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A Zinc Regimen: Draft 2

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Is there any reason to the thought that what we call overdosing on zinc is not actually over dosing because we are deficient in the first place?

Yes! But the problem with that thought is the lack of knowledge about where zinc goes in the body when and why. With Vitamin D, there are decades of research that have reached a consensus that there's a good gauge of being "deficient": you just measure the serum levels of the inactive form of Vitamin D.

But with zinc, it's not clear what the heck you should measure to find out if someone is "deficient". Women on BCP don't show any negative zinc-related symptoms, but their zinc serum levels are generally lower while they're on the pill. Where is that zinc going to if it's not just a general deficiency?

It's reasonable that testing for zinc deficiency is not yet figured out. It's just an atom. It's going to be hooked up to lots of different molecules to enable lots of different activities in different places in the body. Maybe in the end, there will be multiple tests for zinc deficiency because it does not easily move from one type of molecule to another. In that case, you wouldn't necessarily treat the zinc deficiency by giving more zinc, but by giving more of something that influences the creation of a particular zinc-containing molecule.

perhaps we need a mega dose to be normal?

Well, I'm not in love with zinc! :D A megadose of zinc produced a never-before-seen change in my skin, so that makes me think my acne must bear some relationship to zinc. There are an infinite number of acne experiments you can try (as this board shows!), so I have to start with some model to narrow down what it is I'm going to test to explore the relationship between zinc and my acne. It may turn out I can find a molecule related to zinc that influences some root cause of acne, and that once I'm taking that I won't have to take a zinc supplement at all ('cause I eat hamburgers, and should be getting plenty of zinc via McDonald's alone!).

What is it that makes us different than other people? The closest thing I've seen to any hope of advancement on understanding acne in recent years is the German group that's looking at fibroblast growth factor receptors on cells. If I understand correctly, they at least now have a disease model that may let them test various ideas without ever having to run a human trial (well, until they think they understand how to cure it). That route might finally end up shedding some light on what makes us different -- perhaps a very slight genetic variation amplified by a few specific environmental factors.

Also read of the naproxin treatment for PMS which I think will be another beautiful use of an anti inflammatory.

Like the very lengthy Celebrex commercial that now runs in America says (in essence): all OTC anti-inflammatories have serious health risks associated with long-term use. They're saying that because they want consumers to know that things like naproxin suck just as bad as Celebrex (and only modestly less than Vioxx, which got pulled). I believe they're right. Of course, most healthy folks can probably get to the hospital quicker taking 200mg/zinc per day than taking Celebrex (or even Vioxx) every day. The difference is, use of zinc does not highly correlate with already being in bad health to begin with, whereas lots of folks taking Vioxx were not in good shape in the first place. With both large-dose zinc and all OTC anti-inflammatories, risks appear to be cumulative.

I highly recommend watching scary kidney man's talk. He's actually pretty funny in a macabre way.

I would be interested to hear what results you see if you added in 3 pills/day of this stuff for a while.

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Remind me what's so great about green tea and why would I want it? I remember something from long ago about metabolism. Just refer me to the post if we covered it and I forgot.

I'm still on zinc, D, Bs, multi, chromium, and a tiny allergy pill. Still sleeping well and long. Reduce evening sugar, afternoon and evening caffeine, washing 2ce day like normal, some BP when I get nervous. Diet is good, cottage cheese only dairy, perhaps heavy on fiber, high protein. Good water. Skin heals better and differently, spots don't make such a big deal. Skin seems generally healthier. So far so good. Onward and upward.

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Another question I have: if acne is purely linked to nutrition/allergies and nothing else, then why is it that people in states of starvation do not have acne?

For one, the starving people aren't eating androgen production stimulating, SHBG level reducing, inflammation causing sugar.

And going hungry can be quite good for you. It's well known that calorie restriction prolongs life.

Remind me what's so great about green tea and why would I want it? I remember something from long ago about metabolism. Just refer me to the post if we covered it and I forgot.

Green tea is highly anti-inflammatory. In addition, the EGCG blocks DHT in a couple of ways. And green tea helps prevent damage from the sun so you can go out and get a little for the vitamin D. It can work topically as well. However, there are other substances in tea that can increase DHT.

