Nutritional Approach to Vitiligo

Unfortunately there is no cure for vitiligo and the best way to deal with the condition is instead to try and make it easier to live with, and to generally control the situation which can at least make it better and thus easier to live with.

Vitiligo is a chronic condition that causes the depigmentation of patches of skin. What this means in layman terms is that it results in the skin changing colour and the individual having blotches of discoloured skin. As the skin is losing pigmentation that means that it will become lighter and similar in colour to that of an albino. Because of this, it is more noticeable if the individual had darker skin initially.

Other symptoms that might alert the individual to the condition early on is that the skin inside the mouth loses colour, followed by a whitening or greying of the hair and a loss of eye colour. Interestingly in NSV (non segmental vitiligo) this colour loss may appear to be somewhat symmetrical. While the precise cause of vitiligo is not fully understood, it is thought that it is caused by autoimmune dysfunction, oxidative stress, neural conditions, viral conditions or genetic problems.

While there is no cure and the causes are not fully understood, vitiligo can still be treated by certain methods. For instance it is possible to use corticosteroid cream and immounomodulator creams on the effected patches of skin in order to bring about the return of the skin tone to some degree. At the same time, there are some dietary solutions and lifestyle changes that can be made that seem to help in repigmentation.

For instance cider vinegar has been said to improve digestion and nutrient absorption which can benefit those with vitiligo, as deficiency in various nutrients has been correlated with vitilgo. Of course it is also important then to increase your consumption of those vitamins and minerals by eating more fruits and vegetables. Boosting the immune system might help if the problem is caused by autoimmune dysfunction, and this will also is achievable by increasing the amount of vitamins and minerals in your diet, particularly vitamin C.

Similarly increasing the number of antioxidants can help you to recover by not only improving your immune system function, but also by preventing oxidative stress. Oxidative stress means that your cells are being bombarded by oxidative which can damage them and that enter our body when we breath and when we eat. Antioxidants however will destroy these and mean that less stress is placed on the cells, and on the immune system. Antioxidants are found in many types of food, and in particular they are in tomatoes, tuna and omega 3 fatty acid. Vitamin C and many other vitamins are again also antioxidants. Even better is to add ‘resveratrol’ to your diet. Not only is this an antioxidant, but it also improves the function of your mitochondria, which surround the cells and thereby can help to further protect them against oxidative stress. This is found as supplements, but also exists in high quantities in red wine and red grapes.

Another important vitamin is vitamin D3 which is important for healthy skin and helps in healing. To get more vitamin D3 you should spend more time in the sun, but should protect your lighter patches with sun block as they will be more prone to burning and to potentially developing skin cancer as a result. Vitamin E also encourages healing of the skin and so might help to lessen the appearance of discoloured patches.

Those who promote the nutritional approach to vitiligo also recommend staying off of foods high in gluten such as wheat, oats, barley, rye etc which is thought to help encourage the body to heal. Healing can also be improved by increasing the amount of growth hormone that the body produces. This can be increased by getting more sleep, by exercise, by having hot showers and by drinking warm milk. It is also increased by some supplements, such as GABA.

Finally you should also try to generally promote a healthy lifestyle. Avoid stress where possible, ensure that you get lots of social contact, sun, good quality sleep and whole foods. All of this will help create a multi-pronged assault on vitiligo and should at least minimise the amount of depigmentation.

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