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databased

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  1. databased

    A Zinc-Less Zinc Regimen For Adults: Draft 5

    ALA is routinely prescribed for neuropathy. If it's not bioavailable enough to cause effects, no one has proven that. They do often use even larger doses, such as 600mg/day. In mice, ALA was interestingly ineffective when applied topically to reduce skin inflammation, but effective when delivered via feeding. There's a fairly large research effort devoted to EGCG; apparently a large number of researchers do not doubt it has effects in humans. The pill linked to is equivalent to about 3 cups of green tea. If, as is currently proposed by researchers, its mechanism is by inhibiting a folate enzyme, then it requires not so many EGCG molecules, since it's acting on the switch that controls conversion of folate, not attempting to act on the folate molecules itself. ALA is approved in Germany, but not in the U.S. Edit: I came across a meta-analysis that states: "It is unclear if the significant improvements seen after 3–5 weeks of oral administration at a dosage of >600mg/day are clinically relevant" http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3272801/ Getting EGCG OTC to do what you want is a little difficult. EGCG oxidizes when contact in the air, and it gets deactivated when in the intestines. A lot of the EGCG doesn't get to the blood. I'm estimating it would take at least 5 cups a day to have some effect. I'm taking the "formulation" problems and lack of bioavailability into account. The pills would have to be microencapsulated to "survive" the stomach. Acidic pH would deactivate the EGCG. However, most of the time drinking green tea wouldn't be problematic health-wise. There are a few contraindications, of course, but there's nothing inherently wrong with drinking green tea. I'm just pointing out that we have to be realistic on its downsides and effects. I pointed out the widespread prescription of ALA for neuropathy to indicate how shocking it would be if it were not absorbed. It really doesn't matter what effect it has on neuropathy when your goal is an effect on speeding the elimination of red marks. The pharmacokinetics of ALA were established at least 20 years ago and it is well-absorbed, as you would expect given the nature of the molecule. It's a really easy experiment to perform, which I've done many times. $20 for a bottle and if you don't see faster skin healing, simply don't buy any more. Works for me. YMMV, but only costs $20 to try, far less than many other commercial remedies for getting rid of those red marks. How do you estimate what quantity of green tea is required to have an effect if you don't know the precise mechanism of the effect? By what formula did you arrive at "5" rather than "3" or "1.67"? How were researchers able to measure the pharmacokinetics of EGCG so easily if it's terribly difficult to digest? Finally, why did researchers find pure EGCG actually produced more consistent pharmacokinetics than green tea if it were so troublesome to digest as you propose? Do you know of any study showing that popping an EGCG pill fails to produce a measurable rise in serum levels? I don't know what "hormonal" means when used as an adjective. A hormone is simply a molecule that transmits information from one part of the body to another. In my theory of acne, the only important hormone is melatonin. YMMV. For me, I've seen no detectable variation in symptoms from type of meat. OTOH, you do need to successfully digest significant amounts of tryptophan for the pineal gland to make melatonin, and I suspect that contributes to vegetarianism being no cure for acne. IME, daytime exposure of sunlight to the retina is by far the most significant contributor to suppressing acne (which is part of why I believe failure to suppress daytime melatonin form the pineal gland is a primary factor in the disease). If I can have my naked eyes in the sun for a 12-hour day, then I have to work pretty hard to have acne (stay up til 2am, eat lots of ice cream, etc.). There was a study of one of the sunniest cities in the U.S. that found the average sunlight exposure was less than an hour per day.
  2. databased

    A Zinc-Less Zinc Regimen For Adults: Draft 5

    ALA is routinely prescribed for neuropathy. If it's not bioavailable enough to cause effects, no one has proven that. They do often use even larger doses, such as 600mg/day. In mice, ALA was interestingly ineffective when applied topically to reduce skin inflammation, but effective when delivered via feeding. There's a fairly large research effort devoted to EGCG; apparently a large number of researchers do not doubt it has effects in humans. The pill linked to is equivalent to about 3 cups of green tea. If, as is currently proposed by researchers, its mechanism is by inhibiting a folate enzyme, then it requires not so many EGCG molecules, since it's acting on the switch that controls conversion of folate, not attempting to act on the folate molecules itself.
  3. databased

