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Vitamin B6 and Zinc

Taking a Vitamin B complex seems to matter to zinc's effectiveness on my acne. I had been ascribing this to B6 helping zinc absorption, or B6 directly being synergistic with zinc against acne in the skin, or both. However, now I see that the tryptophan->serotonin conversion requires Vitamin B6 and magnesium, which makes me wonder if the bulk of the benefit of B6 has to do with the chain of events required to create melatonin. Someone else reported that magnesium along with their zinc appeared to help; it turns out I'm already getting significant magnesium with my calcium pill, so if that was an important co-factor, I wouldn't necessarily have noticed.

Although I can easily sleep 9 hours per night in total darkness, it's much harder to infer whether I'm really getting a normal melatonin surge during that time. I'm suspicious because I have trouble with excessive REM sleep and I wonder if that's indicative of a lousy melatonin cycle. I haven't quite figured out what periodically makes the excessive REM go away. Could be exercise, could be daytime sunlight in the eyes, could be something else. If only there were an easy way to directly test the quality of my melatonin cycle.

The idea that the nightly melatonin surge is key to avoiding acne (via stimulating the production of zinc superoxide dismutase) appeals to me because it would easily explain why it's so difficult to treat acne and why the neo-Paleolithics are acne-free (they almost certainly get more zinc in their diet, and they certainly have less factors that interfere with nightly melatonin than anyone living in a world where electricity is available).

I think I will order some L-tryptophan and perform an experiment where I try to force large amounts of tryptophan (the precursor to melatonin) into the brain in the evening by chasing the tryptophan with glucose (spikes insulin, removes amino acids that compete with tryptophan to get across the blood-brain barrier). I've tried 5-HTP with no clear-cut effect (at least on my excessive REM sleep), and it's not clear to me that 5-HTP is likely to be a good choice for elevating serotonin levels in the brain.

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Daytime Melatonin

One of the simplest environmental differences between us and the acne-free neo-Paleolithics is simply sun. The two tribes Cordain studied are relatively close to the equator, so they both are likely to get lots of vitamin D and to have longer, darker sleep periods than us. But another interesting difference is all the sunlight in their eyes.

Sun in the eyes suppresses melatonin. I suspect the nocturnal melatonin surge is important to avoiding acne (melatonin may directly suppress androgens in the skin, and stimulate cells to produce zinc superoxide dismutase, amongst other possibilities). But does it matter to acne that we wear sunglasses, work indoors, and generally don't get as much melatonin-suppressing light during the daytime as the acne-free neo-Paleolithics? Maybe it does.

This study shows that spending the day in dim light "suppresses the digestion of the evening meal, resulting in malabsorption of dietary carbohydrates in it." In a followup study, they were able to also interfere with digestion by administering bright light during the evening meal, which I find slightly puzzling (I'll need to fetch the full papers next time I'm at University and see what they concluded about that).

I would suppose that any effect of light on digestion is via melatonin. The gastro-intestinal tract (GIT) both creates melatonin for its own use and (possibly) accumulates some pineal melatonin from the bloodstream. I guess the drop in circadian pineal melatonin during the day signals the gut to become more active at digestion (melatonin in the gut slows digestion).

Why do I care about malabsorption of carbs? Because malabsorption of at least one common carbohydrate (fructose) is associated with decreased plasma tryptophan, which could keep you from having as large a nocturnal melatonin surge as you should have that night. It may be that another sugar (carbohydrate) plays a similar role in people who can't digest it properly: lactose. This represents another possibility for placing the "dairy correlates with acne" evidence into a single unified theory of how acne works.

What can I do to explore this possibility? Unfortunately, Seattle doesn't supply much sunlight, especially at this time of the year. But I do have the little 505nm LED hat I made for suppressing melatonin. I can use that hat, get as much outdoor light to my eyes as possible, and try to make the last meal of the day one that is smaller, lighter, and as devoid of fructose as possible, and eaten before dark. I want that last meal digested well before bedtime.

