Melanin Production – Do I Simply Need More Copper in My Diet? (My Skin and Its Health, Part 2)

So, being that I have already been supplementing with A, it’s now time to focus on eating foods with high amounts of copper and/or supplementing with it, as well, because without it, my body cannot make that enzyme, tyrosinase, which is responsible for producing my melanin!

Having just come off one of the busiest seasons of my life, I have been in a place of reassessment and transition in this new year. Being overwhelmed, and physically and mentally exhausted, failure to keep on top a blog to produce yet more, I was not willing to do so. Physically, I have found myself sick for over a week, and I am not one to get sick. However, despite my physical and mental states which has led to me failing to research and write on a regular basis, and which has led me to accept I will write only when it suits, I have maintained my cause toward healing my skin based on what I already know.

“Stay the course. Do what you can, and be consistently purposeful.”  

I have continued to consistently and purposefully eat for my skin’s health. Almost every day, I have eaten strawberries & walnuts, I have had collagen in my smoothies, and maintained abstinence from sugar. I have since bought some Vitamin D and E supplements and have been taking them regularly, and I have “lucked” onto a book called “Plant-Based Beauty” (#plantbasedbeautybook) which I have read much of, and which also happens to focus primarily on the SKIN!

Plant Based BeautyI have made one of the recipes from it, too, Homemade Cashew Milk. One of the modifications left me not being able to get enough – adding pineapples and cottage cheese. Oh my gosh, it was almost soupy, but I could not get enough!  It was literally one of the best tastes I’ve ever had!

After doing a bit of research tonight, I considered maybe one of the reasons that cashew concoction was so delicious to me was because my body needed what was in it so much. Copper! Maybe not, but I have since found out a couple of things. Firstly,  Vitamin A is necessary to produce an enzyme called tyrosinase, an enzyme which plays a major role in producing melanin, the pigment in our skin and hair, and what is responsible for our tanning. My pigment production is flawed. Idiopathic Guttate Hypomelanosis is what I’ve been diagnosed with, and I am searching to cure it with my diet because I believe that is why my body is failing to produce it anymore – there is some nutrient or nutrients in which I am deficient preventing my body from doing its job, in this case, making melanin.

Our bodies are made to heal themselves if they have what they need. Hipoocrates said it first and most succinctly –

 “Let food by thy medicine and medicine by thy food.”

I think my condition is beyond the sun’s fault – the sun normally stimulates melanin production, and my body has failed to make it the more I go into the sun!

What I found, secondly, and upon which I will begin to focus, is that copper is also a necessary component to produce tyrosinase. So, being that I have already been supplementing with A, it’s now time to focus on eating foods with high amounts of copper and/or supplementing with it, as well, because without it, my body cannot make that enzyme, tyrosinase, which is responsible for producing my melanin! And, guess what’s in cashews? Copper! My new milk!

Cashew Milk

Tyrosine is an amino acid – one of the 20 building blocks of protein. It is considered a non-essential amino acid because it can be made by another amino acid, which is essential, phenylalanine. Essential amino acids cannot be made by the body and must be consumed in our diet’s.

Foods high in tyrosine are chicken, turkey, fish, milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, cheese, peanuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, soy products and lima beans, but also in avocados and bananas. And, foods high in phenylalanine are milk, eggs, cheese, nuts, soybeans, chicken, beef, pork, beans and fish. So, if you’re not eating the foods which contain tyrosine, as long as you’re consuming the foods containing phenylalanine, you’re covered. Your body can work toward making tyrosinase, but you’re body needs more than the tyrosine and Vitamin A to make it.

Funnily, I have been eating Shitake mushrooms lately and LOVING them! They, turns out, are high in copper! Maybe that’s why I’m loving them – my body needs their copper! Shitake’s, have 650 micrograms of copper (0.65 milligrams) in a serving size of ½ cup cooked, making them 5th on the list, below, which did not include them!

I’m feeling this copper bit might be the ticket. Maybe I just need the copper and Vitamin A combination to make my melanin production normal again.