    A Zinc-Less Zinc Regimen For Adults: Draft 5

    Never had zinc worsen acne. Never seen a zinc study that mentioned any initial increase in acne. YMMV, obviously. Don't know of any good studies trying to explore the safety of zinc. It would presumably depend on how much other zinc you're getting from diet, as well. IIRC, 100mg/day has been used in a year-long study of elderly adults.
  4. Revised due to: caffeine's effect on melatonin, and folate's ability to influence light-induced melatonin suppression. Morning EGCG + caffeine along with moving folate intake to evening is about the only significant trick I've discovered in the last couple of years. Recap: Zinc is one of the longest-studied nutrients that correlates with statistically significantly less acne. Some months years ago, I discovered that around 200mg/day of zinc picolinate could, under some circumstances, make me dramatically acne-free for the first time ever. That led to a very long course of study, research and experiments. For a megadose of zinc to affect acne dramatically, a good bet was that zinc is a cofactor in a reaction that affects acne. If you have a chemical reaction in the body like Zinc + X -> Y, then flooding the area with zinc will at least modestly increase the production of Y, since it makes it more likely that all the available "X" will get used up. After much study, I concluded that "Y" is actually zinc superoxide dismutase, or ZSOD. ZSOD comes with the usual labels people grope for in acne cures: anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, etc. But then, what is the "X" that must be combined with zinc to make this reaction? If I have to overdose on zinc to get enough "Y", the implication is that what I'm really deficient in is "X". Like most people in America who eat meat, it's highly unlikely that there is any lack of zinc in my diet. [Well, I have to disagree with that. A fast food diet will be low in zinc. And "organic" foods contain zinc in proportion to how much zinc the farmer added to the soil, not necessarily related to how much we evolved to get.] If I could remedy my deficiency in "X", then I should be able to be acne-free without taking any zinc. [Maybe, but a small amount of zinc could still be plausibly required if you ain't getting it from diet. For males, ejaculation also loses you a chunk of zinc, which could be a factor.] More study led me to conclude that "X" is melatonin. Melatonin slows cell division. It may decrease the production of androgens right in the skin. And perhaps most importantly, melatonin crosses the cell membrane and directly stimulates your DNA to produce the precursor to ZSOD, the molecule that zinc must combine with in order to create ZSOD. Experiments with melatonin were immediately fruitful. By tending to my sleep cycle, I was soon able to be acne-free on less zinc, but still could not be acne-free reliably for long periods without any zinc supplement. Something was still missing. The final piece of the puzzle was finding the fairly recent discoveries that show that, in modern life, we fail to effectively suppress daytime melatonin because we live in relatively dim indoor light. When you don't effectively suppress daytime melatonin by having your eyes in outdoor light all day long, two bad things happen. First, your gut thinks it's nighttime and you get carbohydrate malabsorption that keeps it from effectively digesting tryptophan (the fuel your body needs to make melatonin) and (tada!) zinc! Second, you get a "flattened" melatonin curve when you sleep at night -- your body simply doesn't produce the giant burst of melatonin at night that nature intended. The data fits this hypothesis nicely, including the most obvious points: Do low zinc levels correlate with acne? Yes.Do low tryptophan levels correlate with acne? Yes. Do low ZSOD levels correlate with acne? Yes. Can this explain why primitive tribes are acne-free? Yes. This effect of daytime light is simply astounding. For example, I have long struggled with the ability to consume legumes. I bought into the standard advice that it's a problem of gut flora, if you eat them long enough your gut will adjust and digest them better without gas, etc. If I had a large Coke and a large burrito, the result was 100% predictable: great intestinal discomfort. However, I now know that was simply another problem of failing to suppress daytime melatonin. By living in outdoor light all day, I can slam down a Coke+burrito with zero intestinal discomfort, hardly any gas at all. I've repeated this experiment reliably several times, and outdoor light exposure is like a light switch (heh!) on my ability to digest legumes. I speculate that the growth in acid reflux disease (and the esophageal cancer it can lead to) is probably another result of living in dim light during the day that produces carbohydrate malabsorption. [NEW] I kept searching for a compelling acne-relevant effect of sunlight on skin without particular satisfaction, but have finally found one that seems to have a detectable effect for me. UV may be degrading folic acid in the blood. The pineal gland burns folic acid to make melatonin, so that could be a secondary method by which bright summer sunlight helps keep melatonin shut down during the day. It is possible that EGCG, an ingredient of green tea, interferes with folic acid. So having EGCG in the morning and trying to push folate consumption (for me, a folic acid pill) to evening could help restore the melatonin cycle you would get if you lived naked in the equatorial sun all day. The unfortunate thing is, although the pill-free cure for my