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I continue to think about the birth control pill clue. Birth control pills can improve acne and lower serum levels of zinc, and the "missing" zinc may be moving into carbonic anhydrase in the red blood cells. How to manipulate that process (without taking birth control pills!)?

Today, I got a bottle of carnosine, a carbonic anhydrase stimulator. I'll be experimenting with that to see if it lets me stay acne-free at a lower dose of zinc. We almost certainly evolved to eat our meat raw, and cooking meat decreases its carnosine significantly. Alternatively, carnosine content may vary to a great degree from one cut of meat to another; it's possible that neo-Paleolithic tribes eat cuts (such as cheeks) that are usually not served in civilized diets.

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Hadn't gone completely off zinc in so long that I forgot what my acne really used to look like. Amazing how quick you can get used to clear skin even after decades of suffering with acne. But it also reminds me that there's something significant here. Going from zero to 150mg of zinc (combined with innumerable other things, such as being Vitamin D replete -- who knows which ones matter) stops my acne dead in its tracks within 48 hours. I still find that stunning, and believe it provides a big clue about acne if I were smart enough to figure it out.

Today I've been thinking about dietary zinc. I realized I had no idea what molecular form zinc most likely has when I get it from my diet. When it gets to the intestine, is it still a part of that molecule, or is it in elemental form by then?

The epithelial cell in the intestine is the point of zinc absorption, and the more dietary zinc you take in, the less gets absorbed. Unfortunately, there is no definitive test for zinc deficiency, its metabolism just has too many unanswered questions. If there were one pool of zinc (like, say, red blood cells) that everything else in the body drew on for its zinc needs, then I could just test that pool and answer a question like: "do I just suffer from poor absorption of zinc -- does 150mg in pill form just get me up to 'normal'?".

There is a recent rat finding that L-histidine increased absorption of a particular form of zinc. Is it possible that the acne-free neo-Paleolithic tribes are getting their zinc in a form that is simply better absorbed than manufactured forms of zinc? One of my growing variety of zinc supplements claims to be chelated with "amino acids" -- but which ones? Can I find a zinc supplement that I can be certain also contains histidine? In any case, this is confusing since histidine as a supplement is claimed to increase urinary excretion of zinc. This looks like it would take a number of hours at University to sort all this out. A this paper says "The effects of histidine on the zinc status are controversial."

This guy seems to put it well:

zinc deficiency may result from a low-zinc diet, poor absorption, excessive loss of zinc, zinc redistribution in intra- and extracellular compartments, or a combination of these factors that is inadequate for the given age and sex group.
There is no simple definition of zinc deficiency, and therefore no simple test for it.
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The Quality of Sleep

This morning, I have an honest-to-God undeniable red spot forming on my nose. I only took 50mg of zinc yesterday, and am still struggling to get my excessive REM sleep back under control, and I guess I did eat half a large pizza that contained at least a modest layer of cheese (though I usually expect to get away with some cheese when I'm on ~200mg zinc). I just realized I may have to be out in public for a few weeks next week, so I'll stay on low/no zinc for a few days to give myself a break, since I may not be able to resist megadosing to stay clear next week. I guess the good news in there is that, though my acne clearly depends on more than just zinc, it continues to be clear that zinc is a co-factor, since just dropping the dose of zinc brings the acne back, and upping the dose makes it go away.

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While pondering the relationship of melatonin/sleep/acne, I ran across this 2008 paper:

Low estradiol levels in women of reproductive age having low sleep variation.

Since higher estrogen levels correlate with more breast cancer and more sleep (in some studies) correlates with less breast cancer, they wanted to see if more sleep correlated with lower estrogen levels.

The low sleep variation group, that is, the women who sleep regularly, had mean E2 levels 60% lower than other groups. These results suggest that sleep variation significantly correlates with E2 levels, whereas sleep duration does not show a statistically significant relationship.

What I take for myself from this result is that varying your sleep pattern can be added to the long list of ways a modern lifestyle makes you less likely to have a normal nocturnal melatonin surge. We evolved with the sun as our primary source of light, and the chronobiological clock expects "sleep time" to come at almost the same time every day, since sunset is a highly regular occurrence.

