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Vitiligo is a skin condition where patches of skin become lighter or completely lose their pigmentation due to the destruction of melanocytes. Most cases are probably connected to autoimmune disease, which often runs along with it. Most likely, they have something in common at the cellular level that causes them both. Autoimmune diseases can be very different from each other and may affect all organs in the body. In vitiligo, the immune system attacks pigment cells in the skin, resulting in lighter skin patches. To prevent vitiligo, we should know who can get affected by vitiligo? Let’s know here:
Who is prone to get vitiligo?
Vitiligo is pretty standard; in fact, 1% of people in the world suffer from it. It usually starts in a limited area and spreads over the years. In some cases, vitiligo may begin at an early age or even when you are still a baby. The type that appears before 25 is called segmental vitiligo and has a tendency to progress quickly. There’s no such thing as a remission period in older patients, and they remain without pigment throughout their lives, which means all changes happen slowly. Vitiligo is common in:
- People who have a family history: If one of your parents or siblings suffers from vitiligo, you will be more prone to get it.
- People with autoimmune disease: There is a high percentage of people who suffer from vitiligo and another autoimmune disease at the same time.
- People with low immunity: Even if you don’t have an autoimmune disorder, you can get vitiligo if you have an immune deficiency such as HIV/AIDS. But keep in mind that it may also happen in a perfectly healthy person for some reason we still don’t understand yet.
- People who use certain medicines: Drugs that might cause vitiligo are those used to regulate insulin in diabetes, some antidepressants, and anti-seizure medications.
- Sun exposure: There is also strong evidence pointing at sun exposure being one of the triggering factors for abnormal pigment loss. If you have had too much exposure to the sun, your risk goes up significantly. Also, if your skin is susceptible to sunlight, it’s more prone to get lighter when exposed to harmful UV rays.
What are the other causes of vitiligo?
Even though all skin doctors believe the autoimmune disease is the root cause behind it, there are still other theories claiming that stress or physical or emotional trauma may trigger vitiligo by increasing levels in the blood, which again causes the immune system to attack pigment cells.
Many vitiligo patients claim that they have at least some positive effects by changing their diets according to what modern medicine suggests are good practices for treating autoimmune conditions. Let’s know how diet impacts vitiligo.
Is a good diet important to prevent vitiligo?
Yes, a good diet is important to prevent vitiligo. We consume large quantities of processed food with low nutritional value and different additives in the modern lifestyle. Different artificial colours and preservatives influence our immune system, manifesting as one or more autoimmune diseases. This includes vitiligo as well. In addition, our food is grown in soil that is often lacking minerals and vitamins. We need these trace minerals and vitamins to supplement our foods with them. In this way, we can prevent vitiligo by improving the nutrition of our diet.
What should be included in a good diet for vitiligo?
We need minerals like zinc, selenium, and magnesium to supplement our diet. It is known that vitiligo patients are deficient in zinc, so food rich in this mineral should be included in your daily diet. Good sources of zinc are fish, meat, eggs, and pumpkin seeds.
- Vitamin A
Vitamin A deficiency can cause a lack of pigment cells, leading to the formation of white patches on the skin. Foods high in vitamin A include liver, carrots, fish oil, etc.
- Fish oil
Fish oil supplements are an essential source of omega-3 fatty acids, which stabilize cell membranes by reducing inflammation of the cells. Inflammation is the root cause of autoimmune diseases, and therefore by reducing inflammation, we can prevent vitiligo.
- Fruits and vegetables
Vegetables are rich in minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients that help us maintain a healthy immune system. They contain antioxidants that fight with free radicals responsible for damaging cells and causing inflammation. Green leafy vegetables not only give you good nutrition but also offer many health benefits. They can be eaten either raw or cooked to get most of the nutritional value.
- Vitamin E
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that protects our skin from sun damage which speeds up the process of vitiligo patches appearing on the skin. So please include it in your daily diet by eating foods containing vitamin E like almonds, peanuts, spinach, etc.
Beta-Carotene is a powerful antioxidant that fights with free radicals responsible for damaging cells and causing inflammation. Include it in your daily diet by eating beta carotene foods like carrots, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, etc.
- Omega-3 Fatty acids
Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil supplements reduce the risk of developing vitiligo and other autoimmune diseases by stabilizing cell membranes reducing inflammation.
- Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Include ginger, turmeric, bitter gourd, and garlic which are all known to have anti-inflammatory properties beneficial in preventing vitiligo.
