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

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