If the rate*time of melatonin were one critical factor in reducing acne, then staying up a couple of hours later some days may be a good way to get less melatonin out of the same number of hours of sleep.

Unfortunately, one problem with this abstract (haven't got my hands on the full paper yet) is the question of light. Did sleep variation also correlate with attempting to sleep more hours past morning light? If so, then some part of the melatonin cycle should have been impaired simply sleeping fewer hours in darkness (even if the total # of hours of sleep was as good).

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I continue on focusing on my melatonin cycle as a means to be 100% clear with <= 100mg zinc. Alas, last evening I botched my treadmill run, as I kept getting interrupted, got off the treadmill, got back on. The resulting sleep was crammed with excessive REM, extremely lengthy dreams. I particularly liked the one where I rode a bicycle around the town where I went to college and kept discovering house fires, which I would then labor to phone in to 911 after Herculean efforts to identify the address and cross streets. I distinctly remember thinking "I should ride my bike more often; I had no idea how common these house fires are -- I'm really doing a public service." Apparently, it never occurred to me that being "lucky" enough to phone in several house fires in one day might make me appear to be a very suspicious character. :dance: The duration and detail in these dreams is simply amazing. I remember one of the house fires was in an alley, I remember a suspicious looking car that drove into the alley and stopped, forcing me to hide behind a couple of trees. I can't remember the house number, but I remember it had 5 digits and that I realized only after reporting it to 911 that they would need a street name, and my lengthy journey to figure out what street the house was actually on. This is not normal. :(

So, it was at least 10 hours of sleep, but I suspect it was not accompanied by an ideal melatonin surge. Does quantity trump quality? This morning, there were no obvious flaws, but after some minutes of inspection, I finally found a small, non-inflamed acne spot that I was able to essentially pop and flick away in one motion with a fingernail. I also found a tiny bump on the back of one leg that I can't see, but will presume is acne.

If the only aspect of sleep that really matters to acne is the rate*duration of pineal melatonin, then fewer hours of sleep definitely is worse, but more hours is not guaranteed to be better. Depressed people (for whom excessive REM can be one symptom) can easily be in bed 10 hours a day and not awaken refreshed. Acne and depression are correlated and it could be that one of the connecting factors is melatonin. Melatonin is certainly a hot area of research into depression.

I return again to the neo-Paleolithic tribes where Cordain reports absolutely zero acne. Of course, they have no electricity, so that eliminates one easy way of screwing up your melatonin cycle. But what about summer, when the days get shorter, and those folks might naturally get less sleep (and therefore less melatonin)? Well, first there were the Trobriand Islanders of New Guinea. It looks to me like they are at a latitude of about 6 degrees South. That means the length of their nights varies... not much at all during the year. How about the Ache of Paraguay? That looks like around 25 degrees South, which is more seasonal variation in day length -- but not really enough to make it hard to get 9 hours of sleep a night, by my calculation.

Again, I don't believe there can be a single-factor culprit for most modern acne, but melatonin is certainly a simple and direct acne factor that separates us from the neo-Paleolithics. My search is for the absolute smallest number of well-defined factors I can change to turn my acne on and off like a light switch, and I'm guessing melatonin will have to be one of them.

For me to get a lengthy healthy melatonin surge each night, I have to change into a "morning person" -- the world will insist on waking you up if you try to sleep several hours past sunrise. It's also very hard to create a bedroom that is dark when the sun comes up -- no curtains are opaque enough, or cover all the edges of a window well enough. Since I see that "morning people" generally get more light in the morning than "evening types", I've constructed a little battery-powered baseball cap that shines two low-power LEDs (frequency chosen for maximal melatonin suppression) into my eyes. I'm going to try wearing that for short periods every morning to help rearrange my circadian rhythms to look like a morning person.

