For as long as I can remember I have had problems with my digestion. I routinely suffered from tummy aches and cramps as a child. I even had my totally healthy appendix removed for no good reason and was eventually diagnosed with the now seemingly ubiquitous Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Even though both ailments started in early childhood, it was a long time – and I mean decades – before I consciously connected the dots (no pun intended) between my white patches and my achy gut. But once I did make the connection it seemed as blindingly obvious as the areas of startlingly white skin that were spreading relentlessly across my face and body, leaving my self-esteem as fragmented as my complexion.
I now realise that I am not alone in suffering from both IBS symptoms and vitiligo. In fact, the link between so-called Leaky Gut Syndrome / Low Stomach Acid / Malabsorption and pigment loss is well documented and it seems that most vitiligo sufferers I speak to report some sort of digestive problem. However, not everyone with vitiligo has gastric symptoms. This could mean that they are not suffering from any digestive abnormalities or it could simply mean that they are unaware of such abnormalities.
I came across an example of this earlier this week when I received an interesting email from Jonathan C. who has followed my blog. He sent me the following information and kindly gave me permission to share it.
“A few months back, I was introduced to a new biomedical start-up in California that specializes in sequencing the human microbiome. I found this to be of particular interest since the few success stories I have read with regard to treating vitiligo centered around changes in diet; I too have benefited from the addition of a b-vitamin and folic acid supplement. With this in mind, I was curious to learn more about my gut flora and potential factors that may be playing a role with respect to malabsorption and vitamin intake. I received the results yesterday and it was interesting to note the discrepancies compared with normative levels. I have attached a snapshot of the results below.
Since providing the gut sample (3 months ago), I have started a new prebiotic + probiotic routine. I am also taking steps to ensure a more balanced diet. Moving forward, it will be interesting to see whether these changes positively influence my microbiota as it relates to vitiligo. The microbiome data is still in its infancy, but could prove useful moving forward. Thanks for your help and feel free to share the results. It would be interesting to see if fellow vitiligo patients share a gut profile similar to my own.”
Thanks for sharing this, Jonathan. It is fascinating. I hope you will let me know what effect the pre- and probiotics have :)
My name is Caroline.