Do a search and you'll find lots of info. It's been discussed here at length with research for several years. All of this has. Each miracle 'one true solution' comes and goes like fads. Zinc, Omega 3s, and B5 are probably the most popular fads.

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Eating junk food does not cause acne, its a mis-conception. Acne is often induced in a junk food eaters diet by a LACK of other wholefoods. I think databased is right in thinking that foods we eat have an impact on the health of our skin.

Actually it's both junk foods and lack of nutrients from real food. As junk foods lack nutrition and both deplete nutrients and hinder their absoption as well. The high fructose corn syrup, phosphoric acid and caffeine in coca cola for example bonds to minerals like zinc, calcium and magnesium so they can't be absorbed, leaches calcium from bones, and washes it right our of your body with caffeine's diuretic effect.

Acne is a known symptom of zinc deficiency.

No one is disuputing that. But it's a known symptom of other things as well. Leaky gut, IBS, candida, Inflammation etc. Acne is an inflammatory condition. And hormonal imbalance which is a symptom of many other conditions affected by diet.

Anyway, like I already said in the prior zinc threads. I played around with supplements too. And zinc helped me a lot. But my skin cleared when I changed my diet.

Hey hun

What changes to your diet helped? Im getting so frustrated! I eat as healthily as possible, fresh veg and fruit from the green grocer, meat from a butcher although I just cant afford to 'go organic'

Its really beginning to p!ss me off now. I was thinking it could be a hormone problem but my bloods came back fine, so it has GOT to be my diet right?

I think that it was cutting out coca cola that had by far the biggest impact, because of the massive amounts of high fructose corn syrup which in addition to be inflammatory and hormone stimulating sugar, also overtaxes your liver impairing it's ability to remove excess hormones from circulation it also chelates zinc so it can't get absorbed.

I reduced all sources of refined sugars, carbs as well as bad fats and started eating more real, nutrient dense and anti-inflammatory foods. It's not strict though, except that I never drink sugar.

As far as your test results. Well, hormones fluctuate and might not be high at the time of testing. Also, even though they show you are in a 'normal range', it might not be the right range for you. And hormones can get produced and removed from circulation very quickly by being bound to receptors, stored in fat or removed from the body by the liver and therefore there might not be an excess in the blood to get measured by the tests. In addition, you can just have receptors that are sensitive to any amount of androgens.

Do you sleep well? Have any digestion issues? Binge eat? Stress? Exercise? Menstrual issues?

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Hmmm, board seems to be dropping some posts today. Oh well, try again...

what's so great about green tea and why would I want it?

Post #70 contains the particular biochemical research I strung together to connect EGCG, acne, and zinc. I'm not really interested in just connections of EGCG to acne, since there are innumerable substances that provide some improvement for someone and not someone else; I'm looking for plausible combinations that can explain why that is. Also, there was always a small dose of that product in my pill case, making it a candidate for the "magic ingredient" whose presence determines whether megadose zinc makes me personally 100% clear or only mildly improved.

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first of all, i'd like to thank you for opening our eyes to such detrimental facts about zinc and acne. i started taking 150mg of zinc daily (in the form of zinc citrate), and have experienced an 80% improvement after only 1 week. no more cystic acne whatsoever.

could you please provide a list of substances/foods that inhibit results with this supplement?

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i started taking 150mg of zinc daily (in the form of zinc citrate), and have experienced an 80% improvement after only 1 week. no more cystic acne whatsoever.

Interesting (and I hope you don't take that high a dose for too many weeks!). How unusual is the degree of improvement you're seeing? Have you seen it improve that much in the past, due to something you did or even just random fluctuation?

could you please provide a list of substances/foods that inhibit results with this supplement?

Still working on that. I think it's impossible with foods, because you can look up their alleged chemical composition in a table, but it seems like farming techniques (e.g., copper spray for fungicide) can make for a lot of individual variation. So, as far as food interfering with zinc, my strategy is to just make sure I take the zinc on an empty stomach near bedtime.

Really, I guess I'm counting on the same strategy when it comes to interference from other substances. I was taking a Vitamin B complex with that nighttime zinc, under the presumption that Vitamin B6 might improve absorption. But, as noted in my crappy blog, I think I'm going to take a pill containing only Vitamin B6 with that nighttime, empty-stomach dose of zinc.