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Last night, I committed to paying for a real melatonin cycle. To actually be asleep by 10pm, I tend to have to "shoot for" 9pm. So, at 8pm, I got on the treadmill and took 2 4-gram glucose tablets. Glucose raises your insulin up, insulin drives amino acids out of the blood, but one of the last it drives out is tryptophan. That means that all the other amino acids that were crowding the blood-brain barrier and keeping tryptophan from getting in are temporarily pushed out of the way, letting the tryptophan flow into the brain.

There, it will quickly get turned into serotonin (an appetite suppressant, BTW, so even though I was slightly hungry after a too-small supper, I wasn't hungry after glucose+treadmill). Later, the pineal gland will need serotonin to manufacture melatonin.

I actually got in bed by 10pm and then remembered I hadn't taken my just-before-bedtime zinc. But, I was too comfortable and sleepy, so I didn't bother. Asleep by 10:15pm, got up at 7:15am, just about 9 hours sleep. I woke several times in the night, but rolled over and went back to sleep. My excessive REM sleep was definitely decreased. Spent 5 minutes looking at myself in the mirror, and feeling with my hands everywhere I can't see. Cannot find any new acne.

Has anybody else considered whether a healthy melatonin cycle is necessary (but not sufficient) to treating acne? Off to surf PubMed.

Prevalence and risk factors of facial acne vulgaris among Chinese adolescents.

Here, they included "insufficient sleep" among the "significant risk factors" for acne in the adolescents they studied.

Coping with acne: beliefs and perceptions in a sample of secondary school Greek pupils.

Here, they did not find sleep (or any other factor they looked at) statistically correlated with acne. But of course, if everybody is getting little sleep, there will be little correlation with acne; the necessary but not sufficient problem again.

The response of skin disease to stress: changes in the severity of acne vulgaris as affected by examination stress.

This study is interesting for what it didn't see. It says "The association between worsened sleep quality and acne exacerbation was close to significant", which is another way of saying it was not statistically significant. But look at the hours of sleep the patients estimated they were getting: 6.3-6.6 hours/night. Typical humans don't get enough sleep, and acne sufferers, on average, definitely don't get enough sleep (or, according to my current theory, enough hours of retinal darkness to encourage a large nocturnal melatonin surge.)

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That was about all I could find. If my current model were right (saying you need zinc and melatonin to drive cellular use of zinc), there is zero research to confirm or deny it. Medical research completely focuses on a single factor at a time, so if a disease requires two or more actions to treat, researchers are quite unlikely to ever discover that. Even the single factor of "sleep" doesn't seem to have a single rigorous study relating it to acne, other than observational studies that, in essence, report that "Yup, they got acne, and they don't sleep much!". Is there really not a single interventional study that investigated whether increasing the hours of sleep affected acne? If anybody finds one, please point me to it.

How about skin healing? If it's hard to just sleep more to have less acne, would you do it to make your skin heal faster?

Melatonin as a major skin protectant: from free radical scavenging to DNA damage repair.

A big ol' summary of how research suggests melatonin relates to the skin. The multiple pathways that melatonin uses to generate multiple anti-oxidants (including those that require zinc). Hair follicles? Stimulates growth at low concentration, inhibits it at high concentrations.

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People often imagine that if we understood exactly what causes cancer we could prevent it. But as one Nobel-prize winner pointed out, we already do understand exactly what causes most lung cancer, but that knowledge has not been terribly successful at eliminating that class of cancer.

If one necessary component of treating chronic acne turned out to be requiring 9 hours of sound sleep in darkness every night, how many acne sufferers would be willing and able to do that? If threat of cancer can't keep teenagers from smoking, can threat of acne really make them get 9 hours of sleep?

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I was wrong. It turned out that yesterday there were a couple of zits in out of the way places that I didn't notice. I was so fully expecting to be zit-free, I just spent 60 seconds turning my face left/right in the mirror and declared myself clear. This is a really interesting failure, because I had actually fallen off my own regimen but apparently couldn't believe that would matter.

People Can't Believe Melatonin Matters -- Even Me!

