What is Vitiligo?
Vitiligo is an autoimmune condition in which there is a loss of skin pigment that results in white patches throughout the body. These irregular white patches can occur on any part of the body. Many people suffering from vitiligo often opt for alternative treatments and try to find ways to prevent vitiligo from worsening. So, is it possible to prevent vitiligo?
While vitiligo affects only around two percent of the world’s population, it is known to be more visible in people who have darker skin. In this condition, the immune system attacks and destroys the cells that are responsible for making the skin’s pigment, known as melanocytes. This is what causes the white and blotchy patches.
In some people, vitiligo occurs on the neck, face, or hands, causing a traumatizing and drastic change in their appearance. In others, it may occur in the mucous membranes such as the nose, mouth, and genitals, and the retinas.
While research suggests that vitiligo is an autoimmune condition, it is also believed that a deficiency in certain vitamins and minerals could also cause vitiligo. Even an exposure to certain industrial chemicals may trigger vitiligo. Finding the correct treatment or therapy for vitiligo takes time and even the most conventional of treatments for vitiligo takes months to even years before there is any improvement in the appearance of the skin.
Since there are some studies that support the fact that a lack of certain nutrients might be the cause of vitiligo, many people suffering from the condition believe that a dietary and lifestyle change may prevent the disease. So, is it possible to prevent vitiligo with he help of diet and lifestyle changes?
It is important to know if any measures can prevent vitiligo.
Is it Possible to Prevent Vitiligo?
According to the Vitiligo Support International Association, people who are genetically inclined to have vitiligo are likely deficient in certain nutrients. However, there is no scientific evidence that shows that consuming certain foods can help improve or worsen your vitiligo. Although there is no solid evidence, many people claim that they have had success by trying out many home remedies to treat and prevent vitiligo.
Some of the commonly used home remedies that help to treat or prevent vitiligo include:
- A paste of ginkgo biloba
- A mixture of mustard oil and turmeric
- A mixture of sweet basil extract and lemon
- In addition to this, a healthy diet and lifestyle can help in every way.
There may not be a special ‘vitiligo’ diet as such, but the best step to prevent illnesses is to eat a healthy and balanced diet that contains good nutrients and drink plenty of water. This may also help in managing nutritional deficiencies and can help prevent vitiligo if vitiligo is related to it. As vitiligo is considered as an autoimmune disorder, having a diet rich in antioxidants and having anti-inflammatory diet can help boost the immune system. It is believed that it can help to prevent auto-immune disorders and possibly, even vitiligo. These include foods that contain high levels of beta-carotene, antioxidants, and phytochemicals.
Here, we list some foods that people suffering from vitiligo have claimed to have been helpful for their condition:
- Green leafy vegetables such as romaine lettuce, kale, and spinach
- Chickpeas or garbanzo beans
- Figs and dates
- Root vegetables such as beets, radishes, and carrots
While there is no specific diet prescribed for vitiligo patients, there are some foods, known to actually worsen your condition. However, as every individual’s body is different, people react differently to different foods as well. Nevertheless, evidence shows that most people having vitiligo tend to experience a negative reaction when they consume foods that contain the depigmenting agent hydroquinone.
Some of the top foods that may not suit people having vitiligo include:
- Citrus foods/fruits
- Fruit juice
- Wheat products
- Red meats
- Certain milk products, especially yogurt
Is it Possible to Prevent Vitiligo with Vitamins?
When considering the possible to prevent vitiligo, it is also necessary to understand if vitamins can help. Many vitiligo patients have claimed that certain vitamins and herbs have helped with the discoloration of their skin, actually working to reduce the level of discoloration. While these vitamins are not as medically effective as the treatment options available for vitiligo, these vitamins and herbs can provide some help. Some of these helpful substances include:
- Amino acids
- Ginkgo biloba
- Vitamin B-12, or folic acid
- Vitamin C and D
Certain minerals have been cited as being helpful to prevent vitiligo. These include
Iron: Eating food cooked in a cast-iron skillet is an easy way of getting a good amount of iron in your diet.
Copper: Use a copper cup for drinking water allows you to get good levels of copper in your system.
Zinc: Since most of the zinc-rich foods are restricted for people having vitiligo, it is recommended that you get your supply of zinc through a supplement. You can seek medical opinion regarding supplements.
There is no cure for vitiligo; it is a lifelong condition that needs to be managed. But, if you are wondering if it is possible to prevent vitiligo, you may want to consider healthy diet and nutritional supplements. You may be able to prevent vitiligo from getting worse by having a healthy diet and a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods. As every person reacts differently to different foods, you may consult your dermatologist for getting the correct advice on how certain foods will make your skin react when you have vitiligo.