acne is conceptually very simple, it's also very hard for modern people to accomplish. I had to buy a laptop with an extra-bright screen so I could work outdoors during the day -- most people have indoor jobs with no option of working outdoors. Just look at some the many ways we guarantee we won't have a natural melatonin cycle: Work indoors all day. Indoor light simply does not produce the definitive OFF signal for pineal melatonin that outdoor light does. Even on a severely overcast day, outdoor light is much more intense (and also simply contains much more of the blue-green frequencies most effective at shutting down melatonin production). Sleep in the midst of light pollution. Ironically, while bright light is needed to shut melatonin all the way off, very little light is needed to depress the nighttime surge of melatonin that you need to make lots of ZSOD. A night light, a street light shining into your bedroom. Trying to sleep when the sun is up. Flipping on a light when you go to the bathroom. All easy ways to destroy your nocturnal melatonin surge. Go to bed at different times. Want to catch that late movie on the weekend? It's just like a form of jetlag -- your body's 24-hour clock just got bumped and may take days to settle back down to match your regular bedtime again. Take in lots of caffeine. Caffeine will both depress your nocturnal melatonin peak and shorten the hours you sleep, both ways to become melatonin-deprived. Vegetarianism. Without meat, it becomes more difficult to get enough tryptophan and zinc in the diet. If you combine that with eating high-fructose foods like apples, pears, etc. and living in dim light during the day to produce fructose malabsorption, that greatly raises the odds of acne. This is not to say you can't be a vegetarian and acne-free, but it is plausible that some vegetarians might have to take a couple of pills to get there. Sunglasses, hats, travel in cars, etc. If you compare modern people to the completely acne-free primitive tribes that still exist, it's almost like we are comically trying to avoid getting any daylight in our eyes. We stay indoors all day. When we travel, we run from shaded building to shaded car (often with dark-tinted windows). We cover our eyes with dark glasses not just when the light is bright, but often just as a fashion statement when the light isn't even bright at all! Depression. Depression and a screwed-up melatonin cycle often go hand-in-hand. But of course, acne itself is strongly correlated with depression. This is a real chicken-and-egg scenario. What causes what? The mess is more complicated by the fact that anti-depressants may tinker with the melatonin cycle for better or worse themselves. What is easy to say is that it would be better to not be depressed if you want a normal melatonin cycle (but that may be a complete tautology for some people!). A Zinc-less Zinc Regimen I probably can't think of all the inventive ways people destroy their melatonin cycle, but here's the basic remedy to achieve natural levels of melatonin and ZSOD: Go to bed at the same time each night. Sleep in total darkness. (Black out your bedroom, go to sleep when the sun goes down, wear a sleep mask, never turn on a light in the middle of the night, etc.). Avoid caffeine, especially evening caffeine.Do get caffeine first thing in the morning (not after noon!); it helps keep melatonin from decaying to other forms. If you did not get that morning caffeine from green tea, take a single morning EGCG pill, in the hopes of surpressing daytime levels of folate. Try to postpone folate-rich foods until evening. Spend all day in outdoor light without sunglasses (or prescription glasses!) or hats. Sleep >= 8 hours. (This becomes easy when you stop megadosing caffeine and suppress your daytime melatonin.) FAQ That's too hard. I just can't... Since I've been doing it for weeks now, I agree with you. I have the luxury of being able to choose to work outside, but it's a pain -- I essentially do office work out on my deck. It's a pain to say I can't go to that midnight movie. It's a pain to put tinfoil on the bedroom windows, wear a sleep mask, etc. It's a pain to open every shade in the house every morning and get my eyes outside ASAP. All I can say is, it's nothing like the pain of cringing when I have to go out in public with acne. Can't I just take a pill? Since there are periodic reports in the medical literature of people who hurt themselves by taking extreme doses of zinc (400mg/day, 800mg/day, even more) for their acne, I suspect you can just take a pill, but it could send you to the hospital eventually. I could argue in great detail why you cannot achieve the desired effect by taking melatonin orally, but the fact is many people have tried melatonin pills for acne and they just don't cure it. A melatonin pill before bedtime might help you sleep a little better and jumpstart a busted melatonin cycle, but you really won't need that if you effectively suppress your daytime melatonin. Put another way, if you need that bedtime melatonin pill to sleep, you probably still have a busted melatonin cycle. Why me? How come my acne-free friends can... I used to just throw my hands up at this and invoke the fairy dust of "it must be our genes". However, now that I have a detailed theory of the mechanism of acne that seems to me to hold water, I can say that there's a decent chance it's "you" in significant part because you are doing some things different than your friends. For example, in college, were most of my friends staying up until 4am and virtually never going outside like me? Hmmmm, not