On the day we lost an hour of sleep due to the DST time change, I went to the 8:45pm showing of "Watchmen". That kept me up past midnight, although I couldn't manage to sleep in the next day and still haven't found my dang sleepmask. And, then it turns out I had just quit making an effort to tend my melatonin cycle. I had stopped the evening 35 minutes aerobics, and had even missed doing the little pumpkin seeds + glucose trick to shove more evening tryptophan (fuel for melatonin) into the brain.

Not only was I getting less sleep, I was getting less quality of sleep, which probably implies less of a nocturnal melatonin surge. In my particular case, I have an extra gauge of sleep quality -- excessive REM sleep. Excessive REM sleep for me means endless dreaming, where each dream is less of an episode or fragment, than a full-length movie. I have actually recounted some of these upon waking, and some of them are like a 30-minute sitcom, complete with beginning, middle, and an ending where the bad guy gets his comeuppance. My excessive REM died down when I started doing all the tricks designed to give me a normal melatonin cycle, but it's come back in the last few days.

But, because I was taking zinc, and a big dose of EGCG, I just implicitly felt like I would stay acne-free. Even though I try to convince other people that melatonin probably matters to acne (my guess is because it stimulates cell genes to make anti-oxidant enzymes that require zinc), apparently I hadn't convinced myself! You can't see, touch, or taste your nightly melatonin cycle. But I think the real problem in believing melatonin matters is that it's a form of not doing. You just can't get away from the subtext of morality associated with acne. I must have acne because I'm bad, or I did something wrong. Since food is the new sex when it comes to morality, that fits right in with the endless witchhunts for foods associated with acne. 99% of the time, the food that will be indicted for causing acne will be something that tastes good. Thus, soda is a Great Evil for acne sufferers, but carrot juice (crammed with sugar!) is just fine.

So, when it comes to morality, sloth (at least in America) is right up there with kicking puppies. Tell someone they need to treat their disease by exercising more, or cutting back on foods they like, or by taking an awful-tasting pill with terrible side-effects, or by going to the doctor and getting cut with a knife -- and they embrace that! Tell someone they need to treat their disease by getting longer and more enjoyable sleep -- and they just won't do it. Even better, since no doctor can easily test your melatonin cycle without sticking you in a sleep lab for 24 hours, you will never ever hear a doctor tell you or anyone you know that they have a melatonin problem. Like all of us humans, doctors tend to solve problems by "looking where the light is better". If they can't measure melatonin, they'll just assume it doesn't matter.

But the Evidence is Clear: Melatonin Matters

If you told your doctor "I've started injecting myself every day with a big dose of this hormone I've discovered", she would be horrified. But of course, that's really equivalent in an inverse way to what most of us do every day -- we suppress the big dose of the natural hormone melatonin that nature intended us to get every day. And we may be paying for it with increased disease.

The Melatonin Hypothesis emerged when studies showed breast cancer correlated with nightshift work for women. There's considerable evidence that melatonin is oncostatic (keeps cancer from growing), so the hypothesis emerged that when you screw with people's normal melatonin cycle on a long-term basis, you open yourself up for a greater risk of cancer. Enough evidence for that has piled up that the International Agency for Research on Cancer has declared nightshift work a probable carcinogen.

If you want to think about how acne works, you have to explain Cordain's acne-free neo-Paleolithics. There's just no getting around the fact that it's stunning that they could not find a single zit, not in adults, not in hormonal teenagers, not in menstruating women, nada. Of course, the trick is then in saying which of the thousands of things that is different about their lifestyle keeps them acne free (and what if it's more than one thing combined)? Cordain leapt on diet (and was embraced, of course, whole-heartedly by the folks who unconsciously seek a moral message in the disease of acne).

I can see one very good reason to believe Cordain hasn't got it right: he hasn't opened a clinic that is producing a stream of 100% acne-free clients. Instead, he's gone the route of all people who take a half-hearted whack at acne and get slightly-better-than-placebo results: he sells you an ebook, a plan, a newsletter. If your acne doesn't disappear even on his incredibly restrictive diet, well maybe you messed up and ate something that secretly contained one of the forbidden foods. I think if Cordain had studied the acne community, their desperation, and their existing food obsessiveness (that sometimes goes all the way to anorexia), he would have been more circumspect in designing his cure. But I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt.

