A review of the claims on Dayrrl Eteson's Deluxlife Web site about the treatment of psoriasis.

Grade F

Darryl Eteson, president of Deluxlife, posted many messages to the Newsgroup (under the name “”) about how he’d cleared himself using zinc supplements and tanning sessions, and wanted to sell the information to other psoriasis sufferers. But first, he said, he wanted to have a “trial” in which he could gather data about how well the regimen works for others. At first, he didn’t reveal his web page in anything but email (he later began spamming the URL of the page).

I emailed. The response I got gave a web site address and the suggestion “Tell all your psoriasis friends.” Since all of my psoriasis friends read the newsgroup, I posted my first review of what I found there. This review is a slightly modified version of that post, with more information based on things I found out afterwards.

The page is titled “Welcome to the Psoriasis Clear Skin Treatment Trials.” Very impressive sounding, but this “trial” uses nothing even close to resembling the standards used in even the worst of clinical trials. The only way the people “running” this trial (perhaps only Eteson) track the “patients” is through “testimonials, tips, ideas, questions, remarks etc.” and that we send before-and-after photos. This all ties in quite well to Eteson’s claim that he wants to sell the treatment. He’s digging for testimonials to use as advertising, and will use the “data” from this “trial” as such.

The page continues “Psoriatic skin is deficient in zinc, that’s right ZINC!!!” How Eteson knows this is not stated. According to him, “Zinc is required for proper skin growth and psoriatic skin is deficient of this very important mineral.” This is, of course, why psoriatic skin cells reproduce so much faster than normal, I guess. Is there any other disease in which a lack of an essential mineral leads to a higher rate of cell growth?

“Your body normally produces cortisone and cortisone tends to deplete the levels of zinc in your body.” This does not bode well. Comparisons of untested treatments to steroids usually mean trouble…

“Ever wonder why those cortisone steroid creams work for a while then suddenly stop and even make your psoriasis worse, well it’s because the the [sic] cortisone depletes your zinc and you already have low levels of zinc.” Nope, it definitely didn’t bode well. In this theory, why do the steroids work at all? This seems pretty ridiculous to me. If steroids deplete zinc, and zinc is required to reduce cell reproduction, then applying steroids should make psoriasis worse immediately and speed up the skin growth even more. This is not what happens in the vast majority of cases where steroids are used.

Then we get into the treatment. Daily zinc at 1 mg per pound of body weight, because “The problem with the RDA is that it doesn’t take in account that everybody has a different body weight.” The Recommended Dietary Allowance (not “Recommended Daily Amount” as Eteson says) does take body weight into account. The official RDA for zinc, as found in the Merck Manual, is 0.2 mg/kg daily. That’s one-eleventh the amount suggested by Eteson.

On my bottle of multivitamins, however, it claims that 15 mg is 100% of the RDA. This is based on a certain diet, though. All of the values are. 15 mg is 100% of the RDA for a 165-pound person, and also does not take into account any other zinc you ingest with your normal diet (Merck suggests “Meat, liver, eggs, and seafood (especially oysters)” as good sources of zinc). The Deluxlife web page is also silent on the subject of food sources of zinc, from which you may very well be getting your individual RDA, with or without supplements.

The page then mentions that zinc intake will reduce the amount of copper in the body. This (hypocupremia) is a known side-effect of zinc overdose, and can lead to various problems. A supplement of just a few milligrams of copper daily can correct these problems if they occur. Copper overdose can lead to nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, and extreme cases (taking a gram of copper or more) can lead to death if emergency treatment is unavailable or too late. None of these concerns about copper overdose is mentioned by Eteson.

The page says taking the zinc with meals is required to eliminate nausea. Zinc overdosing does make people ill, but it can do much worse than simple nausea (which may not be eliminated by simply buffering the zinc with food — doses over 200 mg spread over the course of a day can cause vomiting and diarrhea). Zinc overdose can also lead to microcytosis, a reduction in the size of red blood cells which can lead to various anemias as the smaller cells cannot carry oxygen well. It can also lead to neutropenia, defined by Merck as “A reduction in the blood neutrophil (granulocyte) count, often leading to increased susceptibility to bacterial and fungal infections.” These are not trivial side effects, but seem to be self-limiting (stop the zinc, and things will return to normal).

After talking about how you will note progress of the treatment, the site goes on to say you must also “Get at least 5-6 hours of sunlight a week on your entire body. We found this increases the healing rate and also maintains your clear skin once you’ve cleared up.” Sunlight by itself can clear psoriasis, no extra zinc required. The whole theory now sounds like iffy post hoc reasoning by someone who was getting Sun and taking zinc at the same time: Gee, I’m clear! Was it the sun or was it the zinc? Must have been the zinc!

Eteson suggests that if you can’t get that level of sunlight each week, that you instead go to a tanning salon. UVA is not often helpful for psoriasis. Some people do get clear with UVA, but UVB (not available at tanning salons, but there’s plenty in sunlight) is the preferred band of light for therapeutic psoriasis treatments.

The page ends with a good-luck wish and a reminder that any photos that are sent to them may be used as testimonials. Don’t send Deluxlife anything, is my advice. The zinc theory sounds like complete hogwash, and is somewhat dangerous. And sunlight is a known free treatment which has a lot of good data and a sound theory behind it. I doubt the zinc is doing any of the healing whatsoever (although the placebo effect might like to take responsibility for some of it).

Don’t become an advertisement. Don’t send anything to Eteson, even if you do try zinc supplements.

October 2, 1999, Update: After I repeatedly stressed on the newsgroup that some of Eteson’s reasoning was faulty, and also stressed the full range of zinc overdose effects, I received an email from Eteson titled “What Really Is the Problem?” on September 20th. So I explained it all to him again, and have received no reponse as of yet. He has made small cosmetic changes to his page, but it still lacks much in side-effect information, a suggestion to talk to your doctor, etc. He claims now to not want to sell the information any more, but his mention of testimonials at the bottom of the page still exists.

November 4, 1999, Update: Eteson has updated his web site a little bit, and begun spamming the group again. Let’s see what’s changed…

I’ve learned that with the exception of the copper advice, Eteson’s regimen is almost an exact duplicate of Ross Gambril’s. Eteson mentioned in the newsgroup back in September that he’d bought Gambril’s pamphlet, so the similarities are probably not coincidence (actually, in this newsgroup postBroken Link, the subject refers to Gambril’s web site, and Eteson clearly claims to have bought Gambril’s pamphlet and is now giving away the info for free). I’ll bet that when Gambril finds out (if he hasn’t already), he won’t be happy.

Eteson now lists a bunch of zinc “facts” at the beginning of the page. While they maybe true for normal levels of zinc in the diet (and some are definitely “iffy,” like the zinc supplements for the common cold), some of the things Eteson lists are most assuredly not true when overdosing on zinc (supporting the immune system, for example).

Eteson now suggests lowering zinc intake to a “maintenance dose” once you are clear of psoriasis (considering the number of people who have failed to clear on zinc, it’s quite amazing that he believes it’s a sure thing). This lowered dose, he says, should be 50-75% of the 1 mg per pound you should take at first. The lowest end of this, the 50% figure, is still 5.5 times the RDA, and can still cause harm.

Eteson managed to put in a disclaimer, in tiny print, about consulting a doctor, at the very bottom of his page. Disclaimers of this sort, I still believe to be a sign of covering one’s butt, and not of any real concern for the consumer (note, for example, that his discussion of zinc overdose effects is still woefully inadequate).

March 31, 2002, Update: The Deluxlife Web site is gone, completely. There’s not even a hint of it on Google.