I hope my DNA hasn’t mutated which is why I am polka-dots. I’m gonna stick faithfully to the vision I had months ago that these polka-dots flew off my thighs! Let’s go with that, shall we!? They’ll be gone at some point, for sure, and not because I’ve purchased a product that gives the appearance of them being gone, but they’ll really be gone because my body is producing melanin again!

I purchased a product I saw on the t.v., a body coverage perfecter, but my legs are not looking perfect. Can you even tell which parts of my legs have on the corrector? I can still see my dots, but they are slightly better.

One bit of contradictory research I’ve found, now that I am being more specific in my searching for the source of my pigment failing to produce, is that Vitamin E, though good for the skin, is shown to inhibit melanin production, at least in this study. Comparison of the inhibitory effects of vitamin E analogues on melanogenesis in mouse B16 melanoma cells. As a result, I will only use it topically on my face and on my other sunspot area to lighten them, as that is what study indicates it does. It has the reverse effect of what I am trying to achieve!

So, FYI, copper needs for adults: 900 mcg or .9 mg. Here are some sources for how we can supplement: copper gluconate, copper sulfate and copper chloride, but normally, I’d always go with food first!

Time to eat some copper: purposely eating for my health!

Holly

Table 2. Some Food Sources of Copper
Food Serving Copper (μg)
Liver (beef), cooked, pan-fried 1 ounce 4,128
Mollusks, oysters, eastern, wild, cooked, moist heat 6 medium oysters 2,397
Crab meat, Alaskan king, cooked 3 ounces 1,005
Crab meat, blue, cooked, moist heat 3 ounces 692
Mollusks, clams, mixed species, cooked, moist heat 3 ounces 585
Cashews nuts, raw 1 ounce 622
Sunflower seed kernels, dry roasted 1 ounce 519
Hazelnuts, dry roasted 1 ounce 496
Almonds 1 ounce 292
Peanut butter, chunk style, without salt 2 tablespoons 185
Lentils, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt 1 cup 497
Mushrooms, white, raw 1 cup (sliced) 223
Shredded wheat cereal 2 biscuits 167
Chocolate (semisweet) 1 ounce 198

Eating for Health, Eating with Purpose

I like this idea of eating with purpose and “getting to know my food” a little better and how it can aid in me looking better, or at least not looking bad. Eating has always been one of my favorite things to do, but now that I am more familiar with what I am eating and why, it gives me that added bonus and spark of excitement when I eat. I’m looking forward to my results.

I’ve finally bought several of the food items that will supply the needed nutrients for my skin to support its health.

Food for my Skin

I realized as I was making my breakfast, that I am eating with purpose. There is something about having a goal, a mission, a purpose, that is energizing. I am good with this type of thing.

Sproty Me Day 1 49
49, Day 1

There have been many a thing I have quit, but it is my intention now to add to my diet instead of subtract from my diet. The purposefulness in this is exhilarating because I feel it gives me inspiration. I am not just going through the motions and letting my body decide what it wants. I always eat based on my cravings. I am now eating with intention!

My breakfast contained all good foods for my skin in one way or another. Now, I did not realize that the brown rice was so good for my skin, but apparently is has a multitude of benefits, one of which is antiaging due to its antioxidants! Also, garlic was not on my list, but I was feeling for some garlic, and, if I had acne, it would remove it – it’s a serious anti-everything, if you didn’t know, – it kills bacteria, fungus, stops viruses and is an overall antiseptic! Alright! So, breakfast included:

Brown rice, eggs, green peppers, fresh garlic, coconut oil and shrimp. Yum. Shrimp with brown rice. Now, I know!! Eggs and brown rice is great together, too, btw.

 

Most of these foods have high antioxidants properties which help prevent the aging of skin whether by preventing free-radical damage or UV ray damage. Pores will be tightened by eggs, excess oil removed, and the eggs will also lend more moisture. An egg a day will be on my menu. I have already put them in my strawberry smoothie – raw – you barely taste it, if at all really, depending on what else you put in there.

Strawberries are excellent sources of vitamin C which is a super anti-oxidant. Vitamin C is also a necessary component in making collagen – the protein that contributes to our skin’s elasticity and integrity.

