was a pain in the ass tbh, but then I'm a former night owl and always indoors (which would tie in with your theory). I didn't drink caffeine and tied a thick scarf around my eyes when I couldn't get my bedroom dark enough (no proper curtains and midnight, I live in Northern Europe). Still, I didn't experience the melatonin surge you described. I woke up several times during the night and was tired in the morning. I can't really figure out why it didn't work. I may still have elevated cortisol levels after exams I had last week which might be interfering with melatonin. Or do you think that wearing regular glasses and being on the balcony (with a roof just above me, so technically outdoors and a clear view of the sky but not right up above) could have such an effect?

I'm without glasses and out on the patio now. :)

Btw, could you possibly post a picture of your light system? I'm not a native English speaker, so I can't quite imagine what this 'fixture' you're using is like. I have an actual expensive lightbox, but I'm not sure if it's effective enough (I'm not home right now so can't get any info on wattige or lumens or whatever. It's about 2 ft high and 1 ft wide). Also good thing about mentioning safety, as this last spring I've actually at least five times stuck my eyes right about a millimeter from the lightbox for 10 seconds or so to get myself awake fast. Never occurred to me it could be harmful. :redface:

Also, as I understand this mainly seems to work for inflammation? Do you still get as many blackheads as before? If my problem is mainly clogged pores and inflammation only when I'm under stress, do you think this could help me?

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Still, I didn't experience the melatonin surge you described. I woke up several times during the night and was tired in the morning. I can't really figure out why it didn't work. I may still have elevated cortisol levels after exams I had last week which might be interfering with melatonin. Or do you think that wearing regular glasses and being on the balcony (with a roof just above me, so technically outdoors and a clear view of the sky but not right up above) could have such an effect?

According to what databased posted in an earlier post, one has to have NO ROOF above for the melatonin to be correctly surpressed (otherwise, it would also work with a big window, which it apparently doesn't). Also, I think you need to do it more than just one day...

I'm also curious about the cortisol-melatonin connection btw. Could explain why stress can cause acne...

About the milk 'issue': I just read that milk, taken in with carbs, will increase tryptophan in your body (and therefore melatonin?), thus interfering with your melatonin cycle. If taken in the evening this could be good and putting you to sleep, but most people probably drink it in the morning with high carb cereals, thus impairing the melatonin suppression for the day. Could this perhaps be a reason why milk is 'problem food' for acne?


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I started to look for a lamp that is bright and has good reviews, and came across this one:

http://www.amazon.de/TV-Das-Original-Tages...3856&sr=8-4

I know, it's in german, but the main thing I don't understand is, why the producing company (and the glowing reviews) claim it to be a very good daylight lamp, when in fact it only has 1500 lumens at 6500 kelvin? In the other post, you mentioned that you want to reach 10000 lumens.

How does this add up?

Another lamp :

http://www.amazon.de/Philips-HF3319-01-Ene...3856&sr=8-1

This one says that it has a built in UV-filter ?? I thought we want UV to reach our eyes...

It also talks about 10000 lux, not lumen...

They also state that the light uses "the full spectrum of sunlight". I don't get that, isnt the spectrum always different depending on the time of day?

The lamp manufacturers also say that you need to be very close to the light source, otherwise you dont reach 10000 lux, and that the lamp displays a timer depending on how close you are. (time when to stop).

So it's a bit dubious, how much time do you recommend at 10000 lux (or lumen, im confused)

In the last postings, the notion came across that it is important at which times of day you expose yourself to as much light as possible. Can you say again when that is? I assume midday, and not before sleeping. Would gradually lowering the light exposure over the day, and with the brightest setting in the morning be sensible?

how fast did you become acne free after getting the lights? I have to decide soon if I want to take another course of accutane or not. I know, I know, but it would be stupid to have risked one course, and still run around with acne and the first courses side effects :)

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