really. And once you induce carb malabsorption by screwing up your melatonin cycle, then suddenly all the Coke I love to drink does make some difference, and the formerly confusing fact that trying to eat "healthy" by eating fruit really didn't work is incredibly frustrating. The fact is, I suspect I can induce acne in most of the "acne-free" people you know: just keep them in dim light all day every day, keep them in bright light when they're trying to sleep, give them lots of high-fructose foods with every meal (Coke or apples -- your choice), and supply lots of caffeine. There may well be a genetic component to the "why me?" question, but it may be quite small compared the actual details of your acne-inducing lifestyle. What about dairy? I still don't know. The fact is, while living the outdoor lifestyle, I have been able to eat a suspicious amount of ice cream without the usually reliable cystic acne response, but I haven't pushed it. It is plausible that the mechanism for dairy producing acne is not beta cellulin, but simply sugar (lactose), and that once carbohydrate malabsorption is cured by suppressing daytime melatonin, dairy isn't a problem. But I do not yet feel certain of that. Are you acne-free? What pills are you taking? Every week that I stick with all the rules to maintain my melatonin cycle, I'm acne free. In fact, I sometimes cheat and have caffeine, or miss my bedtime. That sometimes results in a zit, but not always. I stopped taking zinc. I have stopped taking my normal complement of vitamins for a couple of weeks and stayed acne-free, but won't give them up for longer than that because I start getting arthritis. Maybe it's just Vitamin D? No. I've been Vitamin D replete for years (>50ng/dl) with no effect on acne. It's possible that if you're horribly Vitamin D deficient (many modern people are) you won't be able to absorb zinc well, compounding your problems. While working outdoors, I work in the shade with no direct sunlight on my skin (though as much view of sky in my eyes as possible). The only times my skin is in direct sunlight is when the sun is low in the sky (little UVB). So, despite spending massive hours outdoors, I haven't tanned at all so far this year. As always, any hope that Vitamin D is really a significant factor in curing acne has to overcome the hurdle of explaining why there's no epidemiological evidence that it varies strongly with latitude (Canadians should have way more acne than Texans if Vitamin D were crucial to the disease). Can I do [...] instead? Who knows? But if it's really important to you to get rid of the acne, set aside 2 weeks where you can strictly control your light exposure, and see whether this works. I say "set aside", because I find this regimen amazingly hard. The indoors couch is like a magnet for my butt; I initially had to literally keep a stopwatch outside to keep from fooling myself that I was spending more hours outside than I really was. If you can do it religiously for 2 weeks and it doesn't eliminate all new acne, then the heck with me and my theory. If it does, then you've gained some understanding of how you can control the disease and you can do your own experiments and make your own trade-offs. [NEW] OK, I can't really arrange to have a natural relationship with light, there must be a pill to fix it! If you said you were going to kill my dog if I didn't cure your acne with pills, this is what I would do, based on my experience of what pills are most relevant. And I would still assure you all efforts to manage your relationship with sleep/light will make the pills work better. This is for a 200lb male, so if you're a 100lb female, please adjust the dosages down. And as always, this is hypothetical, not medical advice, consult a doctor before taking pills of any kind. 50mg zinc (any form but sulfate) twice daily with meals. B vitamins are the fuel for some other molecules (besides ZSOD) that can help mop up superoxide anions that trigger the acne autoimmune response. Slam them only in the evening (I would shoot for, say, after 3pm but before 7pm assuming a bedtime of 10-11pm): 1mg folic acid, 500mg niacinamide, and one B-50 pill. Yep, that's a lot. You will by-God not be short of Vitamin B. One morning EGCG pill with your morning caffeine. I really would not try upping the dose on that. 200mg alpha lipoic acid, twice daily with meals. To make the red marks go away faster. One big-ole fish oil pill, twice daily with meals. Your choice of dose/brand (but fish oil is not something I would skimp on price for; don't want a dose of mercury). I don't see fish oil as a highly effective acne treatment directly, but it does seem to reliably help me sleep better, which means it can indirectly influence my acne. One baby aspirin, in hopes of reacting with the fish oil to create resolvins to shut down inflammation. WARNING: aspirin can kill you, despite the innocent sounding "baby" in the name. Consult a doctor.Take one exercise pill daily. Oh, crap. Exercise doesn't come in a pill. But it absolutely can help people sleep better, so if you can exercise at least once a day, prefereably outdoors with your eyes naked to the sky, that would be a plus. Selenium? Meh, yeah, maybe for some people, not much. It's really not hard to harm yourself with excess selenium, so, yikes. You could just eat a Brazil nut a couple of times a week. Selenium is relevant in moving zinc around, so I suppose it's possible there would be some people for whom a tiny dab of selenium would work magic. Make sure somebody hasn't already stuffed some into some pill you're already taking.
  5. databased