In addition to shrimp’s other benefits of being a good antioxidant and protector from the sun’s UV rays, it is also a high source of selenium, and with vitamin E, helps to protect our cell’s membranes – their protective coating.

Heart Food

I like this idea of eating with purpose and “getting to know my food” a little better and how it can aid in me looking better, or at least not looking bad. Eating has always been one of my favorite things to do, but now that I am more familiar with what I am eating and why, it gives me that added bonus and spark of excitement when I eat. I’m looking forward to my results. I realize change takes times, and especially health as measured by dietary changes, but I’ve got a whole year!

Me 49 Night 1

 

 

 

 

 

Holly

Healing My Skin – Month 1 of the 12 Months of Healing

I’ve posted a quick intro vlog here introducing my 12 month plan to focus on my health, but specifically focusing this month on my skin – part of the integument system – and, the largest organ in our body, and what gives us our first line of protection against disease.

My skin’s condition is what is prompting me to do this. Also, my bones need help too. So, these two parts of my body have given me the desire to just go all in. Plus, I’d desired to do this anyway last year, and now I have the time. So, here’s the pic of my sad leg with idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis, a condition with unknown origins but is known to be exacerbated by the sun, and supposedly incurable. I, however, believe, given the right nutrients, I will be able to cure it, and have pretty, normal skin again without these blotchy white spots. So, here goes!

Skin

I’ve gotten some good, healthy foods today, but did not do my research prior to going to the store. Tomorrow I will hit the health food store and get some of the other foods and supplements I need to help my beautiful 49 year-old (in 3 days) skin. I am projecting what I desire here!!

My intention is to provide the foods needed to help each of the different body systems, among other fun facts and ways to improve each system. Tomorrow I will get some collagen and vitamin C and Vitamin E supplements. Yes, I am a proponent for eating for health, but I am also keen on supplementing with certain nutrients, as well, especially the aforementioned ones.

So, I hope you join me on this journey. I am excited to clear out my bod of toxins and provides the nutrients it needs to heal and to glow.

Happy New Year.

To our Health!

Holly

 

My 12 Months of Healing

The medical professionals say it is not treatable, and that is what research supports, but I am hopeful that with certain changes, I may have beautiful, spot-free skin, and I will love it! I will try! It will take time, I’m sure, but I’m gonna give it a shot.

This coming year I am planning to focus on healing my body. My main impetus was due to something I have been embarrassed to admit I thought I had. I first noticed an issue on my calves one morning while talking on the phone 9 years ago.

I was outside sitting in the sun with my legs up on my back porch bench. I noticed a few white spots on my calves. I made note of them to my friend, Tara, figuring they must have been my body’s response to living in the Florida sun, again, after some 20 + years. My friend told me it might be a fungus, but I had no desire to accept her possible diagnosis, and dismissed it, attending to, and preferring, instead, my own.

Years later, my 3 little spots had spreading majorly. I went to the doctor. I was diagnosed with Tinea versicolor, a fungus. Creep! A freakin’ fungus!

She was right! I was told to stay out of the sun too, that this was common in people in sub-tropical and tropical environments.

I’m a fan of polka-dots, a big fan, but just not on my legs!! The doctor I consulted did not give me much help or hope. I can’t remember what he said other than stay out of the sun, and it will likely clear itself up in a few months or it will never go away. Something like that. I felt defeated already. A fungus! He may have offered me some remedy, but I took nothing other than maybe a topical which I bought on my own which did nada.

I internalized on some level I would not win against a fungus so did not seriously pursue remedies after my initial fail. But, if I were to try and was to win it, I would require a whole lot of discipline and commitment to what ever remedy(s) might be necessary. I was not up for it. Fungi are rough!

The same year I noticed the white spots, I’d also gotten ringworm for the first time, also a fungus, and a respiratory infection from…another fungus, black mold, spewing from my A/C unit. That lasted for almost a month until I cleaned out my A/C. My respiratory infection subsequently cleared up tout suite.

I have since wondered if that is what caused this infection, though they are not even the same genus.