In the bigger picture, my current working assumption is that the key for me to stay free on a more modest dose of acne will turn out to be, not eliminating problems of getting the zinc absorbed, but figuring out what has to be added to the zinc to enhance whatever the underlying mechanism is that lets me essentially turn my acne off like a light switch when I megadose. I know that co-factors must matter for me, because if I take the megadose zinc without my usual giant box of pill supplements, I don't stay acne-free. Hence, all the other things mentioned in the current draft of this regimen.

Apart from that, I'm also currently testing a large dose of EGCG (Post #70) to see if that lets me drop the zinc dose down to a level that can be tolerated in the long run. (Of course, I'm also not Vitamin D deficient, and making a point of having a normal melatonin cycle every night, etc.).

Hmmm, now I see that I think I somehow totally missed your Post #72. Sometimes, this board and my mind disagree on how reality should work. :D

So I'm thinking maybe the zinc effect, is a complex mix of 1. extra healing from zinc, and 2. the fact that zinc can decrease or stop DHT

The problem is, then you have to explain why drugs that drop DHT don't reliably do much for acne. I keep a running list of mechanisms that could be involved in acne (gotta make a PDF or a website or something -- can't keep an organized document out of message threads!), but they all have problems. So, I'm skeptical of the idea that any single-substance cure for acne exists. For example, zinc is something we know can't be a cure for acne by itself, since it's been tested several times and only does modestly better than placebo. That's why I try to explore the existing research through the lens of zinc -- it connects to lots of stuff and might lead me to a combination of things that can do better than existing OTC treatments.

The biggest question is: Is zinc a natural and harmless way that both men and women can decrease DHT to non-acne levels?

Seems unlikely to be safe to take ~200mg zinc for extended periods. I want to get it down to 50mg at least, and preferably less. Sure hope it's possible.

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again, you really cannot imagine how much you've helped us here. very much appreciated.

i'm an 18 year old male, been suffering from mildly moderate acne for about a year. a mix of whiteheads and painful cysts. since i have started taking 150mg of zinc daily (about 10 days ago,) i've noticed a remarkable improvement in my face. 70& of whitehead breakouts were eliminated, while cystic breakouts simply ceased to occur. oh, and old marks seem to heel a bit faster, too.

i noticed that i was more likely to wake up with a couple of small whiteheads the day after consuming large amounts of milk. i think that my ridiculously-high intake of dairy products is what led to my acne. i will not consume any dairy products for the next 2 weeks and observe the effects.

i will probably stop taking the zinc once the amount i already have runs out. that's about another 3 weeks' supply.

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just finished reading the entirety of the first 4 pages. no more sugar-rich foods after 2pm; that should be easy. i will be adding vitamins D and B6 to my diet as soon as possible. will also try to get more sun exposure.

i will disappear from the boards for now, but you'll hear from me again sometime in mid-April. hopefully things will be much better by then for all of us who suffer from acne.

respect.

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I don't know why some things are so hard to see. I am cutting out my morning cottage cheese starting now. I blindly forgot that it is dairy, and that will make a difference. I started doubting my sanity right then and googled, "are eggs dairy products" and the response was, "What part of the cow do you think they come from?" Hilarious! I'm also a weightlifter, so I'm all about protein, but developed a nice list of non dairy protein sources.

Going to sleep now. Thanks, databased.

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Is there any reason to the thought that what we call overdosing on zinc is not actually over dosing because we are deficient in the first place?

Yes! But the problem with that thought is the lack of knowledge about where zinc goes in the body when and why. With Vitamin D, there are decades of research that have reached a consensus that there's a good gauge of being "deficient": you just measure the serum levels of the inactive form of Vitamin D.

But with zinc, it's not clear what the heck you should measure to find out if someone is "deficient". Women on BCP don't show any negative zinc-related symptoms, but their zinc serum levels are generally lower while they're on the pill. Where is that zinc going to if it's not just a general deficiency?

It's reasonable that testing for zinc deficiency is not yet figured out. It's just an atom. It's going to be hooked up to lots of different molecules to enable lots of different activities in different places in the body. Maybe in the end, there will be multiple tests for zinc deficiency because it does not easily move from one type of molecule to another. In that case, you wouldn't necessarily treat the zinc deficiency by giving more zinc, but by giving more of something that influences the creation of a particular zinc-containing molecule.

perhaps we need a mega dose to be normal?