    A Zinc-less Zinc Regimen for Adults: Draft 4

    Possibly relevant, but unconvincing. They appear to be talking about increasing SOD in the (rodent) brain via infrared exposure of the retina. That's nice and interestingly weird, but the brain is pretty isolated from the rest of the body and crammed full of cell types that the skin is not. It seems more exciting to me as evidence that sunlight in the eye still has brain effects that remain undiscovered.
  6. databased

    A Zinc-less Zinc Regimen for Adults: Draft 4

    Anything's possible, but I doubt it. And the tanning booth operator should be pretty upset if they find you not wearing the blocking glasses; they don't want to get sued if you get cataracts. :D I too can take zinc and still have acne. And not take any zinc and be clear.
  7. databased

    A Zinc-less Zinc Regimen for Adults: Draft 4

    Went through 2 bottles of the stuff. Couldn't see that it had any effect. I doubt it can get where/when it's needed in any quantity by taking it orally. Pineal melatonin, OTOH, goes to the skin cells and stimulates each cell to ramp up production of SOD. If you don't have the SOD right there in the cell that got touched by P. Acnes and started spewing superoxide anions, lots of SOD elsewhere will be no help. IMHO.
  8. databased

    Juice Fasting?

    I'm not, but would be interested to hear your results. When you're 300 pounds and "juice fasting", you're probably experiencing a drastic calorie reduction. Many people (including Holocaust survivors) have reported improved skin when (essentially to some degree or another) starving. My suspicion is that starving starts to shut down the immune system, and that acne is (yet another) auto-immune disease. It's interesting that Holocaust stories also note a disappearance of tooth and gum problems, and things like gingivitis are definitely viewed as "host response" diseases (auto-immune problems) these days. My guess as to the people most likely to NOT clear their skin from "juice fasting" are those that: are not overweight to start with can down almost as many calories as they were eating originally achieve a high-fructose diet by juicing lots of things like apples, pears, etc. Or possibly about calorie restriction, since it's not clear the people in the documentary would not have gotten the exact same benefits from the "twinkie diet". Note that the twinkie diet guy also saw improved parameters like better cholesterol, lowered triglycerides, etc.
  9. databased

    Conspiracy theory?