Well, nine years later, I’m legs fulla polka dots. My brother even commented to me this year at the beach, “What are those white spots on your legs?” Greaaat! They’re visibly noticeable from a distance! Poop!

Skin
When I took this picture, I literally cried when I saw the up close shot of it. It made me so sad to see what bad shape my skin was in.

The Fight Is On

So, many years later, my initial fail and interest in terms of persisting on getting rid of this fungus had gone by the wayside. I have been fighting back! This MUST go!

I have been fighting back with: Selson Blue (fungal fighter) to wash my body. I bought Epsom salts to bath in, I take garlic pills to help kill the fungus from the inside-out, drink Pau d’ Arco tea for the same reason, and use cinnamon bark extract all over my lower extremities too. I smell spicy! Finally, I’ve been ingesting coconut oil, but I think I bought that initially because I’d been having brain fog – an potential result of yet another fungus, candida, but I don’t have that one! Oh yeah, and I’ve also taken billions of probiotics recently too!

What I’ve read is this Tinea is actually a commensal fungus – it is found naturally on our skin, but when the immune system is compromised and the populations of bacteria on our skin are reduced, they can take over – just like when women get a yeast infection from taking an antibiotic. That is what actually happens in the vagina – bacteria and fungus are present most everywhere – the bacteria get killed off due to the antibiotic, and the yeast, the candida, take over as a result, until the good bacterial population is restored. Balance is important! Population Ecology 101.

Misdiagnosed

So, the other night I go to Thanksgiving dinner at my Aunt Judy’s house where I get to see one of my cousins I haven’t seen in years. He’s a top Mohs surgeon and dermatologist. I planned on hitting him up for some serious treatments for the fungus. I figured he could, and would, be able to help me. I felt hopeful. I was glad, too, because I felt that was the perfect time. I’d already begun my fight, and figured he’d back me up with some extra ammo to accompany my many treatments. I’d hoped some serious prescribed meds and topicals would kick this thing out! BTW, I’d also quit sugar sometime back, as well, but not because I wanted to ban my fungus from the yumminess of it as well. That would just prove to be another way to benefit the health of my skin.

I held off my fungal informative and med request until well after dinner, not wanting to gross anyone out. I just came out with it to my cousin: “I need your help.” I was serious. He inquired as to what. “I need the strongest anti-fungal medication you can prescribe for me, and I’d like three different kinds of it to cover all my bases, and a topical lotion, to boot. I’d also like a year’s supply of it all.” LOL. Like he’d just take my orders 🙂 How funny is that? I really was serious though. I needed serious treatment for this funky fungi.

My family seemed puzzled as I spoke. “What’s going on?” he asked. “I have Tinea.”  “Let me see.” I walked over to him, pulled up my pant leg, exposed my leg, and balanced myself with my hand on his head while he looked at my creepy little spots. He responded quite quickly, “You don’t have Tinea,” was his prompt diagnosis. You have Idiopathic Guttate Hypomelanosis. Stop doing what you’re doing. You don’t need to be doing all that stuff.” He was adamantly soft.

The Skeptical Observer

He asked me if I wanted him to write it down. “No, I’m aware of it.” I’d previously found this online as well, but believed it was still Tinea or some other fungus because of how it behaved and looked. I wasn’t buying the sunspot bit from the internet anymore than I was internalizing it from my cousin.

Idiopathic Guttate Hypomelanosis is a condition whereby the skin stops producing melanin, creating little white spots, but docs don’t know why, the Iiyopathic bit, and it is exacerbated by the sun, supposedly, too, which I got a heck of a lot this summer perhaps increasing these babes to the point of where they are now. Ike!

The problem I have with ths IGH diagnosis is many fold. First, I’m supposed to stay out of the sun because it contributes to it, yet the sun actually creates more melanin when we are exposed to it, so that’s anomalous but dermatologists insist the sun is what causes this hyopmelanosis. So, I’m a little confused at this contradiction. Although, maybe my DNA has mutated somehow and created this condition or there is some weird autoimmune thing going on associated with this. At any rate…I appreciated the diagnosis because it made me feel less the leper and more just a result of my sub-tropical environment.