Well, I'm not in love with zinc! :D A megadose of zinc produced a never-before-seen change in my skin, so that makes me think my acne must bear some relationship to zinc. There are an infinite number of acne experiments you can try (as this board shows!), so I have to start with some model to narrow down what it is I'm going to test to explore the relationship between zinc and my acne. It may turn out I can find a molecule related to zinc that influences some root cause of acne, and that once I'm taking that I won't have to take a zinc supplement at all ('cause I eat hamburgers, and should be getting plenty of zinc via McDonald's alone!).

Tell me something, the time you were taking a high dosage of zinc (when your skin starting clearing), were you consuming dairy products?

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I am cutting out my morning cottage cheese starting now. I blindly forgot that it is dairy

I haven't really tested all forms of dairy on myself; not worth the bother, since I don't like dairy that much anyway (except for ice cream). Ice cream reliably gives me cystic acne, on or off zinc (though I'll retest that if I can find other factors that let me stay clear with less zinc). The odd burrito with cheese or pizza with light cheese does not generally give me cystic. Beyond that, I don't know what drinking milk or eating cottage cheese would do to my symptoms. If I really loved dairy, I might make the effort to test each category separately.

As mentioned in my crappy blog, there's an interesting article that seems to be looking at whether dairy can influence the uptake of zinc into blood cells. I can't make out what they're actually claiming from the abstract, so I'll have to wait until I visit the University to read the full article. If there really were a direct relationship between dairy and zinc metabolism (as opposed to the generally presumed hypothesis that dairy influences acne via hormones), then that would make me think I might be able to come up with a plan that lets me eat my beloved ice cream sandwiches again. :D

Just how much exercise are you doing? Also noted in my crappy blog is a study implying that athletes pushing themselves hard for several months in competition were eventually modifying their zinc metabolism in a way that produced greater zinc excretion (sweat/urine). I'm sure I'm not in danger of that from 35 minutes on a treadmill, but maybe someone training for a half-marathon or that kind of level of exercise could get there. The researchers viewed the change as "latent fatigue", implying I guess that there just wasn't enough recovery time for the degree of exertion being expended.

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Hey databased, I'm still ridiculously clear on my face (does happy hamster dance). Around this time of the month starts my usual hormonal flare-up, but I'm not gonna use Naproxen, to see if I still get it with the help of Zinc and green tea (I drink copious amounts of it anyways).

I take back what I said about Zinc not working on my bacne. It's improved (less comedones and less oilyness) and I've never put any topicals on my back or anything, ever. And let me tell you my back was superrich in blackheads - I could just scrape it with my fingernails and I'll end up with a couple that were more easily dislodged. I can't tell if there are fewer spots as I never kept a tally of them (but I will now). But if it starts getting reduced to 0, I'll be your poster kid for "minidosing on Zinc cured my acne" :D. I'll let you know.

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Well, I've been eating 1 - 2 cups of cottage cheese every day for at least 6 months. My skin was better when I was eating eggs for breakfast. So that's why it was so dense of me to keep it. Been working with zinc since the beginning of February, so like 40 days.

I weight lift about an hour 4 - 6 times a week, and have for 18 months. Over that time, skin has been average, better, and then definitely worse from August - January when 1) stress spiked, 2) nutrition was clean - high protein, lots of veggies, broccoli three times a day, some caffeine and low processed carbs, 3) addition of cottage cheese or yogurt every day, 4) no sunshine. Eliminating broccoli seems to have resulted in improvement, but coincided with zinc etc. as I got frustrated and started looking at change around Feb 1.

The exercise varies in intensity - mostly results in alternating heart pounding, sweat breaking and just normal feel good lifting. Some days, some seasons, I work harder or faster, and keep up a sweat through the whole workout. Not running down my face sweat, but hot and sticky at least. That, for me, means it's doing the heart some good. So I don't do any treadmill or cross trainer or other cardio. Weight lifting and no cardio is the delight of my life.

How do you know if you've taken too much zinc? What side effects should I be looking for as I zigzag mega dose with lesser dose and try to stay out of hospital? :)

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I wouldn't worry about exercise, if anything it would help the acne and keep things minimal, not cure or get rid of it. Exercise isn't the issue here...Database as usual is jumping to conclusion and over examining things. (when have u seen an overweight acne sufferer?)

