One of the questions on treating Vitiligo is about how food and vitamins relate to re-pigmentation of the skin.
Being a genetic and autoimmune condition, Vitiligo patients need to follow a diet that is rich with natural immunity-boosting effect so that these white skin patches do not spread to the whole body. To prevent the disease from spreading, patients are advised to follow a special diet and use vitamin-based supplements to maintain a healthy nutrient level, along with the typical medicinal treatment.
The research on supplements for Vitiligo shows some promising results, which is why every Vitiligo patient or his attendant needs to know about these simple dietary supplements, which improve the skin pigmentation.
Nutritional deficiencies in Vitiligo patients
The standard treatment for Vitiligo includes oral medication, skin gels/creams and in extreme cases, skin grafting and micro-pigmentation surgery can help. But, a rather simple and effective approach is to use vitamins for Vitiligo treatment.
Vitiligo patients usually lack healthy levels of some nutrients. It means it is possible to treat Vitiligo with simple dietary changes. However, there’s no evidence to suggest that certain food restrictions improve it. On the other side, there is plenty of research exposing the beneficial vitamins for Vitiligo.
Which foods are best for Vitiligo patients?
Doctors often advise Vitiligo patients to eat healthily. A perfect diet contains high nutrients and sufficient water. Foods that contain phytochemicals, beta-carotene, and antioxidants are the best choices for Vitiligo patients. Some of these foods are bananas, apples, figs, dates, chickpeas, leafy greens, and root vegetables. Avoid foods that contain de-pigmenting agents such as hydroquinones. These include alcohol, coffee, fish, citrus, red meats, fish, berries, and fruit juices.
Can supplements help in treating Vitiligo?
Various scientific studies suggest that free radicals are responsible for causing the oxidative damage resulting in Vitiligo. That is why, researchers considered how reducing or repairing the melanin loss in form of dietary supplements may help. Among all nutrients, vitamin B12, folic acid and vitamin C are considerably low in Vitiligo patients. So fulfilling all these nutritional deficiencies in Vitiligo patients either with diet or with using vitamins for Vitiligo naturally treats the condition.
Using supplement to boost melanin production
Humans skin pigmentation is an outcome of synthesis and accumulation of photo protective epidermal melanin. This melanin is formed from L-tyrosine (a amino acid precursor) within melanocytes, specialized cells to form melanin. Topical corticosteroids and phototherapy along with alternative therapies continues to treat Vitiligo.
Using supplements for Vitiligo is a form of alternative medicine, which is sometimes very effective in treating. Vitiligo patients mostly lack vitamin D, folic acid, vitamin B12, copper, and zinc. So adding these vitamins and minerals through a supplement fills the deficiencies.
Which vitamins for Vitiligo help?
To treat Vitiligo, doctors generally recommend using supplements that contain vitamin C, E, B12, D, and folic acid, individually or in a combination. The supplement-based treatment can also go well along with other treatment options. Here is how using supplements for Vitiligo help with re-pigmentation of the skin.
• Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid
Vitamin B12 restricts the making of homo-cysteine. This homocysteine oversees the production of tyrosinase, an enzyme that creates melanin. On the other side, it may generate free radicals causing abnormal melanin synthesis and also the destruction of melanocytes. It means that a deficiency of vitamin B12 can cause damage to skin pigments. Treatment of vitiligo patients includes using vitamin B12 and folic acid supplements. The addition of folic acid ensures the working of vitamin B12, as it is a methyl donor for it. That is why these two vitamins mostly come in one formula and help to treat white skin patches.
• Vitamin A, C, and E
Other vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin C all are antioxidants that prevent oxidative stress and free radical damage. This oxidative stress is a major cause of premature destruction of melanocytes, leading irregular white patches on the skin. At early stages, using these vitamins for Vitiligo often prevents its spread to the whole body.
• Vitamin D
Vitamin D improves the production of melanocytes. It increases the activity of tyrosinase, which in turn speeds up melanogenesis. It is also an immuno-booster that helps against various autoimmune disorders. Vitamin D analogs, calcipotriol and tacalcitol in particular are included in topical therapy for Vitiligo. This way they target the immune response and improve specific T-cell activation by inhibiting the transition of T cells and expression of many pro-inflammatory cytokines that code for tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interferon-gamma. All these vitamin D3 compounds are connected with melanocyte maturation and differentiation. So vitamin D improves melanogenesis by activating specific ligand receptors such as eg, endothelin receptor and c-kit.
• Copper and zinc
Certain minerals such as copper and zinc may also improve the melanin production. Oral zinc sulfate is a novel option for the treatment of Vitiligo. That is why zinc sulfate, and copper alone, or in combination with a topical corticosteroid, show promising results in vitiligo patients. It prevents from melanocyte apoptosis and inhibits oxidative stress. Zinc also works as an immunomodulator, antibacterial, and stimulator of α- melanocyte, all of which improve pigmentation of the skin.
• Beta Carotene
Beta-carotene is a red-orange pigment from the plant, which is a precursor form of vitamin A. dietary beta-carotene improve healthy skin color and sun protection for lightly pigmented skins.
Now that there are plenty of reasons to believe that specific vitamins for Vitiligo treats the disease, next is to look for the best ways to consume them. Here are some recommendations for vitamin and mineral supplements that will be effective against the spread of Vitiligo.
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