Cordain will also advise taking some zinc for some patients, and avoiding dairy. But what about that dairy thing? The Masaai have traditionally eaten meat, milk, and cow's blood. Now, milk is filtered cow's blood, so if you think androgens or other hormones from cow's milk is causing acne, you ought to be horrified at drinking the blood straight. So do the Masaai get acne? I'm not sure, but I see that when some Masaai were shown a picture of an American student with acne, some asked what it was. One thing I am sure of, the Masaai traditionally have not had artificial light sources that makes it easy for them to wreck their natural melatonin cycle.

We always pin the blame for teenaged acne on "hormones", but Cordain's neo-Paleolithic teenagers still had zero acne. I don't believe in any single-factor explanation of acne, but it is interesting to note that one of the things that often comes with being a teenager is a later curfew. Of my nephews who have acne, none would tolerate the idea of having to be in bed by 9pm. I doubt getting a healthy nocturnal melatonin surge would make them 100% acne-free, but I wouldn't be surprised if it dramatically improved their symptoms.

Back to Square 1

So now that I've re-convinced myself to pay attention to the melatonin leg of this regimen, I'll go back to 150mg/day of zinc, do all the tricks to evoke a long and healthy melatonin surge at night, and predict that I will be 100% acne free within a matter of days (if not, then that will be really depressing and indicate a flaw in what limited understanding I thought I had carved out). Then, I'll go back to trying to reduce the zinc dosage again.

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Continuing on 300mg ECGC, 100mg zinc. No new zits, as expected. Most old ones healed. There is one week-old spot that was in the middle of erupting when I upped the dose of zinc. There is now a tiny white mark there that could be turning into a tiny nodule. I've seen this before and ascribe it to the relatively rapid transition from having inflammatory acne to having none. If I leave it alone, it'll probably get pushed up and fall off eventually.

Pantothenic acid deficiency as the pathogenesis of acne vulgaris.

Downloaded and read this paper from Medical Hypotheses (not a peer-reviewed journal, by design). This must be what started the whole Vitamin B5 craze for acne. MedHyp doesn't even accept trial data (they want hypotheses, not results), unless its of an informal or preliminary nature. So, it's not surprising that the trial data here lacks much rigor. Little in the way of quantification, so you get "noticeable decrease" and "complete control" instead of any numbers that you can use to compare to other treatments.

I just can't tell if he really got results significant enough that any theory of acne should have to account for why B5 can help some people. When you count 0 zits in an entire population of neo-Paleolithics, then you've got something that has to be accounted for (barring outright fraud by the author). But it's hard to tell if he achieved much significance or not. I can't find any other scientific followup to this paper, or anyone else investigating B5 and acne.

Most discouraging is the sentence "In severe cases, complete control of the disease process may take a longer time, sometimes up to 6 months or longer". This, of course, is the fallback of all faux acne treatments, since a significant amount of acne will get better on its own in "6 months or longer" when your target demographic includes adolescents. I especially like the folks who claim that the reason their product isn't working is that there is an incredibly lengthy queue of acne lined up waiting to get to your skin, so if no results in a month, just assume your queue length is longer than a month. There is no shame in the acne industry!

Vitamin D deficiency is the cause of common obesity.

Always something I can't resist reading when browsing MedHyp. The basic idea here is that falling Vitamin D levels notify the body that winter is coming, so it's time to start packing away every calorie as fat. (The author of the Shangri-La diet I think has a related theory, where it's the variation in variety and strength of flavors that delineates the "stay lean" from the "pack the fat on" seasonal signals) Simple ideas about weight have so far all proven wrong, but it's certainly true that if the correct value for "healthy" levels of Vitamin D is >50ng/ml, then probably very few diet studies in America have ever had a significant number of subjects with "healthy" levels of Vitamin D. Nothing is ever simple about obesity, but it's an interesting idea.

