Obesity Causation

I previously discussed the obesity causation topic a bit in the Weight Gain and Obesity chapter of ETFOH. However, I didn’t go too in-depth and didn’t sufficiently connect it causally with vitamin A. I’ll now try to more solidly establish that connection here.

When I first started on my vitamin A elimination diet one of the very unexpected side-effects was the effortless weight loss. My experience was not a one-off either. I had a (non-diseased) colleague report the same result. Even though we had vastly simplified our diets, it was still providing ample calories (3,000 or more) and all the required nutritional elements. Although n=2 in this study, for two men in their late fifties, to quickly drop around 30 pounds each, and without trying at all to do so, that result was quite intriguing. There was indeed something very unexpected going on here. It’s especially so considering that we’ve both effortlessly kept that weight off for three years now too.

So, with that experience, I had theorized that the body was simply getting rid of fat it no longer needed. More specifically, I had theorized that the body had originally stored the additional fat as a protective measure against excess circulating retinol. Basically, the adipose tissues were taking on some of the load from the liver and thereby scrubbing excess retinol out of circulation. After all, for the liver to take on more retinol storage, it absolutely must get fatter to accomplish that task.

But, at the same time, I was not very satisfied with that simplistic explanation for the adipose cells either. The problem with it was: why were these adipose cells that were taking on the extra retinol not themselves adversely affected by it too? Why don’t they become inflamed and invoke an auto-immune reaction as do the stem cells of the epithelium’s? Well, it took a while for me to see the obvious. Quite obviously, they are indeed being affected in almost the same way. The important distinction is that the adipose stem cells are much simpler in structure and don’t generate the complex cell adhesion proteins needed to tightly stitch themselves to each other. Since they don’t generate these proteins, then they don’t generate the immune-alerting defective and foreign‑species looking proteins. But, the way that the adipose stem cells do behave similarly to the epithelium stem cells in response to vitamin A toxicity is that they too are forced into a perverse state of abnormal rapid replication. At least that was my sub-theory on the causal mechanism.

Of course, many people will quickly conclude that it was the sugar reduction that was responsible for the fat loss my colleague and I experienced. However, that’s simply not true. I tested that possibility by consuming quite a lot of sugar, and the weight did not come back. I also used the following charts in ETFOH to demonstrate the sugar alone is not to blame for the original weight gain. Here’s a copy of that section for easy reference.

Let’s consider the obesity trends that are going on in the USA, Canada, the UK, and chocolate-loving Switzerland. This trend pattern is quite revealing.

Figure 1 Average Daily Sugar Consumption for Selected Countries

AverageDailySugar

There are a few very important observations to make here. The first is to note that Switzerland’s average daily sugar consumption is higher than that of Canada’s, and has been consistently so for about the last five decades. The second observation is the significant and steady decline in consumption of sugar in the UK. Next, let’s look at the trend lines for obesity in these countries.

Figure 2 Average BMI for Selected Countries

AverageBMI

Even though Switzerland has higher average daily sugar consumption than that of Canada, they have significantly less obesity. More striking is the slope of the trend lines. Canada’s trend is dramatically higher. Next, consider the contradiction in the sugar consumption between the UK, and Canada. Even though the consumption in the UK has steadily dropped significantly over this time, and Canada’s has steadily increased over this same time, the average BMI trend lines for these two countries are nearly identical. Therefore, this completely contradicts the theory that sugar consumption is causing obesity. Additionally, many other people who do eliminate sugar from their diets do not experience much weight loss, and if they do, they can’t seem to keep it off.

Then whenever I traveled to the USA, I noticed that there is a significantly higher rate of obesity, and even moderately overweight people there than compared to Canada. This is no small detail. Statistically, about 70% of all Americans over the age of 20 are now overweight or obese. (https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/obesity-overweight.htm).

But, you don’t have to look a statistical data; it is easy to see it almost everywhere you go.  Just walk down a busy street, or go to a supermarket and scan the crowd. Just making a rough ballpark type guess, I’d put the USA at having about 30% more serious obesity than compared to Canada. How can that be possible? Both the USA and Canada have our dairy supply “supplemented” with vitamin A so that alone can’t account for the difference. But, it’s quite understandable when you learn that many of the breads, flours, and breakfast cereals in the USA are “supplemented” with vitamin A whereas in Canada they are typically not.

Some people might want to interject here and blame the differences in our national obesity rates just on lifestyle choices. But, that excuse does not cut it either because the lifestyle in the USA is very similar to that of Canadians too.

Then when I traveled in Mexico, the obesity epidemic there appeared to be even worse than that of the USA. There are a lot of poor people in Mexico who are clearly not living the high-life or sedentary lifestyles and are yet quite obese. What’s going on there? Doing just a trivial amount of investigation, this rate of obesity is completely and totally abnormal for the Mexican people too. Sure, there’s a lot more sugar being consumed in Mexico nowadays, but we know that sugar alone can’t be blamed. So then, what’s really going on? Well, when I learned that sugar in South America was being “supplemented” with vitamin A, it became rather clear. When I was in Mexico I went to a supermarket, picked up a pack of sugar, read the nutrition label, and sure enough pure table sugar was labeled to provide 10% RDA of vitamin A.  That’s correct, some of their sugar is laced with vitamin A. Then when you see just how much soda is consumed in Mexico, and that vitamin A supplemented sugar is likely in their soda also, we have a prime suspect.

Next, let’s now get back to what’s happening in the USA and consider some supporting scientific evidence to make the case against vitamin A. Firstly, let’s look for some correlations.

Figure 3 Serum Retinol level and BMI in USA

USASerumLevelByAge

Source: Serum retinol distributions in residents of the United States: third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1988–19941,2 Carol Ballew, Barbara A Bowman, Anne L Sowell, and Cathleen Gillespie

Isn’t that a remarkable correlation? As we get older, not only do our serum retinol levels creep up but so too does our BMI levels. Except, it’s not just the BMI levels that creep up with age, it’s also our incidence rates of the auto-immune diseases and cancers. Of course, as our obesity rates climb our life expectancy rates correspondingly decline. So, that drop off in BMI for the 80-90-year-olds shown in the chart is not because they are finally getting their weight under control. Rather, it’s because the more obese folks have died early and have thus statistically diluted the numbers.

Additionally, isn’t it peculiar that for young kids (when they have low vitamin A serum levels) they typically have tons of energy, nice thick hair, nice smooth skin, good vision, low cholesterol levels, and a normal BMI? Unfortunately, as we get older, we typically start to lose these indicators of good health. Next, let’s consider the vitamin A – BMI correlation in South Korea and see how it compares to that of the USA.

Figure 4 Serum Retinol level and BMI in the USA and South Korea

USAKoreaSerumLevelByAge

Source: Nutrition Research and Practice (Nutr Res Pract) 2012;6(1):45-50
http://dx.doi.org/10.4162/nrp.2012.6.1.45

pISSN 1976-1457 eISSN 2005-6168
Vitamin A status of 20- to 59-year-old adults living in Seoul and the metropolitan area, Korea.  Sungah Kim, Young-Nam Kim and Youn-Ok Cho

The average South Korean vitamin A serum levels of vitamin A are much lower than that of Americans of the same age. Correspondingly, so are their BMI levels. Maybe even more important is that the average BMI levels in South Korea are rather steady over a wide age range and only creep up slightly by age 60. So, it could be that serum levels above 1.5 µmol/L are dangerous, whereas those below are more safely manageable by the body’s regular defense mechanisms.

Of course, we all know that correlation alone does not determine causation. In the field of causation theory, there is a fundamental premise that states that causation cannot be inferred without manipulation. What that means is that to claim a causal influence we need to prove that directly manipulating an input variable has a corresponding measured response (within some range of statistical significance).

Fortunately, we do indeed have that supporting evidence to claim a causal factor with the retinoids and obesity. Firstly, we have the somewhat inadvertent results from a study where dietary vitamin A (even in the form of beta-carotene) was increased resulting in obesity. I say inadvertent results, because neither the researchers, nor the subjects, were at all interested in, or even suspecting, to see a resulting change in body weight.

Source: Vitamin A and vitamin E in human blood 3
Levels in patients in psychiatric hospitals

BY 2. A. LEITNER
52 Welbeck Street, London, W I AND T. MOORE AND I. M. SHARMAN
Dunn Nutritional Laboratory, University of Cambridge and Medical Research Council

This study is from 1951 -1962, the researches were working with patients in a UK psychiatric hospital, often including people with schizophrenia.  What they noticed is that the serum levels of both vitamin A and the carotenoids in these patients was abnormally low. Somewhat surprising to me, the researchers did not appear to think that there may have been a possible connection between the patient’s mental health condition and their vitamin A status. Nonetheless, the researchers felt that it would just be in the best interests of the patient’s overall general health to bring their serum levels in line with what was deemed to be the more normal values as observed in the general public. With that, they added some higher concentration beta-carotene vegetables into the meal plan for the patients. The very surprising outcome of that diet manipulation was that many of the patients quite quickly became obese.

Our results have shown not only that mean values for carotenoids, and usually also for vitamin A, are low in mental patients, but that values approaching those for normal subjects may be induced by ensuring that large amounts of carotene are consumed, either in oily solution or in the form of vegetables.

Somewhat lower values were always found, for both carotenoids and vitamin A, in patients who had been resident in hospital for 2 years than in newly admitted patients. In certain groups of newly admitted patients the vitamin A levels were normal, but the carotenoid levels were always low.

Between the two stages of our work, begun in 1951 and in 1962, special attention has been given at Claybury Hospital to the provision of liberal supplies of vegetables. As in most other psychiatric hospitals, moreover, the use of tranquillizing drugs has improved the appetites of the patients, to such an extent that obesity has become a common problem. At the most these changes seemed to have caused only a slight increase in blood levels of carotenoids and vitamin A towards the normal range.

Yes, adding more vegetables, such as carrots to the diet (and the tranquilizing drugs) led to obesity.  And then regarding the tranquilizing drugs being to blame for the improved appetites, they contradict themselves with the following rationalization statement:

A likely hypothesis is that the appetite of mental patients for vegetables is poor, and that these are not eaten in amounts typical of normal subjects unless special measures are taken.
[…]
An alternative hypothesis, perhaps less probable, is that in mental patients the efficiency of the absorption and conversion of carotene is reduced. Increased quantities of carotene must therefore be given, above the requirements of normal subjects, in order to sustain levels of carotenoids and vitamin A equal to those in normal subjects.

Source: as above

Regardless, I like these types of inadvertent experiments because they are ideal double-blind studies. Neither the researchers nor the people in the studies realized or were even aware that the effect on obesity was being considered as an outcome. As a side note, many people with schizophrenia report a surge in weight gain just before their first encounter with the disease conditions. Also, very interestingly, the lower than normal level serum levels of vitamin A is observed in autism, IBD, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease too. Most surprisingly, it’s very significantly so in cystic fibrosis too. So, where is their serum retinol magically disappearing too? Could it be into retinoic acid? Isn’t it also interesting that the documented psychiatric side-effects of retinoic acid toxicity are a perfect match for the symptoms of schizophrenia, autism, and even Alzheimer’s?  I digress. Let’s get back on track with investigating obesity causation.

Next, we have the opposite effect demonstrated in another study where the vitamin A input variable is manipulated in the other direction.

Proc Nutr Soc. 1973 Dec;32(3):105A-106A.

Vitamin-A and epilepsy: a dietary contretemps.
Sharman IM, Stern G.

In this 1973 study researchers were considering the possible effect a low vitamin A diet may have had on epilepsy. Very surprisingly, and completely unexpectedly too, what they saw was a rapid loss in body fat. The study was terminated because they believed that the rapid drop in weight in their subjects was a sign of vitamin A deficiency.

And then in another experiment attempting to purposely induce vitamin A deficiency in volunteer adults we have:

From the sample menus he provided, one can estimate that on a typical day, a subject [person] would consume 80–160 IU of carotene. Thiamin was estimated to be adequate and ascorbic acid was given as a supplement. Energy density was kept high, to prevent weight loss due to lack of appetite and “for psychological reasons.” Indeed, for the first 3.5 mo, all subjects [persons] gained weight. After that time, for the following 2.5 mo, all 10 people simultaneously lost amazingly large amounts of weight, e.g., two persons lost 10 kg of their maximal weights (79 kg and 59 kg). The author interprets this weight loss to be a consequence of the exhaustion of the subjects’ vitamin A reserves, and compares it to the weight loss observable in vitamin A–deficient rats.

Source: The Experimental Induction of Vitamin A Deficiency in Humans
George Wolf  Department of Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-3104

By combining the results of these three studies, we’ve satisfied one of the key requirements of making a causal association claim. Therefore, we have both a solid correlation and required manipulation experiments supporting our general theory. But, what about that specific sub-theory that retinol overload is driving adipose stem cells into an abnormal state of more rapid replication? Surely this has been investigated. After all, the retinoids and more specifically vitamin A, and retinoic acid are some of the most studied molecules in all of medical science. It has indeed been studied. Here’s a 2016 report documenting the adipose genesis effect of retinoic acid: Circulating Retinoic Acid Levels and the Development of Metabolic Syndrome

Adipogenesis is a differentiation process regulated by the complex interaction of some RXR heterodimeric partners (18). In 3T3-L1 adipocyte differentiation assays, retinoic acid effects vary as a function of the stage of adipogenesis and relative retinoic acid receptor, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ, and RXR expression (19). Inhibition of endogenous RA production by the inactivation of retinaldehyde dehydrogenase (the primary retinaldehyde metabolizing enzyme) increased energy dissipation and reduced abdominal fat accumulation, thus preventing and ameliorating diet-induced obesity (20). Although the role of RA in adipogenesis has been generally proven in vitro, little information on the relationship between serum RA level and MetS (as well as its components) is available for the Chinese population..

Source: Yan Liu, Hongen Chen, Di Mu, Jiahua Fan, Jiayi Song, Yuan Zhong, Di Li, Min Xia; Circulating Retinoic Acid Levels and the Development of Metabolic Syndrome, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Volume 101, Issue 4, 1 April 2016, Pages 1686–1692, https://doi.org/10.1210/jc.2015-4038

Even though the documented adipose genesis is being induced by retinoic acid, we need to remember that retinoic acid is readily produced just by a somewhat high dietary intake of vitamin A.

Retinoic acid is present in both the fasting and postprandial circulations where it is bound to albumin. Immediately following consumption of a retinol-rich meal (~1 mg/kg body weight), mean plasma concentration of retinoic acid was observed to reach 254 nmol/L but was quickly restored to fasting concentrations of 14 nmol/L in 10 male volunteers (Arnhold et al., 1996).

Source:
DRAFT SCIENTIFIC OPINION 1
Scientific Opinion on Dietary Reference Values for vitamin A1 2
EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition, and Allergies (NDA)2, 3 3
European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Parma, Italy

The oxidization of retinol into retinoic acid will happen even more so once a person ages and starts approaching their liver’s maximum storage capacity.  But, let’s not forget that in North America, much of our dairy is being directly supplemented with additional retinol too.

Vitamins A and/or D should be considered in the hazard analysis for plants fortifying milk products, as over-fortification could result in toxic levels (). The target level for vitamins A and D in milk manufactured in the US is 2000 IU/quart and 400 IU/quart, respectively. The US-FDA currently considers levels in excess of 6000 IU/quart vitamin A and 800 IU/quart vitamin D to be potential health concerns (Nichols, 1992). Vitamin fortification might be controlled under a CCP or a PP, depending on a firm’s hazard analysis. Preventing over-fortification is accomplished by careful monitoring of vitamin concentrate addition, proper measurement of pump feed rates, and determining whether the volume of concentrate used per product batch is in relative agreement with the theoretical value required to achieve the desired fortification level.

Source: Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point and other food safety systems in milk processing
S.C. Murphy, in Improving the Safety and Quality of Milk: Milk Production and Processing, 2010

Therefore, the chances of surging one’s retinol intake are considerably higher with frequent milk and cheese consumption. And, yes, there has been a case in Canada where a dairy producer did not have the injection pumps set correctly, and some kids were subsequently killed by drinking the milk. Somewhat strangely, even though fortifying low-fat milk is a legislated requirement in Canada and the USA, it’s not in the UK. How can it be that all those people in the UK drinking low-fat dairy have managed to avoid vitamin A deficiency symptoms? Sorry, I digress again.

Pasteurized Milk Causes Scurvy

What about pasteurization? Could the heating of casein with its embedded retinol generate retinoic acid too? I think it probably does. Here’s why. Firstly, consider this report:

The Effect of Holder Pasteurization on Nutrients and Biologically-Active Components in Donor Human Milk: A Review
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4997390/

From Table 4. Cont. on Page 10

A 34% reduction in vitamin A is reported after pasteurization, and categorized as being “significant.”

Okay, so what happened to the missing retinol post pasteurization? Where did it disappear to? Of course, it didn’t just disappear. It was oxidized and otherwise broken down. Then consider this interesting little ditty? Pasteurized milk is reported to cause “scurvy” too.

Most people are familiar with scurvy, a disease that results from vitamin‑C deficiency. Fortunately, scurvy is rare in Western societies. (It is still seen in infants who are fed a diet of boiled or pasteurized milk). Osteoporosis can be caused by vitamin C deficiency and is seen in both infants and adults who have scurvy. Vitamin C is important in the production of a material called collagen. Collagen is perhaps best described as a fibrous tissue into which mineral is deposited in bone. Together with mineral, collagen gives bone its strength. While it is clear that vitamin C is necessary for bone health, vitamin C deficiency is rare. Vitamin C supplementation as a general preventative measure for osteoporosis does not appear to be warranted. […]
Vitamin A is also popularly known today as beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is actually a precursor to vitamin A. Vitamin A is considered critical to normal growth of the skeleton, but excessive vitamin A poses real dangers. Vitamin intoxication causes weakness, fatigue, emotional disturbances, headache, aching in the muscles and bones. Unfortunately, vitamin A is also one of the vitamins often taken in excess in the United States because of recent reports suggesting its beta-carotene content may protect against cancer.

Source: The Osteoporosis Handbook
Sydney Lou Bonnick
Taylor Trade Publishing, Oct. 1, 2000 – Health & Fitness

How can it be possible that for infants drinking pasteurized or boiled milk instead of raw milk there’s an increased risk for scurvy? That does not appear to be logical because milk, pasteurized or not, contains only trace amounts of vitamin C at ~0 mg/100 g. But then consider the 1937 study, titled:

CONCERNING THE TOXICITY OF VITAMIN A
EDWABD B. VEDDEB AND CHABLES BOSENBEBG
Department of Experimental Medicine, George Washington University
Medical School (Received for publication December 17, 1937)

In this study, the researchers believed that they had induced “scurvy” in their animals just by having them on high vitamin A diets.

Since the rat is known to be capable of synthesizing vitamin C and is not susceptible to scurvy, it is difficult to explain this action of vitamin C. A possible explanation is that vitamin C destroys the toxic factor and that all the vitamin C synthesized by the rat is used up in this process, leaving it susceptible to scurvy. Scurvy of the rat has never been described, but the symptoms produced by fish liver oils are not unlike scurvy; they include failure to grow, hemorrhages, particularly from the eyes and nose but to some extent from other mucous membranes, and abnormal rarefaction and fragility of the bones.

In a few rats, the urine was collected and titrated with 2,6-dichlorophenol indophenol. After administration of jewfish liver oil equivalent to 100,000 units of vitamin A for about 3 weeks, the excretion of vitamin C decreased to the vanishing point, but reappeared in the urine in considerable amounts after the daily administration of 5 mg. of crystalline ascorbic acid. While this is suggestive, since the physiological action of vitamin C is quite unknown, the correct explanation of its remedial action for jewfish liver oil must await further experimentation.

So, even though rats can produce their own vitamin C, that wasn’t enough to protect them. Whereas the added vitamin C in these experiments was rather effective in protecting the animals from dying due to the toxicity effects of the vitamin A. Of course, there’s more to it. These researchers knew it was not just simply vitamin A alone causing the disease conditions. They make this very interesting and astute statement in their conclusion:

In addition to vitamin A, fish liver oils contain a toxic principle, at present not identified.

Since retinoic acid was discovered around 1960, these researchers back in 1937 would not have known about it as being the hidden additional toxic principle that was causing the “scurvy” in addition to all the other diseases and ultimate death in their animals.

Next, consider this little ditty from the same study:

When the unitage of vitamin D exceeded that of vitamin A, the combination was far more toxic than the same amount of vitamin A alone.

Of course, many people in North America have been consuming fish oils thinking that it is good for us. And then remember that those injection pumps at the dairy producers are pumping both vitamin A and D directly into our low-fat milk supply. Therefore, in North America, there is no shortage of possibilities for people to be getting too much retinol in their daily diet. Of course, it’s not just retinol, as reported above.  It is also quite normal to have trace (nmol) amounts of retinoic acid in serum too.  Those facts combined with the 2016 report documenting that retinoic acid induces adipose genesis, that eliminates the theoretical aspect of our sub-theory. Therefore, very slowly, over the years, vitamin A and daily spikes in its downstream metabolite of retinoic acid are just going to make us fatter and fatter.

So, with this final detail established, we now have solid supporting correlations, manipulation experiments, and a direct documented causal mechanism. That should leave you with so little doubt as to one of the major forces driving the obesity epidemic. That’s all rather bad news. But, the good news is that our intake of retinol is under our control, and obesity caused by it is quite readily reversible too. I am now getting direct reports from people who are dropping amazing amounts of weight after adopting a vitamin A-free diet. Here are just a few examples:

John:

I have been losing a lot of weight – 50 pounds in the last 15 weeks – and expect to lose another 40 pounds in the months ahead.

Dan:

In 6 months, I lost 80 Lbs and my Skin Cleared up.

Dave:

After four months of being on a vitamin A elimination diet I’ve lost thirty pounds. It has just evaporated.

Albert:

Even though I’m now consuming about 5,000 calories per day, I’m not gaining weight.

Nonetheless, I don’t want to put the entire blame for obesity on vitamin A either. Like with so many other aspects of the autoimmune diseases and the psychiatric disorders, there is no single cause. The root-causes and mechanisms are more complicated and multi-factored. For example, let’s consider the combined effects of retinoic acid and sugar. As that retinoic acid drives up the rate of adipose genesis, those new cells will in turn demand more energy. That then drives up the appetite and the craving for sugar or other sources of glucose. It’s all very subtlely and yet directly interconnected. I’m also quite sure that there are vitamin A free diets that could still induce the obesity effect if regularly over-consumed. But, at least you now know the identity of one of the most significant hidden factors. It’s a poison “vitamin” that’s making many of us fat and sick.

Nothing. It’s worth fighting for.

Tags

I’ve had a number of people asking me to get a vitamin A test to see where my serum levels are now at. Of course, I was very curious about that too.  It sounds simple enough, but it’s not. Here in Alberta, vitamin A testing is lumped in with vitamin D testing and our socialized medical system has stopped providing discretionary testing for these vitamins. Too many people were requesting the vitamin D test and it was costing the Province millions of dollars. Thus, it appears that they took the position that since “we know” that almost everyone is vitamin D deficient anyways, there’s no need to continue testing for it.

Since we can’t get enough vitamin D from food to meet our body’s needs, Alberta Health Services recommends that all healthy Albertans take a vitamin D supplement.

Source: https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Alberta/Pages/Vitamin-d-supplement-recommendations-for-healthy-albertans.aspx

Here, they’ve provided the blanket recommendation that nearly everyone should just supplement with vitamin D. Yes; our medical experts think that we all should supplement with a vitamin that can also become toxic. Doesn’t that sound familiar? In the context of vitamin A, it’s:

Practical, reliable, field­‑based techniques for assessing vitamin A status are increasingly in demand. Not so much to determine whether particular individuals need vitamin A – at 4¢ for 200,000 IU it will always easier, cheaper and safer to assume that they do – but as a way of identifying deficient populations that require community-based intervention.

Source: Vitamin-A Deficiency Health, Survival, and Vision
Alfred Sommer and Keith P. West

Yes, it’s the same sordid story, just a different potentially toxic vitamin. Anyways, it took a bit of wrangling, but I was finally able to get the tests. The Results:

Vitamin A:

(Below low normal)  0.1 µmoI/L

With the following advisory warning: Vitamin A levels less than 0.4 µmol/L correlate with severe deficiency. Supplementation is advised.”

Although it’s not the 0.0 µmoI/L value I was hoping for, it’s still extremely low. The average for men my age is more like 2.2 µmoI/L.

SerumLevelAug2018

Therefore, my level is about twenty times lower than normal. Also, compare my serum level to the 1969 case study of the young man in Britain I’d referenced along with the Vitamin-A and epilepsy: A dietary contretemps study by Sharman IM, Stern G. After 5 ½ years of eating a vitamin A free diet he succeeded in getting his serum levels down to about ~0.2 µmoI/L. In that report, he was said to have had the lowest serum levels of vitamin‑A ever recorded in Great Britain. Now, with my levels down to 0.1 µmoI/L, I just may have beaten his long-standing record. I’ll continue with my diet to see if I can achieve the 0.0 µmoI/L within the next year. Getting to absolute zero is obviously hard to achieve. It just might be an asymptotic drawdown function. Or maybe the test is not designed to be accurate in this abnormally low range?

Vitamin D

My vitamin D levels are at 72.0 nmol/L. Here in Alberta the – desired normal range is 80.0 – 200.0 nmol/L. I’m a bit on the low side, but not overly so. In US units that 72.0 nmol/L equates to 29 ng/ml. So, it’s still very close to being in the normal, or even in the optimal, range depending on whom you ask.

A few other people have suggested that my original health issues were due to a vitamin D deficiency. However, that assertion is completely nonsensical for a variety of reasons.

  1. I had lots of vitamin D in my diet leading up to my disease conditions. Vitamin D did not prevent me from getting the diseases.
  2. I then fully recovered from all my disease conditions by eliminating vitamin A, and not by adding vitamin D.
  3. There’s been a massive amount of vitamin D supplementation going on here in Canada, and in other western countries too and there is no corresponding massive improvement in our rates of the chronic diseases. And forget about seeing massive improvements in disease rates, there’s been no improvement. Sure, vitamin D is probably helping people cope with the diseases, but it is not completely curing them either. So, clearly, a vitamin D deficiency is not at the root cause of the disease. Maybe vitamin D is acting much like many of the pharmaceutical drugs, and is just abating or blocking the symptoms?

Most importantly, the very concept of a vitamin deficiency is what has gotten us into this giant mess in the first place. I really have no research interest in vitamin D either. All I know is that vitamin D has been used as a rat poison for decades, and that is an absolute fact. Next, consider that rats are the de facto model used to test the toxicology of drugs and other chemicals. Yet, somehow, we are supposed to be so credulous and believe that vitamin D magically gets a free pass on it, and supplementing with it is somehow good for us? Sorry, I not buying it. I’m going with that real-world evidence and calling it for what it is. No one can argue that it’s not a toxic substance at high doses. Obviously, it is far less toxic than vitamin A.  Since vitamin D binds to the same “cellular receptors” as does vitamin A then it’s possible that it just blunts the potential toxicity of vitamin A. It may be that vitamin D only appears to be so beneficial in bone growth and maintenance due to it obstructing the osteoporosis causing effects of vitamin A? I don’t know. I am not an expert on it. But, we should be careful with it. For now, I’ll stick with my single-minded focus on investigating vitamin A.

Breast Cancer

While doing the background investigation for my two earlier e-books, I often saw similarities between many of the aspects and characteristics of the chronic diseases and those of cancers. It was especially so for breast cancer. Thus, I’ve looked at the breast cancer topic a bit more.  It has by no means been an exhaustive investigation. However, it has led me to two conclusions.

  1. Breast Cancer is caused by a poisoning.
  2. The primary causal toxin responsible for that poisoning is vitamin A.

I’m presenting this theory in a new e-book.

I’ve tried to keep this e-book short. But, I think there is still ample amounts of evidence presented in it to sufficiently back up the above conclusions. As with my other e-books, this one is free. So, please download this e-book, and feel free to share it with anyone you want. All I ask for in return is that you comment on it as you see fit.

Thanks

The Four Year Update

Tags

It’s been a bit over a year since my last update. I’ve been holding off on posting a new one because I wanted to get to the four-year point with my diet. The four-year anniversary date is Aug 11, 2018. But, things are starting to move along faster readership-wise. Last year I had five subscribers, and now I am up to ten. So, I’m clearly on a roll, and thus I am posting this a bit early to catch the wave.

An inexpensive fluoroscope

Dan from Chicago has shared a great tip. Rather than using a geology fluoroscope to inspect his skin for areas of high concentration of retinoids, he’s determined that you can use an automotive leak detection light. He’s used this ~ $15 kit.

UV flash light $15

He’s also shared some photos of his skin under this light.

RHandWrist

And then using the test light on that same area you can see the florescence.

RightWrist

The Eye Exam

I finally got around to getting a comprehensive eye exam done. The results were all good. No glaucoma, no macular degeneration. The vision tests, both near and far, were a clear pass. The pressure test was fine. No need for reading glasses, and no need for driving glasses. I do still have a trace remnant of a cataract in the left eye. So, overall, my eye health and vision are excellent and of course, vastly improved compared to four years ago. But, the kicker was, as I was finishing up with the exam, the eye doc sat back in his chair, looked a little perplexed, and said: “I don’t understand how you could have gotten to be this age (58) and still have such good eye health and vision”. That was a completely unprompted remark, and I did not say a word about my peculiar diet. Then I asked: “what about the vascularization?”. He replied, “that’s normal, don’t worry about it.”  Of course, I don’t think it’s really normal. Rather that it’s now just so common in people around my age that it appears to be normal.

Anyways, the claim that vitamin A is needed to maintain human vision is now officially debunked, at least as far as I am concerned. My night vision remains very good too. The one vision change I do notice now is that colour yellow is just richer. It’s like the difference between seeing a dull looking egg yolk and one that’s much deeper brighter yellow. It’s not a problem; it’s just different than before.

Oh, I know there will be the skeptics and the naysayers who’ll claim that I’ve just not waited long enough for the great vitamin A deficiency to swoop down and take me out. No worries, I plan on maintaining my zero vitamin A diet at least for another five years, and I’ll let them know the moment that it catches up to me.

Overall Health

Other areas of my health remain good too. I still have a good energy level and no concerns what-so-ever about my health. My weight has remained the same, and almost regardless of how many calories I take in. My BMI remains steady at 26.

bmi201882

But, there are a few areas that are still showing improvements. One is that my skin is progressively getting smoother, almost everywhere. It was also quite smooth a year ago too, but strangely it’s just getting smoother and nicer as time goes on. Even the skin on my heals is becoming smooth. Likewise, the same goes for my fingernails. They are now very nice and smooth too, and they no longer have the longitudinal ridges in them.

My bones and teeth are feeling stronger too. My blood pressure is at the “suggested optimal” values, usually at ~ 120/80, and my cholesterol levels are like perfect too.

mg/dl mmol/L
Cholesterol 126.6 3.28
HDL Cholesterol 57.5 1.49
LDL Cholesterol 56.4 1.46
NON-HDL Cholesterol 69.1 1.79
TRIGLYCERIDES 63.7 0.72

These cholesterol numbers are good even for children that are less than nine years of age. These low numbers are not surprising because one of the pathways for the breakdown of vitamin A is for it to convert into cholesterol. Additionally, my platelet count is down to 134 (the normal range is 150-400). I’m guessing that’s because I no longer need a bunch of sticky platelets constantly trying to repair damage to my blood vessels.

BloodPressure

I’m also finding that I need somewhat less sleep and food than I did a few years ago and I still maintain a good energy level throughout the day. However, regardless of whether I need it or not, I do try to get at least 7 hours of sleep a day.  Somewhat related, five years back, after waking up in the morning, I seriously needed my coffee. So much so, that anyone standing between me and my first coffee was in some danger. Then after the coffee, I needed a shower to fully wake up. I used to joke that I was not even human until after I had my coffee and morning shower. Now, that’s no longer the case. All joking aside, I am just much more alert and clear thinking upon first waking. I really don’t need coffee anymore at all, and I am finding it less appealing too.

The Diet

A few people have asked me how could I eat such a limited diet. I usually explain that it is super easy.  First, I put the rice in a bowl, and then I add some beans, then I add the cooked bison, add hot water and a pinch of salt to turn it into a soup, and then I eat it. But, seriously, it is super easy and fast. I just take the previously cooked rice, bison, and beans out of the fridge, add hot water, and I’m done. That’s it. I do the same for lunch. I just put it in a container and take it to work with me. The only downside is that it’s a bit boring. But, I’ll take boring over having my skin burn off again. There are other things you should know about this diet. Firstly, I probably get most of my calories from rice, not the bison. I have tons of energy on this diet, and I almost never feel hungry. Of course, it’s been well known in Asia for centuries now, but rice is an amazing energy super food. I can’t say enough good about it. The same somewhat categorization applies to the beans.  Of course, both rice and beans are very low cost too. But, do not for one second believe that you can live on rice and beans alone. I believe adequate animal meat is very important too. Even with the beef/bison added, this is still a very inexpensive diet, and that’s a bonus. After all, fruits and vegetables are quite expensive too. They also represent a huge amount of industrial waste because of spoilage.

Next, this brings up another question people are probably wondering about, and that is: do the beans increase gas and flatulence.  Firstly, here’s a little bit of trivia for you. Did you know that regular “healthy” people pass gas an average of 13 to 21 times per day? So, if you work in an office with say 50 people per floor that’s one heck of a lot of stinky methane seeping into the air that you are breathing.  Naturally, you sure don’t want to be over contributing to that with the added beans in your diet. Well, the surprising good news is that even with the beans, on this diet the number of times you’ll have flatulence in a day will be right around zero. At night, and while you sleep? Zero too. And, it’s probably around zero times per month too. That’s right, amazingly, nothing, perfect. Bowel movements are also perfect. My simple diet is just such a civilized one to adopt on that aspect of it alone. Additionally, just the amount of money you’ll save on toilet paper will somewhat offset for the amount of money you’ll spend on beef.