    OK, let's think about the massive inroads into cancer cures. Ooops, there aren't any. Well, we can now "cure" childhood leukemia (it's gonna hurt, your life expectancy is not truly restored, and you will have side-effects, but that's as close to a "cure" as we'll probably see). We really haven't made a dent in cancer mortality overall to speak of. For most cancers, metastasis is still essentially fatal. Perhaps you've been deluded by Peggy from Cancer Centers of America talking about how her pancreatic cancer was cured and failed to read the fine print of the commercial that says "these patient results are not typical". Sorry Peggy, most folks with pancreatic cancer are going to die, and any for-profit cancer hospital can make their cure rates look better simply by cherry-picking their patients (give me folks with money and early-stage disease!). So, the problem with acne is pretty analogous to that with cancer. The problem being, the body is a complex system and neither of these diseases (classes of disease, for cancer) arises from some simple, single factor. The oncogene theory of cancer (a simple, single factor theory) is pretty much in disarray, after decades of producing no cures. Just as it may turn out that the genetic approach to cancer was a dead end (or at least a very long detour to get to a less than satisfying point), acne researchers have spent decades on the dead end of attacking bacteria. But of course, people without acne have P. acnes crawling all over their face, a fact that always should have made the kill-all-the-bacteria approach a little suspect. I believe it will turn out that researchers who view acne as a problem of "host response" are on the right track; that is, it's not the bacteria that causes acne, but your body's response to it. In which case, the answer cannot be simple. Changing how the body responds to something rarely is. It's hard to take seriously any conspiracy theory that says there is already a hidden cure for cancer or acne. I think that can only be entertained if one is severely ignorant of the large amounts of money and time (massive for cancer) being spent researching both of them. So, not only do the bad ol' corporations have to hide a cure from people completely ignorant of medicine, they apparently are also succeeding in hiding it from the other big corporations that are pouring lots of money into finding it. And of course, the economic argument for conspiracy is absurd. Show me the highest profit being made by anyone off of treatments for cancer or acne. Can you seriously think that company could not multiply their profits by 10 (or more) if they could offer an absolute, 100% effective cure? Look at the sad parade of wealthy Americans who go to Mexico for wacko cancer cures (and die there, after their wallets have been lightened) and tell me what price could not be charged for a cancer cure. Who right now is willing to sell their house in exchange for chemotherapy that may or may not cure them? Yet people already can and do sell their houses to raise money for quack cures that promise the certainty that science can never honestly claim. Could Edison tell people when he was 50% along the way to inventing a reasonable light bulb? Absurd, right? If you know how far along you are to solving a problem nobody has ever solved before, then that essentially means you already know the solution. When somebody tells you how close they are to curing a disease, you can be sure it's because they are asking for money. However, for every complex problem there's always a simple answer. That's wrong. Like this one: There ya go, your simple answer. You can't really do anything with it. It's not falsifiable, so nobody can prove it wrong. And yet, it contains absolutely no more information than saying:
  10. databased

    A Zinc-less Zinc Regimen for Adults: Draft 4

    IIRC, the most recent zinc study required taking zinc 3 times per day, and did not show (statistical, group) improvements until multiple months had elapsed. The dumb answer is, it probably won't matter which you choose, but it's easy to experiment and see if you see any difference.
  11. databased

    Food causing acne (my personal experience)

    Ice cream gives me cystic acne. When I spend all day outdoors with my naked eyes in the summer sun, I can eat quite a lot of ice cream (and other "problem" foods) without getting acne. Bright light decreases carb malabsorption. Carb malabsorption interferes with digesting: tryptophan, zinc, Vitamin B. Those nutrients (plus a normal nocturnal melatonin surge) are needed to create anti-oxidants at the cellular level. Acne bacteria brushing against toll-like receptors triggers superoxide anion spews to kill the bacteria. Without sufficient per-cell antioxidants, the superoxide anions then start killing human cells, leading to an inflammatory cascade. IMHO
  12. databased

    Any advice?