Even know Will, is a dermatologist, and the first doc I went to was a doc in a walk-in clinic with no specialization, especially in the area of the skin, I was reluctant to believe what I have isn’t a fungus because of the fungal nature of what I’ve observed over the years, and what it looks like. But I also want to believe it is in fact IGH because it gives me hope I can beat it! My thought, since it is NOT a fungus, I can heal myself more easily. There is hope for me to restore my body, somehow, according to me:).

My Belief in Healing through Nutrition

My belief is that if the body has what it needs to heal, it will. My belief is that what causes diseases are often related to nutrient deficiencies, but that association is not honored publicly. It seems highly logical to me. Give the body what it needs, it will heal, unless the genes are mutated that control what mechanisms or pathways regulate a system. The body should be able to be in perfect health, as we are designed, given adequate nutrition. I love this marvelous machine that is our bodies! We are miraculous.

Beliefs in tact, here I am. I am ready to fight for my skin. I believe that what ever this condition is, I can treat it with a better diet. Maybe I need to stay out of the sun so much, and use sunscreen even when I’m not at the beach, which I will, but there is still more to this, maybe. It’s only gotten worse over the years, not better. There is still something missing, I think. I am going to try and find out what that is!

I know Will and the medical profession say it is not treatable, and that is what research supports, but I am hopeful that with certain changes, I may have beautiful, spot-free skin, and I will love it! I will try! It will take time, I’m sure, but I’m gonna give it a shot.

I’ve had this progressive, chronic condition for 9 years. I had a vision recently, this past month, where the spots were flying off my thighs. I’m going to faithfully believe what I saw!

Focus Forward

So, my plan, I am merging it with something I thought to do last year, but last year wasn’t specifically focused. My more focused plan, this year: to focus on the health of my 12 body systems, 1 each month, and with a specific focus on my skin’s health.

I’ve already started cleansing this month, and the following 12 months will lead me in a much more interesting field of learning and exploration, as I delve deeper into my health in new ways.

I will chart what I am doing to get rid of this “untreatable” condition.

I will focus on how to promote the health of each of the 12 body systems, what exercise I might do to benefit them, healthy supplements that promote their health, scientific evidence that supports their best functioning, mental and spiritual relationships to food, and…my favorite, food itself, that will enrich my body’s systems. I will throw in some healthy tidbits, and mindsets that will help facilitate healthy ways of living. I will aim to hit every one of the 12 systems in one capacity or another over the next 12 months while I heal!!

Healing to Come

So, come, join me in my journey as I aim to cleanse, this month, and heal the rest.

My goal is to heal my body from this this funky condition. My goal will cause me to heal. I will achieve healing when I seek it passionately. More will come from it though. New heights will allow new visions. The domino effect will take effect while one good thing will lead to another. Throughout this year, I will be excited to see what happens as I learn more about the relationships which exist among my body systems, partake of new foods, exercises, and experiments. As I explore the many facets of my new health regime, I will be led to what health means to me and looks like for me. I will look forward to all this coming year has to offer me.

May you be inspired as you team up with me to learn, engage, and put your body to healing and wholeness. I know I will.

Here’s to my health! Here’s to our health.

Holly 

P.S. My other health needs include:

Knee, tendon, cartilage restoration from arthritis and torn meniscus (connective tissue focus:)), and a spinal curvature issue from who knows what – running too much on a bum, post-surgical knee??

🙂

Intercession Prayer

This is a lengthy recount of how God miraculously prayed through me for a person I’d never met before to “provide everything I needed.” I’d later meet her that day. This story is about earnest prayer, seeking God through His word, being obedient to Him, and having Him answer prayers so specific and measured you know it is Him. This is one of the many ways God has used my “poor circumstances” to make himself known and real to me. He is marvelous and wonderful. For the rest of the story, my video ran out, you may listen to an audio podcast on http://www.hollycobrien.com. May you be blessed and grow closer as you listen. John 17:20 Jesus Prays for All Believers: “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message.”