Kidney Disease

One of the topics I only touched on a bit in my e-books was my early diagnosis of kidney disease.  I was given this diagnosis in late 2006. My nephrologist told me that I still had a good amount of time left, but that I should get my affairs in order. He told me that there is no known definitive cause and no medication, and of course no cure, for CKD. The longer-term prognosis was that I’d be finished by 2013. Although my nephrologist was so incredibly accurate in that prediction, it did not turn out to be precisely correct. I just had a checkup done. My kidney function is now back to normal. I no longer have leaking protein, and my creatinine and GFR numbers are perfect too. Go figure?

Twisted Bones

Way back, a long, long time ago, when I had read Darwin’s Origin of the Species, I was quite surprised at just how confused and wrongly modern biology was interpreting his work. Darwin clearly knew that the concept of random mutations could only possibly account for just the tiniest little fraction of the forces driving evolution. What he stated, and he stated it over and over, if anyone bothered carefully reading his book, that it was natural breeding selection that was truly the biggest driving force behind the rate of evolutionary change. Just as importantly, it was that he fully understood, and he also stated it multiple times too, that the mother’s life experiences were somehow actually programming the outcome of the offspring. Yet, what’s taught in schools today is a grand distortion of what Darwin had discovered. Evolution is not the process of random mutations, but rather it is the process of purposefully built adaptations, both in real-time and over generations. Thus, Darwin had discovered epigenetics some 150 years ago. But, there is a secondary distortion that I want to highlight regarding Darwin’s story, and that is the shape of his own skull.

Upon Darwin’s return from his famous Beagle voyage, and having suffered from severe and chronic eczema during those years, Darwin’s father had noted that the shape of Darwin’s skull had changed! Yes, Darwin who was regularly eating organ meats, had the shape of his skull changed. Now, isn’t that fascinating?

Over the last few years, I’ve had quite a few people contact me who had taken Accutane as an acne treatment. One surprising consistent theme from their stories is the time-frame.  It’s usual to hear that they had taken the drug over ten years ago, and are still suffering from it.  The second surprising comment was that several of them reported that the “drug” had twisted their bones!

Then, about three years ago I had exchanged some messages with a woman, who’s about 40 years old. She had severe rosacea and a condition called TMJ. This condition is that of a twisted jaw bone. She had a very noticeable crooked smile and damaged teeth because of it. The rosacea was bad enough, but the twisted jaw was causing her a tremendous amount of chronic pain. She had shopped the nation for surgeons to treat the condition. What they offered sounded horrific, and none of them were guaranteeing any long-term successes either. Of course, the proposed surgeries came with substantial risks and guaranteed facial scarring too. The only thing that stopped her from going ahead with the surgeries was the cost. The needed surgery was quoted at between $50,000 and $100,000 US. When I talked to her, she told me that herself and her husband had added liver as an almost bi-weekly staple food in their diets a few years earlier. She had read in some fashion magazine that liver was the new health food. Her husband had developed severe gout at about the same time she had first developed rosacea. She had read my blog posts, and was extremely doubtful and very skeptical that the additional vitamin A consumption could have caused her conditions. Nonetheless, to be on the safe side, she stopped eating liver and very reluctantly adopted a low vitamin A diet too (but not totally zero).  Now, three years later, her jaw has straightened back out. Her rosacea is completely gone too. She’s also much happier and calmer now. But, I’m disappointed to say that she’s not fully convinced that the low vitamin‑A diet was responsible for the remarkable recovery. She cannot bring herself to believe that a “vitamin” could have caused it, or that medical “science” has gotten it wrong.

Well, there’s only so much I can say, other than that the highest authority in science is that which is demonstrated in nature.

Next, for my own twisted bone story. For well over a decade, and maybe more like for about the last two decades, I’ve had two bulging vertebrates in my lower back. They are about 2/3rds the way down. They never really bothered me too much. Even though I could only see them by using a mirror, I really needed two opposing mirrors to see them effectively. Thus, it was no big deal kind of thing, and I only had a single mirror in my bathroom, so I was fine. Then, a few months ago, I was in a washroom with multiple mirrors, and lo and behold, I noticed that those two bulging vertebrates are almost not visible anymore. They have straightened out, and are now almost completely back in alignment with the rest of my spine.  I never, not in a hundred years, could have imagined that to happen.

So, in addition to all the other horrible things this so-called vitamin can do to us, it’s even causing the twisting of our bones! How remarkable is that?

Breast Cancer

You might be surprised to learn how much more pain and misery, and death this so-called vitamin is inflicting on the women of the world. That’s the topic of my next e-book. It should be ready in the next few days.

Vitamin A…. oh no it’s not!

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Another year has gone by, and now I owe my loyal followers an update. In a nutshell, here it is: I am still very much alive, doing quite well, and remain eczema free. So, that’s nice. Oh, and yes, I am continuing to live on my vitamin A deplete diet. That’s nice too.

But, I’ve not been sitting idle regarding the vitamin A topic either. In addition to my day job, and other life responsibilities, I’ve spent more time investigating the history and nuances of the vitamin A story. This investigation has now led me to make a rather profound discovery. That discovery is that vitamin A is not a vitamin, at all. Nope; in no way is retinol, nor it’s precursors, a vitamin. That grand theory and the esteemed vitamin label given to this toxic molecule is rooted in nothing more than botched science.

Of course, that’s not just my opinion, and no, I am not delusional. Rather, you’ll soon see that it is simply a fact. So, if you are like me, and have been wondering why the symptoms of so-called vitamin A deficiency are a perfect match for those of vitamin A toxicity, you’ll get the answer to that little 100-year-old mystery.

I’ve documented this investigation in a new eBook. Like with my prior eBook, this one is completely free too. There are no hooks or gotchas to it, nor advertising associated with it. There’s no monetary gain in any of this for me, or anyone else. However, there’s a gigantic amount of money being made in attempting to treat the endless autoimmune diseases. Thus, the title: Poisoning For Profits.

Please download the eBook and share it with as many people as you like. All I ask in return is for you to please comment on it as you see fit. Therefore, please feel completely free to contact me with any feedback and questions.

Like always, you most certainly should not just take my word, or anyone else’s word, on any of this. Rather fantastically, you get to conduct a very simple in-home experiment and prove the science of it.  You’ll get to see the results of that experiment with your own eyes. In doing so, you’ll get to participate in one of the most important health science experiments ever conducted. Science just does not get to be any cooler than that.

Poisoning For Profits Why so many of us are sick and dying young.

Thank you

 

Ending the Mystery of Autoimmune

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About a year ago, I posted my initial theory that low dose chronic vitamin A poisoning was causing the epidemics of Alzheimer’s, Crohn’s/IBD, and eczema. That blog post was so long, and rambling, I doubt that many people even bothered to read it. Of course, there was a bit of a “just some wacko on the internet making absurd claims” sounding tone to it. After all, the entire gist of that theory was admittedly pretty crazy. Nonetheless, I was reasonably confident in making those assertions. Now, after a year of more investigation, I have no doubt whatsoever about it.

But, to have any credibility I needed to fully recover from my eczema condition before posting this update. It has taken a long time for me to make that complete recovery, and there have been a few setbacks along the way. The biggest challenge has been going through another cold, dry winter here in Alberta. Not only have I now fully recovered from my eczema, but I have also seen other significant improvements in my overall health too. More importantly, this extra time has allowed me to learn more, to put together more information, and to gain a much better understanding of the real mechanisms of these diseases. Lastly, I wanted to have gone on a near zero vitamin A diet for at least a year and a half too.

What I’ve learned is quite surprising, and will probably still be almost downright unbelievable for many people. Nevertheless, the truth is what the truth is. Therefore, this is mostly a good news story. It should be a majorly good news story for anyone afflicted with these diseases. It’s also a wee bit of a bad news story at the same time too. That’s because once you understand the mechanism of these diseases, you’ll see that it is going to take a long time to recover from them. The scope and magnitude of the devastation to the body’s cells and organs could be enormous, and it is simply going to take a long time to allow the body to recover and repair itself. Therefore, no magic pill is going to cure you. But, making a significant diet change probably will.

“If a sick person is fed, one feeds the disease.”

Hippocrates

The first stage in recovering from these diseases is that you need to immediately stop poisoning yourself. The second stage is to give your body the time it needs to heal itself. Even though you won’t experience a full recovery right away, you should experience at least some improvement by the first three to four weeks, assuming you take this very seriously.

With that, let’s move on to other goods news aspects of the story. The good news is that these diseases are not at all what we’ve been told they are. They are not some incurable, remainder of life disease condition. The human body is not some weak, feeble machine that is prone to self-destruction like this. These diseases, the autoimmune diseases, of Crohn’s, colitis, Lupus, eczema, MS, psoriasis, asthma, arthritis, diabetes, celiac, Sjögrens, vitiligo, and others are indeed rooted in vitamin A poisoning. These are not some spontaneously occurring, or just random bad luck, diseases. That ridiculous concept is entirely wrong.  They are completely not the result of a defective immune system either. They are auto-poisonings that cause the immune system to respond in the way it does. The only bad luck part here is that you probably live in a Western country that has fortified its national milk and dairy products with the very chemical that causes these diseases. Somehow, modern medicine has ignored what Hippocrates knew all too well some 2,500 years ago.

It is thus with regard to the disease called Sacred; it appears to me to be nowise more sacred than other diseases, but has a natural cause from which it originates like other affections. Men regard its nature and causes as divine from ignorance and wonder, because it is not at all like to other diseases. And this notion of its divinity is kept up by their inability to comprehend it, and the simplicity of the mode by which it is cured…

Hippocrates,  On the Sacred Disease

There’s more good news here too. Many of the chronic thought to be brain diseases are also manifestations of chronic vitamin A poisoning. These include Autism, Alzheimer’s, ADHD, many cases of anxiety, chronic depression, and very likely schizophrenia too. Additionally, this same poisoning is the very root cause of many incidences of kidney disease, and non-alcoholic liver disease too. It is also a very significant factor causing obesity. It is most certainly also the very root cause of cataracts.

Now any reasonable person should assume that claiming that this long list of diseases as being caused by one common poisoning is completely absurd. I fully understand how absurd sounding these claims must be. On the other hand, it is not at all absurd sounding after you learn that this one chemical is indeed capable of poisoning every single cell in the human body. Additionally, whatever is causing these diseases, it has to be something amazingly ubiquitous in our environment.  This is no ordinary poisoning either. This poisoning is a doozy, because it very slowly poisons the entire body, and thereby starts to destroy nearly every tissue in the body. Moreover, it coerces the ever powerful immune system into destroying the body too, the said to be “defective” auto-immune response.

The key to understanding all of this is the fact that all tissues associated with the chronic diseases, the thought to be diseases of aging, and the believed to be diseases of childhood, are all diseases of the stratified epithelial (and endothelial) tissues. Therefore, a gastroenterologist is dealing with the same tissue type (structure) as an ophthalmologist, and so is the dermatologist, the cardiologist, and the nephrologist, etc. The organ (the location of the disease, the gut, the eye, the skin or the kidneys, etc.) is irrelevant. The various named medical specialties are all attempting to treat the same tissue structure, it’s the stratified epithelium, with its all critical basal membrane. The subsequent downstream consequence of the body’s attempted defense of this endless destruction leads to bone loss, osteoporosis, and that directly leads to the long-term disruption in the balance of blood chemistry, resulting in chronic ischemic damage in the brain. Obesity is another defensive action taken by the body in trying to protect you from this self-destruction of the epithelium.

The takeaway here is that the chronic diseases of the inner ear, eyes, lungs, skin, GI tract, kidneys, pancreas (diabetes), liver, nose, throat, reproductive tissues, cardiovascular, myelin sheaths lining the nerves (MS), and all tissues with a cilia, such as of the ovaries, etc. are ALL epithelial diseases (it’s the slow and chronic apparent self-destruction of this TYPE of tissue).  But, it is not some mysterious self-destruction going on, it is a slow poisoning. Surprisingly, there is only ONE food based poison known to medical science that can even possibly be causing it. There is a ton of medical research proving this fact, and it has been proven beyond any doubt. Therefore, this is not just a theory.

Paradoxically, it is also believed to be proven that a shortage of vitamin A causes the very same destruction of the stratified epithelial (and endothelial) tissues. Would it not be fascinating to find out why we have this striking paradox? I’ll publish a follow-up post on how the early researchers completely botched it. The studies proving the consequences of vitamin A deficiency showed nothing other than the incredible toxicity of vitamin A. These early researchers made some tragic mistakes, and the resulting consequence of those mistakes is the outrageous rates of chronic disease we now face in the developed countries.

 Poisonings?

Using the term “poisonings” might be somewhat dramatic sounding too. However, I have no intention of being dramatic sounding. I am just calling it for what it is. Once you consider the geographic and national clustering of these diseases, there’s no question that they are poisonings. Nonetheless, to be less dramatic sounding, let’s just use the term “abnormal underlying conditions”.

Secondly, once you understand that these diseases are not normal in the human body, then it is easy to consider that it is some abnormal underlying conditions causing them. When these underlying conditions persist, the diseases develop. The only difficult aspect in understanding that these diseases are indeed poisonings is the extended time frames involved. We are usually talking about decades of time. Basically speaking, a toxin is very slowly accumulating in the body at various locations.  Yet, paradoxically, there is also a ton of complexity involved in the process.  As that toxin is accumulating the body is also mounting its standard defense measures against it. However, over time the body’s defensive measures are worn down and eventually exhausted. Once that happens, the body crosses a tipping point into diseases. You will never recover from the diseases unless you change the underlying conditions that are causing them.

I am completely, and one hundred percent sure about the above statements. However, it does not matter one little bit about what I am sure of. What only matters here, is what the evidence says about it. And over the last year, I’ve been spending my spare time on collecting that evidence. I’ve been gathering that evidence and making the connections between it all. I am publishing this in a free eBook. The eBook is available using the links below. I’ve put this information into an eBook form because it is now just way too long to include in a blog post. The book is entirely free. There are no hooks or catches to it. There is no advertising, or any monetary gain in this book for me, or anyone else. The only cost to you is your time in reading it. This book is intended for the people who have these diseases, and for their families. Here’s the download link: Extinguishing the Fires of Hell.pdf

You can freely share this eBook with anyone, including your doctor, and I highly encourage you to do that. However, I don’t expect much of a positive reaction from doctors on this topic for several reasons. Firstly, it would take an incredibly brave doctor to follow this evidence to its logical conclusions. Secondly, most doctors have more or less had their hands tied. For many physicians, they cannot be recommending a diet change to treat diseases. Thirdly, medical science has been completely over analyzing these conditions and have therefore missed the most obvious aspect to them. That is the fact, that they are poisonings. Ironically, the key to understanding these diseases is not found by looking down through a microscope, but rather by looking at world maps. Moreover, in the near term, we are far more interested in knowing what is poisoning us, rather than knowing the exact microbiology of how it is poisoning us. Of course, the microbiology aspects of this poisoning are of huge scientific and academic interest. It will give us a much better understanding of how the body really works, and importantly the information needed to develop the right treatment and antidotes. Therefore, a good chunk of my investigation was focused on proving that these diseases are poisonings and exactly what poison is responsible for them.

The critical information you need to know is that the rates for these diseases in North America, and selected other industrialized countries, are a staggering 50 to 400 times higher than compared to the non-industrialized ones. When you stop and really think about it, there is only one plausible explanation as to why and how this has happened. Quite simply, it is because these diseases are poisonings. From that basic understanding, then the next question you need to ask is what known potential toxins in our common foods even have the capability of causing these diseases? The rather shocking answer to that question is that there is only one substance known to medical science that can do so. That chemical is vitamin A.

On the one hand, it is just that straightforward. Yet, on the other hand, it is a very tricky, and almost devious poisoning that slowly sneaks up on us. For most adults it usually takes decades. Sadly, kids are not so lucky because they are far more susceptible.

Naturally, I welcome any and all feedback. More than that, I invite anyone to try to challenge this finding. But, please do it publicly, here on this blog, or anywhere else. All I’ll ask is that you use your real name, and job title when doing so. I am just asking you to please go on public record as having refuted this theory. Obviously, you’ll need to have very solid scientifically supportable evidence backing your position. This investigation is about science and the facts. It is not about opinions, nor is it about quotes from so-called experts.

When I refer to evidence here, most people might be expecting complicated chemical equations, detailed and complex biological processes, glossy pictures, and downright virtual fingerprints. I think that kind of evidence is going to be pretty hard to come by in disease research, and it would be difficult to prove the case absolutely, and conclusively in chronic diseases other than in infections.

However, I am indeed providing much of that level of evidence here. I am providing pictures, biological processes, and references to massive amounts of data, and (inadvertent) large-scale clinical studies to make the case.  But it is not to some extreme level of scientific sophistication, and rigor. Maybe a bit oddly, the answer to solving these diseases is not found so much in the minutia. Rather, the answer shows up and becomes entirely apparent when you take several steps back and look at all of the evidence collectively, and thereby see the bigger picture. There are some other surprising aspects of these diseases that have shown up in my investigation. Firstly, much of this information has been well known to medical science since about the 1940s. Secondly, you can literally see the large amounts of this toxin sitting in the skin, and you can see it with your own eyes. Thirdly, it is the very same, and the one chemical that is known to medical science that has been clinically proven, and proven millions of times over, to cause all of the symptoms of all the autoimmune diseases combined.  Additionally, there is only one toxin (from foods) known to medical science that can possibly be causing osteoporosis. It is also the one chemical known to medical science that will cause the depletion of your tissue’s stem cells, and thereby cause the corresponding sclerosis of your epithelial tissues. It is the one chemical, therefore, capable of causing the pigment loss occurring in vitiligo.  You can see this with your own eyes too. It is the one chemical that will cause the skin to shed and flake off as seen in eczema. It is the very same chemical that is scientifically proven to cause inflammation and the actual immune response we see in these diseases. Amazingly, it is the same chemical that has been proven to cause the head to toe destruction of the human body, and it has proven it millions of times over too. The points I’ve just made are a sampling of the details of the evidence you can dig into by reading the eBook.

Lastly, and rather incredibly, the very functional definition of vitamin A not only implicates it here but it also provides us with the unique virtual fingerprints on it. I could almost not even wish for more or stronger evidence. Everything I’ve found here is completely scientifically proven, and well-documented.

You’ll also see indisputable proof that these diseases are indeed poisonings. When you combine all of these facts, you should be left with no doubts. The bottom line here is that there is only one chemical known to medical science that can even possibly be causing these diseases. Very unfortunately, we’ve all been drinking it in our milk, eating it, and feeding it to our kids. The experts have seriously let us down and misled us. I believe that the vitamin A supplementation of our foods will go down in history as being one of the biggest scientific blunders of our time.

Don’t let the never-ending excuses thrown up by the naysayers and cynics distract you from pursuing the truth. The naysayers have not even begun to solve these diseases over the last fifty years, and they likely wouldn’t have solved a single one of them in the next fifty years either. Don’t let others with some financial interest try to talk you out of pursuing it either. Be strong, brave, and consider the evidence I am presenting on its own merits. This theory is not impossible. On the contrary, based upon the mountain of evidence here, it is highly probable. It is also not a difficult concept to understand either because this exact process is abundantly documented to be precisely what happens with this toxin in the human body. Additionally, and quite surprisingly, there is only one possible explanation as to why over 100,000,000 people in North America are now sick, and more are getting sick every single day.

To illustrate the point, imagine that you and your business partner have a company safe containing all your cash and valuables. There are only two people in the entire world that have a key to this safe: you and your partner. Your partner’s name is Joe Vital, and he is an unyielding type A personality. He has an immense influence on everyone he comes into contact with. With that, most people call him by his somewhat peculiar nickname “Vital A”.  Then one day you open the safe, and everything is gone. You confront “Vital A”, and he’s sitting there red-faced, sweating, and has a plane ticket to South America in his pocket, and denying any part of it. His financial supporters are also steadfastly backing him and are waving their hands trying to distract your attention to elsewhere. So, just who do you think emptied the safe? You might not want to admit that your old friend has betrayed your trust, but you just now have to go with the evidence on it. There is only one possibility here.  Of course, the cash and valuables in this analogy are your health; the calcium sucked out from your bones, and the all-important stem cells robbed from your skin, eyes, pancreas, kidneys, liver, other tissues, and even your brain.

Most importantly, regardless of what I say, or what anyone else has to say, the very final say, and evidence, on this is now up to you. You must now take action on it, and ultimately prove it one way or the other.

Thank you.

Connecting Eczema, Crohn’s and Alzheimer’s

The Subclinical saturation & Toxicity of retinol & retinoic acid

Introduction

This document investigates the root cause, and connection between the seemingly disparate diseases of Eczema, Crohn’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

There are a bunch of even more seemingly disparate pieces of evidence that I present to make this connection. These can be thought of as pieces of a puzzle if you like. Once connected, they reveal a pretty clear picture. Or, if you prefer, consider them to be clues that enable us to track down a notorious serial killer.

This document is not intended to be an scientific publication.  It is an mix of theory, evidence, and my own personal account and observations in dealing with one of these diseases.

Even though this is a very long, and rambling document, if you have an autoimmune disease, or you are genuinely interested in this topic, then I think it is worth your time to read all of this. If at any point while reading this you think something is wrong, or that this can’t be correct, please leave a comment as to why you think so. Also, please understand that I am presenting this as a theory.  It could be wrong, and completely wrong. It could be right, or only partially right.  I am completely, and totally open minded about this.  However, the preponderance of evidence that I have found is indeed pointing in this direction.

Autoimmune diseases and Alzheimer’s are not trivial topics.  This is complicated, and it requires a lot of evidence.

The evidence topics (in no particular order) include:

WHO and pregnant women in India Vitamin A
Food Japanese Skin Rejuvenation Therapy
Crohn’s Disease Eczema
Hair follicles Government Regulations
Autism Charles Darwin
Hashimoto’s and the ⅓ missing eyebrows National Institute of Health
Pickled Herring Socioeconomic status
Fatty Liver Disease Exponential decline curves
Winter Air Mucosal Calcinosis
A man named John An Acne Drug
Symmetry and randomness The Koebner phenomenon
The sebaceous gland Thresholds and tipping points
The closure of the Atlantic Cod fishery The border between Finland and Russia
Kids Chile
Steroid creams Anorexia
Spontaneous Bone fractures Retinal Neurodegeneration
Fluorescence Handwashing dishes
Canada North South ocean temperature gradients
An incredibly well known toxin Age 20ish
Band Aids Fortified Milk

I’ve highlighted what I think are the most important pieces of evidence. What are the connections between all of these? If we can answer this, then I think we can solve the mystery.

With all of these topics to discuss; this is going to be a very long read. Hopefully, there is a bit of intrigue raised here.

Although I am using intrigue, and puzzle metaphors; I do take this to be deadly serious. This is no game. Alzheimer’s and Autoimmune are the biggest diseases of our time. They are killing millions of people, and destroying the lives of 10’s of millions of others. Statistically speaking, every 60 seconds another person in North America is being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. That is effectively a death sentence. Consider this; right now in Canada 48% of men, and 67% of women by age 85 have Alzheimer’s or dementia. If you are lucky enough to live to be 105, then the probability of having Alzheimer’s is 95%.

Not too long ago, autoimmune diseases (all of them) were actually very rare. Alzheimer’s was a very rare disease too. Nearly all of a sudden; that has changed. We are in the midst of a raging epidemic of these diseases. We could actually even be at the early stages of that epidemic. Something is hugely wrong.

Approximately every 30 seconds another person is now being diagnosed with an Autoimmune disease. That is effectively a life sentence of future misery.

So, this is my attempt at cracking the code on this puzzle. I’ve also just recently joined the illustrious autoimmune club.  Last year I was diagnosed with Eczema. It was just a rash; but I did not like it. I did not like it one little bit.  That has put me on a bit of a mission to try to solve it.  I have no medical experience whatsoever.  I am just a guy with a rash. So, how does a guy trying to solve a rash stumble upon all of this? It was by conducting a very simple experiment.

OK, let’s dig in, and get started.

Here are some charts that I put together revealing what I think is an amazing connection. These charts are key pieces of evidence needed to solve this puzzle. Please do not gloss over it. Look at it very, very carefully. Not to overstate it; but these are incredibly important evidence. Please understand that these charts are revealing some major new clues as to the root cause of a major Autoimmune disease, and directly correlates that disease with Alzheimer’s disease. Also, these charts are original, they are not copied from anywhere. They are showing reliable; scientifically published data.

If we can understand what happened here; and fully understand what the connections are, then I think we will uncover the root cause(s) of these diseases. If we can solve one of these diseases; we may be able to solve the other. How hard can it be to crack the code on one of these? Click the chart to zoom in if you want a better view.

AlzheimersCrohns

This is data from Atlantic Canada from between 1996 and 2011.  The top line is Crohn’s disease incidence rates in Nova Scotia, and the others are Alzheimer’s mortality rates in the Atlantic provinces.

The Crohn’s Disease data is from a 2014 research paper, titled: Decreasing incidence of inflammatory bowel disease in Eastern Canada: a population database study.

The key observations here are:

  1. A remarkable ~35% drop in Crohn’s disease over this time period (1996-2009)
  2. A stunning ~50% drop in Alzheimer’s mortality over this time period ( 2000-2011)
  3. These two trend lines for Crohn’s and Alzheimer’s disease are nearly parallel
  4. Western Canada has no such decline (both are increasing in Alberta)
  5. Most of the rest of the world has no such decline in either of these diseases.

Here is the Canadian Alzheimer’s Data; from the East to West coast provinces. That east to west ordering is very important. Please look at these numbers very, very carefully. What do they tell us? You can maybe visualize a big arrow from the top left to the bottom right.

Alzheimer’s disease Age-standardized mortality rate per 100,000 population, Both sexes
Prov. 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
NL 22.8 20.7 23.3 19.1 20.6 14.8 18.6 16.7 16.5 12.1 14.7 11.8
PEI 19.8 18.2 21.8 13 13.2 7.4 11.7 10.4 12.7 12.2 11.2 8.7
NS 17.6 20.4 17.1 14.4 14.5 16 12.7 16.2 17.2 16 17.5 15.4
NB 14.8 16.7 15.6 14.2 17.5 12.7 13.9 15.8 13.1 12.1 11.7 11.6
QC 16.4 18.4 19 17.8 17 18 16.5 17 17.2 16.4 16.3 15.8
ON 12.7 12.6 11.9 12.4 11.9 12.1 11 10.8 11.8 10.7 10.6 9.5
MB 8.7 10.8 7.4 7.8 8.9 9 8.5 7.9 7.9 7.3 6.9 7.3
SK 13 13 12.7 12.5 11.7 11.6 11.3 10.6 11.9 9.1 7.5 8.5
AB 12.4 10.6 12.5 10.3 9.7 9.2 9.9 8.6 10.8 9.3 8.5 7.8
BC 8.6 9.8 9.7 9.5 9 8.1 8.4 8.1 9.7 9.5 8.4 8.5
YK 0 0 8.2 7.4 8.7 20.4 19.7 10.2 17.8 14.8 11.9 16.5
NWT 6.8 7.4 17.3 7.9 7.5 0 7.4 5.7 18.5 0 0 4.9

Source: http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/cansim/a47

Table 102-05521

Alzheimer’s disease Age-standardized mortality rate per 100,000 population, Both sexes

Here is a chart showing the Alzheimer’s mortality rates in most of the other Canadian provinces.

Alzheimers Rates In Canada

The key observations here are:

  1. The decline rate in Canada’s western most provinces is nearly zero. In the year 2000, the Atlantic Provinces where at least 1.5 to 2 TIMES the rate of BC, and Alberta.
  2. ALL the Atlantic coast provinces are all at the top of the chart. All have clearly significantly higher rates than the rest of Canada.
  3. The significantly declining rates over this time period; but particularly so in the Atlantic Provinces.
  4. The slope of the regression lines on NL, NB are much steeper than that of BC, and AB. The BC regression line is almost flat.
  5. The Nova Scotia rate changes are a bit different than the other Atlantic Provinces.
  6. By the year 2011, the rate of most of the Atlantic provinces is cut in half, and is approaching the same rates for western Canada
  7. Once again, most of the rest of the world has no such dramatic decline in the rates of these two diseases.

What does this tell us? It tells us; with crystal clear clarity, that these are environmentally induced diseases. There has been a pervasive environmental change in Atlantic Canada to cause these significant declines. I suggest that there is no other logical conclusion.

The charts shown above include quite a few curves, and end up looking a bit cluttered. Here is a chart showing just the Alzheimer’s rates in Newfoundland and the Crohn’s rate in Nova Scotia.

AlzPEICrohns2029

I picked these two curves just to emphasize the significant trend here. But, no matter, all the Atlantic province curves are similar. The decline rates in these two seemingly completely disparate diseases are tracking each other very closely. I think that there is just no way that the underlying cause of these two diseases is not indeed related. For me, on one hand this is remarkable data. But, on the other hand, based upon my battle with Eczema, it is exactly what I suspected. After-all; I did not just randomly think to go and look for possible correlations between Crohn’s and Alzheimer’s. You might be asking yourself; “what the heck is this guy talking about; a connection between Crohn’s, Eczema and Alzheimer’s?”. Well, I believe that indeed there is. They are directly related. They share the same sinister parent. If you can take the time to read this entire document; I think the reasons why will become completely clear.

What happened in around 1996? Canada closed the Atlantic Cod fishery in 1993. So, there is something fishy about this story.  Here is something else that’s fishy. The Alzheimer’s rate directly across the Finland – Russian Border.

FinlandRussiaFinland is 22 TIMES higher. That is not a typo. Finland also has one of the highest rates of Eczema in the world. Sweden and Denmark have some of the highest rates of Crohn’s disease in the world. What does this tell us?  Once again, if we can understand why this difference is happening, we are well on our way to solving the mystery. A partial clue is the Finns eat lots of fish, and fish oils; whereas their Russian neighbors do not. But, this story is not about fish! It is about what is hidden inside the fish.

Here’s a bit of trivia. Consider the two cod fish shown below. They are the exact same species; the same age, size, taste, and smell. The only difference is one came from the West coast, and the other from the East coast of Canada.

CodFishWhat is different about these two fish? The difference is that the Atlantic Cod has 10 TIMES the level of vitamin A compared to the Pacific Cod. It appears to be the same fish; yet it’s 10 times higher in vitamin A. Why is that?

My journey, the other evidence, and connecting the puzzle pieces.

Okay, let’s dig into the science of all of this. The basic premise to this theory is that Eczema, Crohn’s and some other common autoimmune diseases are caused by being in a chronic state of elevated levels of retinol, retinoic acid, and possibly the carotenoid vitamin A precursors.

However, this is not the same as acute or chronic vitamin A toxicity as documented in the medical literature. No, almost not at all. Rather it is a sub-clinical poisoning that develops slowly over years; and possibly even over decades. There is a level of toxicity way below the documented acute or chronic vitamin A toxicity cases; yet the end results are far more devastating. Autoimmune diseases are actually auto-poisonings! So is Alzheimer’s.

The World Health Organization and pregnant women in India

A key piece of information for me was reading a report of a WHO program conducted in India; where they were pre-dosing pregnant women with 400,000 UI of vitamin A in one dose.

They were monitoring the blood serum in some of these women as they digested this dose. An incidental comment in the report was that they were amazed at just how fast the body removed the vitamin A dose from the serum. Of course this dose was quickly absorbed by the liver and stored away. The time between digestion and absorption was very brief (they did not numerically quantify it).

Okay, that’s fine. There is no comment in the report of a follow up study as to how many birth defects this program may have caused. Nevertheless, this was a critical point for me in understanding what might be going on. It means the body really does not want unbond Vitamin A in the serum; nearly not at all. Fine, and not surprising; since this is what is expected to happen in a normal healthy person. But, there is a limit on how much the body can physically store.

Exactly what happens when we consume too much Vitamin A

If you are a researcher; or a medical person, then the obvious question for you is what is going to happen once the body approaches or reaches this storage limit? We all need to know the exact and correct answer to this question. There can be no glossing over this. It is a critically important question; since vitamin A is in nearly all foods.

The food supply in North America is hugely supplemented with it too. It is also a critical question because most people in the Western / Industrialized world are going to eventually get into this state. It is more or less a mathematical certainty. What’s going to happen once the body nears storage saturation for vitamin A?

I think it is obvious that since the liver can no longer quickly absorb and store this intake; it is going to remain in the serum longer. This results in sporadic or chronic excessive vitamin A levels that surges and overwhelms the normal and dedicated storage function. Other systems and organs are now attempting to contain this overflow. It is also not quite this straight forward.

Consider yourself getting into this state. You’ve just gotten yourself into a vitamin A toxicity state. You are going to become sick, and very sick over time. All kinds of horrible things are going to start happening. There is no antidote as far as I know. You’ve now fallen through an almost one way trapdoor.

If your average daily intake is more than your body’s daily usage, then it is more or less inevitable. If you indulge just a little bit on too much milk, dairy, eggs, certain fish etc or any of the vitamin A precursors, then this is going to happen much sooner. If you supplement with cod liver oil, or a vitamin A supplement, or any vitamin A derivative; it is going to be much, much sooner. It could be in your twenties or teens or even at birth! It is also going to depend a bit on what you consume that vitamin A with.

Since your liver can no longer protect you; your other organs and immune system is going to go into action and attempt to deal with has now become a horrible toxin. Every mcg of consumption could now be toxic to us. You now have an autoimmune disease. You are now in the same group as about 30+ million other people in North America.  Welcome to the club.

