Lessons in vitiligo nutrition
My story has been one of trial and error, serendipity and good fortune. Widespread #vitiligo and generally suboptimal health had become my accepted norm by the time I reached adulthood and this continued to be my lot in life until the age of 50. Only then did a fairly random set of circumstances lead to a dramatic improvement in my general health and an almost total re-pigmentation. Yet it has taken me the past eight years since that turn-around in my fortunes to figure out some of the science behind my recovery – and I don’t suppose I shall ever stop figuring.
A brief background to my recovery
Back in 2010 I had been working in the beauty industry for several decades and had trade accounts with a number of skin care and cosmetics companies. When also faced with the opportunity to try out some of their high quality nutritional supplements at trade prices, I began taking a number of them myself – more or less experimentally – based on certain assumptions I made at the time about how they might help my various chronic health issues. For example, I started taking Boost capsules in the (not very serious) hope that they might help my vitiligo, given that they were formulated to optimise the body’s ability to acquire a natural sun tan. (The idea seemed logical but I only held out a faint hope.) I started taking Five a Day (a green food formula) believing that it might provide me with a base level of good #nutrition, perhaps compensate for my less than perfect diet, possibly improve my IBS symptoms and help my vitiligo by increasing antioxidant levels. And I began taking collagen supplements mainly because I had read about their therapeutic value for arthritis (and for wrinkles too!).
Of course, the fact that I began taking multiple supplements all at the same time made the task of correlating cause and effect more difficult. It was impossible to be sure which supplements were producing which results or whether, in fact, it was the synergistic effect of two or more of them that resulted in such a revolution in my state of health. But at least the advantage of plunging straight in, all nutritional guns blazing as it were, was that I was able to enjoy all of the benefits sooner than if I had introduced each product more scientifically, one at a time. So, if I had to do it all over again I really don’t think I would have done anything different.
Well, all of this nutritional experimentation did indeed produce the intended results - more than I ever could have hoped. Not only did virtually all of my extensive vitiligo re-pigment over a period of 18 months or so, but my IBS symptoms and arthritis went from seriously debilitating to barely noticeable on good days and just moderately annoying on the dwindling number of bad ones. Yet it was much later that I began to realise that my initial assumptions about the respective roles these various supplements would play had only scratched the surface of the truth. Even now I am still discovering new insights into which ingredients may, in fact, have been responsible for which effects and I am gradually discovering more of the science behind these ingredients and their effects on my body.
Digestive benefits of collagen supplementation
Possibly the most surprising of these discoveries was the fact that the therapeutic effects of #collagen-supplementation are not limited to helping with arthritis, reducing wrinkles and strengthening hair and nails. And, whilst I have always recognised Boost and Five a Day as having had the most direct impact on my re-pigmentation, collagen almost certainly played its part too.
From what I have managed to glean from various research papers and scientific documents, there are some significant links between collagen status and vitiligo. (I blogged previously on these and you will find them towards the bottom of this page.) And, if what I have read on a number of health-related websites is correct, then collagen hydrolysate (the form used for supplementation) apparently also improves #digestion by helping to heal #Leaky-Gut-Syndrome, which is thought to be a major underlying cause of vitiligo and many other chronic and autoimmune conditions.
This site, in particular, has some helpful insights on the subject. Evidently, the digestive benefits of collagen supplementation include the following:
So it may well be that taking collagen supplements contributed more to my recovery than just improving my arthritic hip and making my skin look and feel smoother. It seems more than likely that it also helped, not only with my Irritable Bowel, but also with the re-pigmentation process itself by improving my poor nutritional absorption and, in turn, maximising the effects of the nutrients in my diet and in the other supplements I took.
Now that certainly is (highly nutritious) food for thought!
My name is Caroline.