    Free advice, worth every penny. Spend as many hours as possible each day with your naked eyes in bright sunlight. Living in dim indoor light increases carb malabsorption, keeping you from digesting nutrients you need (tryptophan, Vitamin B, zinc, etc.) to prevent acne.Sleep long and regular hours in total darkness. The goal is being sleepy at bedtime, sleeping 8-9 hours, and awakening totally refreshed and alert (indicative of having had a normal nocturnal melatonin surge). Caffeine in the morning is fine, but not within 8 hours of bedtime. Don't do extreme exercise close to bedtime. If you can't sleep well, you probably will not be able to get rid of the acne. Swing shifts are a great way to induce acne in most people.Supplement the nutrients you're failing to digest. zinc/boron/etc.Vitamin BVitamin Dalpha lipoic acid (mostly for healing)Avoid easily digestible carbs, especially high-fructose foods like apples, pears, mangos, etc. The more hours you can keep your eyes in bright light during the day, the less diet matters.To fill in the gaps, you can apply the Vitamin B directly to the skin that you're failing to digest and get some improvement (only in the places you apply it, obviously). A variety of skin treatments now contain niacinamide (B3). Here's one. (much cheaper if you cut the pads into fourths). The hormone that matters to acne most is melatonin. It's (probably) true that estrogen helps shutdown daytime production of pineal melatonin, but going on the pill hasn't statistically proven a great help for acne (though they sure sell it that way!). As always, any one factor may prove a miracle cure for any one patient, but I doubt that will be you since it sounds like you've had fairly non-trivial acne for an extended period. Anything's worth a try, though!
  13. databased

    A Zinc-less Zinc Regimen for Adults: Draft 4

    Sure. But one can construct good ideas about how a hundred different things can affect any proposed biochemical mechanism of acne. If you can't sort out primary factors from less important factors, then you end up just saying everyone is different so no effective treatment can be proposed for most people. I think the two key findings in acne of the last decade are the discovery that the Trobriand Islanders are utterly acne-free, and the finding bacteria touching toll-like receptors triggers superoxide anion spews that then proceed to kill human cells. Cordain looks at the first finding and decides diet is the key, period. But we all know that even when diet helps a lot, it doesn't usually produce the reliable, 100%, never-get-a-zit response seen in those people. That's why I put light at the top of the list. It influences digestion, it's hard for the Trobriand Islanders to screw up, and hard for all of us to emulate them. It's key to explaining why they can be utterly acne-free, while about 40% of our adult population has acne on any given day. It explains why most acne sufferers are certain that diet matters, but are also certain that sometimes diet doesn't matter. It's not the only factor you need to be acne-free, but it's a primary factor. IMHO. Remember, about 40% of the adult civilized population has acne on any given day. So, when you look around and think you see people who can be acne-free without a care, you are seeing: people with less acne (not none), people with less visible acne, people whose skin color makes acne less obvious, people who are having a "good week", etc. That would be stunning -- if you held them all down and had a dermatologist scan their skin for acne lesions. Given the actual results of doing that on a population sample, you're really saying that you found two populations that violate the rule that 40% of adults have an acne lesion on any given day. That's statistically highly unlikely. Those two groups you cite almost certainly did have acne, they just didn't have it bad enough for you to notice. I think that's the wrong question. All diseases are variable in response. We are all different. If you raise a bunch of kids without Vitamin D, they won't all get clinically significant rickets. But we don't focus our efforts on finding out what the difference is between those who get the most rickets and those who get the least rickets -- it makes more sense to uncover the fact that you need Vitamin D to avoid rickets and then make sure everybody gets "enough" (despite the fact that "enough" technically varies from one person to another). Right. You want to look at the kids who need little Vitamin D to avoid rickets and figure out how they're different than those who get severe rickets. That would be great, but it's even harder than proving what causes rickets in the first place. Don't forget to also create all the other hormonal responses of bright light, such as those that increase saliva and other factors that make digestion more effective so you can digest the nutrients needed to make melatonin and ZSOD. Nobody has studied the pineal gland during the day, AFAICT. Virtually all study is of the nocturnal surge, not of variations in the output when light has been present for hours. Hey, Kurzweil injects his vitamins to bypass the digestive tract completely (though I suspect that not getting folate directly to the colon may elevate his risk of colon cancer). IMHO, if acne were not a systemic disease, there would be highly effective treatments. If it is a systemic disease, then the odds you will fix it without treating the entire system of things that go wrong in the modern lifestyle are greatly reduced. I agree with you in principle. In practice, I think it's very difficult. If I treat acne systemically, then I don't have to understand in detail all the hundreds or thousands of details of the underlying mechanisms. If you want to try to avoid treating acne systemically, then you do need to understand all/most those things. Why exactly does bright light exposure amplify the nocturnal melatonin surge? I don't know. Why exactly does bright light reduce carb malabsorption? I don't know (maybe it sends a signal to the colon and affects its stockpile of melatonin, maybe it's due to amplifying saliva, stomach acid, etc., maybe it's something else). I know of no study that shows 50% of the population is absent acne. Note that finding that 50% of the population does not have an acne lesion on a given day does not (at all!) imply what you're assuming. My assumption is, the more times you inspect the same cohort, the more that percentage would grow, until something like 90% experiences acne lesions (and I bet the remaining 10% get regular sleep, work outdoors, etc.) Since caffeine can both slow the metabolization of melatonin (good) and interfere with sleep (bad), I predicted that caffeine intake 8 hours or more in advance of bedtime should not exacerbate acne. That has been my experience when I put that prediction into practice. I can drink a lot of green tea before noon with no effect on acne. A more modest dose close to bedtime almost always shortens my sleep and exacerbates acne.
  14. databased