These diseases are really the result of non liver accumulation of this potential toxin.

What is happening here is the other organs, such as the skin, lungs, kidneys, GI tract, joints are accumulating too much Vitamin A. Although these organs & tissues are capable of storing or accumulating vitamin A; this is an extraordinary defensive measure taken by the body to locally store excessive amounts. This should not normally be happening.  This would have rarely happened during the evolution of humans.

Of course, we actually don’t have to speculate what is going to happen when we reach elevated storage levels. It is incredibly well documented in the scientific and medical literature. More on that a bit later.

Eczema and making the initial Connection

When I made my initial recovery from eczema using my vitamin A elimination diet; some other remarkable things happened to me.  All kinds of other subtle, and not so subtle, negative health symptoms that I was experiencing quickly went away too. These were symptoms that had slowly developed over a 5-10 year period; so slowly that I had mistakenly assumed they were just a normal part of aging. So, that was a pleasant surprise to have them magically go away. Moreover, it became abundantly clear to me that I had more or less turned off what my doctor told me was an autoimmune disease. Most importantly, it was perfectly clear to me that eczema was just a symptom (a very nasty one) of the real underlying cause. Unfortunately, this underlying cause is hugely more serious than the eczema skin condition itself.

Therefore, the most important thing to really understand about eczema is that it is not just a rash.  It is much, much more than a rash. It can also be fatal in an indirect way.

It is actually the skin being dissolved from the inside out. You need to really understand and appreciate that last sentence. The word dissolved is a precise, and carefully chosen word. It is not an exaggeration or an analogy.

How do I know the skin is being dissolved?  Because I have watched it happen, in real time, on the backs of my own hands and fingers, under my microscope. I have done so at least six times.  An analogy would be to watch a sugar cube dissolve in water in real time.

Even at just 30x I can see what I am calling the matrix of the skin (the collagen?) more or less disintegrate. Depending upon the severity of the inflammation, this process can take less than 5 minutes to burn through to the top layer of the skin. It often burns the top layer right off.  It is super important to know that this is coming from inside the skin.  It is not from the surface in. If the top layer of the skin does not dissolve; it has hundreds of little craters burned into it. Paradoxically, with the inflammation the skin can subsequently become much thicker.

KEY EVIDENCE: Never let the Skin Air Dry: it will make your autoimmune disease get worse

Of course this is not just my observation. The very common recommendation from medical people and other people with eczema is to dry yourself off very carefully after a bath or shower. The advice is:

“Blot dry with a towel (rather than rubbing), and apply a moisturizing cream from head to toe (focusing on problem areas) within 3 minutes of getting out of the bath or shower, while the skin is still moist. If the skin is allowed to air-dry before the moisturizer is applied, the eczema could get worse.”

Source: http://allergies.about.com/od/skinallergies/a/atopicdermtx.htm

Why is this? Well for two reasons. Firstly, it is because the skin in affected areas is so incredibly thin, thinner than rice paper thin, or disintegrating, that if you rub it the least little bit you’ll rub it right off. The skin can be so thin, that it has no structural integrity left to it.  At this point it can be more like a thin layer of mush.

Of course, if you do rub it off; it is both a bit more painful, and you now expose yourself to the risk of bacterial infections.  Once again, this thinning of the skin has happened from the inside out. The top layer of the skin has been dissolved away.  I think for most people, if they were to look at eczema affected skin during a flare-up under a 30x microscope they would be shocked.  It is actually an amazing amount of destruction going on. There are hundreds of little pockets of skin per square centimeter that are completely burned out. The hair can be completely burned off at the skin surface level too. Unfortunately, I don’t have a camera attachment for my microscope; so I don’t have a 30x picture to share. I do have pictures from a regular camera share here.

The second, and other huge clue here is this : “If the skin is allowed to air-dry before the moisturizer is applied, the eczema could get worse.”

I can’t tell you how many different places I’ve seen this same statement. This is like a universal observation with eczema. Now, why does letting the skin air-dry cause an autoimmune disease to get worse? The short answer is that the last thing you want to happen is for the body’s natural mechanism for moisturizing the skin to go into effect. The longer answer is just a few pages below; and you are probably not going to like it.

So what about this dissolving, crumbling skin? What chemical is capable of doing this to the skin?  Retinoic acid of course.

Vitamin A acid peels

You can actually get prescription cosmetic applications to accomplish exactly this. They are called Vitamin A acid peels. There are various products on the market. They dissolve the top layer of dead skin cells to expose the newer deeper layers, and promote skin turnover. Similar products are available as an acne treatment. Nice for them I guess. But, people with eczema are effectively applying a similar acid peel from the inside out. This might sound like something out of a horror novel. But, it is not. It is exactly what is happening.

Although the reference to Vitamin A acid peels might be something that a lot of people are aware of, or can directly relate to, it is not very strong evidence scientifically speaking.

Key Evidence – Japanese Skin Rejuvenation Therapy

Let’s look at some more scientifically based evidence.  Here’s a great collection of recent research papers on the topic of Retinoic Acid.

Retinoic Acid: Structure, Mechanisms and Roles in Disease (Microbiology Research Advances: Cell Biology Research Progress)

Chapter 6: Tretinoin-cyclodextrin Complex in Skin Rejuvenation Therapy
Authors:Cheng, Li-Hong, Ito, Yuto; Osaka University, et al.
ISBN 978-1-62100-597-1

Tretinoin is all-trans-retinoic acid ( let’s use the ATRA abbreviation).
In a nutshell, what they are researching is the development of the topical application of ATRA (retinoic acid) to reduce the effects of chronological and or photo-aging of the skin.

They document that ATRA will induce improved skin turnover, and ultimately the thickening of the collagen.  However, when applied directly, and topically, they report that patients frequently experience inflammation, redness, scaling, itching, and burning, and desquamation. Okay, it appears that they are directly inducing the eczema skin condition we all consider to be an autoimmune disease.

But, if the patient can tolerate these conditions for a while, then after stopping treatment there is a subsequent thickening of the collagen.  This is exactly the same condition observed with eczema; after the skin becomes inflamed, it usually turns much thicker.  Overall, this now sounds like the textbook description of Eczema.

The authors describe the mechanism as: “The phenomena occur because Tretinoin releases heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor (HB-EGF), which enhances the proliferation of basal cells”.

This little detail of the EGF-like growth factor being released is a very important one to remember.

ATRA works in thickening the collagen, but they need to directly deliver it deeper into the dermo skin layer, without first inflaming the epidermis, the outermost layer of skin.  They adopt some rather novel ways of bypassing the epidermis; and getting the ATRA deeper into the skin. I will try to contact the authors to see if they can provide photos of the inflamed skin they were inducing.

There are many more papers providing scientific evidence that retinoic acid may be the culprit here. Retinoic Acid has been used in dermatology since 1959.  It has been used to treat many skin related diseases such as acne, ichthyosis, psoriasis and others.  However, the complication of skin inflammation leads to the interruption of treatment by many users.

Here is another research paper on a similar topic:

Chapter 10: ALTERNATIVES TO REDUCE THE TOPICAL RETINOIC ACID-INDUCED SKIN IRRITATIONA.
Authors: Castro and L.A.M. Ferreria of the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil

The authors discuss several approaches for addressing the concerns of patients attempting to use Retinoic Acid treatments topically.

The key points in this paper are the documented side-effects of skin irritation that include: erythema (redness), dryness, peeling, and scaling and the breakdown of the skin’s barrier function.

Well; are these not very interesting side-effects? This is once again like the textbook description of Eczema.

What is really interesting about this paper is that they document the exact process at the cellular level as to why this happens. The retinoic acid causes the gene expression leading to the immune inflammatory response.  This is a fantastic paper in many ways. It documents the nuclear hormone receptors that bind to the RAL and the RAL isoforms, They also document that these same nuclear receptors accept steroid and vitamin D. That’s really, really interesting to me.

This paper also points out the the overload of retinoic acid is indeed the direct cause of the skin irritation, inflammation, erythema, dryness, peeling, and scaling condition. It is a bit odd to me that they call these conditions “side-effects” when they know the exact cause is the topical application of the RAL. Maybe they should have termed these the “direct skin response effects”. Fortunately, those documented side-effects are once again pretty clear evidence that RAL could be the culprit in at least causing the Eczema skin condition.

Now we have this solid scientific evidence that Retinoic Acid does directly cause the Eczema condition. It is completely, and easily, repeatable by anyone. This repeatability is the foundation of the scientific method. But, I am personally not volunteering.

Of course, in these papers the retinoic acid is being applied topically. So, is it possible that the eczema skin condition (the autoimmune one) is caused by retinoic acid internally building up in the skin?  Of course it is. This exact accumulation process is documented to happen in the adipose tissue, the sebaceous glands, and elsewhere.

But, where is that retinoic acid coming from? The vitamin A in our food is mostly in either the Retinol or the Retinal forms. Where and when does this conversion take place in the body?

This is abundantly documented too. It is well documented in this Retinoic Acid: Structure, Mechanisms and Roles in Disease (Microbiology Research Advances: Cell Biology Research Progress) book, both at the cellular and molecular levels. It is also documented in this 2006 report on The acute and chronic toxic effects of vitamin A.

From these two sources, it is clear to see that the body is going to convert excess Vitamin A (retinol) to Retinoic Acid. It is going to happen in the intestine, and at the cell levels in other tissues.

Retinol is metabolized to retinoic acid in normal cells.

At the cellular level, the normal pathway of delivery is for the liver to release retinol bound to, and contained within a retinol-binding protein (RBP). The retinol-binding protein facilitates the safe transport of the retinol within the blood plasma.

The cell has a surface receptor for this binding complex, and absorbs it via that receptor. From there the cell unbinds it, and metabolizes the retinol and converts it to retinoic acid. That retinoic acid then passes into the nucleus and is used for gene expressions, and subsequent generations of proteins. The gene expression can produce cytokines. The cytokines are signaling proteins, and are released by the cell.  Some particular cytokines will invoke an immune response.

However, the cell also has surface receptors for unbound retinol. Therefore, unbound retinol can also pass through the cell membrane into the cytoplasm.  From there; it probably follows the same path of conversion into retinoic acid, and the subsequent generation of cytokines.  To me, it appears that excess plasma retinol is going to bypass the cell’s self-regulation mechanism for the generation of retinoic acid.  Therefore, if I am understanding this correctly, it looks like this:

Excess retinol ⇒ absorbed into the cell ⇒ cell converts to retinoic acid ⇒ cell generates cytokines ⇒ immune cells respond ⇒ attacks the cell ⇒ inflammation  ⇒ cell’s destruction ⇒ growth hormone released.

Therefore, it is not quite auto-immune; since we are indeed inducing it to happen. But, if we look at it at just a point in time; it sure appears to be auto-immune. We could also be training the immune system to wrongly respond in the future too; and without the presence of excess retinol. I don’t know.

Nevertheless, it is not “auto” in the sense of it happening automatically, randomly, and defectively. No, it is not random, and there is indeed a reason it happens. People don’t get these diseases just because of bad luck. Physical events always happen for a reason. That is just a fundamental law of science.  So, I’d sure like to propose that we drop this silly notion of “Auto” immune diseases. We just do not understand the reason and process; but it is not magically “Auto”. What we are really seeing is Immune related diseases of “yet unknown” causes. If we all buy into this “Auto” thinking; then this may never get solved. Let’s see if we can get closer to understanding the real root cause(s).

The conversion from retinol to retinoic acid is going to happen a lot more in people with elevated tissue storage and even slightly elevated plasma levels of unbound retinol.

In normal healthy people, regular vitamin A consumption should mostly be stored, and stored very quickly, and efficiently by the liver.

The authors of the 2006 Toxic effects of Vitamin A report state:  “Hepatic storage of vitamin A will continue until a pathologic liver condition develops”.

But, clearly there is a physical limit to this storage. Therefore, I think we can safely say: “Pathologic conditions develop once the Hepatic storage is exceeded”. Of course, this is not some thin line, or single threshold, that is crossed over. It is variable; and a variable over time.

So, where the heck is all this vitamin A coming from, in what appears to be normal people, on what we think are normal diets? It’s in all of our food!

This same chemical, or its precursor, is literally in nearly every food on the planet; in one form or another.  Is eczema really an autoimmune disease?

What does this have to do with Crohn’s disease? Everything. I think Crohn’s / IBD is effectively eczema of the GI tract.

The suspected connection between Crohn’s / IBD and Eczema

When I first encountered Eczema; I had no understanding whatsoever about autoimmune diseases. However, it was not long before it came very clear that the common theme between all of them is inflammation. Depending on the body location of the worst of the inflammation, it gets a distinct medical name. To an outsider; it’s like why do we bother with all the separate names? Why don’t we just call them the same thing? Inflammation of tissue X. These diseases also share a large set of other amazingly common symptoms.

Would it not be truly amazing if most of them were being caused by the same thing? What’s causing all this inflammation?

Firstly, I think I’ve proven with my food experiment that Eczema is actually the result of a subclinical toxicity of vitamin A. This toxicity is clearly capable of not only burning holes in the skin, it is capable of literally burning the skin right off in extreme cases. This inflamed skin condition is occurring, to varying degrees, in at least 10 million people in North America at this very moment. And almost everyone controls it with steroid cream treatments.

There is no doubt in my mind that this same process is capable of burning holes (ulcers) in the GI tract, or anywhere else in the body for that matter.

Secondly, there are a bunch of other similarities. In both these diseases people experience periods of flare-ups.  In both these diseases there can be extended periods of remission.  In both diseases there is inflammation and tissue being destroyed.  At a certain age, both diseases are considered chronic, with no real known cause, and no cure; just treatment. Both are considered to be autoimmune diseases. Both diseases use steroids as a treatment. Both these diseases have seen a doubling in incidence rates over the last 15 years or so. Both diseases are not modern day diseases. Eczema was well documented 200 years ago. Crohn’s disease was first documented some 90 years ago. No doubt it was occurring before this time too.

Both diseases are considered chronic inflammatory disorders where the symptoms can range from mild to severe. In both diseases tissue can be turned thick and leather like with inflammation.

Both these diseases affect young, and what should otherwise be healthy, people. In both these diseases there is a significant jump in incidence rates starting at about age 50. With Crohn’s there is a big jump in incidence rates around age 20. This 20ish number is another super important clue.

I think the only really big difference between these two diseases is just the body location where the destruction takes place.  Eczema is on the external skin, and most often on the face and hands. Crohn’s / IBD is in the GI tract; the internal skin.

The Vitamin A Connection and the Subclinical Toxicity of it.

The official information from the National Institute of Health states that Vitamin A IS A DIRECT TOXIN at high doses.

We need to understand three very important facts:

  1. Vitamin A is a toxin
  2. The body stores this potential toxin
  3. The body has a fixed capacity for storing it, and therefore, a limited ability to protect you from this potential toxin.

It is no secret that Vitamin A can be a serious toxin.  This is well established, and abundantly documented.  But, if there was ever a case of too much of a good thing being a bad thing, this is it. What about this “at high doses” part? From an engineer’s point of view, since the body stores this substance:

High Doses EQUALS the SUM of many small doses

Now, let’s get to know this villain a little bit better.

source: http://livertox.nih.gov/VitaminARetinoids.htm

“Background”

“Vitamin A is a retinoid and a fat-soluble vitamin that is commonly found in eggs, milk and liver and in the form of provitamin A in carotenoids in fresh fruits and vegetables particularly those with red, orange or yellow color.  … and (cod liver oil)

Hepatotoxicity

Normal doses of vitamin A are not associated with liver injury or liver test abnormalities, but higher doses (generally more than 40,000 IU daily, ~12,000 μg) can be toxic. Acute toxicity is caused by a single or a few repeated very high doses (generally >100 times the RDA), arising within days to weeks with a typical symptom complex of severe headache, nausea, vertigo, blurred vision, muscle aches and lack of coordination, followed by skin desquamation and alopecia.

Chronic hypervitaminosis A usually arises 3 months to many years after starting moderately high levels of vitamin A (generally 10 times the RDA) and is marked by dry skin, cheilosis, gingivitis, muscle and joint pains, fatigue, mental dullness, depression and liver test abnormalities.

Mechanism of Injury

Vitamin A in high doses is a direct toxin. Excess vitamin A is stored in stellate cells in the liver and accumulation can lead to their activation and hypertrophy, excess collagen production, fibrosis and liver injury. The toxicity is dose-related and can be reproduced in animal models.”

How bad can this villain get?

High intake of the preformed types of Vitamin A are associated with toxicity, and can cause nausea, dizziness, elevated intracranial pressure (pressure around the brain), headaches, coma and death. High vitamin A levels during pregnancy are associated with birth defects.

The simple answer is; it can kill you! The more complex answer is it can first painfully destroy your body for decades, and then kill you.

Now, just like most villains; this one has a good side. At one level, it is not a villain at all. It is a critical substance for the human body. At the right level, it is not only harmless, it is essential for health.  So, it is a double edge sword. It is also very, very tricky balance. It is not just how much you consume; I think it is going to depend upon what foods you consume it with.

Basically, the liver is the body’s primary storage organ for vitamin A, and the storage capacity can become more or less saturated, or maxed out. The skin and fat are secondary storage locations. If we have one of these diseases, then effectively, the body can no longer protect us from what is now a toxin.  This substance is also in nearly all foods. Once we’ve maxed out our liver’s storage capacity; we are in serious danger. We’ve defeated our body’s primary defense mechanism from this potential toxin.  Our immune system, and the skin are now attempting to deal with it. What happens now? If we consume just a little bit of vitamin A, it keeps the inflammation going. If we consume a bit more vitamin A, we experience a flare up and that burns holes in our tissue / organs. But, this is not some instantaneous event. It is of course more complicated, and the declining rates of absorption are what is really important. Here is a sketch as to what I think is happening.

If you are thinking, OK, great to know, I’ll just go low on foods that contain vitamin A. No, sadly, it is not that easy. Your liver is now maxed out; and maybe so is your skin. That vitamin A in your liver is not going anywhere fast, or soon. It is more or less trapped there ( to protect you from it, and to use it when needed).  The vitamin A stuck in your skin, and other organs is trapped there for even longer; possibly much, much longer. Moreover, there are other artifacts from the immune response, such as cytokines and antibodies, stuck in your skin too.

Now, this is a very tricky, and delicate situation. If you surge your vitamin A intake even slightly beyond your body’s vastly diminished ability to safely absorb and store it; you are in big trouble. Moreover, my own experiment is also leading me to believe it is not just vitamin A, but maybe also carotenoids. Carotenoids are what are known as vitamin A precursors, and are found in brightly colored fruits and vegetables. Carotenoids are also used to make most foods colors. I think it is even more tricky, because it may depend upon what foods you consume vitamin A with. If you consume it with fats; it may bypass any attempt by the liver to store it. Rather, it may go directly to other storage locations.

If you have truly overwhelmed your liver’s storage capacity, then you probably need to go to near zero consumption of vitamin A for a while. The catch here is that nearly all foods contain at least some vitamin A, or carotenoids. Now every molecule counts. You also cannot consume any coconut oils either; based upon my own experimental evidence.  I think that the coconut oils act as emulsifiers for retinol and carry it around the body.

People from the medical community will probably quickly challenge this entire theory of sub-clinical toxicity with this vitamin.  They might take the position that there is no way millions of people are actually getting into a toxicity state. Well, let’s investigate this and see.

Matching Up Theory with The Facts

Now, let’s look at the symptoms of Vitamin A toxicity, and compare those with Crohn’s disease. But, just like with eczema, it is important to look at all the ancillary symptoms of Crohn’s disease, and not just the primary one of inflammation and tissue destruction. We need to take a step back from focusing on the primary symptom, and look at the bigger picture. Then the situation becomes clearer.

The symptoms of vitamin A toxicity.

source 1: http://www.healthline.com/health/hypervitaminosis-a#Symptoms3

Symptoms of acute vitamin A toxicity include:

  • drowsiness
  • irritability
  • abdominal pain
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • increased pressure on the brain

Symptoms of chronic vitamin A toxicity include:

  • blurry vision or other visual changes
  • swelling of the bones
  • bone pain
  • poor appetite
  • dizziness
  • nausea and vomiting
  • sensitivity to sunlight
  • oily skin and hair
  • itchy or peeling skin
  • cracked fingernails
  • skin cracks at the corners of your mouth
  • mouth ulcers
  • hair loss
  • respiratory infection
  • confusion

Source 2: NIH

  • severe headache
  • nausea
  • vertigo
  • blurred vision
  • muscle aches and lack of coordination
  • followed by skin desquamation and alopecia (hair loss)
  • dry skin
  • cheilosis (fissures in the corners of the mouth)
  • gingivitis
  • muscle and joint pains
  • fatigue, mental dullness
  • depression

Let’s match up some of these with those documented for Crohn’s

Vitamin A Toxicity (aka poisoning) Crohn’s Symptoms
skin desquamation skin rashes; and ulcers in the GI tract
cheilosis (fissures in the corners of the mouth) anal fissures ??
fatigue fatigue
abdominal pain abdominal pain
nausea Nausea
vomiting Vomiting in some cases
vertigo, mental dullness ?? (please help if you know)
severe headache headaches
bone pain Joint pain, symptoms of arthritis
alopecia (hair loss) alopecia (hair loss)
mouth ulcers mouth ulcers
gingivitis osteoporosis?
blurred vision blurred vision
respiratory infection no ??
confusion ??  (please help if you know)
sensitivity to sunlight no ??
depression Depression

It is not a perfect match; but there are quite a few shared symptoms. Some really key ones for me are mouth ulcers (canker sores), fatigue, and blurred vision.

I had these symptoms well before any sign of my eczema conditions. I had mouth ulcers (just small blisters on the insides of my cheeks) occurring off and on in the year or so before my first incidence with eczema. I had no idea what was causing them. They were not painful at all. Since I’ve been on my vitamin A elimination diet, I have not had a single recurrence, not one. They are completely gone.

Fatigue:

Severe fatigue is a documented symptom of Crohn’s, Lupus, and of course other autoimmune diseases.

I experienced severe fatigue too in the year leading up to my first eczema symptoms. I was needing 12 hours of sleep a day. Strangely, even that amount of sleep was not very helpful. I was still just barely dragging through the day. It was chronic; almost unrelenting fatigue that lasted close to a full year. I was also trying to get mid afternoon naps.  Three weeks after adopting a very low vitamin A diet; all of the fatigue completely vanished. I am not talking about just a significant improvement. It was more like a 100% improvement. I now have absolutely no fatigue at all. It is completely gone. I now need only about 6-7 hours of sleep; and am totally refreshed and alert in the mornings. I have no mid afternoon low points at all.  This in itself should be considered remarkable.  I can’t overstate just how completely resolved my fatigue symptoms are. Even when I went back into slight flare up states with the eczema skin condition; the fatigue remained completely resolved.

Joint Pain and Body Stiffness:

Like fatigue; I was experiencing some significant joint pain, and body stiffness leading up to my eczema symptoms.  This actually started back about 10 years earlier. It was very, very slowly getting worse.  I assumed that the joint pain and body stiffness were just a normal part of aging (who doesn’t think this?).  The body stiffness had become quite noticeably worse in the year prior to my eczema experiences.  Within four weeks of my vitamin A elimination diet, those symptoms completely vanished too.  I mean completely, totally gone.  When I get out of bed in the mornings, there is no stiffness whatsoever. However, unlike with the fatigue, when I went back into slight flare up states with the eczema skin condition; a very slight amount of stiffness returned.  That very slight regression only lasted for a day or two and has been gone ever since.

I have now been four months at a state of ZERO fatigue; and extremely close to zero with joint pain and stiffness.  Unfortunately; I can’t say the same about the eczema skin condition. It was completely resolved for more than a month; but I’ve now gone back into a smallish flare up state ( I think this regression was due to overexposure to sunlight; and eating coconut oil too?). Still, my eczema condition is hugely better than before my vitamin A elimination diet.

Thinking Clarity:

Quite similar to the resolution of fatigue, and joint pain; my thinking clarity has vastly improved too. In the 2-3 months leading up to my eczema skin condition; I found my ability to think clearly, and to focus was very limited. It was like I had Attention Deficit Disorder at age 54.  Charles Darwin described this as  his “swimming head”.  I find that a remarkably accurate description of what I was experiencing.  I now have no trouble at all with staying focused, and I believe my thinking skills are completely back to normal too. This improvement happened at about week three of my vitamin A elimination diet. It was very significant, and very noticeable. I’d like to say I now have perfect thinking clarity; and no A.D.D. whatsoever.

I think it is important to point out that the improvements with fatigue, joint pain, and thinking clarity did not happen at all gradually.  There was basically no noticeable improvement for the first 3-4 weeks. Then, almost abruptly, over a 3 day period, they completely resolved. So, that was a pretty amazing experience. It was also completely, and totally unexpected since my vitamin A elimination diet was attempting to resolve my skin rash.  Call me daft; but I had no idea that all these conditions were related.

Making this connection; I believe that at least some kids with severe eczema are going to have an extremely difficult time in doing well in school. It is not just because they have itchy skin either.

Skin Nodules

I had hundreds of little skin nodules show up on my elbows, knuckles and a few on my face; at least a year before I had any real signs of eczema. These nodules disappeared around week three of my elimination diet. They are completely, and totally gone. They have never returned.

Depression:

You might assume that of course people with these diseases experience depression; who wouldn’t be depressed? Well; that is not the case at all. It is a toxin induced depression, or apathy. I never once felt sorry for myself; or genuine depression. After-all, let’s be real, this was just a rash to me. But, I did experience this weird sense of indifference (the first time in my life).

vision

Vastly improved; no longer blurry or dull. Isn’t that ironic. Vitamin A is critical for vision; and I remove it from my diet, and my vision gets better.

NIGHT SWEATS

For a year or more I was experiencing some significant sweating at nights; mostly around my neck and head. That is now completely; totally gone. Not a trace of it.

Inflamed and Thick Scaly Skin

And of course, these two diseases share the lovely symptoms of having holes burned in our tissues. Or regions of tissue that is turned red, inflamed, thick and scaly.

That has been a much harder one to completely resolve (at least for me). It is of course the big symptom that everyone focuses on. But, it is only one of the symptoms of these two diseases. As I stated above, I think it is very important to look at all of the symptoms together, then it becomes a much clearer match as to what is really causing these two diseases. Let’s look at this differently. IBD has its documented primary symptoms, and a bunch of others categorized as Extra Intestinal Manifestations (or symptoms outside of the gut).

What is being termed Extra Intestinal Manifestations implies that these symptoms are somehow being caused by the IBD, or are somehow complications of the disease. I don’t think that is the case at all. What if we move the primary IBD symptoms down to the same level as the other ones, and just consider them to all be symptoms of some other underlying root cause?

I think this is highly more likely.  Now; what would happen if someone with one of these autoimmune diseases went on a vitamin A elimination diet? In my own personal case, it was diagnosed as severe eczema, and it now looks like this.

Let’s look at more connections with Vitamin A toxicity and Crohn’s

CRITICAL EVIDENCE: Accutane – a huge, and direct connection

Source:  http://www.drugwatch.com/accutane/

“Accutane (isotretinoin) is a popular drug for severe acne created by Hoffmann-LaRoche Inc. The drug is linked to severe bowel disease and other side effects.”

“The medication is a derivative of vitamin A and works by controlling the oil in the sebaceous glands.”

“However, clear skin may be accompanied by serious side effects like Crohn’s disease.”

“Roche stopped manufacturing Accutane in 2009.”

Please read the source page for all the other horribleness this drug has caused, including birth defects. With this hugely important information; what have the medical community, and government agencies done to warn the general public about the dangers of too much vitamin A? Nothing; as far as I know.

This is bizarre to me since the official information from the National Institute of Health states that Vitamin A IS A DIRECT TOXIN at high doses.  Here, we have drug companies marketing a product that is exactly that.  What the heck did they expect to happen? Could this be worse? Well, here is an interesting bit of trivia about Accutane (isotretinoin).  It was first developed as a chemotherapy drug, and is still used as one today. It is used for this purpose due to its ability to kill rapidly dividing cells. Maybe it is just me, but does it not seem to be a bit extreme to consider this an appropriate drug for reducing acne in healthy teenagers?

Accutane (isotretinoin) – is an ISOmere of Tretinion. Tretinion is all-trans-retinoic acid. This is a direct derivative of Vitamin A.

Therefore; it is quite well established by this situation that high doses of Vitamin A, in the form of retinoic acid, can, and has caused Crohn’s disease. That’s no surprise to me. But, the key thing to understand, is that Vitamin A is not a direct toxin just at high doses; that is a myth. It can be a toxin at any dose. Once again, it just depends upon what storage state your body is in when you have that dose. Therefore, it is relative.  If you are in a saturated, or near saturated state; then any small, or even tiny dose is toxic!

So, what has happened with Accutane, and what can we learn from this? Firstly, what this drug has done is built up (saturated) the body’s store of Vitamin A. Secondly, this saturated state has very likely caused Crohn’s disease in multiple cases. This has been proven in courts. Thirdly, most of these people did not fully recover after getting off of the drug (but some did).

Why did they not recover? I think it is because they remained saturated with retinol and retinoic acid. What’s going to happen to it? Is it going to simply disappear? No, of course it is not.

It may also, and could very likely be that this high dose of retinoic acid had caused permanent liver damage. I don’t know; and have no idea really; I am just hopeful it is not the latter.

Did Accutane really cause IBD/Crohn’s?

I don’t know how much it is accepted within the medical community that Accutane actually caused Crohn’s disease or not.  I found this 2010 paper titled “A causal association between Accutane and IBD has yet to be established

The authors are questioning this cause effect relationship. They conclude that it is not really conclusive, and that the very slightly higher ratio in people who had taken Accutane and developed Crohn’s as opposed to the general population is not very convincing. Statistically speaking, the evidence is pretty weak. Just based upon the raw numbers I would agree. However, there are quite a few documented cases where people started on the drug, developed Crohn’s, stopped the drug and then recovered. So, I think that is pretty strong evidence that there is indeed an association. Also, if we were to do face-to-face interviews with these people; that might give us a better insight. Not everything is reflected in the numbers. My guess is that these were mostly perfectly healthy people before they took the drug. I think after talking face-to-face with say victim number 5,000 we might not care about the numbers, or ratios at all.

Now, let’s dig into this causal association question a little bit deeper.

I think the authors of this report should have taken a bit of a different perspective on investigating this question. In doing so they may have come to a different conclusion. Firstly, the basic question they are asking is: “Did Accutane Cause IBD / Crohn’s”; and that leads them down a certain path of thinking. The key starting point in the analysis is the understanding that Accutane is Vitamin A (retinoic acid). Yes, the retinoic acid molecule is slightly tweaked. But, it is an isomer, having the same chemical formula, and the same functional groups. Reading about the genesis of this drug, the LaRoche people were looking to develop an anti-acne drug, and started with the knowledge that this drug would move into the sebaceous glands of the skin, and reduce the amount of the oil feeding the acne causing bacteria. This is a documented fact. Regardless, Accutane and Vitamin A (retinoic acid) molecules are nearly identical, and effectively function the same in the human body. I don’t think there can be much debate about this point. The drug did work as expected, and did dry the skin, and did reduce acne. It also caused birth defects just like high doses of Vitamin A have proven to cause. These are facts.

We all know that the body stores retinol (a food form of Vitamin A). But, the most amazing fact about the Accutane experience is that the body stores retinoic acid too. We need to remember this fact.

Okay, so now let’s ask the “Did Accutane Cause IBD / Crohn’s” question just a little bit differently. Since Accutane is Vitamin A (retinoic acid), we can ask: “Did Vitamin A Cause IBD / Crohn’s” ?

In order to investigate this question; we need to first research the accounts of people who have authentically chronically poisoned themselves with genuine Vitamin A ( nothing to do with Accutane, or even retinoic acid, for now).

There are lots (1000s) of people who have done this for various reasons (for some reason they thought it was good for them). There are many well documented accounts; and it is still happening today. See the many cases documented on the NIH pages and elsewhere. So, let’s just take a bit of a hypothetical example (use a real case if you want) of someone taking reasonably high doses of Vitamin A, daily, for say 3 years. Here’s the sequence of events:

  • @ 6 months ⇒ no adverse symptoms at all
  • @ 12 months ⇒ no adverse symptoms at all
  • @ 18 months ⇒ no adverse symptoms at all
  • @ 24 months ⇒ no adverse symptoms at all
  • @ 30 months ⇒ no adverse symptoms at all, hair getting oily
  • @ 36 months ⇒ no adverse symptoms, but maybe the skin getting drier
  • @ 36 months+10 days ⇒ huge adverse symptoms; skin peeling; lips swollen and cracked, hair falling out etc, etc, seeks immediate medical attention

This similar sequence of events is repeated in all cases of chronic Vitamin A poisoning. So, what is really happening here? The body is safely absorbing and storing all the daily doses until it gets to a slightly saturated point. It is important to understand that all those stored doses have not suddenly become toxic. They are safely stored. It is the additional doses that cannot be absorbed, or absorbed fast enough, that are now becoming toxic. What these people are doing is filling up their storage capacity for this substance.

Okay, let’s get back to Accutane. Remember these are mostly young people dealing with an acne issue. So, what is the sequence of events? It is going to be something like this (depending upon dose):

  • @ 1 month ⇒ acne gets worse ( documented as a side effect )
  • @ 6 months ⇒ no adverse symptoms at all, skin drier, acne clearing
  • @ 12 months ⇒ no adverse symptoms at all, skin drier, acne clearing more / clear
  • @ 18 months ⇒ stops doses, or reduces to only when required

At this point in time; the vast majority of them have not yet induced Crohn’s; or any other disease.