Tho, DO exercise for general well being (mentally).

Acne is due to either FOOD/Allergy's or DEFICIENCY....depending the type of person you are.

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Okay, after reading this entire thread, I am intrigued and a little bit hopeful.

I'm 17 years old, female, and I've had acne... for as long as I can remember, really. For me it is definitely a mainly genetic issue, because both of my parents had terrible skin. Over the years I have tried nearly every topical and antibiotic known in the field of dermatology. I used Accutane a few years ago and it kept me clear for a few months, and then the acne came back with a vengeance. Nowadays, I am fed up with my crappy skin.

I have blackheads, very dry skin which is ALSO very oily somehow, lots of red marks, no scarring as of yet, and I break out in regular zits that come to heads, nodules that come to heads, nodules that DON'T come to heads and last forever, and occasionally cysts. My worse areas are my cheeks and the areas on either side of my chin along with my jawline and occasionally my forehead or neck.

Right now, I wash my face twice a day with Oxy Severe 10% BP facewash, then I put on AcneFree 10% BP stuff, then Cetaphil moisturizer, then Proactiv's refining mask on spots. During the day I do wear makeup-- Maybelline's Mineral Power, and some cover-up.

In addition to these topical things, I also take Ibuprofen regularly, and every night I take 6 Omega 3 Fish Oil softgels.

I am looking to maybe add zinc and Vitamin D to my regimen. Questions!

1. Is the exercise necessary? I'm very busy with school and such.

2. What type/brand of zinc and Vitamin D should I take? Pictures?

3. How much does a mega-dose consist of? I would really like to try a mega-dose first, especially since I have a lot of important things coming up and I really want to look at least slightly better than my usual craptastical state.

4. Must I cut out cheese and butter? I don't like milk and I rarely eat icecream so that's not a problem, but I love cheese! And butter is used in so many products and meals that I don't know if I have the vigilance or willpower to avoid it. I also rarely have sodas because they make me feel gross anyway, and I hate the taste of coffee. Occasionally I break down and have a RedBull though. It's my favorite, unfortunately.

5. How exactly does one avoid wheat? Wouldn't that mean virtually all bread products are off-limits? I love bread! :[

6. I love spinach. If I skimp on eating a huge variety of vegetables and stick to the few that I actually like, such as spinach, broccoli, asparagus, and mushrooms (is that even a vegetable??), will I be okay?

Thanks in advance for replies, and sorry this is so long!!

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Ok, I don't understand how anyone can hate on exercise being a part of this plan. Exercise is ALWAYS a good idea!! Find me one licensed individual in the medical profession that tells you not to exercise and I'll eat my shoe.

With regard to acne, specifically, exercise affects how well and how quickly certain foods and nutrients are metabolized (or NOT metabolized). So of course it stands to reason that exercise is a part of the equation.

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Ok, I don't understand how anyone can hate on exercise being a part of this plan. Exercise is ALWAYS a good idea!! Find me one licensed individual in the medical profession that tells you not to exercise and I'll eat my shoe.

With regard to acne, specifically, exercise affects how well and how quickly certain foods and nutrients are metabolized (or NOT metabolized). So of course it stands to reason that exercise is a part of the equation.

It also boosts circulation which is the main way it helps blood sugar metabolism which will help with acne. Also helps liver function, cholesterol, stress and therefore adrenal function which will help balance hormones which will help with acne.

Exercise is perhaps just as valuable as a good diet, and since few of you appear to be at all interested in eating right, perhaps you could at least exercise and sleep.

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I'm sure it's less exercise than professional volleyballers late in the season get. :D

How do you know if you've taken too much zinc? What side effects should I be looking for as I zigzag mega dose with lesser dose and try to stay out of hospital? :)

It probably won't be obvious. <200mg/day is not enough to cause acute poisoning, so the most likely effect (AFAICT -- I'm not a doctor!) is a slow loss (lack of generation more specifically) of blood cells. You get anemic (loss of red blood cells) and more prone to infections (loss of white blood cells). If you're seeing your doctor for something else, you might be able to ask for a CBC ("hey, doc, I'm feeling a little rundown and wonder if I'm anemic?", and a CBC will be the first thing they order, especially for a woman) and take a look at the results.

