A vitiligo friend pointed out a news item to me today which I somehow missed back in May of this year and which sounds to me like the closest thing to a potential real cure for vitiligo yet. Click here to link to the item, as reported in the Telegraph on 6 May 2013.
The article confirms what most vitiligo sufferers already know (if they make a habit of reading up on research) which is that people with vitiligo typically have elevated levels of hydrogen peroxide in their skin than those without the condition and that they therefore require higher intake of antioxidants in order to combat oxidative stress.
Whilst the treatment the scientists are working on in a topical treatment containing "a cocktail of" antioxidants, I am certain that this also supports the case for eating a diet rich in dark green leafy veg and goes a long way toward explaining why supplements containing concentrated doses of these dark greens can cause re-pigmetation. (I used Five a Day+ in the course of my re-pigmetation and continue to take it daily to ensure the vitiligo does not come back.)
It makes sense to me that treating the problem both from the inside and the outside simultaneously is likely to be the most effective plan of attack!
I am encouraged by the fact that the scientists doing this research have identified a mainstream market for this topical treatment - i.e. the ageing population who would prefer to return to their former youthful colouring and throw away the hair dye bottles. Perhaps - with more commercial potential at stake - the race to find a genuine antidote to vitiligo will now be well and truly on. Let's hope so!
Most doctors would have us believe that there is no link between nutrition and vitiligo. Any suggestion from a vitiligo patient to this effect is often met with a brusque dismissal or a condescending smile.
Ever since I put the story of my own re-pigmentation on the internet I have frequently been asked if I have followed any particular diet. The answer I have given is "yes and no". I have not eliminated anything from my daily meals. However, I have consistently taken a blend of green superfoods (called Five a Day+) which contains massive levels of antioxidants and other nutrients that you would otherwise need to chomp your way through acres of dark, leafy green veg every day to attain.
I also took a food supplement that contains most of the vitamins and minerals associated with the pigmentation process and which - in an ideal world - I ought to be able to get from my daily diet but can't for some reason (probably a digestive malabsorption problem).
This approach seems to have compensated for any lack of attention on my part as to what tasty morsels I put on the end of my fork each day. But it still makes sense to me to avoid foods that may cause vitiligo to worsen. Opinions seem to differ on the subject of which foods are the bad guys. Some say dairy, some say gluten. Others advocate a vegetarian diet. But, if you leave the question of particular allergies and intolerances out of the equation, most seem to agree that avoiding too many processed foods and eating mainly vegetables and some fruits is the best option.
For a more scientific approach to the question, this research article - Vitiligo and diet: A theoretical molecular approach with practical implications - makes interesting reading. The case for loadinng up on antioxidants is clearly made. And the "bad guys" implicated in this paper, as far as foods go, are: Mango, cashew, pistaschio, oak, cassava, areca nut, red chillies, cherry, raspberry, cranberry, blackberry and tea contain naturally occurring plant phenol and polyphenolic compounds (tannins).
I hope this information is helpful. Personally, I shall miss cashews and red chillies, but I have never liked tea, so I now have an ideal excuse not to drink it just to be sociable!
This is a picture of me about 3.5 years ago showing the first few freckles that heralded my re-pigmentation. As you can see, the only areas of normal skin colour were on my shoulders and the outermost portion of my upper arms. Like most people with widespread vitiligo, I always dreaded the summer because it meant covering up or trying to camouflage the large expanses of luminious white skin.
This is me this summer (2013). All the freckles that have been gradually filling in those previously white areas have gradually joined up to the point where I am almost back to an even tan.
After almost 50 summers spent agonising over my disappearing pigment, it is bliss to be able to wear what I want and spend as much time outdoors as I want.
Take heart if you have vitiligo - even if you have had it for a very long time like I did. It does not necessarily follow that you will have it for the rest of your life. You don't have to just accept it if you don't want to. People do recover :)
A vitiligo friend sent me a link the other day to some writings by Edgar Cayce who apparently was an early holistic health pioneer.
They make very interesting reading and I wonder how many other vitiligo sufferers his theories strike a chord with, apart from me. Certainly, I have always had problems with digestion and elimination, so what he has to say on the subject makes total sense to me.
My name is Caroline.