Firstly, let’s analyze this documented common side effect of acne first getting worse. It is actually not a side effect at all. It is perfectly logical, and should be expected as a normal progression of taking the drug. When they start on the drug, since it is in the retinoic acid form, the body is going to quickly start moving this into the sebaceous glands. In order to do that, it must first wrap that retinoic acid in a lipid. Then, in order to move this new toxic lipid into the sebaceous glands, some of the current non-toxic lipids are going to have to be expelled.  This newly expelled (and non toxic) lipid now fuels and promotes the acne causing bacteria.

Next, and more importantly what these people have done is significantly elevated their body’s storage. Therefore, they have reduced their future storage capacity. These are generally young people, so they may have gone from hypothetically say 10% storage used to something like 30-60% storage used. What they have effectively done is removed say 2 or 3 decades of future storage capacity that would have been consumed by our normal North American diet. Once again, most of those Accutane molecules are not going to become toxic; they are safely stored by the liver.

Now let’s get back to this report questioning the causal association between Accutane and IBD / Crohn’s. What they are failing to consider is the time dimension. It is what is going to happen to these people in the future with regard to regular vitamin A consumption that needs to be considered. At some point they are going to reach an elevated storage level where newly consumed vitamin A molecules are going to become toxic. They are going to be toxic because the body has no place to store them. It is almost like a guy authentically poisoning himself with regular vitamin A; but it is just a bit worse actually.

There is a big time delay here; most likely in 2-5 decades for most people, between taking Accutane and getting disease. Therefore, rather than looking at a particular point in time (2010) to consider the ratio of people who took Accutane and developing Crohn’s they need to wait 2-3 more decades, and redo that ratio calculation. Just as importantly they need to expand the question to: “Did Accutane cause IBD / Crohn’s, Lupus, Eczema, Arthritis or any other autoimmune diseases?”.

There are more than 7,000 lawsuits filed over Accutane. I’ve read one report that it is projected that about 30% of the people who took Accutane will go on to develop Crohn’s / IBD. If that proves to be true, that will be more than 120,000 people. Now I think there should be little doubt about a causal association between Accutane and IBD.

At the very least we should be warning people who did take Accutane to start adopting a very low vitamin A diet. If anyone is wondering if I have a personal issue with Accutane; no I don’t. I did not take Accutane.

Therefore, the hugely important thing to learn from the Accutane disaster is that it is Vitamin A that caused the IBD / Crohn’s disease. Don’t just think “Accutane”; the product name, caused it.

Most importantly, we can now say: Vitamin A caused incidents of Autoimmune Disease. That should be a really interesting statement to stop and think about for a moment. Maybe for a very long moment.

Therefore, is it not highly likely that Vitamin A is still causing a lot more incidents of Autoimmune Disease? Could it be that it is causing most of these autoimmune diseases?

It does not matter at all if that vitamin A was obtained from an acne pill, or from eating fish, or tomatoes, or liver.  In the end, it is all just vitamin A. It is a direct toxin! This is a simple scientific fact. The other simple scientific fact is that this direct toxin will cause inflammation and destroy human tissue.

Is there other supporting evidence in the geographic, and demographic, data with regards to Crohn’s disease?  Of course there is. And like the Accutane disaster we have another man made disaster that adds significant evidence; the collapse of the Canadian East Coast cod fishery in 1992. More on this a bit later.  Firstly, let’s deal with some of the common theories regarding these diseases.

What is NOT causing Crohn’s disease and Eczema

KEY EVIDENCE – It is not a modern environmental toxin

It is not herbicides or pesticides, or modern day pollutants, or chlorine in the water etc,. This is clear because these diseases have been around for over a 100 years. Darwin had eczema 200 years ago. Please see my post on that: New Lessons from Charles Darwin. This is not just out of some historical interest; I consider it to be more strong evidence supporting this theory.

KEY EVIDENCE – It is not genetics

The incidence rates of these diseases are doubling at alarming rates; like every 10 or 20 years. Human genetics are not changing this fast. Moreover, 20% of kids now get eczema, and most “grow out of it”. Likewise, teenagers and young adults “get” Crohn’s; and they did not have it during early childhood. That is just not logical if these were genetic diseases.

Kids would not “grow out of” eczema, and magically pick up Crohn’s at 15-20 years old. No way. You don’t grow out of a genetic disorder. And you don’t grow into one either; at least not on a wide scale; like what we are seeing with these diseases. If you really have a genetic disorder, you are most likely going to have it at birth, and you’ll have it for life.

What is probably a genetic predisposition is just the location the body is going to manifest this toxicity. Undoubtedly, some people have both Eczema and Crohn’s. I believe that if Eczema patients use steroid creams long enough; they are just going to force this inflammation to go internal.

The higher prevalence among Ashkenazi Jews is probably also not genetic. It is more likely simply due to their diet. Some customary dishes include chopped liver (53,000 IU/100g) and pickled herring (1,300 IU/100g). Other geographic distributions for these diseases is going to closely match dietary patterns. World incidence rates are going to closely relate to those areas with high cumulative consumption of vitamin A. Additionally, it is going to closely correlate with countries that fortify milk and dairy, and those regions with high consumption of cold salt water fish.

If these diseases were genetic; then the severe symptoms would probably be much more consistent. There would not be this sporadic-chronic nature to these diseases. We would not see these periods of remissions and “flare-ups”. The genes are not going into remission, and recurrence. What is causing the “flare-ups” is far more simple; it is food. And no one stops eating vitamin A! It is nearly impossible; it is everywhere. What is sporadic; is just the amount of intake; and the current relative level of saturation. If these diseases were genetic disorders, they would not go into remission for months, and years.

Oddly, everyone in the eczema community agrees on the foods that cause the “flare-ups”. This includes the American and Canadian Eczema Associations. The cited trigger foods are like: eggs, milk, dairy, fish, tomatoes, red peppers, and citrus fruits. This is documented over an over. It is similarly documented for Crohn’s and Lupus, and other autoimmune diseases; just not so specifically. But, the key point is that we have a list of foods that “trigger” “autoimmune” disease flare-ups. But, are not “trigger” and “auto” kind of contradictory terms?  Why aren’t people considering that these are not just the “trigger” foods? Rather, are they not the actual root cause foods too?

All I did was to ask myself a simple question: what do these “trigger foods” all have in common? The “trigger foods” all share a common fact. They all have high levels of vitamin A.

Now, if you are not familiar with adult eczema; you would very reasonably conclude that; no problem, just stay away from the documented trigger foods and you’ll recover.

Well, this is the apparent paradox in this disease. The trigger foods can definitely make it worse; causing flare-ups. But stopping these trigger foods does not cure it for most people ( it has for some people). It just brings it down to kind of a baseline.

People don’t cure from it because they are in a saturated, or near saturated state. They can mostly avoid the big flare-ups. But, just the regular daily intake of vitamin A is enough to keep them in the perpetual state of subclinical toxicity. To even begin to recover; they need to adopt a zero vitamin A diet. This is almost impossible to randomly ever happen. Based upon my experience, once you do adopt a zero vitamin A diet; it takes at least a week to start to see results, and 5-6 weeks to see really big results. Foods that are labeled as 0% RDA are only really low in vitamin A. That is almost meaningless. I think you need foods with 0 molecules of vitamin A.

KEY EVIDENCE: It is not truly Autoimmune

This one is not so obvious. The immune system is definitely involved here. But, not in the defective way that it is believed and documented to be. The immune system is not randomly attacking the cells at all. It might just appear to be what is happening. No; the immune system is working just fine, and trying to deal with a toxin; or a toxic situation.  I don’t know the exact mechanism; but I do present some plausible explanations.

There are some really big clues here with the steroid creams used to treat eczema. For argument sake, let’s say the immune system is attacking the skin tissue (the assumption being that these are defective, or out of control, rogue immune cells). I am calling these rogue cells because the inflammation is not body wide; but quite localized.

Now we apply the steroid cream (immunosuppression) to the location of the inflammation. It works like a charm (firsthand experience). The immune cells back off, and the inflammation dies down quickly. Did we kill these rogue immune cells? No; we did not. What happens to them? Do they move on and immediately attack tissue elsewhere? No, they do not. Therefore, what we’ve really done is to introduce a immunosuppression agent to the site of the inflammation. These rogue white blood cells, and every other white blood cell in the body is now staying away from this location. What we’ve really done is to put an immune barrier around the site of a substance the immune system regards as a toxin. Technically speaking; we are blocking the production of cytokines that call the immune system into action. Therefore, logically, these rogue white blood cells are not rogue at all. The are normal. They are just getting the wrong messages.

Therefore, I think it is far more likely that the retinoic acid (or some other form of retinol) is building up in the tissue, and dissolving collagen, and this chemical is destroying cells. These tissue cells are under attack from this toxin and they are sending out some signal to the immune system for help. The immune cells are rushing in to the fight; but they are not equipped for this battle. The body has just not evolved for this. This is the liver’s job to protect the body from this potential toxin. But, the liver is maxed out; it is now sidelined, and of no help. Thus, free retinol is relentlessly entering the bloodstream with every meal. We are now in subclinical toxicity; it only appears to be an immune disease that is causing the destruction.

If the immune system leaves this potential toxin circulating in the blood, it will burn holes in the kidneys, brain, and other organs.

There are even more reasons that this is not “auto” immune. Why are these very localized inflammations we see in these diseases? I am not talking about all autoimmune diseases combined. I am talking about just in the context of one of them; such as eczema, or Crohn’s, or pick almost any other one of them. Even arthritis; it does not attack every joint in the body; only some of them. Eczema does not attack all the skin; only small parts of it.  Therefore, the immune system does not have an issue with these tissue types. Rather, it has an issue with these tissue types at only specific locations.

If the immune system had gone haywire; it would be far more widespread; if not everywhere. In the case of eczema; almost all of the skin should be under attack; and not just these limited little patches of it. That is just not logical.

Likewise, it is just not logical that the immune system would magically stop “auto-immuning” and start up again, in some random fashion that we see in these diseases.

Why does the immune system stop “flaring-up” and the disease go into remission? Does the immune system get tired of the fight, and give up for a while? Does it need time to rebuild resources before the next attack? Isn’t it far more logical that it has actually accomplished what was needed, and finished its job?

What is random is the amount of vitamin A we eat, and the relative states of the digestion and absorption rates our body can sustain. Amazingly, there is another tricky factor at play with eczema, and that is the weather.  Eczema, Lupus, and Arthritis sufferers commonly report that these conditions get worse in the winter. Here is an interesting study referencing this point on winter conditions affecting an autoimmune disease.

Efficacy of dietary hempseed oil in patients with atopic dermatitis (Eczema).
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16019622
Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of Kuopio, Finland.

This is important because skin dryness and subsequent itchiness often lead to the use of medication in atopic patients, especially during the dry winter conditions in Finland, where ambient indoor humidity can be <30% moisture for months on end.

What the heck does the weather have to do with an autoimmune disease? That should sound absurd, but it is not. It is perfectly logical. It’s not the temperature, or the air pressure at play here. It is the moisture level dropping, and, to maybe a lesser extent, the reduction in UV exposure. We’ll come back to this topic a bit later.

For what it is worth; I believe I am able to turn off and turn on my auto-immuning, as if by turning a switch off and on. Only, the switch is food with and without Vitamin A. I am able to do this because I’ve been on a near zero vitamin A diet for months now. Naturally, I am trying, very, very hard to keep it turned off. It is a struggle; it is tricky, and I am still dealing with it every day. There is still a huge amount of retinol, and or carotenoids stored in my body.

KEY EVIDENCE: Skin Fluorescence

To investigate this point I compared my brother (two years younger), and myself under a fluoroscope (a form of a black light). It is an old geology fluoroscope that I have, and I am not sure of the exact wavelength. Nevertheless, it worked great. It induced a huge amount of fluorescence in my skin; but not in my brother’s.

Wow! it was a shocking difference. I clearly have a large amount of carotenoids and /or retinol in my skin compared to him. Why is that? Well, consider what my brother’s diet looks like, Coffee and toast at breakfast; burgers at lunch, and steak and potatoes for dinner. He drinks beer, does not smoke, and does not drink milk. He is perfectly healthy. No sign whatsoever of inflammation, or skin diseases, or any other disease. How’s that for ironic? I’m the one that eats “healthy” and I get diseases; he doesn’t, and he’s just fine.

I’ll try to post some pictures of my face under florescence. However, my current camera does not pick up the emission wavelength very well. But, I do have a few pictures of my hand and skin florescence in my photo gallery.

Therefore, this fluoroscope test would be a simple, simple, noninvasive technique to quickly evaluate the levels of carotenoids and /or retinol in people. Note that retinoic acid is not florescent.

The wavelength used might need to be adjusted to pick out each compound (carotenoids and /or retinol). Nevertheless, it is more direct evidence. You can literally see it glow under / in the skin. If anyone is doubting this; well just check for yourself, and post a comment as to your observations.

KEY EVIDENCE: Randomness and symmetry

In addition to the intense immune response not being body wide; an even more important observation to make is that it is not in completely random locations either. For most people, eczema is much more common on the hands and face and the back of the scalp (in children).

What is common about the hands and face? Both are exposed to sunlight. Both retinol and carotenoids are light sensitive molecules. Sensitivity to sunlight is a well documented symptom of vitamin A toxicity, and of course of Lupus too.

However, eczema does indeed commonly show up in locations where there is no exposure to sunlight; such as the underarms, the elbows, behind the knees, and even the tops of the feet too. So, it is not just sunlight that is invoking the immune response. It is a toxin. How about a toxin that is also a light sensitive molecule?

Not only is it not completely random locations that eczema shows up at, it exhibits some symmetry on the hands. For me, this is the ring finger of both hands, and the space between the thumb and the index finger. Placing both hands face down on the table, index fingers and thumbs touching; the inflammation locations are actually symmetrical. These are not quite mirror images; but close enough to be very significant.

Now, how can the immune system mount a coordinated and symmetrical attack like this? That is just not at all logical for even a healthy immune system; never mind a defective one. No way is this the immune system choosing these locations to autoimmune at and attack my skin cells. It is far more logical that there is something common about the locations that makes the immune system want to attack here. I know it sounds like semantics; but there is of course a big and very critically important difference in who is initiating the immune response. Meaning; did the immune system itself; or did skin cells call the immune system into action. Since these are symmetrical locations; I think it should be clear that the immune system is responding to something at these locations; it is not the immune system randomly autoimmuning.

I have an old family medical textbook, that was published in 1964. It has a good chapter on Eczema. It documents that the most common place for eczema to first show up is on the ring finger. Exactly the same goes for me now; 50 years after that publication.  So, with the immune cells circulating in the blood; why do they prefer these locations to autoimmune at? We have this well documented, and common location for autoimmuning to take place. Isn’t that kind of amazing for a defective immune system to be this consistent?

Therefore, I think it is obvious it is not a defective immune system at all. Clearly, there is something at these locations that is invoking the immune response.

An analogy would be to notice that the police are commonly showing up at the houses of drug dealers; and causing altercations. Then, observing and being alarmed by these altercations, concluding that the police are defectively auto-policing, and are wrongly attacking the same citizens houses all the time. No; there is a reason the police are going to these same locations, just as there is a reason the immune system is attacking the skin at these preferred locations. It’s their job.

White Flaky Skin

A documented secondary symptom for eczema is white flaky skin. I’ve closely looked at the skin at the sites of inflammation under a 30x microscope. I have always seen white flaky skin on the top layer. This top layer of white flaky skin is always present both with the inflammation, but more so after the inflammation dies down. It might be a bit hard to see when the skin is highly inflamed, and turned red. But, if you look with a 10x-30x microscope you will see it clearly. Here’s a picture from wikipedia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dermatitis#mediaviewer/File:Eczema-arms.jpg

Please ignore the red, inflamed skin in this picture for now; just take notice of the significant white skin flaking off. Of course, white flaky skin is not only a well documented symptom of vitamin A toxicity; it is actually one of the key symptoms. So, the important question is how does the immune system cause this? Does it burn off the very top layer of skin? What’s really going on here? I think it is the overgrowth of the skin being induced by a growth hormone. This is exactly what is documented to happen in the presence of retinoic acid.

KEY EVIDENCE: Hair Burnt Off

There is another key observation to be made while examining the skin under a microscope (repeatable by anyone with severe eczema using a magnifying glass). The hair on the inflamed skin is often burned right off too; almost like it has been shaved off with a razor. This is not just a few hairs burnt off; it is 100s of them; all at the same depth. The exact location (depth) of this burn off on the hair is another very important clue. It is just a bit deeper than the top surface of the skin; maybe 0.5 mm below it. But, it is actually not burned out into the root of the hair follicle.

KEY EVIDENCE – The Sebaceous Gland

this is the most important image in this document

HairFollicle

Original image source:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hair_follicle#mediaviewer/File:Hair_follicle-en.svg

It is burned off right above the sebaceous gland. The deeper hair follicle is intact.

Now, why would the immune system burn off the hair shaft right at this level, and not burn it off, or deeper, below the sebaceous glands? It is much more logical that whatever is coming out of the sebaceous glands has burned off the hair at this level. I think this depth that the hair shaft is being burnt off at is a very important clue; and we should not gloss over this. What exact chemical is capable of burning off the hair like this? What is the concentration of retinoic acid within these hair follicles?

It is interesting that Accutane is documented to work by controlling the oil in the sebaceous glands. Accutane is retinoic acid. It does not really control the amount of oil in the sebaceous glands; rather it toxifies it. The retinoic acid builds up in the lipids in the sebaceous glands.  Yes, this is documented, and well known; and Accutane clearly proves this. It has been proven like 400,000 times over. Now, with the retinoic acid within the lipids contained in the sebaceous glands; and at elevated levels, the sebaceous glands can no longer moisturize the skin. They do the exact opposite; they dry it out. It is a vicious cycle actually. As the skin gets drier; even more oil is released from the sebaceous glands; as that oil is consumed, even more retinoic acid is exposed, and the skin gets even drier. We now get inflammation; and if it is severe enough; eczema.

This is going to cycle until the sebaceous glands get temporarily depleted of their fat store. We are now in a “flare-up” mode. Of course we now have a direct toxin within the skin layer. The immune cells are going to respond, and try to contain and remove this toxin. Where to? Maybe back into the sebaceous glands?

This also completely fits with the widely accepted view that eczema, psoriasis, and lupus all get worse in the winter. And this is why you need to moisturize yourself within 3 minutes after the shower.

This also correlates with my other observations that more often than not there is slightly more inflammation right around the hair follicle as compared to the surrounding skin.  Secondarily, when the little burn craters show up, they are somewhat more prevalent just adjacent to the hair follicle too; usually say 1-3 mm away. But, the little burn craters are not at all exclusive to being adjacent to the hair follicle; they are indeed wide spread throughout the inflamed skin area.

There is another interesting observation in that 1964 family medical textbook of mine regarding eczema. They report that eczema on the hands is much more common in women who washed dishes; and recommended using gloves. Okay; after reading that sentence; does anyone seriously believe this is an autoimmune disease? How can the immune system know that someone is washing dishes; compared to some other activity such as typing, or playing the piano, or anything else? That is just so completely nonsensical. Of course what is happening is the dish washing is drying out the hands; and that has the same effect as the dry winter air. That causes sebaceous glands to release stored fat / oil with its contained retinoic acid. As the skin absorbs and uses that fat; it exposes the retinoic acid molecules. And clearly, eczema is much more than just dry skin. Let’s not get confused about that. Eczema is inflamed, burning, peeling, cratered, weeping skin. We have a vitamin A acid peel right inside the skin!

Lastly, I think we can more or less prove that Eczema is not “auto” immune with a trivial little experiment. Anyone with severe eczema can repeat this same experiment in just one minute.

Steps:

  1. Find a location that has some very slight swelling to it; but has no redness whatsoever. (For me I’ve commonly had this condition on the backs of my fingers just above the metacarpal bone.)
  2. Firmly (but not too hard) rub that area for 30 seconds; don’t scratch at all.

What happens? Within a minute, or less, that area will start to become inflamed; and red with the start of the eczema condition. I’ve now induced the autoimmune response at exactly this location. Yes, no question the eczema condition was going to happen in a few days anyway; I’ve just significantly sped up the process. How long does the red inflammation at this location persist for? About 4 to 6 weeks! (weeks is not a typo). It finally heals when the very top layer of white flaky skin forms, and flakes off.

Repeat this same experiment at another location where there is no prior swelling. For me; I’ve used my thigh. I can rub it for five minutes; no redness; no autoimmune response; no eczema. Rubbing the skin here does not cause an immune response.

So, the obvious question is: how can just firmly rubbing the skin for 30 seconds invoke an autoimmune response that lasts for over 4 weeks? It is just not logical that this action alone caused my white blood cells to attack the skin at this location; and to continue doing so for the next 4 to 6 weeks.

What is far more logical; is that this rubbing has put pressure on the sebaceous glands, or other fatty structures, and squeezed some of the contents to go in between the layers of the skin. I’ve just forced some toxin to be exposed. The immune system is responding to that toxin; or more correctly the immune system is reacting to the effect the toxin is having on the skin cells themselves.

Why does it take 4 to 6 weeks, or longer to heal? I have no idea. A few weeks ago, I scratched the back of my thumb on a nail; it was quite a deep scratch; with some bleeding. That scratch took 7 days to completely heal. So, I think the healing time for my skin, and my age, is about 1 week. Why does this eczema take so long to heal? It must be that this toxin is really hard for the immune system to deal with. Maybe it takes 4 weeks for the immune system to gather this up, and put it back into the sebaceous glands? More likely we are kicking off a nearly endless chain reaction.

critical EVIDENCE: The Koebner phenomenon

Once again, this is not just my observation. It is well documented; and of course has its own name.  It is called the Koebner phenomenon.  It is reported particularly within patients with psoriasis and to a somewhat lesser extent with eczema. It also occurs more often in the winter, than in the summer. The cause of Koebner phenomenon is documented to be unknown. Well, I don’t think it’s a phenomenon at all. I think it is a little yellow toxic molecule embedded in lipids in the skin layer, and in the sebaceous glands, that is being exposed when the skin is being pressured. And this is why Eczema is indeed the scratch that itches. The more you scratch, or rub, the more toxin you expose.

More thoughts on The Koebner phenomenon

When I first read about the Koebner phenomenon it was a bit surprise that this goes back well over 100 years ago and that it has not been solved. I think if the Koebner phenomenon were to be solved, the entire enigma of autoimmune diseases would be quickly unraveled.

To me, I think it is obvious now. There is a toxin already in the skin; and it has been sitting there for a long while. That toxin is now being exposed; or released as a result of the pressure on the skin.

For the medical researcher; that might sound absurd. They might logically ask why would there be a toxin stored directly within the skin? That’s nuts! But, it is not. It is completely logical. To a layman like myself; it is more like “what else could it be?”.

It is very interesting that the Koebner Phenomenon is documented to occur in people with psoriasis, eczema, systemic juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, vitiligo, lichen planus, et al.  It is also documented to be All or Nothing like. Meaning that you can reproduce it in only people who have these skin disorders; but it is never reproducible in people who clearly don’t have these diseases. Since the Koebner Phenomenon is unique to people with these diseases; I think it is hugely likely that if we can determine its true underlying mechanism; then we can quickly get to the root cause of the disease itself. It is not at all surprising to me that juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is on this list either.

I’ve personally reproduced the Koebner Phenomenon on myself multiple times, and have caused my eczema to spread. I am able to spread out my autoimmune disease area as if it were an infection. Of course, I am not spreading an infection. I am spreading a toxin with its corresponding complicated chain reaction.

The facts we know with certainty are:

  1. We know from Accutane that the body is going to move retinoic acid laden lipids into the sebaceous glands in the skin.
  2. We know from the Japanese and Brazilian researchers that retinoic acid applied to the skin does cause the Eczema rash, and rapid skin cell growth.
  3. We know from the global observations that eczema and psoriasis worsen, or flare-up, in dry weather. This is clearly happening when the skin is absorbing the oils from the sebaceous glands.

Therefore, I think the Koebner Phenomenon offers a huge and immediate opportunity to reveal the root cause of these diseases. It is a toxin sitting within the lipids in the sebaceous glands. We know the exact toxin we are looking for too; it is retinol, and / or retinoic acid. I suspect the retinol mostly; due to its fluorescence.

There is absolutely, 100% positively, something in my skin, and it is fluorescent. It is not slightly fluorescent either. It is hugely, and shockingly fluorescent. There is not a wide range of possibilities as to what this fluorescent substance is. You don’t need biopsies, or sophisticated equipment to see it either. I am seeing this with a $300 fluoroscope. Once again, retinoic acid is not florescent; so I may be seeing only a portion of the amount of the retinoids stored in my skin.

Since retinol and retinoic acid are a very light sensitive molecules; anyone wanting to test this theory needs to be very careful in obtaining and testing a sample. But, I think this could be proven in a matter of days.

Eczema is clearly not random autoimmune activity. It is due to a toxin found in the sebaceous glands, and elsewhere in the skin lipids. Maybe the high levels of vitamin A actually burn out and destroy the sebaceous glands too. I don’t know.

What does this mean for Crohn’s? Well, I highly suspect that we are going to see almost the same appearance in the tissue being surgically removed from people’s GI tract, and / or in anal fissures, etc.. What about inspecting this tissue under a fluoroscope too?

The question I was really curious about was: does the tissue in the GI tract also have sebaceous glands or similar lipid containing structures? Yes, it does. Not only that, the intestinal tissues store abundant amounts of vitamin A. Why is it here? It is used by the dentritic cells. The dentritic cells are part of the immune system. Dentritic cells in the lining of the intestine are always busy swimming around locating, engulfing and destroying the many pathogens that end up there. While doing this, they convert some of the retinol (vitamin A) stored there into retinoic acid.  Could it be that the dentritic cells use the retinoic acid as a form of chemical warfare against pathogens? This fits with the observation that infectious diseases depress circulating retinol and contribute to vitamin A depletion.

Additionally, these dentritic cells have some very cool little features and capabilities. They have tentacle like protrusions that penetrate the tight junctions between the epithelial cells, through to the other side, and use these tentacles to take external surface antigens back in for destruction. Just to clarify this; this is internal immune cells reaching to the outside environment to grab antigens. How cool is that? Moreover, and very importantly I think this might explain the intense itching people with eczema experience. It sure fits with the weird tingling feeling I often had on my face.

The insides of the cheeks have sebaceous glands too. So, I think I now know why I was getting the canker sores too.

Okay, let’s get back on track here. So why would anyone think that Accutane, or elevated levels of retinoic acid in general, is not going to dry out, and cause inflammation in this tissue too or anywhere else in the human body?

What is the real cause of these diseases is the relentless, and subclinical poisoning from vitamin A in our food. But, it is a subclinical poisoning only if you’ve reached a near saturation storage level.

Do you think this is too bizarre to be true? It is not. It is just assumed to be impossible, and not happening on a wide scale. Guess what? Charles Darwin got himself into exactly this state too, and remained there for his entire adult life. This was a missed lesson for us.

Is it a coincidence that some of the most common places for Lupus rashes, and eczema, and psoriasis to show up is on body locations that have the highest concentrations of sebaceous glands; such as the face an scalp? We now have lots of kids 2 & 3 years old that still have “cradle cap”. Oh, and now the same goes for lots of guys 50+ years old too.

After the Accutane disaster it should have been abundantly clear that people could get too much vitamin A, and directly cause serious, deadly diseases. This was another missed lesson for us.

Were there any general warnings issued to the public? Were cod liver oil, and vitamin A supplements pulled from the stores? Does liver at the meat counter have a toxic chemical warning sticker put on it? No; nothing as far as I know. Maybe just the opposite happened; via more regulation to supplement more foods with this potential toxin, and mandate the use of carotenoid based food coloring everywhere.

A more in-depth understanding of Eczema

There are like 20+ million people with this disease in North America. It varies from very mild to very severe, it varies from random occasional occurrences, to horrible unrelenting flare ups. It varies from the very young to the very old. Infants get it, and people 80 years old get it for the first time.

People with eczema more or less all know that it is food related. The eczema medical community recognizes this too. But it has just not been recognized yet as being a form of vitamin A toxicity that is the real cause. Nevertheless, since it is so visible, and people can more or less see responses due to diet changes, there is an opportunity here. But, like all of this; it is tricky. There are some big buffers between consumption and resulting skin changes. If you stop consuming vitamin A there maybe very little immediate improvement in the skin, or even for a very long time. This is because the skin has its own reservoir of internal storage.  Additionally, you can still experience a flare-up many months after adopting a low vitamin A diet. This is because you may not expose the embedded toxin until your skin is exposed to dry winter air, or some other drying condition.

Sadly, like Crohn’s disease; researchers have been looking for the cause and cure for eczema for well over fifty years, maybe even 200 years. As far as I can tell; no progress has been made at all; like zero.

Who “gets” Eczema?

Generally, there are two big age groups with Eczema. Young children, and adults starting around age 50. Most young children grow out of it. Some don’t, and have it all their lives. When adults get it, it is more or less chronic; comes and goes, but almost always comes back. It usually worsens as we get older. Why is that?

When someone “gets” Eczema; what exactly do they get? It is not a bacteria, it is not a virus, it is not a fungus.  Did they get a genetic mutation, like in Cancer? Not that either. It is a randomly defective immune system. An immune system that is randomly attacking the body itself. But, hold on, isn’t it the primary job of the immune system to protect the body? That just seems so peculiar to me. But, hey, I am open minded; anything is possible. But why do 20 million people in North America “get” eczema; and there is no where near this rate in India, or China, or Russia?

My theory is that young children are simply surging their vitamin A intake past their maximum absorption rate. Their available absorption rate is simply proportional to the size of their liver. The volume of the liver is increasing at a rate about exponent 2 of its cross sectional size. The absorption rate (the rate it can absorb and safely store vitamin A is going to be directly proportional to the remaining storage capacity) is generally going to decline with age; especially if you live in North America, due to accumulative consumption.

Why is this Age incidence pattern occurring in Eczema?

If children eat a reasonable diet, the growth rate of the liver, and its absorption rate will exceed their dietary intake. The absorption rate curve and digestion rate curve will diverge, and they will move out of the toxic state. If, on the other hand, kids eat lots of milk, dairy, pizza, tomatoes, fish, brightly colored fruits and vegetables; or horror of horrors, take cod liver oil, or eat liver, they are doomed to stay in this toxic zone for the rest of time. The absorption rate curve and digestion rate curve will converge. Oddly, even candy may be a contributor, since it is colored with carotenoid based food colors.

On the other end of the age spectrum, we have people my age; 50ish. We did not grow up in this insane childhood food environment we now have. So, we escaped childhood without Eczema, or Crohn’s. However, we’ve made (at least I have) the big mistake of listening to the current nutritional advice; taken fish oil, frequently ate fish, and lots of milk and dairy, and brightly colored fruits and vegetables too. Our healthy eating has caught up with us. We have slowly built up to the same saturated state. Unfortunately, unlike children, our liver is never going to grow larger to save us. It very well, and probably is, all swollen up, and fatty doing everything it can to try to save us. It may actually start to shrink in physical size as we age too. I don’t know. Whatever the mechanisms, we have this big U shaped curve with incidence rates; lots of kids, and a new up trend around age 50. This same U shape type curve applies to the incidence rates of other autoimmune diseases too.

Since vitamin A is a fat soluble molecule, the liver must then store it in a fatty chemical safety blanket. So, of course a fatty liver is now the norm for people over 50. Sadly, in Canada it is reported that a significant percentage of kids could have fatty livers. It is a somewhat of a hidden epidemic.

Let’s consider this in the most basic way possible. The liver stores vitamin A, but it first must be wrapped it in a fat to safely facilitate that storage.  With the consumption of vitamin A vastly out of control in North America, how could we possibly expect people to not have a fatty liver? Isn’t the body doing exactly what we should expect it to? What am I missing here?

Okay, so now at 50+, we are in big trouble with Eczema. The same applies to the 50+ folks getting Crohn’s and other autoimmune diseases. Now, let’s get back to the other end of the age spectrum.

KEY EVIDENCE: Crohn’s incidence rates kicking in at age 20ish

The really interesting question here is: what is this magic 20ish age thing with young people getting Crohn’s. What happens at that age in the human body? Take just one guess, you’ll probably be right.

The human liver becomes fully developed at age 20ish, boys are 1 or 2 years earlier. So, that is probably why there is this spike in Crohn’s at this age. The growth of the liver can no longer outpace the rate of dietary consumption of vitamin A. The race is lost. Of course, it is not this binary. This can, and clearly does happen at any age, between 10 and 50+. That 20ish age also corresponds to the post acne age too. How many of these young people took retinol based acne medications?

I have no doubt that kids younger than 10 surge their dietary intake of vitamin A, and cause a burn in their bowels. Unlike 10 year old kids with Eczema, they just can’t see it happen. They may just get an unexplainable abdominal pain that lasts for a few days, or more. The damage is painful, but silent and out of sight, The body heals, and they move on.

KEY EVIDENCE: The higher socioeconomic status factor

People with higher socioeconomic status have a higher prevalence. We need to ask the all important: why is that? question. I can guarantee that the immune cells cannot detect their bank account balance. But, there is a reason. It is because they are likely to be more educated, and have more money to spend on eating healthy with lots of brightly colored fruits and vegetables, and maybe vitamin supplements too. There is the same higher socioeconomic connection with rates of Crohn’s, and Alzheimer’s too (in the USA). Is this true of Lupus too?

For me; this higher socioeconomic status connection is a super important key point.

It is not just an interesting anecdotal finding. What does this key point really tell us? It tells us; in perfect, indisputable clarity that these are not genetic diseases. They are also not environmental, in the terms of the air we all breathe; or the water we all drink, or exposure to farm toxins etc. They are also not from some gut bacteria, or lack thereof. What is different is the food people choose, and what they can afford to buy. It is the FOOD!