Or, you could draw some of your own blood into a test tube, swing it around on the end of a string until the fractions settle, and use a ruler to calculate your own hematocrit. I DID NOT SAY THAT! :D

Here's a poster boy for zinc poisoning. And here's another. Note that the latter guy got a heart murmur after taking 850mg-1000mg for a year. It's funny how the moral in these cases is always "patients trying wacky cures can hurt themselves" and never "is zinc really working well enough that people are willing to poison themselves to have a clear face?" AFAICT, research into oral zinc and acne never made any serious attempt to explore why zinc should work wonders for a very few, and provide slight improvement for others.

[today's crappy blog entry tells how I couldn't follow my own stupid regimen.]

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In addition to these topical things, I also take Ibuprofen regularly, and every night I take 6 Omega 3 Fish Oil softgels.

I am looking to maybe add zinc and Vitamin D to my regimen.

The regular Ibuprofen use frightens me (did any doctor advise that?), but that's because I watched scary kidney guy's talk. I don't know what's in your fish oil. If it's a ton of retinoic acid (Vitamin A), I would not take it due to the assertion by the Vitamin D Council that it dampens the effect of Vitamin D, a steroid hormone that many researchers believe lowers the odds of everything from diabetes to many cancers. I don't take Vitamin A; I eat a carrot.

1. Is the exercise necessary?

This regimen is just an experiment to try to figure out what works, so the real answer to that question is: I have no idea. But, half the point of the exercise is to move evening tryptophan into the brain so there's lots available to make melatonin. I've been experimenting with replacing the evening exercise by 2 tablespoons of plain roasted pumpkin seeds plus one plain glucose (aka dextrose) tablet as sold for diabetics, taken about an hour before bedtime. If it makes you sleep deeper, it worked. If you don't have time to try to get 9 hours sleep with no light getting to your eyes, then my current suspicion is that this regimen may not help you much.

2. What type/brand of zinc and Vitamin D should I take? Pictures?

I have no reason (yet) to believe the type/brand of zinc matters. I have used this zinc and this Vitamin D. I'm sorry to tell you that knowing how much Vitamin D you need requires a blood test (~$70 if bought over the Internet), and getting your levels up can take 3 months. No quick fix there. My Vitamin D levels were above 50ng/ml before I experimented with zinc.

3. How much does a mega-dose consist of? I would really like to try a mega-dose first, especially since I have a lot of important things coming up and I really want to look at least slightly better than my usual craptastical state.

My personal experience, and all existing research, indicates that a megadose of zinc by itself is unlikely to help that much. If a single substance was a reliable way to dramatically improve acne, we would know that by now. My "megadose" was 180mg zinc picolinate, which I've never taken for more than 3 weeks running. Don't do this without talking to your doctor. Don't do this if there's any chance you could be pregnant. Wait a minute, you're not legally an adult -- don't do this at all!

4. Must I cut out cheese and butter?

I don't know. Personally, I seem to take in incidental amounts of cheese and butter (well, when there's hot rolls, sometimes there's a lot of butter) without a problem. Since dairy is about the only food with a study to show it correlates with acne for some patients, and since you've struggled with acne for an extended period, maybe this is a good thing to do a food elimination test on and find out what the answer is for you personally.

Occasionally I break down and have a RedBull though. It's my favorite, unfortunately.

Yeah, that's a lot of caffeine. No wait, it's probably less than the 32-ounce Coke I have every day (but not within 8 hours of bedtime).

5. How exactly does one avoid wheat? Wouldn't that mean virtually all bread products are off-limits? I love bread! :

I have no idea. I stuff my face with hot, yeasty rolls whenever I get the chance. You may have confused my ideas with those of some other poster.

6. I love spinach. If I skimp on eating a huge variety of vegetables and stick to the few that I actually like, such as spinach, broccoli, asparagus, and mushrooms (is that even a vegetable??), will I be okay?

Well, since you're in the thread I started, I'll assume you're asking me, but there's really nothing in this regimen about vegetables. Eat whatever you want (sans dairy unless you've proved it irrelevant) until about 8 hours before bedtime, then (specifically because of the need for a big, long melatonin surge) avoid caffeine (dampens melatonin) and fructose (could interfere with tryptophan making its evening journey across the blood-brain barrier to provide fuel for making melatonin).

