Takes more than a knee-jerk reaction
Today, we are probably better informed about diet, #nutrition and health than at any time in history, due, in the main, to modern media and the miracle of search engines. And yet (no doubt for the very same reasons) most of us have a tendency to oversimplify the subject. We gather so much of our knowledge about nutrition from headlines, advertisements and sound bites that we start to think in terms of one problem: one solution. For example, colds and flu? Take vitamin C. Indigestion? You need antacids. Weak bones and teeth? Take calcium, and so on.
Knee-jerk diagnoses like these can be like putting 2 and 2 together and making 22. It's all too easy to forget that the human body is a complex eco-system and that for every problem there is usually more than one solution. And, equally, every solution can usually address more than one problem. The examples above are a case in point. Whilst it is true that vitamin C does help protect against viruses, it is just one of numerous essential nutrients involved in supporting the immune system. Whilst we have been virtually brain-washed by the advertisers into believing that all indigestion is the result of excess stomach acid, a deficiency of stomach acid can cause identical symptoms and is actually thought to be far more common. And whilst most people instantly think of calcium as the one and only supplement for bone health, yet calcium intake does not help very much unless you also have adequate levels of vitamin D.
So, what am I saying? Well, what I am not saying is to avoid nutritional solutions. I am a firm believer in food as the best medicine. But what I am saying is that just because nutrition is natural does not mean that it is simple. Figuring out what is most likely to help your #vitiligo may well be complicated. Discovering what deficiencies you may have, how they are affecting your health and how to address them, can take a fair bit of detective work, in-depth reading and even, on occasion, a bit of trial and error.
For example, it was really only after writing last week's blog about vitamin D that I made a connection between a number of health problems I have had (in addition to vitiligo) that may also have resulted from my (typically for vitiligo sufferers) low levels of this vitamin. These include joint problems,fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, allergies and a near miss with ovarian cancer. I realise that linking all these conditions together could be a classic case of knee-jerk diagnosis but there is no doubt that vitamin D deficiency (and other nutritional deficiencies) can cause a host of seemingly unrelated health issues.
Dr James Dowd, who works at the Arthritis Institute of Michigan, has been prescribing vitamin D to people suffering from chronic disorders such as arthritis, back pain and headaches and the result, he claims, is a huge improvement in their symptoms.
My own doctor recently voiced the opinion that the arthritis I developed as an adult in my hip might well have been avoided if the original abnormality in the joint had been spotted and corrected when I was an infant. I certainly don't blame anyone for not picking up on this at the time, given that screening for this sort of problem probably wasn't around then. But I do wonder how much better, as an adult, my health might have been if my vitamin D deficiency (also undiagnosed at the time) had been identified and corrected when I was very young. With that experience in mind, I have now added a D supplement for infants to the adult and junior products already available in Vitiligo Store because what I have learned since last week's post is that most babies are also low in vitamin D and require supplementation (especially those who are breast fed).
My approach to vitiligo, and other chronic conditions, is that addressing their root causes is almost always a better first option than treating the symptoms with drugs or surgery and that this can very often be done through nutrition. And the particular message I wanted to share with you this week is that it is worth becoming a student of nutrition (if only at the "University of Cyberspace"), thinking intelligently about your own health and diet, being willing to test your knowledge by trying different foods and supplements and being aware that finding the right vitiligo and general health solutions for you might take some detective work and avoiding over-simplistic knee-jerk assumptions.
Finally, it must be said that it is not just the layman, like myself, who can be guilty of making knee-jerk assumptions. The medical profession are infamous for doing exactly that in their response to vitiligo. Their reaction, too often, is “white patches? Vitiligo. There's no cure – stay out of the sun and don't worry about it.” Whilst I agree that worrying does not help, I know from personal experience that sun exposure definitely can. And I know that reading, learning, reasoning and being proactive in taking responsibility for your own health definitely pays big dividends.
My name is Caroline.