    A Zinc-less Zinc Regimen for Adults: Draft 4

    It's been shown in rats that estrogen helps suppress pineal melatonin output. My theory is that when estrogen levels dip, you need more light in the eye to suppress daytime melatonin, which is needed to get the big nighttime surge needed to prevent acne. This explains both the acne of menstruation and of menopause. I don't view "hormonal" acne as anything different than just acne; it's just that fluctuating estrogen also influences the same systemic problem that causes almost all acne. Often, vegetarians are eating high-fructose diets. A large sweet apple has as much excess molar fructose (over glucose) as a can of Coke. They may also eat lots of processed carbs (e.g., pasta). Most acne theories about fructose are focused on insulin response. My belief is that's wrong; the problem is actually one of digestion. So, a big plate of pasta when you live in dim indoor light may be as much trouble for your skin as a 32-oz Coke sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup. IMHO, that's why people who think "grains are poisons" sometimes get improvement by eliminating them; if they eliminate the starchy carbs more than the grains bacteria can't eat as easily, that should help. If they were living in summer sun all day long and sleeping long/regular hours in darkness, they could probably eat about anything (including starchy carbs) and not have acne. Our eyes perception of light intensity is highly non-linear. When you think something is twice as bright, it's closer to 10 times as bright. So, the room that feels "bright" probably isn't very bright at all compared to the sunlight we evolved to live in all day (without hats and sunglasses). Try sitting outside with your eyes naked to the sky all day every day for a week. See what effect that has on your digestion, your sleep, and your skin. Note that you don't need direct sunlight in your eyes or on your skin; if the bright sky occupies most of your field of vision, that's about all you need.
  15. databased

    A Zinc-less Zinc Regimen for Adults: Draft 4

    No man-made bulb can emulate sunlight very well. All light is produced by electrons falling between different discrete energy levels in their atomic orbits. The sun has an enormous number of different energy levels for electrons to move between; manmade bulbs typically have just a few. Bulbs that are labelled "full spectrum" usually just aren't as obviously color-skewed wrt the sun as cheaper and more common bulbs. Nevertheless, the real problem in indoor lighting is simply getting enough brightness in your eyes for enough hours. Getting bulbs that have a more realistic spectrum helps make up for the fact that you are very unlikely to achieve outdoor levels of brightness with electric lights. If you buy the highest Kelvin rating you can find, you should get the most blue light. Also, if you pull the bulb (assuming we're talking 4-foot tubs) out of the package, you may find that they are actually "GE Chroma" being sold under somebody else's name (the GE name is on the glass at one end of the bulb). Again, intensity is the root problem. Without a lot of big bulbs, you probably won't get much effect. I'm sitting under 12 4-foot fluorescents at the moment; my desk is brighter than any desk you've probably ever seen. Getting bulbs with a higher Kelvin rating (more blue light) helps, but achieving intensity is the real problem. Take your laptop outside on a bright sunny day. See how washed out and hard to read it is in direct sunlight? Now take your laptop to your indoor "bright" light set up. See how it's not really washed out at all?
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