What food(s) exactly? Once we can answer that, then we need to ask an even more important and specific question. What exact chemical compound(s) in those foods is it?

KEY EVIDENCE: Nova Scotia, Canada

About 10 years ago, I listened to a news report about Halifax Nova Scotia having the unfortunate distinction of being the Alzheimer’s capital of Canada (in rates of incidence). I don’t remember the exact numbers, but it was something like 1.5x or even 2x the national rate.

Researchers were trying to understand why. Well, I think I now know. As I’ve stated above, I think Crohn’s, Eczema, Arthritis, probably Lupus, and Alzheimer’s all share the same sinister parent.

When I first started looking into Crohn’s; it was only a bit surprising to find out that Nova Scotia also has the highest rates of Crohn’s and Colitis disease in the world.

So why is it that both Crohn’s and Alzheimer’s rates are really high in this province? Well, it should by now be obvious to us.  It is that this province has been historically very high in fish consumption. It was actually a fish based economy, and a of course a staple in the diet, from like the beginning of time. But, the key, key point here is that it is not just any fish. This is Atlantic Fish.

Remembering the news story about Alzheimer’s being high in Halifax, and believing there is a connection between Eczema and Alzheimer’s, I told my wife that I’d expect that there would now start to be a significant drop in incidence rates in the province. Why?

It is because in 1992 the fish stock collapsed under the burden of overfishing by the industry. The government imposed a fishing moratorium, and all commercial cod fishing was stopped.

Although this temporarily had a big negative impact on the economy. It also had a very, very interesting, and positive side effect on regional health. In a recent 2014 study, titled: Decreasing incidence of inflammatory bowel disease in Eastern Canada: a population database study

it was observed that there has been a significant decline in the incidence rates of Crohn’s in the province starting around 1996, and continuing through to now. It is like a 25 to 35% drop. This is a really significant finding. The diet in Nova Scotia pre fishing collapse of course very much included cod. That changed almost abruptly, starting in 1993. A very important observation to make about this report is that the age group with the biggest decline in rates is the 20 to 29 age group. Since the Atlantic cod fishery had been closed for nearly their entire lives; this makes sense.

I was really curious what is happening with the incidence rates of Alzheimer’s since then.

Nevertheless, let’s get back on track here with Crohn’s and Eczema. What’s Atlantic cod fish high in? Surprisingly, Atlantic cod is significantly higher (10 x) in vitamin A than the same species on the Pacific West Coast.

Even though the meat of the Atlantic fish is 10 times higher; overall, it is not particularly high in itself. Once again, we need to factor in the TIME dimension here.  One cod fish meal is not going to do any harm. But, 3,000 or more of them will. Additionally, the cod oil is much, much higher in vitamin A.

There is no doubt that the decline in incidence rates of Crohn’s in the province is due to the abrupt reduction of Atlantic cod fish in the diet. So, in one man-made disaster (Accutane), we added vitamin A to people, and caused more Crohn’s. In the other, we removed a significant source of vitamin A from the diet, and subsequently hugely reduced the rates of Crohn’s. These are not coincidences. These are facts that cannot be ignored.

On one hand, we have just (inadvertently) conducted a ~20 year, ~5 million person field trial with the closure of the Atlantic Cod Fishery. This has led to a very significant result, specifically with regards to Crohn’s. But, on the other hand; there could be something wrong in my determination that cod (the meat) is the culprit here. Cod meat is actually not that high in vitamin A ~ 100 IU / fillet. However, a kid growing up in Halifax eating cod three times a week, compared to a kid in Alberta or Saskatchewan eating beef three times a week, will consume about 500,000 to 1,000,000 UI more of vitamin A over a 20 year period. These may look like big numbers; but they are not really in the context of Vitamin A consumption. Therefore, this should be a very clear indication that the truly safe range of consumption of Vitamin A is not very wide.

Now, as everyone knows; the cod oil is much higher in vitamin A. So, we need to know what happened to the oil (especially the liver oil) from these fish?

Did this go into the food chain somehow. Was it used for cooking; or supplements etc.? Basically, was it consumed by people in this Atlantic region, and the US Atlantic coast too? I am guessing; probably yes. But I don’t know the pathway. Please comment if you can. Also, please comment if you can on the rates of other diseases in the region over this same time frame. I know that Atlantic Canada has historically been somewhat higher in rates than compared to the rest of Canada. What about rates in Sydney Nova Scotia over this time frame? Sydney had some of the highest disease rates in Canada in the 1980s and 1990s. In a news report from the Halifax Herald in 1998, they state: “Deaths caused by hypertension, Alzheimer’s disease or multiple sclerosis occurred at twice the national average in Sydney.” The report cites the Sydney tar ponds as the suspected toxic source. But, I wonder, has that now changed too?

The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America report in their 2014 Fact Book that the countries with the highest rates of Crohns, and ulcerative colitis are Canada, Denmark, Iceland, and the United States.  But, more precisely this list should be: Atlantic Canada, Denmark, Iceland, and the United States. What is common at least between Atlantic Canada, Denmark, Iceland? It is North Atlantic fish consumption.

I think the USA is supplementing more foods with Vitamin A than does Canada. I’ve noticed that some simple foods; such as those with flour list vitamin A in the nutrition label; whereas the same foods in Canada do not. For example, plain Cheerios in the USA list 10% RDA without milk and 15% with milk. Whereas the apparently same box of Cheerios in Canada list 0% RDA without milk, and 6% with milk.

There is more evidence that can be gleaned from the closure of the Atlantic Cod Fishery event. It was not only Canada’s fishing fleets off the east coast; other nations had fishing fleets here too. When the cod fish stock collapsed, then these other nations stopped fishing here too. Therefore, we might see a decline, or maybe just a leveling off, in the incidence rates of Crohn’s in their home nations. Please help with more data if you can; see Collapse of the Atlantic northwest cod fishery.

But; just like with Accutane the drug name, we can’t implicate Fish, the animal name in these diseases. It is a chemical that is both in the Accutane and the Fish that is the culprit here.

For example, if we try to correlate incidence rates between say families in both Halifax and Victoria BC, that eat cod fish three times a week, that won’t work. But if we consider that the family in Halifax may actually be consuming 10x the vitamin A of the family in Victoria; we might pick up the connection. The same goes for other countries, such as Sweden and Finland that eat a lot of cold salt water fish.

KEY EVIDENCE: Eczema and the East Coast

I don’t know of data for Eczema rates on the east coast of Canada. But, there is an excellent study, with all kinds of geographic data regarding the rates of Eczema in the United States. Eczema prevalence in the United States: data from the 2003 National Survey of Children’s Health.

Novel findings include the demonstration of higher eczema prevalence along the East Coast. The study correlates well with previous reports and may help point to environmental factors that contribute to the development of eczema.

Why? Once again, it is due to the higher east coast fish consumption. East coast cod fish is particularly high in vitamin A.

Other countries with high rates of fish consumption also have high rates of Eczema and Alzheimer’s, and I have no doubt Crohn’s and Colitis too. Here’s a world map showing Vitamin A deficiency.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_A_deficiency

Since it is a Vitamin A deficiency map, you just have to note that the dark green countries areas are getting at least enough Vitamin A. There are no surprises there for North America, the UK, Sweden, and Australia. But look at Chile. Chile now has the highest per capita consumption of fish in South America. It also has the highest rates of Alzheimer’s in South America. What are the rates of Crohn’s in Chile? What fish species do they eat? What about their tomato consumption too?

Here is another excellent study showing a global map of Crohn’s disease.

New global map of Crohn’s disease: Genetic, environmental, and socioeconomic correlations.

The comments regarding Chile are: Cases of 1996-2002 more than double compared to 1990-1995. Wow! More than doubled in just 5 years! What in their diet has changed? By chance, did they buy the unused Canadian fishing ships?

In the comments section of this report the authors ask:

“What unites Canterbury in New Zealand, Nova Scotia and Manitoba in Canada, Amiens in France, Maastricht in the Netherlands, Stockholm in Sweden, and Minnesota in the US (apart from the existence of scientists alert enough to reveal the evolving epidemiologic trends)? Unlocking this strange union would subsequently unlock the mystery of Crohn’s etiology, still speculated upon 75 years after its baptism.”

I think it is now obvious. It is fish consumption; but particularly fish that is high in vitamin A.

What’s with Manitoba and Minnesota? I don’t know. Maybe they have a higher rate of dairy, or beef liver consumption? They do have a large Native First Nations population in Manitoba. But, conversely, the incidence rates in First Nations people should be statistically lower. This is because most First Nations people are lactose intolerant. That would remove a big dietary source of vitamin A for this group. I don’t know if these are factors in the Manitoba data or not.

Amiens France? Maybe it’s a combination of pâté and coastal fish consumption.

Of course it is not just the fish. It is any source of vitamin A, and I think carotenoids too. The uptick in incidence rates we are seeing in India and China is simple to explain. They are adopting a new western food crop; big time. It is tomatoes. Check the stats; it is amazing, and alarming to see that these countries with huge populations are showing increases in these diseases.

Naturally, it is not just India and China that are eating more tomatoes. It is us here in Canada, and the US too. Business is booming for tomato growers worldwide. Consumption in North America has more than doubled in the last 15 years. What else has doubled in the last 15 years? Crohn’s and Eczema to name a few. The other food business that is booming is the carotenoid based food colors. This is shocking; it is more like exponential growth in production, its use is being mandated and legislated worldwide. Then of course, we have had supplemented milk and dairy since the 1970s. This all adds up to exponential consumption of Vitamin A, and the vitamin A precursors.

This report also points out that the Canadian province of Alberta is quite high in Crohn’s rates too. Why? Well, Alberta is a highly affluent province. It also has quite a high average level of education. So, there is not much of a shortage of money here for the family grocery budget. Therefore, people both listen to nutritional advice, and we have shopping carts that are full of the brightly colored fruits and vegetables; and lots of meat, eggs, dairy, etc.,  and undoubtedly multivitamins too.

I was at a Costco store here just a week ago, and there was a two pallet (1m x 2m x 1.5m) pile of guess what being sold? Cod Liver oil. There you have it right in the main aisle of the local Costco store. We don’t need an East Coast Fishery to catch the cod. We are supplementing with the worst part of it!

North South Gradient in the Geographic Data

The reports document an observation that there is a World North South gradient in the geographic distribution to the incidence rates of Crohn’s.

There are some really important points to be made about the North-South gradient observation. Firstly, it is not just the rates of Crohn’s disease that present this pattern. The incidence rates of Multiple Sclerosis and type 1 diabetes show up in the same pattern too. Secondly, it is not just a North American phenomenon either. It is present in Europe, Africa, and Australia too. This has nothing to do with genetics. It has to do with the latitude you live at. Is this for real? The more north or south you live at on the earth increases your chances of getting an autoimmune disease. How can this be? Less exposure to sunshine and vitamin D possibly?

No, I think this is going to correspond to the North-South temperature gradient in the Atlantic ocean; and the North Sea. In the case of Chile this is the cold Antarctic ocean. An interesting bit of historical trivia is that Charles Darwin’s condition significantly worsened as he sailed down the coast of Chile, some 200 years ago. We were warned.

The colder waters are going to require fish to have a higher oil content; and I think therefore, a higher level of Vitamin A.

In addition to the North South gradient, I think there is going to be a correlation between incidence rates and the proximity to coastal waters. There sure is in Canada.

I was in Denmark a number of years ago. Eel was popular in lunchtime sandwiches there. At 3,787 IU / 100g; Eel is also very high in Vitamin A. This animal lives in very cold waters. What are the rates for these diseases in Denmark, and the other Scandinavian countries?

Where in the world is the biggest disparity in the incidence rates of Alzheimer’s disease? It is between Finland and just across their border in Western Russia. This border would have been completely closed during the cold war era. The diet in Finland was, and probably still is very high in fish. Their Russian neighbors had next to none; as are their rates of Alzheimer’s disease. Today the Alzheimers/Dementia Death rate (age standardized) Finland / Russian ratio is 34.9 /1.6 per 100,000. But this border region in Russia is even lower than 1.6.  Here we have a population with high vitamin A consumption, and they are 22 TIMES higher in their rates of Alzheimers/Dementia compared to their immediate neighbors. Finland also has one of the highest rates of eczema in the world. A really interesting number to find out would be the actual ratio of vitamin A consumption between these two populations. I’m betting it’s going to be close to 22.

Autoimmune diseases are now one of the leading causes of death in North America. These are horrible, and unnatural deaths. If you don’t die from one of these diseases, you are probably going to have a family member that will. Die, or not, Crohn’s,  or chronic Eczema, or any other auto immune disease will destroy any young person’s quality of life. We have to stop the insanity.

Is this too simple, and too bizarre to be believable? Well I think not. Once you fully grasp those three simple facts;

  1. your body stores vitamin A
  2. it has a fixed capacity to do so
  3. vitamin A is scientifically documented as a direct toxin and to invoke the immune response that destroys tissue

Then the rest is not too hard to believe; I hope.

Let’s add more evidence.

key evidence: Osteoporosis

Of course Osteoporosis is a common symptom reported with IBD, Lupus, and other autoimmune diseases. Why is that? Well, blocked vitamin D, and therefore calcium absorption is now proven to be a factor in people with elevated levels of Vitamin A. But, I think that is only part of the story.  What about all the retinoic acid that is being generated? This will bring down the pH level, and the body’s pH regulation mechanisms need to kick in to counter this. Therefore, I think it is logical for the body to draw calcium from the bone stores to bring the pH level back to normal.

Here is some other great clinical evidence to support this.

Biopsy Interpretation of the Gastrointestinal Tract Mucosa, 2e

VOLUME 1: NON-NEOPLASTIC

https://books.google.ca/books?id=p19i7R6PdsEC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false

See: Mucosal Calcinosis on Page 60,

“metastatic” calcium deposits that are typical in such patients…. also been associated with hypervitaminosis A …

They go on to state:

“Regardless, mucosal calcinosis itself seems to be of no immediate clinical significance except as an incidental finding in patients with renal failure.”

On the contrary, I think this should be considered to be of huge clinical significance. Where did all this calcium come from? Did it come from the bones, or from the diet? It’s the bones of course.

How long has this been known for? Since the 1940s.

Here is a study from 1947: The action of vitamin K in hypervitaminosis A

They report high rates of spontaneous bone fractures in rats that are given elevated levels of Vitamin A. It is so toxic that they inadvertently break bones just trying to handle the rats. These rats where fed moderately high levels of vitamin A for only 10 days! The bones were incredibly quickly depleted of calcium.

Here is a more recent study by Binkley and Krueger: Hypervitaminosis A and bone.

They noted the consistent occurrence of spontaneous bone fractures associated with hypervitaminosis A and they also noted that no compound other than vitamin A is known to be associated with such fractures in animals.

Let’s consider this report on Autism. Studies Link Autism to Low Bone Density and Increased Fractures

The highlights are: “The increased risk was greatest among girls and women affected by autism spectrum disorder:

  • Girls with autism had eight times the hip-fracture rate of other girls.
  • Women with the disorder had ten times the rate of spinal fracture of other women.
  • Boys with autism had double the hip-fracture rate of other boys.
  • Men and women with autism (ages 23 to 50) had nearly 12 times the hip fracture rate of other adults.
  • Women with autism also had double the rate of arm, wrist and hand fractures.”

Therefore, I think this:  “no compound other than vitamin A is known to be associated with such fractures in animals” finding is of huge significance.

Of course, it is not just me that thinks there are a lot of similarities between Autism and Alzheimer’s.  I’m going to add another crazy statement into the mix here. Remember that U shaped incidence rate curve I mentioned before; Lot’s of kids less than say 10, and lots of adults 50+ getting eczema. Well we now have lots of kids getting Autism, and a lot of adults getting Alzheimer’s. When combined these two, it presents almost this same incidence pattern.

The current rates of Autism spectrum are now an insane 1/128 kids in North America.  Some people claim this is partly due to better diagnosis, and a broader definition of the Autism spectrum. I think that is complete BS!. It is not just a definition that has changed; it is spontaneous bone fractures too!

Since osteoporosis is a universal symptom reported with autoimmune diseases; I think it is important to dig into this topic some more.  We really need to understand the mechanism here; or at least come up with a very plausible explanation for it.  To do so, firstly let’s revisit the case I cited earlier on in this document of a 6 year old boy being admitted to hospital for hypervitaminosis A. When I selected this as an example case; it was just by pure coincidence that this boy was autistic too. There are some important points about this case we need to consider. Firstly, someone is spreading very bad (criminally negligent IMO ) advice about giving Vitamin A to combat Autism. That is just purely, and simply, absolutely wrong advice; and it could have a devastating, if not fatal outcome.

Secondly, what is really interesting is that the emergency treatment for this boy is to try to get his serum calcium levels into a normal range.  This is well documented in the case report. So, why is his serum calcium level so high? We might say, oh well, that is just what is documented to happen with hypervitaminosis A. But why does it happen? I think it is because the excess vitamin A is being converted to retinoic acid. This retinoic acid is causing the huge amount of inflammation this kid experiences; the swollen lips etc.  Just as importantly, this abundant retinoic acid causes the serum pH levels be be significantly lowered too.  The body must combat this, and combat it fast to bring it back to a normal range.  It does this by rapidly drawing in calcium from the bones.

Even though this is a single case study; it completely matches with all the other studies in this regard.  What about some really convincing evidence from a broad geographic perspective to  support this claim? Well, it turns out we have a recent report from Sweden with just such data. Please watch this video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXcMmclEO8c

Here we have indisputable evidence that elevated levels of Vitamin A are indeed causing osteoporosis.  But, the incredibly important point that I’ve been repeating over and over in this document, is the daily consumption is only half of the story.  The real risk is the long term elevated storage levels. Also, I want to comment on the statement made in the video that people in Sweden live long and healthy lives. That’s a nice statement, but someone needs to check the stats; since this is not exactly true. Sweden has high rates of autoimmune disease and Alzheimer’s.
Now, with most autoimmune diseases exhibiting this same osteoporosis symptom; hopefully it is not too much of a stretch to make the connection. You don’t have to be in a state of hypervitaminosis A. You just have to have some chronic inflammation. Maybe even just a little extra bit each day. It is going to have a cumulative effect on your calcium stores.  Taking more calcium is not the answer; and it could actually be harmful. It is getting the inflammation under control that counts. We need to get to the very basic root cause of the problem.

Weight Gain

Another common symptom reported with Autoimmune diseases is weight gain. Of course, obesity itself is its own epidemic. Therefore, we might easily dismiss that weight gain as just part of living in a developed country. However, for a lot of people with an autoimmune disease; it is beyond this new normal un-normal.  Once again; we need to know why. Or least come up with a very plausible explanation. One explanation would be to just say that most people experience fatigue, and therefore don’t exercise enough. Well; in my own personal case; that is not true. I did not experience fatigue for much of the time leading up to my eczema. But, I did have this weight gain creeping up on me. By age 54, I was about 20 lbs overweight. It was going up a few lbs per year, almost regardless of how much exercise I got. It was not too horrible; but still something out of my control was taking over, and causing this happen.

Here’s what I think the mechanism could be. It is a gut bacteria called Bacteroidetes. It is one of the most abundant organisms in the human large intestine.  It is observed that when these bacteroidetes populations decline; people become obese. Oddly, and conversely, when people go on a diet, the bacteroidetes populations come back to a normal proportion. The reason this happens is documented to be unknown.

Could it be that there is a common toxin in most of our food that is killing off some of these bacteroidetes? Of course; you know where I am headed with this. If high doses of Vitamin A are a toxin to a human; could very small doses in our regular diet be toxic to this tiny bacteria? Let’s remember that Accutane, and some other acne drugs, are retinoic acid and what it does to bacteria on the surface of the skin. Of course, this is hugely speculative; but I am curious.  Since adopting my low vitamin A diet I have lost about 20 lbs. My BMI is now “NORMAL”.  I was not fasting at all. I was eating lots, and lots of calories too. The extra weight just magically went away. Go figure?

The Toxicity of Vitamin A – how toxic is it really?

There are tons of scientific and medical publications on the toxicity of vitamin A. Retinoic Acid is documented to be extremely toxic when it is in the wrong place or wrong concentrations.  Here is a another really interesting 2012 paper: Retina, Retinol, Retinal and the Natural History of Vitamin A as a Light Sensor stating that “Excessive vitamin A uptake can lead to severe toxicity in humans”.

In the case of Accutane it is extreme. Women taking the drug were required to be on two forms of birth control; or completely abstain from sex. Moreover, they were to enter into a contract; the “I Declare” contract, agreeing that if they did become pregnant; they would immediately seek an abortion. Okay, this is retinoic acid. It is actually a chemo therapy drug! It works by killing rapidly reproducing cells. Did anyone stop to think that normal teenagers have rapidly reproducing cells too?  So, what about plain old retinol (regular vitamin A)?

There is a well known study done in the 1990s where pregnant women who were taking 10,000IU or more, resulted in a high rate of birth defects (1 in 57). This was not retinoic acid; it was retinol; plain old vitamin A.

Let’s dig into this a little bit more. What we know for sure is that 10,000 IUs was incredibly toxic. Now, even though 10,000 IUs sounds like a big number, it is actually not. This is only like around 3X the RDA. A person could quite easily achieve this with normal foods alone. But the point is that we don’t know if the 10,000 IUs was the dangerous high level mark or not. It could be 5000 IUs, it could be 3000 IUs. Who really knows for sure? Actually nobody does; because it depends.

Based upon my understanding of what’s happening here is that the real risk is the absorption rates and not the daily dose that matters so much. The absorption rate is going to be very dependent upon prior consumption history, and therefore be a very individual rate.

When you read the various studies on what the safe amount of vitamin A is during pregnancy, they are all considering a daily dose. It is like this is somehow the magic number that needs to be quantified.  But, since the body stores the daily dose; I think it is almost the completely wrong number to consider. What is far more important is cumulative storage, and what exactly happens with that daily dose. Additionally; exactly how fast does this process happen.  The daily dose number combined with storage level numbers are what are really critical.

Let’s dig into this a little bit more. What we know for sure is that 10,000 IUs was incredibly toxic.  Now, even though 10,000 IUs sounds like a big number, it is actually not. This is only like around 3X the RDA. A person could quite easily achieve this with normal foods alone.

But the critical point is that we don’t know if the 10,000 IUs was the dangerous high level mark or not. It could be 5000 IUs, it could be 3000 IUs. Who really knows for sure?

Moreover based upon my understanding of what’s happening here is that the real risk is the absorption rates and not really the daily dose that matters so much. The absorption rate is going to be very dependent upon prior consumption history, and therefore an individual rate.

Generally, older women are probably going to have lower absorption rates; so their risk level is going to be higher. Therefore, the safe amount for pregnant women is also going to be variable just based upon individual dietary habits, and possibly age too.

Let’s imagine what might happen with a well intentioned pregnant woman who wants to do everything she can to make sure her new baby gets all the nutrition it needs. She might eat a few eggs with cheese for breakfast, two glasses  of milk, take a multivitamin. She might take an Omega 3 fish oil tablet. Then for lunch a tuna salad. Maybe a salad with lots of brightly colored vegetables such as tomatoes, and bell peppers.  Maybe she juices a few carrots with that fancy juicer she has. Boom! Now she surged her vitamin A intake; and maybe way past her safe absorption rate too. Now what? Could some of that excess vitamin A convert to retinoic acid and endanger the fetus? You bet it could!

Fortunately, the medical community is now warning women about consuming too much vitamin A during pregnancy.  I don’t know how universally this message is being delivered. There is also the ongoing belief that elevated post delivery Vitamin A consumption is fine, if not being recommended. But, is this really true? Is there 100.00% completely water tight, irrefutable scientific evidence to support this? Or is it just being assumed too? Why on earth do we have this astounding epidemic of Autism in North America?

Okay, in the context of birth defects; someone might claim high doses are only a risk to a developing fetus. But, that is totally incorrect. As you’ve seen here, there is tons of research proving high doses are toxic to kids and adults too.  What makes a high dose? Anything that is not nearly immediately stored. Who does this apply to? Kids with small livers, and everyone with current elevated storage. Of course, I can’t just make this claim without strong supporting evidence. So, here it is published in the Journal of the World Public Health Nutrition Association in a May 2010 commentary titled: The great vitamin A fiasco

The findings that high doses of vitamin A, especially in well nourished children, have adverse impacts on respiratory infections, should surely be grounds for serious concern.

I think the critically important point in this statement is the “especially in well nourished children“. Why is this? It is because their absorption rates are going to be slightly lower. This in itself should be hugely telling. There is indeed a very thin range of consumption rates that are safe. This is actually that same higher socioeconomic factor showing up here; but in the context of kids from villages in India etc.

Does anyone think for one second that children in North America are not well nourished too?  Does not our supplemented food now load them up with somewhat big doses almost every day?

There is something else about this “adverse impacts on respiratory infections” that needs a bit of investigation. Why exactly does giving a kid a shot of vitamin A cause higher rates of respiratory infections? Isn’t this an amazingly revealing bit of information? It is because surged vitamin A intake leads to inflammation. Inflammation leads to opportunistic infections; especially in sensitive tissues like the lungs.

Yet, vitamin A is a very critical chemical to the human body; too much, or too little is extremely dangerous. In the paper: Retina, Retinol, Retinal and the Natural History of Vitamin A as a Light Sensor they also state:

“In adults, vitamin A deficiency can lead to profound impairment of hippocampal long-term potentiation and long-term depression and impairment in learning and memory. Vitamin A deficiency can also lead to pathological changes in the lung, the skin, the thyroid and the male and female reproductive systems.

This is very strange, and paradoxical, since this closely matches with some of the major symptoms of vitamin A toxicity.  Could, it be that saturated organ storage actually results in a vitamin A deficiency in the brain?  Or is the liver no longer able to deliver the vitamin A in the RBP? I have no idea.  Whatever the mechanism; vitamin A intake is indeed a double edge sword.

I’ve read another study from 1940 stating that they considered Vitamin A to be so toxic that they recommended that it be a controlled substance. So, this toxicity of vitamin A has been generally well known for a very long time.

Then, for some misguided reason, in the mid 1970s we began adding this well known toxin to nearly all milk and dairy in North America. Then, starting around the 1980s we start seeing this exponential growth rates in disease. We now have an epidemic in Eczema, Crohn’s & IBD, Arthritis, Lupus, Autism, Alzheimer’s, and more. Once again, and amazingly, all the combined symptoms of these diseases are like a perfect match for Vitamin A toxicity.  If you have any doubt about this connection; please read on to the Alzheimer’s data I present in the summary.

Does all this make sense, or is it too simple?

Let’s look at the data in the most obvious way. These diseases are doubling at alarming rates. What substance in our food is also doubling at similar alarming rates? It’s easy; just ask the tomato farmers, and the Cod Liver oil suppliers. Then consider that this very bad nutritional advice about eating lots of milk, dairy, and brightly colored fruits and vegetables has taken hold. As so has that horrible advice about supplementing with fish oils. The cited Eczema “trigger foods” are also most of the recommended foods on the Canada food guide.

No, it’s not sugar, or gluten (in itself), to blame here. Sugar will make you fat, but it will not directly dissolve and burn holes in your skin, and organs. Gluten can definitely be an antagonist; but it is not the root cause.

I think there is only one common substance in all of our foods that is scientifically proven to be capable of doing this. It is vitamin A (retinol, and or retinoic acid).

But, you might argue that this is a really simple theory; and there is no way the wider scientific, and medical community is missing this.

Well then please explain to me why alarms were not sent out regarding Accutane? That should have sent shock waves throughout the drug, food, medical communities, and government agencies. But, no, nothing but silence.

So don’t think that some people at drug companies can’t possibly miss the obvious. Not only did they miss the obvious; they completely, and conveniently, ignored over 50 years of scientific knowledge that vitamin A is a toxin at high doses!

Or maybe this vitamin A subclinical toxicity is not obvious? After all, this is a very subtle, and very tricky situation that develops slowly over a long period of time. It is more or less documented to be hugely unlikely to happen on a wide scale like it is. But it is indeed. It is happening, just with unexpected, and with mostly small or, subclinical amounts of this potential toxin being in the wrong place in the human body. Just to be clear here; once again, this is not at all classic Hypervitaminosis A.  No; this is a very slow build up to near saturation; and thereafter being in a state of chronic subtle overflow of this toxin.

Or maybe I am completely wrong too? But, everything I’ve presented in this document is not based upon opinion. There are a lot of documented facts; and my own firsthand experiences. I think it should be clear, logical, and compelling evidence.

BTW, I am also now pretty sure what caused the leaking of my kidneys. It is the same horrible yellow toxin that is dissolving, and burning holes in my skin. It is doing the same in the colon, and other internal organs of children, and young adults suffering from Crohn’s, and other autoimmune diseases.

It is time to stop the insanity. Why exactly is kid’s milk, and so many other foods, fortified with a direct toxin? Was this decided by some government bureaucrat decades ago? That may have been fine 40 years ago; but no longer. We have this huge over abundance of vitamin A in other foods. It is time to seriously rethink this. I think we are now seeing the unintended consequences of this; and it is called the auto-immune epidemic.

Why are we selling Cod Liver oil by the truck load to unsuspecting consumers? High doses of Vitamin A have been proven, over and over, to cause birth defects; if nothing else. What the hell is going on?

Is it a coincidence that vitamin A & D have been added to milk and all dairy products since the early 1970s, and the incidence rates for these diseases began skyrocketing in the 1980s? Is it a coincidence that milk and all dairy products are very commonly cited as being foods that “trigger” autoimmune disease flare-ups? Is it a coincidence that elevated levels of vitamin A are now proven to block vitamin D, and that osteoporosis is common in autoimmune diseases? Milk promoting strong bone health is now being proven to be a myth too. Here’s a recent article and a referenced study.

Study Suggests Milk May Actually Increase The Risk Of Bone Fracture

http://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2014/11/03/study-suggests-milk-may-actually-increase-the-risk-of-bone-fracture/

Despite what most people have heard their entire lives, milk may not be so good for bones or for longevity, according to a new study in the journal BMJ. The research found that consuming more milk was linked to greater risk of bone fractures and to earlier mortality. Meanwhile, cheese, yogurt, and other fermented products appeared to be “safe.” It’s not quite clear why, but the research suggests that milk alone may increase inflammation and oxidative stress in the body.

Of course, it is not just the milk and dairy sources. When in human history have we consumed so much of this potential toxin as a regular part of our diet?

Is it a coincidence that reducing a significant source of vitamin A from a million person population results in a 35% drop in the incidence rates of Crohn’s and inflammatory bowel disease?

Is it a coincidence that eczema is a commonly reported co-disease with Alzheimer’s and Autism. Of course spontaneous bone fractures have been documented in vitamin A toxicity since the 1940s. Once again, there is this amazing little bit of trivia : no compound other than vitamin A is known to be associated with such fractures in animals. Why would we think humans are going to be any different in this regard?

Is it a coincidence that the incidence rates of Alzheimer’s have recently dropped a bit in the USA, and Germany too, and both these countries stopped fishing cod off the east coast of Canada.

Is it a coincidence that the United States, Canada, Europe, and other industrialized nations get their vitamin A from multivitamins, fish liver oil, and the fortification of foods such as milk, butter, margarine, breakfast cereals, and some snack foods. Whereas, in the developing nations, 70–90% of vitamin A is obtained from carotenoids in plant based foods. We have an epidemic of autoimmune and other horrible diseases; and they don’t. Does anyone else think there’s a connection here?

The Alzheimer’s Connection

Let’s come back to where we started from in all of this. Alzheimer’s disease rates in Atlantic Canada.

For what it is worth; I actually have very little doubt that this is the root cause of Alzheimer’s too. I know that’s a pretty crazy statement to come from an older engineer / geologist who was just trying to cure a skin rash. And, Yes, I do know that vitamins (including A) have been officially ruled out as the cause of Alzheimer’s disease. So why do I make such an absurd sounding claim?

  1. It is hugely supported in the data; there are very significant correlations with the world geographic and demographic data; very similar to those of Crohn’s and Eczema.
  2. The significant East to West gradient in Canadian rates also means that this is an environmentally induced disease.
  3. Mental dullness, and confusion are well documented symptoms of Vitamin A toxicity. So is memory loss, mental dullness, and confusion with Lupus and a lot of other autoimmune diseases.
  4. People with Alzheimer’s have something like a 40% higher rate of Osteoporosis. Elevated levels of Vitamin A are proven to cause Osteoporosis, and to block Vitamin D; and therefore block calcium absorption.
  5. Vitamin A in the form of retinoic acid is clinically proven to burn holes in tissue.
  6. Once you get into this state of elevated Vitamin A toxicity; it is nearly impossible to randomly stumble upon a diet to get you out of it.
  7. The inflammation on my brain resolved with my vitamin A elimination diet.
  8. My personal cognitive experience with my vitamin A elimination diet.
  9. Recent findings on retinal degeneration in AD means this is not just a brain disease.
  10. People with Alzheimer’s commonly report having Eczema too.

I am duplicating that Canadian Alzheimer’s Mortality chart here just for easy reference.

Alzheimers Rates In Canada

I have no doubt whatsoever that this data is reflecting the closure of the Atlantic Cod fishery in 1993. Also, this data is for mortality rates and I think that the data for age adjusted incidence rates would be even more telling. Clearly the rate changes in NL, PEI, and NB are huge; like almost a 50% decline. Too huge to dismiss as being random, or an anomaly. This represents the entire Atlantic Region of Canada. This is a ~5 million person population with huge decreased rates. This decline is not at all the same in western Canada.

Look at the amazing change in PEI over this time. It has gone from one of the highest rates in Canada to the same rate as BC, and Alberta.  I think these Atlantic region numbers would tell a even more amazing story if I had the data going back to 1996, and through to 2014.