May you believe and know God as your Heavenly Father and Christ as your brother and the Holy Spirit as your friend and helper. Amen.

Holly

Changing My Diet to Save My Brain

I have decided that this month, to start, I am going to dedicate to my brain’s health. I have over the past month or more noticed my memory has been shot. I am having a hard time remembering my students names, I am slow to recall random memories, and I feel foggy. I also feel confused a lot. I will say, I have been under a lot of stress with work working many 10 – 12 hour days. Maybe that is contributing to it too, and I am going to buy some adaptogens to help manage my stress levels with work which will persist for the next two weeks.

I went to the health food store yesterday and dropped almost $200 and nothing was for my brain.

I’m not being funny, but I do not remember why exactly my decision to do this for my brain started this afternoon.

(I remembered after finishing writing this blog that I worried about my brain after coming home from the beach tonight and walking up the stairs, and I felt, I’m not sure, but not right, again. An odd, and frequent occurrence these days!) My intention was to begin October as the first of the next 12 months attributing my changes in diet and exercise to my true desire for sustainable health.

I eat, overall, pretty healthily, but I do binge occasionally or overeat once in awhile, and when I do, like tonight, over-eating on sugar, I feel badly for my body. I never got full tonight, but the amount of sugar I ate was way too much to the point where I have an awful sugar headache, still, hours later. It was my dinner, plus a decaf latte b/c I knew this would be a last for awhile, but it’s awful for my body. I feel like this is a bit of a pattern as I write and really need to quell my desires more or maybe be more consistent and less drastic, my goal.

I have found I am much more disciplined, and it is no problem for me to be such, but I need reigns, I feel, or I have nights like tonight where I eat so much sugar I am in pain.

So, my worry about my brain feels legit. Too much sugar is awful for our bodies and brains, and, specifically, has been shown to cause brain shrinkage. I actually read tonight that Alzheimer’s is called Diabetes 3. Yikes. It’s not surprising. I believe most diseases are genetically triggered by diet. I do not have Alzeiheimer’s or dementia in my family, but I need to help my brain because I am too young to be so foggy! I began exercising again today too which will help for sure. When I was in my teens and early 20’s I was bulimic and ate a ton of sugar on a regular basis. In my late teens and until late 30’s, I alcoholically drank off and on. I have been “healthy” for over 10 years, but am still attracted to sugar, a lot, and it is just not healthy. I know and exhibit moderation mostly in my life, but because of my past and how I eat still at times, so much sugar, I worry about my brain – only because I am exhibiting these worrisome symptoms.

Normal brain, top. Alzheimer’s brian, middle. Alcoholic brain, bottom.

So, this month, I am going to begin with a cleanse of sorts, eating cleanly, and looking into foods that cleanse the blood and cleanse the skin because all disease begins in the blood and my skin’s melanin is no longer being produced in my legs. What’s up. But, I need to get my brain working better!

Also, I will focus on a high protein and high fat diet with low carbs, and no processed carbs which should help my brain fog clear. Lots of cholesterol, too. Brain fat needed! Pulling my book, Grain Brain, off my shelf tonight, I read about how low cholesterol levels doesn’t allow the brain to work well, and those individuals with low cholesterol are at a much greater risk for dementia. Bring on the eggs! I did just remember I bought MCT oil at the health food store which will help my brain hopefully!

Eat me. I’m good for your brain health!

I am coming to terms with the fact that I need more discipline in my life and operate much better with it, on a regular basis.

Because our brain exhibits plasticity and can regenerate, I am clear on what I need to do. So, here’s to my brain’s health and the overall health of my body for the next month, starting with the following:

  1. Elimination diet
  2. Movement
  3. Good fats
  4. Herbs and good veggies
  5. Lots of water

Thank you for reading. Here’s to all of our health!

Holly

Giving out of My Poverty

This vlog includes a time when I was living in England when God blessed me moments after I gave all I could, 5 measly pounds. 5 pounds in the tithing bag showed up to me in a 150 return over the next 3 months! He always has shown up in my need. Thank you. Faithful God. https://youtu.be/dh2CHsohvgw