Today, I've got great news for rosacea sufferers. We now know that a cheap mineral can reduce the symptoms of this irritating skin condition.

Rosacea is a dermatitis that affects people over the age of 50. It's characterized by redness, scaling and inflammation in the central part of the face. I've found that many cases of rosacea will clear simply by addressing a lack of stomach acidity. If you have little stomach acid, digestion in incomplete and skin problems can result. Simply taking digestive acid such as betaine hydrochloride may provide relief.

But a lack of stomach acid also leads to mineral deficiency, since acid is required to absorb minerals. Researchers proved this in a small (19 patients), but randomized and controlled study. They followed 11 women and eight men, who had suffered with the disease for an average of 4.4 years.

The researchers gave one group 100 mg of zinc sulfate three times daily for three months. Another group received a placebo. Then they gave the placebo group the zinc sulfate and the other group the placebo for the same amount of time. This crossover is the best way to conduct a study. The results showed that zinc indeed reduced activity. And not just a little bit - the effect was significant. And the activity began to rise when the researchers gave the placebo.

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The only significant side effect of the zinc was mild gastric discomfort in 12% of the participants. Otherwise, each of the volunteers found significant relief from their rosacea symptoms when they took the zinc.

If you have rosacea, this is a safe, simple, and inexpensive way to treat it. Zinc is dirt cheap, especially as zinc sulfate. High doses of zinc can suppress copper absorption, so I would be sure to add copper (two mg per day).

Too much zinc also can cause other problems, such as a metallic, bitter taste in your mouth, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, cramps, and diarrhea mixed with blood. This would be quite rare at the doses used. But once you see improvement, it's still wise to cut the zinc to the lowest dose necessary to maintain improvement.

Also consider digestive acid as betaine hydrochloride, which might help with the absorption of all minerals.

Ref: "Oral zinc sulfate in the treatment of rosacea: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study," Sharquie KE, Najim RA, et al, Int J Dermatol, 2006; 45(7): 857-61.

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