By treating the roots or the fruits?
Most of us whose lives have been adversely affected by #vitiligo are keen to know what causes it (and even keener to know if there will ever be a definitive #cure). The potential for a single cure seems poor because all evidence points to there being numerous different causes of this skin condition, each of which would presumably require a different cure . This fact is evident if you consider current treatments: topical steroids, pseudocatalase, narrowband UVB, PUVA, herbal remedies and Ayurveda medicine, to name a few, have all proven beneficial to a greater or lesser extent but there is no single approach that seems to work for everyone.
Most of these therapies seem to be aimed at addressing the symptoms (i.e. the depigmented patches of skin) by tackling one or more of the latter processes involved in their development. For example, where inflammation is involved, corticosteroids are used to reduce the inflammatory response; where high levels of hydrogen peroxide are detected, antioxidants are introduced to counteract the oxidative stress; where melanocytes have become inactive, photosensitising agents and UV light are used to stimulate activity, and in the absence of any other effective therapy, many vitiligo sufferers resort to purely cosmetic solutions like camouflage, tattooing, skin bleaching, depigmenting or even skin grafting. It seems to me that what all of these approaches have in common is that they all – to one extent or another – focus on the final symptom and its immediate precursors. In other words, if you imagined the vitiligo sufferer as being like a diseased tree, therapies are nearly always aimed at the fruits instead of at the roots. In an ideal world, the approach would surely be to identify the root cause, or causes, and treat those; then the white patches would improve as a result.
This topic brings me back, as it usually does, to a line of reasoning that makes the most sense to me in light of my own experience: the likelihood that most chronic conditions are the cumulative effect of a defect or dysfunction in one or more of the body’s basic systems. (As ever, I must point out that my opinions on this subject are not founded on any medical training whatsoever: they are based purely on my own health experiences, medical documentation I have read over the years and some basic logic.)
So, the biological system that would seem to have the most potential to be the root cause of cumulative damage is the digestive system since this is the one responsible for taking in fuel and converting it into energy and into the multitude of chemical substances the body needs to perform all the other physiological functions required for good health. If food is not being digested properly for any reason the knock-on effect of this over a period of time will inevitably be disease. A natural consequence of this kind of disease is skin symptoms because the skin, like the gut, is an organ of elimination. So, when the gut consistently fails to deal with food as it should, toxins can build up in the body, the immune and lymphatic system might then also be compromised and toxic overload in the body would almost certainly show in the skin.
I have published the diagram below in aprevious post but I think it is worth showing again because it demonstrates so well how a defective digestive system can cause a host of other health issues, including autoimmune diseases and vitiligo.
I have had digestive issues ever since I was a young child. Many other vitiligo sufferers also report digestive problems and many more besides are probably unaware that they even have an underlying digestive abnormality because symptoms are not always easy to identify. So, the probability is very high that digestive defects are involved in the root cause of vitiligo in at least a proportion of sufferers. So, logic tells me that, in these cases, instead of trying to treat the white patches (i.e. the diseased fruit), a more effective and permanent solution is likely to be achieved by dealing with the digestive abnormality itself (i.e. the diseased roots).
Assuming the individual’s digestive system isn’t so damaged that it requires surgery, the most natural way to correct or compensate for poor digestion seems to be to avoid foods that aggravate the system and to eat foods that are easy to digest, high in nutritional value and known for their cleansing, detoxifying and healing properties. The foods that most closely match this description aregreen vegetables. For someone like me, who loves her veggies, this is not such bad news. But for many people, the idea of loading up on large servings of spinach, cabbage and broccoli at every meal is probably enough to turn them… well… green! So it’s just as well there are green food supplements that can top up your levels of these vital sources of essential and therapeutic nutrients.
Dietary changes may not, in reality, cure the root cause of vitiligo for everyone with digestive problems. But I am certain that they can improve digestive function to the point where the body is no longer chronically overloaded with toxins, at which stage it can begin to absorb nutrients and eliminate waste much more effectively and start to heal itself – a process that will eventually result in repigmentation of the skin affected by vitiligo.
A vitiligo blogger since 2011. My name is Caroline. I had vitiligo for nearly 50 years before finding an effective treatment. I created this blog to share my experiences with others affected by this skin condition.