I notice you ask nothing about getting a good night's sleep, which makes me guess you're thinking that the whole sleep/melatonin thing is not that important. I speculate that it is.

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I'm still ridiculously clear on my face

That's great! My apologies if I asked before (with all the cool doodads on this site, why isn't there a little app for tracking "what I'm doing" and "what I'm seeing"?), but what's your sleep cycle like? How many hours a night do you figure you get? Also, how do you take your zinc? (by itself, with other stuff, empty stomach or not, time of day)

Thanks for any info!

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databased --

Regarding the absorption issues between Zinc Picolinate and Copper, most of the info I've read seems to indicate that you need a 15:1 ratio of zinc to copper. I almost bought pills that had 30mg Zinc and 2mg Copper. Do you think that the 2mg of copper is completely "wasting" the zinc? If the ones you're taking have no copper, do you worry about a copper deficiency?

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5. How exactly does one avoid wheat? Wouldn't that mean virtually all bread products are off-limits? I love bread! :[

6. I love spinach. If I skimp on eating a huge variety of vegetables and stick to the few that I actually like, such as spinach, broccoli, asparagus, and mushrooms (is that even a vegetable??), will I be okay?

Thanks in advance for replies, and sorry this is so long!!

Well, you are totally asking on the wrong thread. This thread is all about taking zinc while you ignore all nutrition, or any other factors that lead to acne and eat anything you want. With the strange exception of dairy as the OP happens to be one of the many people sensitive to dairy. However, many people are sensitive to other things.

A sensitivity to wheat/gluten is extremely common. There's even a disease called Celiacs disease in which people can not eat gluten. It's so common that you can find products labeled gluten free in most stores, but especially in health food stores and places like Whole Foods. And there aren't any discussions going on currently about wheat/gluten free over on the nutrition board. But there have been plenty in the past. Do a search. Eating gluten when you are hypersensitive to it is especially bad for the intestinal lining and commonly leads to IBS/Leaky Gut syndrome, which leads to all kinds of inflammation and other hypersensitivities. A lot of people have cleared their skin just from avoiding gluten.

The phytates in grains bind to metals, like zinc, and inhibit their absorption, btw.

Broccoli and spinach are some of the best foods you can eat. They are extremely nutrient dense and are loaded with sulfur containing substances that are very good for liver function and how well it can balance hormones. Especially if you are estrogen dominant. But I would not limit myself to them.

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Do you think that the 2mg of copper is completely "wasting" the zinc? If the ones you're taking have no copper, do you worry about a copper deficiency?

Last I looked, there is contradictory evidence on whether copper can interfere with zinc absorption in the gut. It seems like an easy issue to sidestep just by taking a zinc-only pill on an empty stomach, as many hours away from any copper pill as possible. Personally, I'm not sure putting copper and zinc in the same pill is a good medical bet, but I can see how it's a good marketing bet.

I don't personally worry about not getting enough external copper, since my initial impression is that copper content in America's food supply (especially when you take into account fruit/nut products coming in from elsewhere) has been going up for many decades at the same time that zinc content has been going down. That's even ignoring sources like water pipes leaching copper into drinking water. I could be wrong; determining what people were really eating/drinking 100 years ago is fraught with error.

I do worry about internal copper depletion, just as a direct effect of taking 200mg/day of zinc, so I'm not willing to take it indefinitely. However, since I already know that 200mg/day zinc all by itself does not give me that 100% clear state, that seems like reasonable evidence that additional factors affect the effectiveness of zinc against acne, and that it might be possible for me to be 100% clear on a much smaller dose of zinc.

Would I worry about taking 30mg zinc/day indefinitely? Not much, based on current research, certainly not compared to the risk of taking a daily adult-dose NSAID. Any such modest risk must be balanced against the fact that acne has a real effect on my quality of life. There is some non-zero health risk in having acne increase stress in your life and decrease the number and quality of your personal relationships. My goal is not to live as long as possible, but to live as well as possible.

I don't believe taking a zinc pill is a cure for acne; I believe it may be offering a significant clue in how to treat acne more effectively than current OTC products. I'm trying to follow that clue. Probably won't get far, but I never got anywhere by not trying. :D

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