Once again here is the chart showing just the Atlantic provinces and with the Nova Scotia Crohn’s Incidence Rates included. Click on the chart to get a better view.

AlzPEICrohns2029

Clearly, something dramatic has changed in Atlantic Canada to cause this steep decline in disease rates. What bigger environmental change has taken place in the Atlantic region in this period of time other than the closure of the Atlantic Cod fishery in 1993? Of course all of that Atlantic cod fish catch was not consumed in the Atlantic Provinces. Some of it was exported across Canada, the USA, Germany and elsewhere. However, enough of it was being consumed in Atlantic Canada to now show up in this data. But, once again, it is not the fish to blame; it is the vitamin A in the fish.

The somewhat anomalous rate change in Nova Scotia as compared to the other Atlantic Provinces might be explainable based on people being diagnosed in the region moving to Halifax to get better access to health services, or long term care facilities. But, that explanation is pure speculation on my part; I have no idea.

Nevertheless, the decline in the Nova Scotia Alzheimer’s rate are pretty significant too. It would be fantastic to see the incidence rates of other big autoimmune diseases in Atlantic Canada being included on these charts. Please help if you can.

Additionally, I think this data from Atlantic Canada makes it perfectly clear that Alzheimer’s is an environmentally (specifically food) caused disease. Therefore, I think that the current research into linking this with genetics, and the various brain banks from victims are almost pointless.

I think that Alzheimer’s is actually going to be a much more subtle and lower level of saturation than what causes Eczema or Crohn’s. It is a subtle chronic little poisoning persisting over decades and decades; with devastating effects.

Is there really a vitamin A to Alzheimer’s causal association here? What we do know is that when we increased vitamin A consumption (via accutane) Crohn’s rates went significantly up. When we decreased vitamin A consumption (via cod) Crohn’s rates went significantly down. We also know that the full set of symptoms of IBD / Crohn’s is a near perfect match with those of vitamin A toxicity. Therefore, based upon the remarkable correlation between the declining trend lines for these two diseases in this one geographic region; in a multimillion person population, a causal relationship is a very strong probability.

Now, having the very important firsthand experience in having the inflammation on my brain vanish after elimination of this substance from my diet; I can move this probability even higher.

I still would not make the call if it were not for a very important, and another amazing connection here.  Sadly, this information has been literally staring doctors in the face for many decades now. It is on the faces of people suffering from this disease. It is also on their hands. It is called Eczema.  Once again, it is one of those incidental things commonly reported with Alzheimer’s, and Autism too. It is probably considered to be of no immediate clinical significance, not related, and just an annoyance.

If you read the Alzheimer’s caregiver forums, you will see lots of comments about people struggling to treat Eczema. I read one comment about a man caring for his ailing wife, and he could no longer afford all the band aids he was using on her hands. Now, why does a person with a brain disease need band aids on the hands?

I inquired about this Eczema connection with a prominent Alzheimer’s researcher. He simply stated that the observed skin lesions are not related. But, he cannot validly make that claim without first knowing the real root cause of Alzheimer’s.  I read another doctor’s rationalization about this observation of the skin problems seen in Alzheimer’s patients. He claimed that it is likely due to these patients not eating properly, and not getting enough nutrition. But, this too is completely not true. Most of these people are well cared for. And there are many incidences in people with early onset; who are still working, and looking after themselves. These people are eating just fine. Nevertheless, to test his hypothesis a bit, I looked at more than a thousand pictures online of anorexic people. Now, these people are indeed starving themselves, and clearly not getting enough nutrition.   I could not find a single photo, not one,  of an anorexic person showing signs of eczema or psoriasis. Oddly, in nearly all photos the skin looks perfectly clear (other than the skeleton poking through). No eczema, no psoriasis.

Two photos of people had what looked like acne; but they also looked extremely ill. And, no I am not at all recommending people use this as a form of treatment!

A man named John

Here is a video of a 49 year old man from Columbia, with Alzheimer’s. Before playing the video; please look at this first frame very carefully.

There are more close ups of the man’s face and fingernails in the first 60 seconds of the video . Look very closely.  What do you see? I see the thickened, and reddish brown skin on the sides of his forehead. I see the mottled fingernails. Does this look familiar? There are a lot of people with eczema who will not only recognize this condition; they will know exactly how it feels too.

Now, I think we can make a pretty good guess as to why the outer 1/3 of the  eyebrows go missing in Hashimoto’s disease.  Yes, yet another autoimmune disease, this one attacks the thyroid.  It has an odd, and incidental skin issue showing up on the face. Weird huh? The immune system is attacking the thyroid, yet burns off the eyebrows too? Does this not seem incredibly strange that the immune system, after millions and millions of years of evolution, would waste its energy and resources like this?

Autism and eczema

There is also a big connection here between eczema and Autism. There are exactly the same type of comments in the Autism support forums. You have all these mothers discussing and sharing tips on how to care for their Autistic kid’s Eczema.  Eczema goes hand in hand with Autism. And so does gut inflammation. Why is that?

It is because the root cause of these diseases is indeed hugely related. It is the sub-clinical saturation, and the elevated non-liver storage of retinol and / or retinoic acid. So, based upon that; and my own personal experience, and combined with this data; I am going to say; that there is an incredibly good chance of a causal association here. No, it is not conclusive, but some empirical evidence, that’s almost trivial to obtain, can solidify it.

Of course we should understand the mechanism of how elevated levels of this potential toxin is getting into, or affecting, the brain. My theory is that the process is nearly identical to what is happening with the fats in the sebaceous glands of the skin and GI tract. The excess retinoic acid is a fat soluble molecule. Therefore, it is going to be wrapped in a lipid. The brain is highly dependent upon lipids. Now we have lipids circulating in the blood that are effectively little toxic Trojan Horses. They contain the retinol or retinoic acid molecule. Just like with the skin, the fat is consumed, unwrapping and exposing the toxic molecule. Once exposed, this toxin is going to cause inflammation and destroy tissue, and possibly the build up of proteins.

Also, this same inflammatory process is going to happen anywhere in the body where these toxic lipids are consumed.

Regardless if this is even close to the correct mechanism or not, it does not really matter in the short term.  There are lots of times in science we can make use of information we don’t fully understand. For example, I am sure that there are lots of effective drugs in use where their exact mechanism is not fully understood. What is critical at this point is that we actually do something with this information.

There is another personal observation that I want to share. Around 2006 I had almost completely stopped dreaming at nights. I might of had dreams 2 or 3 times in a year. So, that is about 9 years of almost never dreaming at nights. I assumed this was due to drinking too much coffee; or just something that happens with aging.

Four weeks after being on my vitamin A elimination diet; I started to dream every night. That is every single night in about four months now. My coffee intake has remained the same. Of course it was not just dreaming that changed. As stated above, my thinking clarity significantly improved too with my vitamin A elimination diet. Okay, so that is subtle inflammation / pressure on my brain resolved, thinking clarity back to normal, and resumed dreaming at nights.

Do you think this toxin was having an adverse affect on my brain?

With everything I’ve documented here regarding Alzheimer’s; now these two world maps should be very interesting.

WHOVAD

AlzMapYellow

I’ve changed the default color coding in Alzheimer’s/Dementia map from red to yellow; just to make the visual correlation easier. Yellow regions in the upper WHO-VAD map are getting lots of vitamin A; and yellow regions in the second map are getting high rates of the Alzheimer’s/Dementia.

The source of the Alzheimer’s Mortality map is: http://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/cause-of-death/alzheimers-dementia/by-country/

Naturally, we all know that correlation does not mean causation. But it does, nevertheless, add supporting evidence to this theory. At the very least, there should be zero doubt in anyone’s mind that Alzheimer’s/Dementia are environmentally induced.

A Thought Experiment

Let’s look at this logically, and go through a bit of a thought experiment together. Please point out where I am making mistakes in logic, or where I am making erroneous, or unreasonable extrapolations.

Okay, let’s start:

Epidemic rates of these diseases in the Industrialized world means they are not genetic.

People immigrating from non-industrialized countries; adopt the same rates of disease here; at least by their second generations. This means it is environmental; that should be perfectly, 100% clear. Therefore, it is probably one or more toxins in food and /or water we all consume.

The exponential rate of increase of Alzheimer’s disease in the USA.

ALZExp

There is something else critically important to be observed from the Alzheimer’s charts shown above. That is the age of onset is moving to the left on the timeline. Alzheimer’s in people less than 50 years of age was almost unheard of just a few generations ago. Now, in Canada, we have something like 50,000 people with early onset. Alarming as that new early onset may sound; that is not what I am pointing out. This shift to the left on the timeline tells more. This is clearly telling us that not only is Alzheimer’s an environmentally induced disease; but one that is related to exposure time! The more exposure, the younger the onset is possible. This means there is really nothing preventing this disease from happening to people in their 40’s, or 30’s etc. The same applies to the autoimmune diseases.

AutoImmuneExp

Big regional differences in these disease rates means the toxin is not being uniformly consumed. There is zero chance that this is not environmentally caused.

The dramatic increase in these disease rates started in around the 1970s. Therefore, more of the toxin(s) started to be introduced and/or consumed in the 70s and 80s.

These are not modern day diseases; though the epidemic rates are. Therefore, it is not a modern day toxin(s).

There is clearly a time delay (usually in decades) between consumption, and disease onset. Therefore; it is not a toxin at low doses.  The body therefore must be able to deal with a certain amount of this toxin; yet it probably accumulates. Therefore, additionally and oddly, the accumulated amount is not toxic.

The autoimmune diseases affect children and adults; therefore, they are not diseases that result from aging. However, for most adults, once acquired the diseases are chronic (usually remainder of life). Therefore, there is a tipping point or threshold to the level of toxin(s) the body can deal with.

These diseases are very widespread in the industrialized world; there is no geographic region in North America that is immune from these diseases. Therefore this toxin(s) must be very widespread, and very common in the food and/or water we all consume.  This is also supported by the fact that very few adults spontaneously fully cure from the disease; meaning that almost no one randomly stops consuming this toxin(s).

The incidence rates are higher in North America along the Atlantic Coast. Therefore, there must be more of this toxin consumed in this region. Other countries, such as the Scandinavian countries,  with high rates of saltwater fish consumption have high rates for these diseases too. Therefore, this toxin could likely be found in fish. The two most unanimously cited other trigger foods are milk, and tomatoes. Therefore, this toxin should be found in these two foods too.

Women get these diseases more than men, therefore, they are either consuming more of this toxin, or have a lower threshold for reaching a tipping point.

What is the Immune System telling us?

Nearly everyone in the medical community tells us; and 10’s of millions of people know first hand, that these are triggered autoimmune diseases. Let’s set-aside the apparent oxymoron for now, and note that the most commonly cited triggers are food.

Next; we need to know what functions the immune system provides us.  It protects us from viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, and toxins. We know with a high degree of certainty that autoimmune diseases are not caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, or parasites.  So, that leaves us with toxins, or the medically accepted view that immune system has somehow become defective.  But, the flare-up nature of these diseases clearly indicates that it is not a permanently defective immune system.  It is almost randomly defective. Additionally, it is most actively defective when we eat trigger foods, and / or in the winter months.  So, it is highly likely that the immune system is actually responding to a toxin; or somehow the defective immune system now knows how to tell the weather.

There are something like 10 million kids with eczema in North America. Although most cases are mild; it is indeed this same autoimmune disease. Is not this in itself very strange? Why do so many kids have an autoimmune disease?

But, magically, most kids “grow out of it”. So, they have a defective immune system for a while, and then it self corrects? Or, more logically, their bodies are able to adapt to, or outpace the consumption of the toxin.  But, we know that they are probably not adapting, because for a quite a few of these kids their eczema returns in their 20s, or later in life.

So, I think that the immune system is telling us that we are still looking for a toxin, and most likely one found in food, and weirdly one that is more active, or consumed more, in the winter. Even more strangely, one that only kids routinely grow out of.

The autoimmune diseases such as Crohn’s, Colitis, Lupus, Arthritis, and Eczema all involve the skin either as a secondary or primary symptom. Therefore, this toxin must be documented to affect the skin in the exact same manner.

The combined documented symptoms for these diseases is something like:

  • Abdominal pain, cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diminished appetite and weight loss
  • Fever
  • Anemia
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Skin lesions, peeling, nodules
  • Swollen lips with fissures
  • Eye inflammation, blurred vision
  • Joint inflammation and pain
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Mouth Ulcers
  • Bone pain
  • Osteoporosis; spontaneous bone fractures
  • Mental Dullness, confusion
  • Light Sensitivity
  • Liver issues
  • Kidney issues

Therefore, the toxin(s) we are looking for should be documented to produce all of these very same symptoms and it must be very widely consumed. That is one hell of a list to match.

Yet, amazingly, there is such a toxin, and it is in nearly all of our foods. It is Vitamin A. It is also essential, and harmless at low doses. It also has a threshold, or tipping point when it becomes toxic. The normal function of the human body is to store and accumulate this substance. It is also high in certain fish. It is also added to all low fat milk, dairy, and margarine, and this policy started in the 1970s. More importantly, the fish oil craze started around the mid 1990s. Consumption of fish oils is exponential in growth in North America.

Omega3Imports

Why have we done this?  Have we now become like Finland in our consumption of fish oils? Is this really good for us? How much of this Omega 3 is from fish or krill oil? Has its vitamin A content been removed prior to packaging? I don’t know.

Health experts commonly tell people that oily fish have more health benefits than white fish. However, their recommendations have never been compellingly proven scientifically in large population studies.

source: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/40253.php

The FDA limits the maximum amount of Vitamin A in multivitamins to 1000 IU??. This is to lower the risk of people accumulating too much of it. Could all this Omega 3 oil be another highly concentrated source of vitamin A that has snuck under the FDA’s vitamin A radar so to speak?

Countries with low vitamin A consumption, or have a vitamin A deficiency, have incredibly low rates of these diseases compared to North America.

If I am right about this; and nothing changes, then we as a society are in very big trouble. The doubling rates we now see for these autoimmune diseases are nothing yet. The doubling rates are not going to be linear.

The body’s absorption rate for retinol is going to follow an exponential decline curve; since it is going to be proportional to remaining storage.

Mathematically speaking; it is therefore going to be exponential, and not linear growth rates in these diseases. The vitamin A consumption rates are zooming too. Therefore, we are headed for a national disaster. It is going to be far more than doubling of rates over the next 10-20 years. It is more likely going to be 4x, and then 8x, etc. every 10, or 20 years.

What are we waiting for? We now have something like 30 or 60 million people with an autoimmune disease in North America. In 20 years, this will cripple our economy; in addition to the horrible pain and suffering. We have to solve this.

As I’ve stated above, this is also not just about Crohn’s and Eczema. I think it is about Alzheimer’s, and quite likely Lupus, Arthritis, Rosacea and probably Psoriasis too. I hope we can add Fatty Liver disease, and some forms of Kidney disease to this list too.

Summary

If the evidence I’ve presented here, and what is in the referenced studies is not enough to convince people that this is at least possible. No problem.

It is almost trivial to prove, or disprove, all of this.  We just need a few people with Eczema, and Crohn’s to adopt a zero vitamin A diet for 4 weeks; as a starting point. I believe the same is going to apply to Dementia / Alzheimer’s sufferers too.

The results will be stunningly clear to them. More immediately, people with these diseases just need to reevaluate themselves in the context of the wider list of symptoms documented for vitamin A toxicity. I think they will see the connection.

Of course, I’ve gone past this just being a theory. I think I’ve proven it on myself, with my vitamin A elimination food experiment. But, it’s still early. There is no way to prove a negative; so I cannot guarantee I won’t regress again.

Therefore, I don’t want to give people false hope. I am just one person with one result. Even though the result is very positive, and very compelling; I am not 100% cured either. I am not even going to think about calling myself cured until I am completely symptom free for at least a year; or maybe two years; and my skin no longer glows under my fluoroscope.

This is complicated. It is going to take much, much longer than 4 weeks to fully detox the skin and other organs of this toxin. I have no idea how long it will take; or if it is even truly possible at all to get back into a normal state. The only scientific documentation I can find regarding this elevated adipose tissue condition simply states vaguely: “it is going to take a long time”. However, there are some documented cases of chronic vitamin A toxicity where it had taken something like 7-8 months to fully recover.

Just for the record; I’ve been on a near zero vitamin A diet for nearly four months. I am still alive, and doing quite well. I’ve not used one speck of steroid cream, or any other drug, in that time. Of course, I am now back to consuming plant based foods with small amounts of vitamin A. You can’t be on zero vitamin A consumption for an extended period of time. I think three or four months should be the outer limit.

Therefore, do your own research too. Dig through the reports I’ve cited; and all the other material you can find. See the pictures in my personal account of my food experiment; and recovery from Eczema. Read about the light sensitivity, and fluorescence of retinol and carotenoids. Read about the carotenoids being used in food coloring; and understand that beta carotene is just a double ended retinol molecule. Research the surging growth of tomato production in India and China, and the diet changes in Chile etc. etc, etc. Let the evidence speak for itself.

My only advice is to get the heck off all even slightly high sources of vitamin A; at least until we get to the bottom of this. You might want to stay out of bright sunlight too.

My vitamin A elimination diet

Throughout this document I’ve referred to my vitamin A elimination diet. This was really just started as a very long-shot type of experiment, with the only goal of maybe reducing my eczema condition.  Have you ever heard of a person adopting a vitamin A elimination diet? Or a person with an autoimmune disease adopting such a diet? I’ve documented this diet, and my experiment with it, over on my eczema posting. The short version is shown below.

My vitamin A elimination diet:

  • Water
  • White or Brown Rice ( not yellow or golden! )
  • Egg Whites
  • Beef ( steak, roast, no sauces, or spices other than salt and black pepper if wanted)
  • Olive Oil ( 2 teaspoons per day )
  • Black Coffee if wanted ( no milk, no cream, no whiteners )
  • Vitamin C supplements ( recommended )
  • Cashews ( 5-10 per day, recommended)

NOTHING COOKED WITH BUTTER or COCONUT OIL. No sauces, no ketchup etc!

This is 3 meals a day, 7 days per week. Eat as much as you need to; but more is not better.

That’s it! Absolutely nothing else! No fish, fish oil, no fruits or vegetables. No cod liver oil, no omega 3/6 etc. from fish sources. No multivitamins, No coconut oil. NOTHING, Absolutely NOTHING else!. Not a single bite, not a speck, not a crumb of anything else. Yes, this is extreme. Admittedly maybe too extreme. However, until we get to the bottom of it; take no chances. If someone knows of a more sensible, and safe means of detoxing off this; I am all ears. Just to be clear, the maximum extent of my medical knowledge is putting on band aids. So, please apply your own good judgment to this.

But, here’s the kicker in all of this.  Let’s just say for argument sake that I am completely, and totally wrong about this theory of subclinical toxicity of retinol buildup.  Let’s say it is something else that I’ve removed from my diet; like sugar, or gluten. Let’s say that Vitamin A has nothing whatsoever to do with this. Flippantly, I might say who cares what it is?

What I do know with 100% certainty, that by adopting this diet I eliminated chronic fatigue and inflammation on my brain. I eliminated brain fog.  Does anyone think that sustained inflammation on the brain is a good thing?  We are not talking about resolving a case of foot fungus here.

I eliminated the inflammation on my brain in 3 weeks with a diet change. It is a completely harmless, and simple diet change that anyone should feel comfortable trying for say at least 4 – 8 weeks.

I hope that once we tip over one of these “autoimmune” diseases, the others will fall over like dominoes. Please help push the first one over. This can be done almost completely by the people suffering from these diseases; at least for the critical first stage, of just proving; or refuting this. It is a diet change we are talking about here. No drugs or medications are needed.

Please read my eczema, and other posts on this incredibly important topic. Please add more information, and evidence, pro or con of course, to this. Naturally, I am totally open to discussing this with anyone.

Thanks for reading. I hope this helps someone else.

New Lessons from Charles Darwin

After dealing with my own Eczema for a few months, I was wondering if any noteworthy names in history have had this disease. My curiosity was really two fold. Firstly, I just wanted to get a feel for how long humans have been plagued with this condition. Is this a recent “modern” disease; or has it been around for a longer time?

Secondly; maybe some historical figure has kept a food diary that would give us some clues as to what is causing this. Maybe there is something we can spot.

Well, I quickly discovered that Charles Darwin had this disease; and more; actually much more. He had chronic Eczema from before 1836, and suffered from it for the remainder of his life, for over 40 years. But, Eczema was only one of his conditions. It would appear that he suffered from multiple diseases actually.

It looks like there has been some interest from the present day scientific community in correctly diagnosing Darwin’s disease(s).

Here is a link to a 2005 paper from two researchers, Anthony K Campbell, and Stephanie B Matthews at the Wales College of Medicine, titled: Darwin’s illness revealed.

Their conclusion is that Darwin had suffered for these 40 years from Lactose Intolerance. They state that “Darwin’s symptoms match exactly those we have described for systemic lactose intolerance”. Bingo! There you have it; puzzled solved.

Well; I am not a doctor, and I have absolutely no medical experience whatsoever; and I have never had any Lactose Intolerance. But, I think these folks are completely wrong in their diagnosis. They (and we) and have missed some bigger clues that Darwin has left us.

Here’s a list of Darwin’s symptoms from their paper.

  • Chronic fatigue and exhaustion
  • Severe gastrointestinal problems, including pain
  • Nausea
  • Frequent vomiting
  • A swimming head
  • Severe headaches
  • Trembling
  • Insomnia
  • Joint pain
  • Rashes and eczema
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Boils
  • Tooth and gum problems
  • Heart palpitations
  • Poor resistance to infections
  • Depression.

The authors claim this is a perfect match for Lactose Intolerance. Wow! That’s a pretty horrible sounding disease. All that from drinking milk? How could that be? The actual documented symptoms I found for Lactose Intolerance are more like: abdominal cramps, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and nausea.

Why Lactose Intolerance is the wrong diagnosis is obvious.

Firstly, and fore-mostly; this the Charles Darwin we are talking about. Let’s give this man a wee little bit of credit. This guy was an amazingly observant and intelligent biologist and geologist. Of course, that does not make him immune to lactose intolerance; but it does tell us he was not completely stupid either. What about the diarrhea symptom? It is not on Darwin’s list of symptoms. Isn’t that the key symptom of Lactose Intolerance?

A few years ago I had a guy putting a new roof on our house; and he was telling me one day about being lactose intolerant. He was about 40 years in age, and he said that this condition had developed in his 20s. I asked him how he knew that he was lactose intolerant; and he explained to me that it becomes abundantly clear that there is a big problem; and that most people are going to make the cause and effect connection. Basically, he stated that if he drank a glass of milk he’d be heading to the toilet in about 2 hours to expel it. I don’t think he was medically diagnosed with this condition. It sounded like he just figured it out on his own; as do probably most people. More importantly, this guy was in great health, and worked all day long, up and down ladders etc. There was absolutely nothing wrong with this guy; he just did not drink milk or eat dairy products. No problem at all for this guy; life was just fine; as it is for most people with Lactose Intolerance, once they know what it is.

So, if this guy, and 1,000s of others, can fairly quickly make this connection between drinking milk and soon thereafter needing the toilet, then there is no way in hell Charles Darwin would not have figured this out in over 40 years.

The second, and equally obvious clue is that Darwin was suffering from very bad health while on his famous Beagle voyage. This was a voyage in hot tropical sun, and much of the time spent aboard ship. Of course there was no refrigeration in 1830; and there would have been no way to preserve milk or dairy products aboard a ship. Therefore; these symptoms were simply not from lactose. No way; nearly impossible.

But, Darwin did leave us some very big clues indeed.

Firstly, specifically regarding Eczema. It is interesting to know that Eczema was somewhat common in the 1830s; especially among the upper levels of English society.
This means that today Eczema is probably not being caused by modern day toxins; such as herbicides, pesticides etc. Although, these modern day toxins may still play a bit of a role.

Moreover; Darwin sought out some of the very same therapies that are used today to relieve his eczema symptoms; such as hydrotherapy. He also had chronic inflammation on the face; and grew his beard to hide this. Even more importantly; he had Eczema as a teenager and suffered outbreaks of eczema on his face and lips.

Darwin also made the connection between eating foods and worsening conditions; but he was not able to pin down an exact cause. Of course, Darwin was limited in his resources, and did not have modern science nor Google to help him. In addition to the above documented symptoms; Darwin also determined that he was quite sensitive to sunlight; and avoided the sun.

He did make an amazing, I’d like to say a brilliantly amazing, observation. He determined that his only really safe food was raisins. At one point, he lives on nothing but raisins for something like 5 weeks straight! How the hell did he figure this out? Of all the real foods of on the planet; there are like 5 of any substance that have zero vitamin A, and one of them is raisins. However, once again, this raisin only diet was aboard ship. I don’t know if he repeated it once back in England. So, maybe the raisin only diet was not a brilliant feat of elimination, but made much simpler because he had a very limited selection of foods available. A much bigger question; is did he eat the liver of fish while aboard the Beagle? Did he eat the organ meat (liver) of other animals such as the turtles? What we do know is that he did eat Atlantic saltwater fish; and this is generally high in vitamin A by itself.

So; what were Darwin’s symptoms really of? I think it may have been chronic subclinical vitamin A toxicity. Celiac or Crohn’s  disease’s are other very good possibilities. (I think Crohn’s disease is actually Eczema of the GI tract).

source 1: http://www.healthline.com/health/hypervitaminosis-a#Symptoms3

Symptoms of acute vitamin A toxicity include:

  • drowsiness
  • irritability
  • abdominal pain
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • increased pressure on the brain

Symptoms of chronic vitamin A toxicity include:

  • blurry vision or other visual changes
  • swelling of the bones
  • bone pain
  • poor appetite
  • dizziness
  • nausea and vomiting
  • sensitivity to sunlight
  • oily skin and hair
  • itchy or peeling skin
  • cracked fingernails
  • skin cracks at the corners of your mouth
  • mouth ulcers
  • hair loss
  • respiratory infection
  • confusion

Source 2: NIH

  • severe headache
  • nausea
  • vertigo
  • blurred vision
  • muscle aches and lack of coordination
  • followed by skin desquamation and alopecia (hair loss)
  • dry skin
  • cheilosis (fissures in the corners of the mouth)
  • gingivitis
  • muscle and joint pains
  • fatigue, mental dullness
  • depression

Let’s match them up; just for clarity.

Vitamin A Toxicity (aka poisoning) Darwin’s Symptoms
skin desquamation Eczema
cheilosis (fissures in the corners of the mouth) Eczema on the lips
fatigue, mental dullness Chronic fatigue and exhaustion
abdominal pain Severe gastrointestinal problems pain
nausea Nausea
vomiting Frequent vomiting
vertigo, mental dullness A swimming head
severe headache Severe headaches
Trembling
commonly documented with Eczema Insomnia
bone pain Joint pain
skin desquamation and alopecia Rashes and eczema
mouth ulcers Mouth ulcers
gingivitis Tooth and gum problems
Heart palpitations
respiratory infection Poor resistance to infections
confusion, vertigo Social anxiety
sensitivity to sunlight Sensitivity to sunlight
depression Depression

So, now we have a near perfect ( and realistic ) match on these symptoms. Maybe if I looked a little more, Trembling and Heart palpitations would be included on the match list. Actually, vitamin A toxicity is still a bit of a superset of Darwin’s symptoms. I think mouth ulcers are a very big and early warning sign of this toxicity (firsthand experience).

Let me tell you without any doubt whatsoever, and also from direct firsthand experience, and as documented above, eczema on the lips is none other than vitamin A poisoning!

In my personal experience; I slowly built up to this subclinical toxicity levels of vitamin A over a period of 5-10 years. I did so on a perfectly normal diet too. I know about most of these symptoms firsthand; but they built up very slowly over time. So slowly that I really did not think about it too much. However, there is no question about it. When I adopted my vitamin A elimination diet; they almost all receded very quickly. It was then hugely more obvious that I was suffering from most of the above documented symptoms.

I also personally noticed a bit of hand trembling while being in this toxic state. However, I don’t think I experienced heart palpitations. But, I could easily see heart palpitations happening as part of an anxiety attack.

How did Darwin get into this condition? The same way I did. And the same way the 20+ million people with Eczema, and the 700,000 people with Crohn’s, and 5+ million people with Alzheimer’s have today.

Diet! Mostly, ordinary diets too. Lots of fish, brightly colored fruits and vegetables; etc. That’s all you need.

But, since Darwin had such severe eczema at such an early age; he had to do something really wrong. I believe it was probably due to regular liver consumption. It is documented that organ meat was popular with the well to do in England at the time.

What I now personally know, and what Darwin documented; is that once you saturate your body’s store of vitamin A, it is extremely unlikely that you are going to randomly get out from under it.

He now had a chronic disease(s); that plagued him through to the end of his life.

Modern medicine is labeling Eczema, Crohn’s, Lupus, Arthritis, etc. as autoimmune diseases. I don’t think that makes any sense whatsoever, for all kinds of reasons. These are really auto-poisoning via chronic, and subclinical toxicity to vitamin A.

Oddly or not, I have little doubt that Alzheimer’s is a member of this illustrious autoimmune disease club too.

The myth in the medical literature is that you need massive doses of Vitamin A to get into this state. The bigger myth is that you’ll quickly recover after you stop overdosing.

Well, no you don’t, and it depends. It is mathematical. That vitamin A you’ve accumulated is not going away. Once you’ve accumulated too much you reach a tipping point or a threshold. And then you more or less fall over a cliff into serious disease from this deadly toxin.  A better metaphor might be to call it a trap door.

You’ve saturated your body’s storage capacity. Once you’ve fallen through that trap door, there is almost no getting out. Even a mere few micrograms of vitamin A consumption are enough to keep you in a toxic, or near toxic, state. You’ll continue to be in this toxic state for the rest of your life if you don’t take evasive action. You need to go to zero, or near zero consumption. But, instinctively, and based upon current nutritional advice, you are probably going to do just the opposite. You are now sick, therefore you are probably going to eat even more healthy foods.

Please pass the raisins Mr. Darwin; but not the golden ones; thanks very much.

Naturally, I have a ton of respect and admiration for what Darwin accomplished. I have little doubt that if he were alive today, he would have been able to determine the true root cause of this scourge quite quickly. Sadly, it has been almost 200 years since Darwin documented his symptoms, and of struggling with Eczema. Modern medicine has not even begun to solve this disease. It has only become far more prevalent in our society. Something is hugely wrong.

The lessons I think we can learn today from Darwin are:

  1. He was really suffering from subclinical vitamin A toxicity for most of his life.
  2. He stayed in this state for 40 years, and without modern day supplements; just diet.
  3. He had resulting Eczema as a symptom of this for most of his life too.
  4. Eczema is probably not an autoimmune disease at all; it is most likely just another symptom of subclinical vitamin A toxicity.
  5. Eczema is not caused by a modern day toxin; or pollutant.

I don’t want to call this Hypervitaminosis A.  That is not the case at all. Hyper implies very high doses of vitamin A being consumed. This situation is much different. It is really getting into the state of vitamin A saturation, and then remaining slightly, or moderately above that level. Therefore, the term InsidiousVitaminosis A may be more appropriate.

Why do so many young people experience Crohn’s disease at around 20 years of age? There is something special about this number. It is not a coincidence.

It is obvious once you understand what is really going on here. Yet, it is also somewhat complicated too. Please read my posting on the connection between Eczema and Crohn’s disease.

The Underlying Cause of Eczema

The Subclinical Toxicity of Vitamin A

Firstly, my only goals here are to both share some important findings, to ask for feedback, and learn more. I’ve been able to determine the real underlying cause of my Eczema. I think this probably applies to a significant group of others too. Hopefully, sharing this information will help someone else. But, there is a lot to this story. It is not simple.

Sorry, in advance, that this is so long and verbose. I just want to give you as much evidence and supporting information as I can.

I am not selling anything; nor promoting anyone’s products or services, or advice etc. I have the utmost empathy for anyone suffering with severe eczema. I have no intention of misleading anyone, or of giving anyone bogus false hope, or wasting your time. I am not a doctor; I have no medical experience, and I am not giving medical advice here. I have absolutely no experience in treating any kind of medical condition. I’m just an ordinary guy trying to get to the bottom of this.

I am not asking for anything other than your time to read this and for others to try to refute or support my claims with real evidence.

The surprising, and quite concerning, discovery for me is that the underlying root cause of my eczema is maybe even more serious than the eczema condition itself. It was affecting a broader area of my health. In other words, I am convinced that eczema is far more than skin deep. I think this is a critically important possibility for people to consider. Therefore, it is even more urgent that we resolve this affliction as soon as we can.

I am a complete layman in this field. Therefore, I am going to only use laymen terminology.

The term eczema is quite general and covers a very wide range of skin conditions. So, I want to try to define the form of eczema that I am talking about here. The eczema I am talking about is the condition where your skin is burning, peeling/flaking, and weeps some clear fluid, or has that tiny spotted and or lumpy appearance where you can scrape a fingernail across it to squeeze out some clear fluid. For me, my doctor described it as probably being an autoimmune response condition, and prescribed steroid creams. So, everything in this document refers to this type of eczema.

There are really two big important questions here:

1) What is the real root cause of Eczema?

2) How did we get into this state to invoke this root cause?

#1) What is the real root cause of Eczema?

I have zero doubt as to the answer to this question. Does my specific case apply to others? I don’t know for sure; I can only highly suspect that it does since my symptoms are very much (exactly ) like that reported by other people.

Could I be wrong? Yes, of course. But obviously, I don’t think so. Am I a one-off anomaly? Once again, I really don’t think so.

