Vitiligo is a loss of pigment from skin as a result of damage and destruction of the cells in the skin that make the skin color, these cells are called: melanocytes. The currently held belief is that free radicals are responsible in causing the oxidative damage that destroys the melanocytes. (1)(2)
For this reason, many studies have looked into the possibility of reducing the pigment loss or even repairing the pigment loss with anti-oxidants in the form of nutritional supplements.
Vitamin B12, folic acid and vitamin C were found to be deficient in a study group who had vitiligo and upon supplementation experienced a return of some pigment without any adverse side affects. (3)
When compared to a placebo, participants taking 60 milligrams of ginkgo biloba showed a slowing of the progression of pigment loss. (4)
Although selenium is a powerful anti-oxidant and a study that combined photon therapy with selenium supplementation found a reduction in pigment loss, other studies have not yielded the same results. (5)(6)
There are a variety of anti-oxidants available in the diet and ways to reduce your exposure to the inflammation that results from oxidative damage.
Can Diet Influence Oxidative Damage?
Diets rich in fruits and vegetables typically can supply enough anti-oxidants to combat the naturally occurring oxidative damage that is caused by free radicals.
Oxidative damage and inflammation go hand-in-hand. (7)
Introduce cruciferous vegetables, berries, onions, tomatoes and pomegranates into your daily diet to maximize on foods containing anti-inflammatory benefits. (8)
Limit pro-inflammatory foods that have a high glycemic load, some examples are: items baked with white flour, white rice, any pasta that is not whole wheat, sugar, fruit juice, dried fruit, russet potatoes without the skin. (8)
- Vitiligo – National Library of Medicine – PubMed Health. (n.d.). Retrieved June 30, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMHT0022700/
- Agrawal, S., Kumar, A., Dhali, T. K., & Majhi, S. K. (n.d.). Comparison of oxidant-antioxidant status in patients with vitiligo and healthy population. Retrieved June 30, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25552219
- Montes, L. F., Diaz, M. L., Lajous, J., & Garcia, N. J. (1992, July). Folic acid and vitamin B12 in vitiligo: a nutritional approach. Retrieved June 30, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1516378
- Szczurko O, Shear N, Taddio A, Boon H. Ginkgo biloba for the treatment of vitilgo vulgaris: an open label pilot clinical trial. BMC Complement Altern Med 2011;11:21.
- Tsiskarishvili, N. I., Katsitadze, A., Tsiskarishvili, N. V., Tsiskarishvili, T., & Chitanava, L. (2016, November). [EFFICACY OF COMBINED USE OF ANTIOXIDATIVE AND PHOTOTHERAPY IN THE TREATMENT OF VITILIGO]. Retrieved June 30, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28009316
- No differences in serum selenium levels and blood glutathione peroxidase activities in patients with vitiligo compared with healthy control subjects. Barikbin, Behrooz et al. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology , Volume 64 , Issue 2 , 444 – 445
- Mittal, M., Siddiqui, M. R., Tran, K., Reddy, S. P., & Malik, A. B. (2014, March 01). Reactive Oxygen Species in Inflammation and Tissue Injury. Retrieved June 30, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3929010/
- Mahan, L. K., & Raymond, J. L. (2017). Krauses food & the nutrition care process. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.
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