Nutrition plays a crucial role in developing, intensifying, and treating several health conditions. The same cannot be said with certainty for an autoimmune skin disease such as vitiligo. However, research in this field has given doctors a vague sense of ideal vitiligo diet.
People with Vitiligo might not be able to control much of their lifestyle, but they can certainly make changes to their diet to observe some improvements over time. Keep reading to find the best food for vitiligo and foods to avoid.
Vitiligo is a skin ailment that affects people’s appearance. It is believed to be an autoimmune condition; the immune system attacks melanocytes (melanin producing cells), leading to white patches on the person’s body.
The skin gets its colour from melanin (a natural pigment), and people with vitiligo have depigmentation patches on their skin that appear to be white in colour due to the lack of pigment. These patches are also known as macules. Although vitiligo usually does not cause any other health problems and only affects for a person’s appearance, people sometimes experience itching on the white spots. In rare cases, when people have macules in their ear canal, they also experience hearing loss.
While diet may not be able to cure vitiligo, it can help prevent further spread of the condition and maintain good overall health.
Vitiligo—foods to eat
Although there is no concrete evidence confirming the link between nutrition and vitiligo management, studies have suggested that modifying the diet and/or adding supplements can be beneficial.
Research has found that supplements, including herbs, vitamins, and minerals, can have a positive impact on people with vitiligo. Supplementing vitamin B12 and folic acid with sun exposure can induce repigmentation. Additionally, zinc and phenylalanine given to patients undergoing phototherapy can improve their condition.
Most herbal supplements used to treat vitiligo contain antioxidants, which help in repigmentation of the skin. Thus, food items with antioxidants such as fruits, nuts, berries, vegetables, and their products can be beneficial for people with vitiligo.
The ideal vitiligo diet consists of colourful fruits and vegetables. Besides, foods rich in omega-3 (with low omega-6), including nuts, seeds, oily fish, and algae, could also be helpful. Essentially, you should try to incorporate plant-based foods in your diet as it is rich in antioxidants.
There is another controversial element—gluten—that people are curious about, as a study on one vitiligo patient revealed that following a gluten-free diet can lead to significant repigmentation after about 9 months. Thus, you can try excluding gluten from your diet for a year and see the results.
Following are some supplement recommendations for people searching the right food for vitiligo:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-3)
- Alpha lipoic acid
- Ginkgo biloba
Please note that this information is only for spreading awareness. It is best to consult your doctor before drastically changing your diet to avoid any complications.
Vitiligo—foods to avoid
There are certain food items that cause inflammation in people; avoiding such foods may help reduce symptoms of the vitiligo disease:
- Processed meat
- Carbonated sugary beverages
- Trans fats in deep-fried food items
- White bread
- Pasta made with refined floor
- Gluten-rich food
- Soybean and/or vegetable oil
- Processed snacks including chips
- Desserts including candy, cookies, and ice cream
You should also avoid drinking alcohol in excess or consuming tobacco or its products.
Aforementioned food items can inflame the digestive system and make it harder for the gut to function well and remain healthy. If a person is consuming any such foods, they should consider taking probiotic and prebiotic supplements, such as sauerkraut and gut health supplements.
To sum it up
People with vitiligo often find it hard to maintain their social lives due to the curious glances and unsolicited advice they receive. However, knowing about the condition and different ways to better manage it can be extremely helpful. Vitiligo diet is one such aspect that a person with the condition can control; thus, driving beneficial results both emotionally and physically.
Although vitiligo diet can make a positive impact in people’s live, it usually takes time to show any significant results because vitiligo is a stubborn condition. It is recommended that people with vitiligo should engage in regular physical activity and maintain good overall health and well-being. This will also help in regulating difficult emotions and reduce stress.