I have only proven the real root cause of Eczema on myself at this time. Admittedly, that is shockingly little proof right now. Naturally, one person does not make for a clinical study. Yet it is a pretty damn good case study; especially if you are in my skin. I don’t want to sound like that I am second guessing myself; because I am absolutely not. I am just putting all the cards on the table so to speak.

#2) How, and why did we get into this state?

This is a much tougher question to answer. I don’t really know the answer. I am only offering a long, and verbose hypothesis as to what I think could be happening. It is purely a hypothesis; and of course not proven. Never-the-less, it is hopefully a bit more scientific than just a wild-ass guess. It is the best I can do at this point in time. But, it is also not a complete shot in the dark either. It is based on at least a bit of research. Additionally, I raise what I think are very important questions and concerns for the medical community researching this topic.

Since I have only a tiny bit of experimental evidence to support my claims at this time; I should preface nearly every sentence here with: “I think”, or “maybe”, or “If I am right about this? etc.

But, doing that is just going to sound weird and make this awkward to read and for me to write. Therefore, I am going to write in the assertive, as if it is mostly proven. I will try to use the prefixes “I think” and “Maybe” when I am really making a guess.

Once again, when I use the term Eczema, it refers to this specific type I’ve described above.

With all of that, you should be skeptical. So please read this with a very objective and critical mind. I am also asking that you be open minded, since I am going to claim that the “nearly impossible” is “very possible; if not probable”.

I personally try to look at things with a bit of a scientific mind. With that view, the only thing that truly matters here is real evidence, and facts. The only goal is to get to the real truth. I most certainly don’t have all the answers.

With that bit of a disclaimer; let’s get on with it.

The root cause of Eczema is being in a State of Sub-clinical toxicity to Vitamin A.

What does sub-clinical toxicity mean? It means that the level of Vitamin A consumption, that is now toxic to us, is ridiculously low. It is ridiculously low compared to what is likely thought of as being clinically possible. In other words, the small amounts of vitamin A in our foods is now poisoning us, and causing eczema (and more). If you ask your doctor about this; he will probably state that this is more or less impossible. Therefore, the term “sub-clinical”.

How do I know this? I’ve used a simple food experiment to prove it. Anyone with eczema can easily repeat this experiment, and hopeful get similar or even better results.

My guess is that a lot of knowledgeable medical people will say that this is nearly impossible. The documented dosages required to reach Vitamin A toxicity are vastly higher, like 1,000 times higher! And these vastly higher doses are usually needed over long periods of time. They will probably claim that there is no way the average person with eczema, and on a reasonably normal diet, is in a state worse than chronic vitamin A poisoning.

Adding to that, if I claim that there are like 10+ million people in North America in this current condition of sub-clinical vitamin A toxicity; the response might be that; well that’s just insanely impossible.

Even worse, if a few clinical researchers accept that this is remotely possible, and try applying the standard treatment for vitamin A toxicity to some test cases; they are probably going to fail. They are going to fail because a diet that is just low in Vitamin A may not be low enough! I (we) are now at the extremely low point where we simply can’t absorb any more. How extremely low? A single slice of tomato, or a ½ glass of milk, or cup of strawberries, or a cup of dry cheerios, or a single piece of chicken, or pork, or a small portion of any of 1000 other foods can be too much. That last sentence is all ORs, not ANDs.

If you just go out and buy foods with nutritional labels listing 0% Vitamin A, this is not going to work. These foods may actually only have “Not a Significant Amount” of vitamin A. But, that “Not a Significant Amount” is for people in a normal state. For us, every micro gram is significant.

Then there are other foods, such as raisins that would appear to be perfectly safe. They are reported to have 0 Vitamin A. Yet they have carotenoids or beta-carotenes, and these can be converted to Vitamin A. The end result is the same. Then, there is information stating that your body is going to ignore plant based sources of Vitamin A when it is not needed. That information is a myth; it is simply wrong.

In our current condition, any food with even a tiny bit of vitamin A is now toxic to us, and burns our skin (eczema). If you think this is too bizarre to be true; well so did I. But, it is absolutely true.

I am a living example of exactly that. Moreover, I have absolutely reached this State of Sub-clinical toxicity to Vitamin A on a mostly normal diet. I am not near death. I was functioning reasonably well too; other than I had developed eczema.

The dictionary definition for Eczema is:

“a skin disease that causes areas of the skin to become red, rough, and itchy”

I think this definition is not quite correct. Eczema is not actually even the disease; it is just a really big symptom of the real underlying disease. Eczema is not an autoimmune disease either. Our immune system is working just fine. It is responding to a toxin.

However, there are three critically important points I want to make:

1) Eczema, or more specifically the Sub-clinical toxicity to Vitamin A, is NOT the same as classic / authentic cases of Vitamin A toxicity; yet most of the end symptoms are.

2) The path we’ve taken to get to Vitamin A toxicity is also not at all the same either; it’s probably worse.

3) The severity of our condition putting us into this state of Vitamin A toxicity is probably worse too.

This is not some sort of riddle. It is just complicated. I propose a hypothesis explaining the above statements.

With that wee bit of bad news; I think the good news is that the prescribed treatment for recovering from classic Vitamin A poisoning also applies to Eczema. But, we have to take it to a different level.

The immediate starting point is to adopt a very low Vitamin A diet. Get off of any supplemental sources of Vitamin A immediately. Surprisingly, this is not going to be low enough for a certain group of people. We need to go extremely low; like 0.000000 grams/day.

Just as importantly, you need to understand why this has happened. If you follow my diet, and resolve your current eczema condition, you have not at all cured it for life! It is not an infection. You can easily get back into the state where it comes back.

At this point, if you are thinking to yourself that this is all BS! Just consider one more thing before moving on.

The substance that is burning holes in your skin is quite possibly burning holes in other internal tissues of your body too. This is not just poisoning your skin; it is poisoning your body. So, I think you owe it to yourself to at least consider this as a remote possibility. Look at the evidence and hypothesis I present, and then apply your own good judgment to it.

Even better yet, you can repeat my (somewhat) simple food experiment, and look at the results first hand. If it’s correct, then not only can you add more evidence to support this, you are going to heal your skin at the same time. If it is wrong, then we’d all like to know that as soon as possible; and I’ll be very sorry to have wasted anyone’s time.

I would like to apply the time-honored scientific method to this hypothesis and ask others to repeat the exact same simple diet experiment.

You may not be scientifically inclined, or your skin is currently peeling/crumbling off and therefore you do not give a shit about the scientific proof at this time. I totally understand that too. But, be assured, this is not some one-time; quick fix thing. But, I do have a very high degree of confidence that it will permit your skin to heal, and heal completely.

I could just tell you to go on a 15-30 day diet of exclusively egg whites, beef, and white rice (cooked with olive oil, not butter), no fish, no chicken, no tomato, and no 10,000 other foods, and in a few days your eczema will start to heal, and maybe fully heal in 2-4 weeks. If you are currently on a low fat diet, then adding non Vitamin A containing fats such as olive oil to your diet may be critically important, and dramatically speed thing up too.

No, I did not just make up this magic list of foods either. They are just a select few foods (of any substance) that share a common, indisputable scientific fact among them. That is that none of them contain Vitamin A.

The exact list of foods that I think are safe, and the diet I followed are listed below. But, just to be clear, these foods are not on the list by what they contain, it is what they don’t contain. Amazingly, this requirement takes about 99.99% of all common foods off the list. Moreover, this is not a diet high in these foods, it is a diet 100% exclusive to these foods. This means 3 meals a day. If you cheat even a tiny, tiny bit, you may fail (please see my experiment notes for details). For example, a handful of raisins, or a few pieces of peppermint gum can send your skin in the wrong direction!

My safe food diet:

  • Water
  • Beef ( steak, roast, not cooked with butter) – , no hamburger due to added egg, no spices, no sauces, no ketchup etc.!
  • Rice ( not cooked with butter, salt and black pepper is OK )
  • Egg Whites ( not cooked with butter )
  • Olive Oil ( 1 tablespoon / day, NOT optional, light and not EVOO)
  • Occasional Vitamin C, and B supplements as you want.
  • Cashews / Walnuts 5-10/day
  • Coffee ( obviously optional)

THAT’S IT. NOTHING ELSE!

NO Omega 3/6 fish oils. Consider cod liver oil near deadly now, as maybe most other fish oils are too.

Once again, consider this list the ONLY foods you can now eat. There are theoretically a few substitutes, and additions but you have to be extremely cautious. Beware of Orange Metamucil too ( I have no solid evidence, I have just enough first hand experience to suspect it, even though it reports 0.0% vitamin A).

I did experiment off and on with some coconut milks; with mixed results. I thought the simple ones (ones where the only ingredients are coconut milk and water) were safe. But, they are not.

The ones with guar gum are absolutely not safe IMO. Also, I tried one with carrageenan, and had a near instant inflammation response. That experience may have been coincidental, but I highly doubt it. So, don’t take any needless risks with these at this time.

I found steak, and rice with olive oil to be quite delicious actually. It also provided me with tons of energy to get me through the day too. So, this is a bit of a lucky break in my opinion.

Once again, you really must understand why this is going to help you recover and adopt a correspondingly, and prudent long-term diet plan.

Why this diet works is all about this pervasive, insidious, little compound, found in nearly all other foods on the planet. You need to eliminate it from your diet at least until you heal your skin. But, you can’t stop there. There is more information needed. You will need to understand how to manage your longer-term diet to prevent getting back into this sub-clinical toxicity state. This may be as simple as avoiding all the “big ticket” vitamin A foods. I don’t know. Once again, I do not claim to have all the answers.

If you only have eczema showing up on a sporadic basis; I think you should consider that a very big warning sign. It could easily get much worse over time based upon your on going diet pattern. I would highly recommend that you avoid all foods that are high in Vitamin A for a good long time.

My own personal experience was that eczema showed up almost overnight, and persisted for eight months. However; this is not about me; so I do not want to go into those nasty details. But, I think I need to give you a bit more context for my own experience. Just please be assured, that I am not talking about some mild rash here and there kind of eczema

I am 54 years old. I had my first encounter with Eczema this year. I have no history with skin conditions, allergies, or asthma. There is no history of eczema in my family, etc.

I have been dealing with my Eczema for about 8 months now. It was very bad at times; as about as bad as some of the worst pictures I have found online. Yes, I have had the full body rashes, the boiled red leather face; yes, I have wet the bed sheets with some unknown clear sticky fluid that has oozed from by backside, etc. At times I looked like mr krabs in spongebob. . For the first 7 months, I was more or less just living with it as best I could. Only in the last month did I become to accept that my eczema was not going to magically go away on its own.

When I first got eczema, my doctor told me that it will come and go, but that I am more than likely stuck with it for the rest of my life. That was quite unwelcome news as I approach my retirement years. So, only in the last month did I set out trying to determine the real root cause of this scourge.

Theory and Hypothesis

The root cause of Eczema is that we have exceeded our body’s storage capacity and / or absorption rate for vitamin A. We are now at a sub-clinical toxicity level in our consumption of vitamin A.

How and Why

Once again, I want to state that this is only a hypothesis. It is only what I think may be happening.

The liver is the body’s primary storage organ for vitamin A, and it has a, more or less, fixed capacity for it. The key words here are “storage” and “fix capacity”, and we are at, or just nearing, the saturation point for this substance.

The key point here is that we don’t actually need to max out our storage capacity. As we get closer and closer to the max limit, our Vitamin A absorption rates are dropping quickly too. When our dietary intake of vitamin A exceeds our absorption rates; it is a toxic condition.

For normal people; with normal current storage capacity, they can absorb enormous amounts of Vitamin A very quickly with no toxicity effect.

However, as we start to fill up our liver’s storage capacity, the absorption rate is going to drop proportionally to the remaining amount. This is likely some inverse exponential decline curve. Or, the liver is damaged, and entire storage capability has been compromised? Or something else entirely is blocking the absorption of vitamin A?

Regardless, the end result is the same to us.

In the normal path; vitamin A is consumed via food, is digested, and is quickly stored away in the liver. The liver then safely releases that vitamin A to the remainder of the body on some as needed basis.

With us, our consumption of Vitamin A, or even a small portion of it, is not taking that path. We are taking in more Vitamin A than what can be absorbed, and safely stored, by the liver.

As we near saturated absorption rates with vitamin A, any excess vitamin A, or by-products of the breakdown of that excess vitamin A is moving into our other organs and skin. These organs are not able to deal with this toxic substance. This substance (vitamin A, or some derivative of it) is now eliciting an immune response, and thus our eczema condition destroying our skin.

I have read the documented absorption rates (for normal people) to easily be in the range of 400,000 IU in one dose. That is being safely absorbed as fast as it is being digested, so probably over a period of minutes.

What I am saying is that we are nowhere near that now. We are like 400 to 10,000 times less than that. This makes perfect sense too; as we fill up our storage closer to its max limit, our absorption rates are also going to start to approach nearly zero.

Once again, I think this may be thought of as clinically not being possible; at least on a wide scale. But, of course it is. It is just simple math. Given a certain history, and enough time, anyone can get into this state. From an engineer’s point of view, this is pretty much a mathematical certainty.

I think that it logically follows that the liver is not releasing stored vitamin A into the body in what I’m calling a raw form. It must be packaging that vitamin A in some form of a chemical safety blanket. When that packaged vitamin A arrives at the other tissues, those cells must then be unwrapping the vitamin A from its safety blanket. Therefore, for vitamin A to be safely transported around the body, it first needs to be in this safety blanket.

Therefore, to use my layman terminology, I am going to call Vitamin A that is digested, but not absorbed and package by the liver as being Raw Vitamin A. It is this Raw Vitamin A that is toxic to us, and burning our skin.

Now, whenever our digestion rates of vitamin A exceed our absorption rates; it is a toxic condition. We now have Raw vitamin A in our system. It is not wrapped in the needed chemical safety blanket.

I view this as somewhat similar to a poison ivy rash. With poison ivy the toxin is delivered on the surface of the skin by rubbing against the plant. With eczema, the toxin is now being delivered internally via food. In both cases your body mounts an immune response to the toxins.

You might be asking how can an essential nutrient become a poison at the same time? Yes, it can. This fact is actually well, well proven and documented; except just typically only at high chronic or acute dosages.

The common food triggers cited by the US and Canadian eczema associations; are milk, dairy, eggs, fish, tomatoes, spinach etc. The term “trigger” is a bit of a misnomer. These foods are not just triggers; they are part of the actual root cause. They both help build up and surge the body’s stores of vitamin A. So, it is not these specifically named foods that are the culprit. It is a common substance found in all these foods that’s the culprit. That substance is vitamin A.

As a quick sanity check here; think about all of your known, or the documented, eczema trigger foods. How many of them have vitamin A? Here are some of the top foods with the highest Vitamin A. Look familiar?

Top Vitamin A Sources Top Eczema Triggers
Tomatoes Tomatoes
Eggs Eggs
Fish Fish
Milk / Dairy Milk / Dairy
Bell Peppers Bell Peppers
Spinach Spinach

To add more mystery into the mix, there is complex timing involved here too. It is complicated because these foods are perfectly fine, and safe when we are below the saturation point. But, once we are above the saturation point, they now become “triggers”, A.K.A. toxins. So, the toxicity of vitamin A is a moving target in both time and relative to the body’s storage condition. This moving target in time is probably part of the reason people have a hard time pinning down their own eczema “food triggers”, and fail in the long term with elimination diets.

Consumption of these foods are just continually adding more vitamin A to our bodies. Our bodies are also continually using up a bit of vitamin A everyday too. Therefore, it is a balancing act; you don’t want to get too much, and you don’t want to get too little. Imagine a low and high water mark where the storage levels are safe. Outside of these bounds, it is no longer safe. The remaining storage levels directly affect absorption rates; it is going to be inversely proportional, and maybe exponentially. That just makes sense in a biological system.

Therefore, there is a kind of threshold limit to the rate of vitamin A our bodies can safely absorb and store. We are now at; or beyond that threshold.

So, vitamin A is a double edge sword. It is a critical nutrient below certain storage levels, and a toxin once your body has filled its store for it. It is the cumulative amount our bodies have stored over time that probably really matters. After that point; any consumption matters; higher rates of consumption just make for bigger flare-ups!

In my own personal experience; I have eaten all of these cited trigger foods most of my life; and probably at somewhat unreasonable quantities too. I was daily eating eggs, milk, butter, and cheese, etc.. I was in generally good health until my eczema showed up.

Now, all of sudden, after all these years, these foods now cause my skin to peel off and weep some creepy clear fluid. And, it is not just one, or a few, of these foods, it’s ALL of them, each and every one of them individually!

That just does not make sense to me. How can I all of a sudden develop intolerance to all these different foods, exactly at the same time? That is just not logical.

Unless I am experiencing some major organ failure, or have some other horrible disease? Yet, I’ am conveniently ruling out that possibility, because so many young people are getting eczema too, and I hope they are not all experiencing some form of organ failure, or other disease. My hypothesis explains this new condition of my favorite foods now, all of a sudden, being toxic to me.

Given this hypothesis; the eczema condition could happen at any age. It probably depends upon a lot of different factors; with our cumulative dietary history being the most important one. But, it could even happen to a newborn due to the mother’s level of vitamin A during pregnancy.

Of course there are well-documented symptoms of vitamin A toxicity. Dry, itchy skin is just one of the symptoms. There are lots of other symptoms too. The common ones are:

  1. headache
  2. decreased appetite,
  3. irritability,
  4. itching (pruritus),
  5. hair loss,
  6. cracks at the corner of the mouth,
  7. drowsiness,
  8. peeling of the skin
  9. chronic toxicity results in bone pain

source: http://www.mdguidelines.com/poisoning-vitamins

How many of these symptoms do you have? I think I had 4 to 5 of these; but not all.

I have read some documented extreme cases of vitamin A overdoses where people reported that their skin started to painfully peel off. Sound familiar?

However, while in a big flare-up, a key matching symptom for me was that my lips were incredibly dried out and had insane deep cracks form in them (symptom #6); like nothing I have had in my entire life.

This is the exact same symptom described in an account I found about a man acutely poisoned after massive vitamin A consumption. His other symptoms were red, inflamed skin etc. Sound familiar?

However, the documented levels of vitamin A intake required to reach that toxicity are extremely high. It is something like 5x or 10x the RDA (recommended daily allowance) levels over long periods of time. I eat just normal foods; I don’t take supplements; and never eat liver. So, there is no way that I had an extreme high intake of vitamin A. Yet, I am having the symptoms of vitamin A toxicity. But when you think about it, since the liver is a storage organ, we don’t actually need massive dosages at all to reach a toxic state. We just need to consume more than we use, and given enough time, we are going to reach this saturation state. For me, it has happened once in 54 years.

I can see children getting into this saturation toxicity state more easily. Then, once there, being slightly over or under their saturation point for a good long time; or until their liver grows large enough. This would be especially true for anyone that has ever eaten liver, or taken vitamin A supplements, or cod liver oil, or lots of tuna, or spinach or etc., or etc. for some period of time.

I can only find some scant references to other people considering this potential sub-clinical toxicity state; I think it is just not something the larger medical community has considered as being even possible. But, holy shit! There are something like 10+ million people with eczema, and for a good number of them the symptoms are surprisingly close to those documented for full blown vitamin A toxicity.

I think the medical community has just given these same symptoms a new name; calling it eczema. Because, it appears that no one is connecting these two conditions as being almost one in the same thing. Maybe part of the problem is that Eczema is medically defined as a skin disease. So, people are only looking at the skin symptom, and not the overall state of health.

In their defense, I can see why too. These are not exactly the same pathologies. And how many authentic cases of acute vitamin A toxicity does a GP see in their entire career? A scant few; is my guess?

Most people with eczema are not typically dosing with massive intakes of vitamin A either. So, why would the medical community associate this with a form of vitamin A toxicity? The literature for vitamin A toxicity states that you need crazy high doses. But, I think there is a red herring here too. The pathology of eczema is different.

With what I am calling authentic vitamin A poisoning, the prescribed treatment is to simply stop supplementing. Whereas, with eczema, we are all already at that state; most people are probably not supplementing, and may not have been. Moreover, they are also probably avoiding the high vitamin A eczema “trigger” foods.

I think this difference can be explained in the context of absorption rates. In cases of both chronic and acute authentic vitamin A poisoning, people are taking in high doses. Maybe those high does just can’t be absorbed fast enough, and the excess, in the time period between digestion and absorption, is not able to be stored fast enough. This excess is then delivered to the skin and causes the toxic symptoms (immune response).

But, in the cases of authentic vitamin A poisoning, these people will not have actually max’d out their storage capacity at all. They just surged their intake rate faster than it could be absorbed. Therefore, they get the toxic responses early and they seek medical attention. They also recover fast after they stop supplementing. They still have remaining storage, and therefore absorption capacity and they recover on a normal diet. Shown below is a rough sketch of acute vitamin A toxicity.

The chronic vitamin A toxicity case is just a variation of the acute case; it has more early spikes of lesser magnitude. However, in both scenarios, the end result is nearly the same. The rate of intake exceeds the rate of absorption for only a short period of time, and they have not yet max’d out their storage.

An analogy would be like filling the gas tank in your car. If you fill it too fast, it can surge back, and spill out a bit. You can mistakenly think you filled it completely; but you haven’t. Whereas; if you fill it very slowly, you can fill it to the very last drop.

Of course, with vitamin A intake the absorption rates slow down, as we get closer to our max levels of storage. Although this is just speculation on my part; it just makes sense.

So, in our case, we’ve filled up our vitamin A storage very slowly over a longer period of time. Therefore, we have indeed actually max’d out our full storage capacity, and to the very last drop so to speak. Now, not only is any little bit of vitamin A. intake toxic, but we don’t recover by simply being on a normal diet. We are already on a reasonably normal diet.

The sketch shown above represents people in the sub-clinical state ( that’s us with eczema). We are at the absorption saturation point; there is a now an incredibly low level of vitamin A intake that is causing the toxicity. It is much lower than what most medical people might imagine is even possible.

For us, we are way down on the tail end of the curve. Any tiny excessive bit of intake is now being dealt with by other organs. Once again, that toxicity is being played out on our skin in the form of Eczema.

If these charts are not doing much for you, here’s another analogy that may be clearer.

Your are going to fill up your bathtub using two different approaches.

Approach 1 – A High Pressure Fire Hose AKA:Acute Vitamin A poisoning

Just one blast from the fire hose and you have water all over your bathroom, it’s a mess. Moreover, you have not even come close to filling up the tub because you were filling it too fast. Most of it just sprayed out. Even if you try very carefully, as you get the tub closer to being full, more and more water is just going to blast out. Now, you have water everywhere, your clothes are dripping wet. Meaning, your skin is burning off and you go see your doctor for Vitamin A poisoning. But, you still have lots of room left in the tub, and you can go back to a normal diet.

Approach 2 – A tiny, tiny slow drip – AKA: Sub-clinical Vitamin A poisoning

In this approach you open the faucet to have a tiny slow drip, maybe one drop every 8 hours. As long as this drop is bigger than the evaporation rate, you are going to fill the tub. You are also going to fill it to the very last drop too. It is going to take a long time. But, it is a mathematical certainty. Once the tub is full, every additional drop will leak out onto the floor. Now every drop is toxic to you. This now causes your skin to slowly self destruct. You go see your doctor for Eczema. You have no room left in the tub. A normal diet is now toxic too.

Children have a lower level of vitamin A toxicity, and a higher probability for getting eczema because they have smaller livers. So they can more easily get into this sub-clinical toxicity state. This is also probably why children tend to literally “outgrow” eczema. Their livers get bigger with age. What about the poor kid born with a small or underdeveloped liver?

The other really important point regarding children is that their RDA is about 1/5th that of an adult male. However, food nutrition labels list the RDA % for an adult male on them. Therefore, a food portion that is labeled as being 10% of the RDA for vitamin A is actually 100% for a small child. So, basically, one glass of milk could be a 100% daily dose for a small child. It would be very easy for a child to exceed their RDA for vitamin A repeatedly. Even with smaller portions, children are far more susceptible to maxing out their RDA. For example, a tuna sandwich, with sliced tomato, and a glass of milk could be like 300% of a child’s RDA for vitamin A. What about breakfast and pizza for dinner? It could easily get to 500%.

Then add on top of that, the good intentions of some parents that add cod liver oil, or a multivitamin supplement to their kid’s diet. Then, to make it even worse, add in this whole low-fat diet thing. What does that do to the liver’s vitamin A storage capacity? Can we make it worse yet? Of course we can. The current nutritional advice floating around about feeding our kids diets that are high in brightly colored fruits and vegetables, and added fish oils for omega 3. Is this more or less a long term prescription for getting eczema?

Therefore, it is not surprising to me that children have two times the probability of getting eczema as compared to the adult population. Vitamin A was being encouraged in early pregnancy too. It is not at all surprising that there were children actually born with eczema too. Since the medical community has reversed that recommendation; has there been a corresponding decline in rates of infant eczema? Are we now almost creating this kind of perfect storm condition for vitamin A toxicity in them; resulting in eczema, and other diseases?

Maybe at older ages our livers may have a reduced capacity for vitamin A storage, or our body’s daily usage amounts are just less. I don’t know. Just asking?

My basic premise here is that there is now a much lower intake of vitamin A that is toxic. My personal experiment leads me to believe that it is nearly zero! It is absolutely nowhere freaking close to an RDA number! That number is now an insane 3000x too high for me!

Once again, to complicate matters, it is not based just on the dose. It is based more upon what state our body is in relative to its absorption saturation point for vitamin A storage. It is a tricky moving target in time. I believe it this time based moving target that has made eczema such an elusive problem to solve. Can it get more complicated? Of course it can, and it does.

I think it also depends on your personal dietary fat consumption. If you are following a low fat diet, you could be making matters worse. From what I understand, our liver function is very dependent upon dietary fats. So, a low fat diet may lead to a much lower Vitamin A storage capacity too?

For some other segment of the population, maybe their body completely ignores the extra vitamin A, and it is passed through, with no harm done? I don’t know. Sadly, that is not true for us.

I know absolutely nothing about the function of the liver; other than one of it’s functions is to store vitamin A. But, I have to wonder; does it store the Vitamin A for later use; or is it more importantly storing it in a chemical safety blanket to protect us from it’s toxicity?

Therefore, to heal our eczema; we need to bring down our vitamin A intake to the point where our liver is not at it’s storage capacity limit for it. I think we need to do that by reducing our daily intake to nearly (absolutely) zero.

In my own personal circumstance; I think it took me a quite a long time to build up to this saturation level; so I think it is going to take quite a while to draw it back down.

In summary, the common eczema triggers; are not really triggers at all. They are just increasing our cumulative intake of vitamin A past a storage level tipping point. If we mini-binge even a little bit on these foods; we are spiking our vitamin A intake too. Thus the lovely “flare ups” that us eczema sufferers experience.

Therefore, it’s not just the 5 or 10 top “trigger foods” that you need to be concerned with. There are literally thousands of potential “trigger” foods! It’s just that they have bigger and smaller doses. Inversely, there are only a tiny number of foods that are truly safe; these are like rice, beef, egg whites. And these foods are only safe if you don’t cook them with butter!

If our storage levels are low, we can spike our vitamin A levels almost all we want with no impact at all. The vitamin A simply goes to storage. What I am personally finding is that even tiny amounts of vitamin A intake make my eczema worse; and it does so in 2-4 hours.

Therefore, the probability of the flare up is a moving target in time too. If our body’s storage state is low, we can probably absorb a pretty big dose of vitamin A, with no eczema or flare up at all. Once again, I think this is probably why it is so difficult and frustrating for people to pin down their exact triggers. One week they can eat food X, and the next week they can’t.

If you have kept a dietary history, please look at it in a new perspective; and that is in the view of you cumulative vitamin A intake. Also, any food with vitamin A can be a trigger if you are at the saturation point. So, it is not only a moving target in time; it can be almost anything you eat that is now dangerous. Worse, I have learned that you can’t even trust the food nutrition labels (at least here in Canada).

My own personal experience is that the correlation between Vitamin A intake and worsening eczema is as predictable as clockwork. Like I said above, it is also amazingly quick.

For some, this Vitamin A hypothesis might sound bizarre and just nuts. Yes, admittedly, it must. You might argue that vitamin A is documented as being good for your skin; and essential for your eyes too. Maybe it is. But if you are living in North America, your liver probably has quite a lot stored already. It is also documented to painfully peel off your skin off once you’ve reach toxic levels. That is not “good for your skin”. There are lots of websites giving advice; and recommending vitamin A. as being helpful for treating eczema too. I’m calling complete BS on that. Is there any real evidence supporting this advice? Is there one person on the planet who has successfully treated their eczema by supplementing with vitamin A? I very highly doubt it.

Okay, let’s get back on track here. Since vitamin A is in so many foods, it is nearly impossible that many people go a single day without getting some of it.

Clearly, if you are taking a vitamin A supplement; I think you should get off it immediately; and stay off it for like forever! Read all the labels on the food you are eating; and check other unlabeled foods for their vitamin A contents before consuming them. Don’t just trust the food nutrition labels; double check via Google too.

Eliminate your intake of vitamin A for a while and try to get your liver below its max storage level. I have now learned that vitamin A is in a vast array of foods, and enriched foods like breakfast cereals. It is also in many other foods that you might not expect it to be in.

The documented time to recover from acute and chronic vitamin A toxicity is 1 to 4 weeks. It took me ~4-5 weeks to recover; and that’s after making repeated mistakes. Still, I think this is not too bad. Most of that time was healing and not at all in any serious discomfort. The other good news, is that you can learn from my mistakes, and not repeat them; and hopefully heal faster.

If you consider trying this for yourself, I’d first try it for say 10 days, and see if your skin actually feels like it starts to really heal. The telltale sign for me that it was working, is that the itching stopped and I could actually feel the immune response back off. Can you actually feel your immune response back off? Yes, I think you can. And that happened in day 2 or 3 for me. The swelling and inflammation died down noticeably.

Obviously it will take at least several weeks, or more, for your skin to fully heal. If you have had a decent diet for the last while; dropping your vitamin A intake for a few weeks is not going to do any harm. You have a lot of it stored in your liver. So, you don’t have much to lose by trying this simple experiment. If you are on a low fat diet; you might want to reconsider that, but now you can only use non Vitamin A sources of fats; such as olive oil. Actually, there is something very important about olive oil. I believe that it was a critical part of my recovery.

Of course, you cannot completely stop your vitamin A intake for a long period of time either. You need vitamin A; it is essential. You are not allergic to it. You just need some time to draw down your body’s store of it. This might take some time; I really have no idea how long; it is probably 4+ months.

But, a kid with this condition is probably going to reach a normal state much faster because their liver is continuing to grow and get larger; and therefore increase their storage capacity and absorption rates.

If I am right about this; then at least we can pretty much eliminate this eczema condition. I think we can eliminate it pretty quickly too.

The only bad news is that the food choices are very limited. However, I’ll easily live on a diet of egg whites, rice and steak, olive oil, etc as opposed to living with eczema.

Also, over the long term, I think that I’ll be able to draw down on my vitamin A stores, to the point where I can get on a normal diet again. Time will tell.

Once again, I would really appreciate if anyone who has kept a detailed food history, to have a look at that in a new perspective in terms of vitamin A, and not the food names, and let me know if this fits with your experience.

If you think this is a crazy hypothesis based upon theoretical reason X, then please help prove it wrong. Prove it with real people with real eczema trying this same experiment. This is not some bravado, or challenge. I genuinely want the facts as much as anyone.

But, please don’t simply tell me that it can’t be, or it can’t work because of reason X, but prove that it can’t work with real evidence. Because, I am 100% certain that I have just proven that it does work, and that it is real. Moreover, there is lots of other existing scientific evidence in alignment with this hypothesis. This is not just a theory I have pulled out of thin air.

If you currently have severe eczema, this is a pretty simple, and safe experiment to try for 10-20 days. There are like 500,000,000 people in south east Asia living on a diet like this; so you are not going to die from it.

The key finding from my own experience, is that I needed to really take my vitamin A intake down to zero, and you can not trust the food labels for this information.

For me zero actually meant zero; not a tiny bit; pretty much not a micro-gram! Please see my experiment details reported below.

The Experiment

Pre Experiment Current Conditions and Eczema state.

Based upon my own history I’d classify my current condition to be Mild to Medium severity

  1. Backs of fingers are worst; the skin is a bit broken; peeling a bit, with a bit of weeping; it is worst on the first three finger of my right hand; and mostly between the fingernail and the first knuckle.
  2. Face is mildly affected; skin is a bit rough; very dry in sideburn areas ( no pun intended) with a rash up into the hair line,
  3. Behind the ears and inside the ear lobes is very dry and itchy too, but the skin is not broken
  4. Rash on abdomen, directly behind belt buckle area, and moving up to my chest; not too severe, just a bumpy rash, a bit itchy.
  5. Elbows are red, inflamed, and lumpy with nodules; AKA the eczema elbows I had for most of the last 7 months.
  6. Backs of hands have a mild bumpy, reddish rash; not too bad.
  7. I’ve been off the steroid creams for about a week now, so my eczema is active

Basic Experiment Procedure:

  1. Reduce my vitamin A consumption to a low level; but not to an absolute zero (impossible to do anyway).
  2. Monitor skin for any improvements. I’ll try to take a picture each day of my fingers.
  3. The literature I’ve read regarding recovering from vitamin A toxicity says that this is going to take anywhere from 1 to 4 weeks. So, I am going to try this for 4 weeks, and evaluate from there. I’ll face the evidence at that time. If I don’t see real positive results within 4 weeks, then clearly I am wrong.

A complication:

Two weeks prior, out of desperation, I did a pretty dumb thing. I damaged my skin on my fingers even more, by trying some other prescription cream (not for eczema), this will affect the time to heal. My fingers are a bit atrophied too because of the steroid creams.

Planning on False Positive testing

This experiment is a complete shot in the dark. I have no idea if it will work or not.