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Three days of anything is way too soon to judge its effect on acne, but I have to say things look pretty good today, especially after definitely not having a full melatonin cycle last night (up til 1am, sleeping only til 7am). Of course, I've been on ~150mg zinc picolinate for a bit, so maybe it's all from the zinc. As usual, moving back to large-dose zinc combined with the usual suspects in my pill case stopped all new acne within about 48 hours. Still, I could swear there's just less oil and maybe smaller pores. We'll see. Today, I'll drop back to 100mg zinc picolinate (50mg at bedtime, 50mg sometime earlier in the day) and try to stick with that for a week. If still acne-free by then, I can try dropping further.

I actually decided to take 300mg/day of the EGCG initially. In for a dime, in for a dollar. So far, looking for negative side effects mainly turns up mild correlation with specific birth defects (haven't got a look at the full article yet to judge whether it was likely a folate-deprived population anyway), and a biochemical argument that EGCG acts as an anti-folate.

Methotrexate (MTX) is the original man-made anti-folate, and it was argued long and falsely that rheumatoid arthritis patients should therefore avoid folate supplements to ensure that their MTX remained effective against symptoms. Eventually, someone took the trouble to study it and showed that that was false. More savvy rheumatologists will immediately put their patients on a large dose of folic acid when they prescribe MTX these days. But this added to the evidence that we don't really know exactly how MTX treats RA symptoms.

Since I get a goodly dose of folate in the 2-a-day Vitamin B complex I take with the zinc, I'll predict I won't suffer from any anti-folate effects of taking too much EGCG.

Effect of Training on Zinc Metabolism: Changes in Serum and Sweat Zinc Concentrations in Sportsmen

This 1997 study compares athletes (volleyball) and controls and zinc loss as the athletic season progresses. Three months into the season (the authors speculate this meant "latent fatigue"), the athletes diverged from the controls by losing more zinc via both sweat and urine. I'll assume this means that couch potatoes like me getting on the treadmill 35 minutes/day are unlikely to exercise enough to move their metabolism to a point where it starts losing an abnormal amount of zinc.

The athletes also began to see cortisol increase significantly after exercise by the third month of their season. Total serum zinc increased in both groups after "maximal exercise". Where did the extra zinc come from? Where did it go when serum levels went back down? Still groping in the dark on that subject.

Zinc uptake by human erythrocytes with and without serum albumins in the medium.

Well, this sure might be an interesting article as it appears they mean to assess the effect of dairy on zinc uptake into erythrocytes. Unfortunately, I can't make it out from the abstract, so will have to get the full article next time I'm at the University. I love the ambiguity of:

The results show a significantly greater rate of Zn uptake in the absence rather than in the presence of albumins in the extracellular medium and being significantly greater with bovine than with human serum albumin when the experiments were performed in media with equimolar concentrations of Zn.

To what, exactly, does "being significantly greater" refer? Could be saying zinc uptake was worse with bovine albumin -- or just the opposite! I wonder if this is a way that dietary dairy could directly influence zinc metabolism. I had been assuming that the dairy just provides some problematic molecules that bypass whatever zinc's role is in suppressing acne by being downstream of the preventative mechanism. Would be neat if I could find a way to eat dairy without acne. Sure do love those ice cream sandwiches!

Role of vitamin-zinc interactions on in vitro zinc uptake by human erythrocytes

Suggests that thiamine might enhance zinc uptake into erythrocytes, while ascorbic acid might be inhibitory for zinc uptakes "under deficient zinc status". Of course, many acne patients are chugging down way more Vitamin C than their guts can possibly absorb every day. I wonder if that contributes to acne? Also, I see people claiming that "citrus" causes their acne. Could be the usual random correlations, or maybe it's just fructose (do they ever test taking an equivalent amount of Coke to narrow it down?), or maybe they're marginally zinc deficient and citrus is able to significantly impair zinc transport. Hmmm.

Also sees riboflavin as inhibitory of uptake in the zinc-deficient state, but didn't see fit to mention it in the closing statement. Maybe I really need to parse apart all the things in the Vitamin B complex and just take a separate B6-only pill with the nightly zinc, as I think somebody else already suggested.

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