Or is it the other way round?
The subject of my previous post was the theory that a possible cause of vitiligo is something called mitochondrial failure and I will be returning to this subject later in this post.
But first, since this is Easter weekend, it seems appropriate to point out that, when it comes to identifying the cause of your vitiligo, it can be a bit like the proverbial Chicken and Egg. If you are one of the many #vitiligo sufferers that also have other health issues, you may have wondered if those other conditions caused your skin to lose pigment or whether the vitiligo caused your other illnesses.
My own medical history and subsequent recovery from vitiligo has led me, very clearly, to my own conclusions as to the cause of my white patches. Logic told me that my vitiligo must be the result of a malfunctioning digestive system. My reasoning for this was that I had suffered all my life with #IBS (Irritable Bowel) symptoms and vitiligo, both of which had only ever become worse over time, yet both of which improved dramatically and unexpectedly when I put myself on a specific nutritional programme. It seems self-evident that poor digestion was robbing me of nutrients that were essential to the normal pigmentation process.
But, as I said in my previous post, trying to be certain of the actual roots of a condition like vitiligo is like peeling the layers of an onion away to reveal yet more layers beneath. And, if - like me - you do suffer from several different symptoms at once it can feel as if you are having to peel the layers off a whole string of onions!
My other “onions” are not diseases, as such, but syndromes: clusters of symptoms that so commonly occur together that they are given a name, in this case, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (#CFS or ME, as it is sometimes known) and #fibromyalgia. I have lived with both these syndromes all my adult life and for decades I never made a connection between my constant exhaustion and sore joints and muscles and my loss of skin pigment. But it now seems obvious to me that all these symptoms were the result of nutritional deficiencies caused by a malfunctioning digestive system.
But what caused the digestive system to malfunction in the first place? Well, I promised to come back to the subject of mitochondria (the tiny energy-producing compartments within the cells of the body). There is certainly scientific evidence that points to the failure of these mitochondria as a possible root cause of vitiligo. But, what is also intriguing, to me anyway, is that they are also thought by some to be the root cause of CFS and fibromyalgia too. What’s more, mitochondrial dysfunction appears to link all of the above with IBS.
Obviously, I am approaching a very complex subject here from the point of view of someone with no scientific background whatsoever. The whole area of #mitochondrial research is, clearly, much more complicated than I am making it sound. But, as far as I'm concerned, the fact that vitiligo, IBS, CFS and fibromyalgia appear to share some sort of common ground is fascinating in itself and I imagine will be of interest to those of you who also suffer from two or more of these conditions.
My name is Caroline.