If I can get my skin healed with a minimal Vitamin A intake diet, then I plan on doing what I am calling false-positive testing. To do that I’ll get a list of foods that other people report as their triggers, but foods that do not contain Vitamin A. For example:peanut butter, and egg whites.

Then I’ll do a bit of a mini-binge with these foods just to see if I can flare up my eczema with them. If I can, then obviously my hypothesis will be invalid.

Day1

Findings and Observations

Day #2

Noticeable improvement with the feeling of actual healing starting to take place.

It also feels like my immune response is backing off. How can I say this?

I say this is because the feeling in my skin is now the same as about day two or three of treatment with the steroid cream. The steroid creams suppress the immune response; and this current condition feels very, very similar to that. But, I am not using the steroid cream at all. But it is not quite a 100% back off yet. Never-the-less, this is an amazingly early positive indicator that I never expected.

The skin is still dry, and needs lot of moisturizer, but it is feeling like there is less swelling.

Day2

Day #3

The skin is quite dry, but remarkably not itchy. The itch is gone. Are you kidding me? After three days!

However, the skin is also getting a bit redder. It definitely feels like scabs might form where the skin was damaged. It very much feels different than when the eczema was present.

The little nodules, bumps that had accompanied the eczema are also almost all gone too.

So, this is a big improvement, but the redness, and the quasi-scabbing feeling could very easily be misinterpreted as the condition getting worse. But, it is not worse. It has just changed. I think the most important thing is that the itching is now gone. This is just damaged skin that is now healing. So, this is an amazing improvement in only three days.

With the eczema, my affected skin had changed appearance in a creepy way too. I was able to look close at it with a microscope with 10-30x.

With the eczema condition the skin had turned into a kind of micro pattern of clear; translucent spots, almost like hundreds of pinholes per square centimeter. Somewhat like looking a piece of spongy swiss cheese. The area of the spot / pinhole was about 50/50 ratio to the okay looking skin. The pinholes were not really open holes, but more like transparent skin covered pockets. This pinhole appearance was present for the entire last 7 months; and never did improve, even with the steroid creams. Secondarily; my skin on my fingers had developed kind of a lumpy feel. The lumps were like small little nodules. The nodules almost looked like small warts. But, they were not warts; just raised bumps; and probably 100’s of them if counted on all three fingers. I’ve later realized that these bumps are actually deep blisters.

I think the translucent pockets actually contain the clear fluid that oozes out when I press hard and scrape a fingernail across the skin. Scraping a fingernail across the skin more or less causes the top layer to just crumble and fall apart. This layer of skin has no structural integrity remaining. The skin is just more or less disintegrating where there is significant weeping. What is in this clear fluid anyways? Has anyone ever tested it for some form of retinol?

Now on day #3, this pinhole appearance was nearly 100% gone; on the micro scale, the skin is back to a much more normal healthy appearance. The pinholes have mostly filled in / closed up. The lumpy feel (nodules) is nearly gone too.

This healthier appearance on the micro scale is also a clear indication that things are healing, and moving in the right direction. Just lots of moisturizer needed at this time.

My other observation, not at all related to my skin, is that I definitely feel more alert, and more energetic. This could be completely psychosomatic; but I actually do feel better.

Day #4

Just OK healing progress today. But needing lots of moisturizer again today. I probably made bad lunch choices today; maybe I was feeling a little too bold that this scourge was behind me. Had a cajun chicken sandwich and a dark traditional beer. Not sure about if this is having a negative impact or not. But, I think it might be.

I started a new job 3 days ago, and have been cycling to work too; it is 6 km each way, with a quite a bit of elevation changes. So, I’ve been sweating a bit on the home-bound commute too. So, this could be factoring into things.

Day #5

Had an 12oz orange juice at Starbucks this AM. The label on the bottle said 0% vitamin A. This was a bad choice. Definitely feeling a regression; I am getting some bumpiness, redness, and itching back. This really sucks. Checked Google, the orange juice may of had something like 1000 IU of vitamin A. Maybe, there is some nutrition-labeling rule that low levels can be reported as 0%.

I also had a pastrami sandwich at lunch that had a bit of butter on it too. So, that was another small source of vitamin A.

If I am right about this whole vitamin A theory, then it looks like my tolerance for any daily dose may be quite low; maybe near zero. This observation closely fits with my theory; but I can almost not believe this. Maybe there is some other random thing going on here?

OK, for now, fine; I was never a big fan of orange juice anyway. I just need to be more careful in trying to really reduce all vitamin A sources at this time.

So, today has been a big step in the wrong direction; that is discouraging. I still think I am on the right track with my vitamin A theory; but not sure how to interpret these new conditions.

Day5

Day #6

Too busy to report; but still dealing with the regression.

Day #7

Almost back to the state I was in 2 days ago; but not quite as good.

The spottiness; pinhole effect is back a bit (smaller areas), as are a few of the nodules. I also feel a tingling in my face; like I am on the verge of another flare up!

My current condition is not horrible, but it is definitely a setback.

On the other hand, it is interesting to consider the near immediate reaction to seemingly trivial amounts of Vitamin A in my food choices.

I think most normal people would consider this to be just insane.

Have pastrami sandwich and an orange juice, and your skin starts to self-destruct! It’s bizarre, but true. A year ago I would have never had this kind of reaction to any of these foods!

I think the volume of vitamin A I had in these foods was not very high at all; maybe ⅓ the RDA.

So this could mean that my current condition is so close to some threshold or I am completely off track on this vitamin A toxicity theory, and something else is going on.

However, I have very little doubt that my Eczema is caused by diet; since it has a nearly immediate response to my diet (my condition worsens within hours of having these foods).

In other words, I have no doubt that this is a form of poisoning, or some deteriorated body state that causes the diet to be a poison.

Had a burger for lunch today; it probably had eggs in it; but a man does have to eat. Also had a tablespoon of ketchup with it too. Wow, I am really going overboard here huh?

If I am reading my results correctly, this seemingly insignificant amount of vitamin A is enough to tip things in the wrong direction. That should be considered to be nuts, almost unbelievable!

My fingers are now my barometer on the state of my eczema.

Day7

Day #8

About the same as above.

I have been taunting this scourge a bit; by having ~5 egg whites for breakfast again this AM.

I read on some hospital’s web page describing common eczema triggers that egg whites were the culprit, and not the yolks. So, I’m calling BS on that.

I seemed to be fine with egg whites yesterday too.

Current Conditions are:

  1. Rash and bumpiness on my abdomen is now fully gone; skin is smooth.
  2. Skin on my face is smoother too.
  3. Dry itchiness behind and in my ears is nearly 100% cleared up; the skin is feeling far more moist, and smooth. Not itchy at all.
  4. Rash on the backs of my hands has completely cleared
  5. Rash on my elbows has completely cleared too; looks very normal now; this is the first time in 7 months!
  6. Fingers are still undecided; they are slowly getting better; but still a bit of weeping this AM, still much better than what they were like on day #1, the backs of my fingers are now my eczema’s last stand… this is now the battle ground; I have to beat it here or it is going to beat me.
  7. Weirdly… and this is a very early observation, but I think there is more hair growing on the tops of my feet, and the back of my legs. Not that I pay any attention to these things, it just kind of jumped out at me this AM. No, it is not a full moon.

I think this is damn good progress for only 8 days!

Day #9

Another setback. All I can say; F. I am not happy. The skin on my fingers if going back to the mushy swiss cheese condition. Some weeping fluid to go with this lovely feeling too.

Okay, maybe I shot myself in the foot again. I had a small bowl of sherbet ice cream last night. The nutrition label said it had 0% Vitamin A. Man! will I ever learn?

Could it be that the food producers only need to list the MAXIMUM vitamin A a product contains, and not if it contains ANY? Meaning, if they don’t want to get a product tested for actual Vitamin A, they can just claim 0%. On the other hand, they can’t just claim 50% when the product only contains 20%, because that would be misleading the consumer; the consumer is not getting what they think they are paying for kind of thing? Whereas, since Vitamin A, is such a common naturally occurring substance, and no one is allergic to it (except us), it is easier/cheaper to just list a product as having 0% Vitamin A. If that does not affect sales etc. why not? Is this a Canadian specific thing?

I have no freaking idea. Sadly, this AM, I am paying the price, one way or another, for this little indulgence.

Then again, this new mini flare up may not have anything to do with Vitamin A at all? Maybe it is just the milk, or some other mystery ingredient? Either way, a year ago I could have literally eaten a gallon of ice cream, and only ended up with maybe a sugar buzz. What the heck has happened to me? Now a mere few ounces are toxic! Still, it could also be that a the few micrograms of vitamin A in there are toxic too? Or maybe, my body is messing with me, and randomly cycling my skin between healing and peeling? There is simply not enough evidence at this time to say.

Okay, it’s now time to get even more serious. For the next two weeks I am going to be much more careful with Vitamin A consumption. Of course, I won’t even bother with nutrition labels; I think they are worse than useless; they are probably misleading in this regard.

Still, I did have ~4 egg whites again this AM. My fingers were slowly healing during the day. So, I think I am pretty safe with this source of protein.

There was a hot sun today on my bike ride home, lots of sweat on my face, hopefully I am not Mr Krabs again in the AM.

Day #10

I did okay today; with some actual healing progress. Yet, the skin on my fingers remains quite damaged. Obviously, it is going to take some more time. The inflammation has backed off once again. My face remains sensitive feeling; luckily it did not flare up.

I am amazed at how reactive my skin is to seemingly insignificant amounts of “triggers”. I have 6 spoons of ice cream and within hours I pay a painful price. I wonder how this is even possible? However, I am not going to re-run this little test again anytime soon.

More importantly, how can anyone say that eczema is not food related? It is 100% clear to me that it is. I am looking forward to the false-negative testing.

Day10

Day #11

A bit more healing; no regressions.

Day #12

A bit more healing; no regressions. Skin has a light brown, very thin scab over it.

I think that my skin will be fully healed in 2-3 more days. All other locations are still clear too.

Day #13

Not much change today either way. I had an un-packaged blueberry muffin and a cookie in a restaurant this AM. Maybe not a great idea?

I have more or less scrubbed off those very thin, light brown scabs. Just more or less washed off in the shower. This is exposing some raw skin underneath.

Day #14

Not much change today either way again. Some healing; but maybe stalled a bit. I don’t think applying Aveeno moisturizer to healing skin is helping now. So, I plan on stopping that.

Day #15

Another setback / regression this AM. I had fried chicken legs, and dry cheerios and some potato chips last night for dinner. Safe right? Wrong!

I thought chicken had no vit.A too. Completely my mistake.

Add the nutrition label on the cheerios box claims 0% vitamin A too.

Turns out that the chicken alone was probably like 400 IU. I’m suspicious about the accuracy of the number on the cheerios too.

I noticed a Cheerios box in the USA lists 10 % Vitamin A, and in Canada the nearly identical box say 0%. The food product looks the same. Are they adding Vitamin A to cheerios in the USA? Or, are Canadian labeling regulations more lax?

Nevertheless; here we go again. Skin is turning back into a micro Swiss cheese with weeping.

Shit, my fingers are now like a built in Geiger counter for Vitamin A ( at least in the context of keeping with my theory). Thankfully, it is mostly only on my fingers this AM. Face is tingly too; but not much else.

So, this is likely another 3 day setback. Of course the damage to the skin is nearly instant. To heal the skin is going to take 3+ days. I really believe that I am not drawing down my vitamin A store at all (of course that whole concept is just my theory anyways). But, miniscule amounts of vitamin A intake are now toxic to me. I don’t want to think too much about what this really means.

Or, somehow, something else in chicken and cheerios are now toxins? Pretty unlikely isn’t it? No, it is just my screw-up. When I first started this experiment, I intended to go just low on Vitamin A. At that time, when I looked at chicken it was quite low, so I put this into my memory as in the insignificant, and safe, range. Wrong! It is very significant. My body is now like a machine in responding to Vitamin A intake; it really is. I’ll report back in 3 days.

Day13

Day #18

Had some strawberries 2 days ago (~ ½ cup ); resulting in a wee bit of another setback. Small areas of the skin on my fingers went to mush again.

Okay, that’s the last strawberry for a while! Clear to me now that an extremely low intake is not low enough. It has to be zero! Every microgram of Vitamin A, is now going straight to my fingers.

But, now on day #18, making more good progress. Also, the skin on my face and elbows is now even smoother, and nicer feeling; it’s not oily; but feels moist. Once again, the entire rest of my body is fine too, other than the fingers. Even on the fingers there no weeping left on the skin; the mush is now back to real skin again. All just healing mode now. Starting drinking this coconut milk yesterday; it appears to be 100 % safe ( 0.000 vitamin A?). My general health is also feeling very good too.

Day #19

I had another huge setback last night. I was so close to being at band-aid free.

Once again! I decided to spice things up a bit and try pork roast, rather than beef. This should have been safe; since I checked the web, and the site I referenced claims that pork is 0.0% VA. What could go wrong? Just for the record, this is the only change I made to my diet yesterday. So, it was just rice and pork, rather than rice and beef. That’s it! Absolutely nothing else. The only other change from my routine, is that I did exercise for about ½ hour.

Boom! Within 4-5 hours of eating the pork roast my fingers became inflamed again, and by the morning the top layer of the skin had disintegrated into a crumbling micro mush; and weeping. It is like my skin had been burned off with some form of acid. The end result is probably about equivalent to dipping the backs of my fingers into boiling water. So, just to clarify this, by substituting one food that has zero VA with one that has a micro speck of it has now burned the skin off my fingers.

How can this possibly be? I think we are talking a few mere µg of VA here. This microscopic amount would likely be impossible to find in someone’s body! Yet, my immune system was able to quickly marshal this out to my fingers for disposal. Has my low vitamin A diet made me hypersensitive to it at the same time? It is also entirely possible that this is some random cycling by my body, and it has nothing at all to do with the pork. I have to remain open to other possibilities. In other words; this apparent correlation is not at all conclusive.

This is a very bad burn this time. This is going to take at least another 5+ days to heal now. Once again, the damage happened in mere minutes, and will take days, and days to heal. A few fleeting thoughts of applying the steroid creams. But, I can’t do that, as that would prevent me from seeing what is really happening here.

The good news is that I seem to be recovering from these incidents more quickly now. Because, I am pretty much only trying one food change in one day. I am also keeping to what I think are ultra low VA foods. Therefore, the actual volume of VA I have taken in is quite low too. So, the duration of the burn is like ½ day, and not prolonged over many days. However, I do find burns from meat sources do last longer than say ones from butter. The time from digestion to the start of inflammation is also longer with meat sources; 4-5 hours.

It is of course now abundantly clear to me that we are in a significantly different scenario compared to either acute or chronic toxicity. Applying the recommended treatment here of just “not supplementing” does not apply; at all.

I think I know why now, it is quite explainable. It is all making sense. In a way, this is worse than acute or chronic VA poisoning.

There is of course, another possibility too. That I am facing acute liver and / or kidney failure? I hope not; and I really don’t think so either.

Also, I am wondering why is it that these recent burns are only showing up on my fingers? Have they become the path of least resistance? Or has the skin there been severely damaged by all the steroid creams I have used? I don’t know.

Although, this setback is once again quite discouraging, and actually a bit painful, I still consider myself very lucky. I have been able to completely clear up all other areas, and am generally speaking feeling very healthy. Actually, more so that in any other time over the last year. Overall, my skin is doing great too.

In other words, I have made huge progress. Yet, my fingers are proving to be incredibly difficult to fully heal. Is it possible that there is some lingering free Vitamin A in my body that my immune system is moving out to my fingers?

But, the overall picture of what is really going on here is becoming more, and more clear to me. It is making perfect sense; although I am not happy to be facing that reality.

Mathematically speaking, I think I am way down on the asymptotic part of the absorption curve. This is a tricky bit of business to overcome, and even explain. It is also scary.

I am now very convinced as to VA being the true root cause of this scourge. I mean, is there any other chemical compound that is in pork, and not in beef, and is clinically proven to be able to burn your skin off, and do so at the µg dosage?

Next time I decide I need to spice things up; I am just going to change from beef and rice; to rice and beef.

I’ll report back when my fingers are fully healed.

Day22

Day #29

Where have I been for the last 10+ days?

Well, I thought the last burn on my fingers was going to take like five days to heal. It was taking longer; much longer, just way too much longer! Something was wrong.

I was down to two small areas on the backs of each finger; each area about 1 cm2. It was just sort of teetering between healing mode and inflammation. The very light tan, very thin skin layer would form, and in a few days peel off again, with just a touch of weeping.

How could this be? Is my entire hypothesis about to be shot down? I do have to look at the evidence. Or could it be something else? Well, silly me! I have been adding in a few more what should have been “safe” foods.

Here’s my exact list of foods that I am now eating:

  • Coffee
  • Water
  • Beef
  • Rice
  • Egg whites ( ~ 2 times per week )
  • Occasionally trying coconut Milk ( Labeled as 0.0% vitamin A, some brands with guar gum, some without)
  • Orange Metamucil ( Labeled as 0.0% vitamin A)
  • Golden Raisins (reported as 0% vitamin A)
  • Occasional Vit C, tablets
  • The recent additions are the coconut milk, Metamucil and Raisins. Do you see my mistakes? Well I made several of them here. The first was thinking that I was just taking a long time to heal this big burn; after all I am 54 years old kind of thing. No; things were taking way too long to heal for another reason. The second mistake was once again trusting food labels. But, I am a numbers guy. I trust them.

Possible Suspects ranked first to last:

  1. Golden Raisins: Google and others reports 0.0 vitamin A in a cup of them
  2. Metamucil: it is labeled as 0.0% not just 0%. I figure that there is no way a big manufacturer is going to label something as 0.0 % vitamin A, and that not being accurate.
  3. Coconut Milk: 0.0 % vitamin A, at least this is white in color; not Orange or Golden
  4. Entire Theory is wrong: hope not

Turns out; after doing a bit more research that the raisins are probably high in Carotenoids, or beta-carotene. This is probably what makes them “golden”. This is a precursor for vitamin A, Once you eat it, the molecule is easily split and you get vitamin A. Also, I became somewhat convinced that the guar gum in the coconut milk was having negative impact too.

The Metamucil is labeled as being Orange Flavored. I don’t know what that is exactly, but I am a bit suspicious about this “orange” thing. But I can’t incriminate it without knowing the facts. Maybe it’s all coincidences? Maybe my skin in randomly cycling, and I am making the wrong associations?

Never the less, I stopped snacking on the raisins, and stopped the Metamucil, and coconut milk just in case too. Bingo! It was literally like turning off a switch! The very next morning I was back to healing mode; and the inflammation was gone!

Okay, there’s the insight I was missing before regarding food labeling. Clearly, food that have 0% vitamin A, but do have carotenoids, or beta-carotene are labeled as 0% vitamin A.

This also may explain the strawberries experience. Anyway, back on track here.

Day #30 – 43

For the last 10 days it has all been progressive healing. There has not been one single day of regression. It has been slow healing, but always in the right direction. I was band-aid free at work this week too. This is the first time in 4+ weeks without band-aids on my fingers to hide / protect my skin. The skin looks almost fine now.

Day #44 – 54

I really wanted to wait until my fingers were a 100% perfect before calling the final result on this. This should be a pretty big day for me. There is now not a speck of Eczema anywhere on my body. I can actually feel my skin being completely inflammation free; as are other areas of my health. I’d like to declare this my VE day, for Victory over Eczema. But, that is maybe a little too dramatic. Never the less, I think there are probably a lot of long term eczema sufferers that would be extremely happy to be in nice skin again. On the other hand, there is the realization here that there is maybe a much bigger underlying concern that still needs to be addressed. Just for the record, I’ve not use one single bit of steroid cream since starting this experiment.

Day54

Conclusions and Observations

I think the results of this experiment very much support the hypothesis. I am actually astonished as to how quickly and directly the initial body response was. The improvements in other areas of my health that I have experienced very much fits with this hypothesis too.

Therefore, I think it could be a huge step in understanding the root causes of this scourge. Or it could be a huge example of talking myself into something? Of course, there is that chance of falling into the age old human trap of believing what we want to believe; and not what the evidence tell us.

I sure hope not! And I am looking at the evidence big time. The indisputable fact is that my skin is now perfectly recovered. This is after eight months of not one single day without this scourge! Yes, it has taken 4-5 weeks; but still a pretty nice result.

The second indisputable fact is that my overall health has hugely improved too. These are just too significant to be disregarded as coincidences.

However, I am really trying to remain completely open minded and objective. Clearly, we need a lot more similar experiments to validate or refute my claims. I think we need to repeat this experiment at least a 100 more times, getting exactly the same ( or faster ) results.

I was quite optimistic in the first week; because the initial results were so direct, and nearly immediate.

That optimism subsided in the second week due to the setbacks. These setbacks were due to my slip-ups, and mistakes in thinking I could tolerate low amounts of Vitamin A.

I think it was very fortunate that I decided to just follow the prescribed treatment for Vitamin A toxicity; and first just attempted to reduce my Vitamin A intake. If I had started out by going with 0 Vitamin A intake, it would have introduced more unknowns. Was it the lack of Vitamin A that cured my skin, or was it some other food I eliminated kind of questions?

By going with the low consumption first; I discovered I actually needed to go to zero. Whereas, if I went with zero first; I could have easily assumed that low would have been good enough. But, it is important to state that most of my eczema condition was cleared up with only low consumption.

More importantly, my mistakes of adding a bit of Vitamin A containing foods to my diet provided very strong evidence correlating it to my skin peeling.

I know for certain that my baseline diet of white rice and beef is 100% safe. When just on that baseline food; my skin was always going back to a healing mode.

But, I was concerned about not having a bit of other nutritional value in my diet such as Vit C, fibre, etc. I assumed that strawberries would be safe because they are extremely low in Vitamin A, and high in other nutritional value. And a tiny bit of ice cream can’t hurt either, etc. kind of thinking.

But, pretty much each and every time I did this, my skin stopped healing, and went to mushy, self-destructing, peeling mode. So, I’ve got this baseline of safe foods, and the addition of these other minimal Vitamin A containing foods turned my skin in the wrong direction. Here’s a list of them (from memory)

  • Chicken ( ½ breast / 4 legs)
  • Green Peas (maybe 10 of them in a samosa )
  • Orange juice (12oz)
  • Ice Cream (6 spoons)
  • Cheerios ( 1 bowl dry)
  • Butter Croissant (2)
  • White bun (1)
  • Strawberries ½ cup ??? I am only ~ 70% sure the strawberries should be in this list ???
  • Raisins ( 1/4 cup for several days)
  • Guar Gum in coconut milk ( maybe no vitamin A, but possibly blocking the olive oil???)

Amazingly, I think each and every one of these foods, and at these volumes, caused my skin to start peeling again. It happened within 2-4 hours of digestion so the timing correlation is like 100%.

Other than water molecules, what is the one common compound shared by these foods? And the common compound is clinically proven of being able to burn your skin off?

It is Vitamin A.

I think this is quite strong evidence supporting my theory. If I had gone with zero Vitamin A from the get go, I would not have this evidence. When I first started this experiment, I thought that there is was no freaking way things could be this simple. Why has no one else documented this apparent connection?

Well, I think the connection is that simple. Long term detoxing from Vitamin A could prove to be far more complicated. There is also the possibility that my digestion of Vitamin A is now going straight to my skin, and bypassing any attempt by my liver to store it. Is this liver failure? Is something else blocking my absorption of Vitamin A? I don’t know. Once again, my overall health feels quite good; better than any other time in the last 8 months.

Other Thoughts

Unknown Sources of Vitamin A.

I think that needing only three weeks to resolve and heal most of my condition was pretty good. Especially when you consider that I’ve been poisoning myself for well over a year.

Importantly, for much of that three weeks I was not “suffering” at all. Just more or less minor wound healing kind of feeling. I was able to go to work fine, etc. The setbacks were discouraging; but not remotely disabling. I just put band-aids on my fingers.

Still, I really think I could have recovered faster if I had not gotten tripped up by mislabeled foods, and my own mistakes, and therefore inadvertently consumed more Vitamin A than I thought.

But, I never imagined that there are just a small handful of foods on the planet that do not contain vitamin A. I don’t know what to think if I did not have the rice and beef to live on.

Autoimmune Response Theory

When my doctor first told me that eczema was an autoimmune response; he stated that “the immune system is mistakenly responding to something that is not there”.

I was not quite buying it. It just did not seem reasonable to me. What seems more likely is that the immune system is responding to “something that is there”; it is just that researchers have not identified that “something” yet. Is it also possible that the “something” is a derivative of Vit. A, and researchers are not surprised to find it because, it is such a common compound that it is not viewed as being foreign to the skin? Maybe if they are not looking for vitamin A, they are not treating the samples carefully enough. Since vitamin A is a light sensitive molecule, it could decompose in the time period between sampling and testing? I don’t know. But, this light sensitivity probably explains why people get some relieve using photo-therapy as a treatment for eczema.

Once again, I think about the similarities between eczema and a poison ivy rash. I think in both cases the immune system is working just fine, and is doing its proper job in responding to a toxin. However, unlike poison ivy, the blisters with eczema are really deep under the skin. For the longest time I did not even realize that the nodules ( lumpy skin ) were actually deep, deep blisters. My guess is that the body is not able to store the vitamin A in the liver, and the immune system is doing the best it can by forming these deep little blister pockets under the skin to store it.

Coffee

I drank coffee every day of this experiment, and I don’t believe it had a negative impact. Nonetheless, coffee does promote sweating, so indirectly it can worsen eczema. I also did not reduce my coffee consumption, so I don’t know if reducing or removing it from my diet would have helped or not.

Sweating

I totally agree with others that say sweating causes their eczema to worsen. I think what is happening is that the sweat is bringing the toxin closer to the surface of the skin where the immune system responds to it. I know nothing about the actual mechanisms of sweating; so I leave this up to others to validate or refute. Just thinking out loud kind of thing here. I’ll bet dollar to donuts that the immune system is responding to some form of Vitamin A though!

Fat Consumption

By needing to take milk, cheese, and butter out of my diet, I have also removed a lot of fat too. I think this is a bad thing. So, I have been compensating a by using olive oil to cook with; maybe a tablespoon of it to cook eggs whites, and rice. I was hoping that coconut milk could be another good source of safe fats. I am now quite sure that is it not. It is most certainly not with the guar gum. Maybe the guar gum was blocking the absorption of the olive oil? I don’t know. I’ll let someone else figure this one out. Never the less, I think olive oil is also critical to success here.

Weight Loss / Gain

My body weight stayed about the same in the first two weeks; but started to drop some later. Maybe -12 lbs. over the entire 5 weeks. I think that most of my weight loss is probably attributable to my daily 12km cycle commute.

Energy Levels

My energy levels were fine; and I actually started to feel much more energy, and more alert about by day 2 or 3. My thinking clarity has improved a lot over the last three weeks too.

More Hair Growth

Yes, I definitely have more hair growing on my body; and in places I have not seen it as long as I can remember.

Now What?

Well, firstly we need a lot more evidence to prove or disprove this Vitamin A sub-clinical toxicity hypothesis.

Please help with more evidence, pro or con, if you can.

If you decide to repeat my experiment; then please be very careful, and try to completely eliminate Vit. A sources. I had difficulty doing so, and it prolonged my recovery significantly. One mistake will cost you 3-4 days of recovery time. Once again, be good enough to leave comments about your results. If you have the time; keeping food diary would be a help too; or just take a picture of each meal.

For me, the most obvious scientific thing to do at this time would be to do a simple positive test:

  1. keep my diet as unchanged as possible ( rice and beef )
  2. take 1-2 pure vitamin A pills ( or just a tiny fraction of a pill )
  3. wait for my skin to peel ( or not )

That would be pretty much an indisputable piece of evidence. Sadly, I just don’t have the courage for that at this time. Call me chicken-shit if you like.

If I was younger; maybe? I have just been through too much, and can’t risk being out of work again either. I am 99.99% sure I know what would happen. Still, it sure would be nice to have that one data point though. But, nope, I’m not going to do it. The pain price / job risk is just too high.

What I am willing to do, is some false negative testing over the next weeks. I think this is a low risk endeavor. At some point, I will also try to very slowly introduce low Vitamin A containing foods back into my diet too. But, I will probably never again in my life eat a tomato or bell pepper.

Thoughts on the Steroid Cream Treatment

My personal experience was that the steroid cream worked very well in suppressing the immune response. Therefore, it did a very good job of controlling the symptoms. On one hand, it was of course very beneficial; especially with few alternatives.

But, I have wondered if this is not why the body locations of eczema jump around a bit. Could it be that we are blocking the immune response in one location, and this is just forcing our immune system to flare up at another one. As a analogy, it is like squeezing a water filled balloon. No matter how hard you squeeze it in one place, it is just going to pop out somewhere else.

The Steroid Cream Treatment may also be permitting skin infections to occur if you do scratch it open. Of course, you really don’t need to scratch it open at all; since in “flare ups” the top layer of the skin just disintegrates on its own.

Also, I can’t help to think that suppressing the immune response is somewhat counter productive. I think an analogy would be like the engine light coming on in your car. Rather than dealing with the root cause of the problem, you reach under the dash and pull out the wire going to the light. Clearly, you are just going to run into bigger trouble down the road.

Conversely, not using the steroid creams is a bit nuts too. I have found out first hand, this Vitamin A toxicity is quite capable of literally burning your skin off. So, you are damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. Clearly, the only acceptable solution is to remove the root cause as fast as you can.

I am not sure what the best approach is while going on the ultra low vitamin A diet. I did it without using any steroid cream and had almost no problem. But, it was critically important to me, because I wanted to be able to notice every tiny response my body was making to my diet changes.

Once again, it was almost no problem at all. My immune system stopped “autoimmuning” on about the third day. However, whenever I made a mistake, and consumed a bit of vitamin A, I did get a smallish flare up on the backs of my fingers. This too was quite easily tolerable. But, then I had 10 ounces of pork roast, and that literally burned the skin right off. That took like 8+ days to heal from. Although it was not too painful for an adult; I sure can’t recommend doing this; especially not for kids.

So, I think it could be better to detox off of the Vitamin A, and keep the steroid treatment going, as needed, while doing so. However, I have no idea what impact or impediment this means for healing your skin. Also, I have to wonder if the immune system is being prevented from removing this toxin in your skin, will it just buildup and linger there and cause a bigger flare up (burn) once you do stop with the steroid treatment? Or, is it possible to safely kind of grow this toxin off your body as your skin naturally regenerates? I don’t know these answers.

My last thought about the steroid cream, is that maybe there is a better topical interim treatment as you are healing. I think that the toxin that burned the skin off my fingers was probably strongly acidic. Could a base type compound be used to neutralize the pH in this acid? I’m just thinking out loud kind of thing here. It does not really matter now. That’s a research topic that would likely take years to develop. Let’s just deal with the root cause of this scourge.

Am I fully healed?

My skin is fully healed. It is not only healed; it also feels very nice and smooth, moist, almost oily, but not greasy kind of oily. It feels like it is suppose to feel.

Overall, my general health is very significantly improved from where I was 2 months ago too. Yet, I don’t believe my liver is even close to being fully healed / recovered.

I definitely feel like I am still at a near toxic storage level / low absorption rate of Vitamin A; or whatever is blocking my safe absorption of vitamin A.

I don’t feel like I have drawn down my Vitamin A storage levels at all. I actually feel like I am very border-line. I am planning on doing some more research to calculate just how long it will take to lower my storage levels. Anyone know? I think it is going to be a scary number. Is it really possible to draw down your own liver store? I am really counting on that!

If, today, someone offered me a big cash reward to eat a single tomato or bell pepper; I’d turn them down. I think I am that close.

I’ll also be very diligent about spotting any signs of the return of the eczema conditions. For me, the nodules (bumpy skin) on the elbows and fingers showed up well before the first big rash. If I see them again, I’ll know that something is up.

If I am right about this hypothesis, then obviously, we’d all be very interested in any safe means of more quickly bringing down our storage levels of vitamin A.

In the mean time, at least I now have nice skin that I can live in, my general health is hugely better, and I have a bit more hair too. At the very least, here is a diet that I think could be used by anyone with severe eczema.

More Research and Possible Related Conditions

I know it is kind of semantics, but the good news could be that eczema is not the actual incurable disease we’ve been told it was. It is just the seriously nasty symptom of an underlying poisoning; and that is probably curable. Also, I wonder if there has been more inflammation going on internally, and not just what was happening on our skin? I most certainly think so. I think this may be the root cause of other diseases too. The most obvious one being nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and Rosacea. I suspect kidney disease too, and another related evil killer. Once again, I have no doubt that eczema is more than skin deep!

Of course, there could be a huge amount of value for the medical community in just knowing that this sub-clinical Vitamin A toxicity level even exists. It may take decades of official research to clinically prove / refute any of this. Will someone even notice and attempt it? I sure hope so. Equally, I think there are some important considerations for the food industries too. Why are they supplementing so many foods with this substance?

What about worldwide statistics relating rates of Eczema with general levels of Vitamin A consumption? My guess is that North America, Australia, and Western Europe are going to have the highest rates; since we are fortifying our foods the most. Maybe the Scandinavian countries being a bit higher than the rest due to higher fish oil consumption. Conversely, lesser developed countries probably have lower rates of Eczema. In other words, I’d expect rates of eczema are inversely proportional to the rates of Vitamin A deficiency. I have no idea really; it just would be of interest to find out if there is a correlation.
Here is a map of Vitamin A deficiency, I expect the areas in green to be the highest in Eczema rates. Areas in red and orange being the lowest. Can anyone please help with real data?

I am happy to discuss my experience with anyone who is serious about getting to the root causes of eczema.

Thanks for taking the time to read this; I hope this helps someone.