Vitamins C and E, zinc, and selenium are some of the antioxidants found in commonly eaten fruits and vegetables that fight free radicals, which cause damage to healthy cells.
Deficiency is common among people suffering from vitiligo. Include foods high in biotin into your diet to prevent it from lacking. Foods containing biotin include egg yolk, whole grains, fish, liver, etc.
- Vitamin D
Vitamin D can help you absorb calcium and phosphorus necessary for building a robust immune system which decreases the risk of developing autoimmune diseases like vitiligo. A good source of vitamin D is natural sunlight, so make sure you spend enough time under the sun every day.
These are some food items that you should include in your diet to prevent vitiligo. Here is the list of food you can include in your diet to avoid vitiligo:
Bananas are rich in iron and Vitamin C, which help you keep your blood cells healthy. They also contain copper, magnesium, and vitamin B6, which help with melanin production.
Spinach is a powerhouse of Vitamins A and K and antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin. It also contains zinc, biotin, niacin, selenium, phosphorus, and manganese, which build a robust immune system that prevents vitiligo.
Carrots are beneficial for preventing macular degeneration and vitiligo because they contain beta-carotene, which reduces the risk of developing autoimmune diseases. They also protect your skin from sun damage which speeds up the process of vitiligo patches appearing on the skin.
Fish is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which stabilize cell membranes by reducing the inflammation of cells. Inflammation is the root cause of autoimmune diseases, and therefore by reducing inflammation, we can prevent vitiligo.
- Sweet potatoes:
Sweet potatoes contain beta carotene, Vitamins C and B6, which work together to produce melanin and keep your blood cells healthy. They also protect your skin from sun damage which speeds up the process of vitiligo patches appearing on the skin.
Garlic contains allicin, selenium, and Vitamin B6 that help with melanin production in our body, so it boosts collagen production and protects us from sun damage.
Chickpeas are high in Vitamin B6, folic acid, and fiber, which all boost melanin production.
Nuts contain Vitamin E, selenium, zinc, copper, and Omega-3 fatty acids that help our body produce melanin. They also protect us from sun damage which speeds up the process of vitiligo patches appearing on the skin.
Oatmeal is high in antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin. They both protect your eyes from damage caused by free radicals while working with Vitamins A and C to build a robust immune system that protects you from autoimmune diseases like vitiligo.
- Root Vegetables:
Root vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, and beetroots contain beta carotene, converted into Vitamin A in our body. Vitamin A helps you produce melanin and keep your skin healthy by protecting it against sun damage. Beta-carotene also works with Vitamins C and E to build a strong immune system that prevents autoimmune diseases like vitiligo.
Tomatoes are packed with the antioxidant lycopene, which protects us from free radical damage caused by excessive sunlight. They also boost melanin production in our body, so they protect us from sun-induced skin damage, which speeds up the process of vitiligo patches appearing on the skin.
Tuna contains selenium which is an excellent antioxidant and protects us from sun-induced skin damage. It also boosts the production of melanin in our body, protecting us from sun-induced skin damage, which speeds up the process of vitiligo patches appearing on the skin.
Apple is an excellent source of quercetin and Vitamin C, which protect us from sun-induced skin damage. They also boost melanin production in our body, so they protect us from sun-induced skin damage, which speeds up the process of vitiligo patches appearing on the skin.
- Chia Seeds:
Chia seeds are high in omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins A, B1, B2, niacin, biotin, and Omega 6 fatty acids that help with melanin production. They work best for preventing vitiligo when combined with Vitamin D-rich foods like mushrooms and salmon.
Mushrooms contain ergosterol which is converted into Vitamin D by sunlight exposure. Vitamin D helps our body produce melanin and protects us from sun-induced skin damage, which speeds up the process of vitiligo patches appearing on the skin.
These foods help prevent vitiligo, and if you add them to your daily diet, you can see a visible change in the appearance of your skin.
Are there any diet restrictions for vitiligo?
Some people may get a negative impact on their health when they eat some particular food. However, you must consult your skin doctor before making any changes to your diet plan. You can also take the help of a nutritionist who will guide you with the proper diet for vitiligo. It is important to note that people with different skin types may see different results, so try out various foods suggested in this article and monitor how your skin reacts to them. Still, it is better to avoid:
- Alcohol: Alcohol is a potent detoxifier; that’s why it can remove vitiligo pigment from our skin.
- Caffeine: Caffeine stimulates melanocytes in our body and causes the production of more melanin so avoid caffeinated drinks like tea, coffee, or soda when you have vitiligo.
- Wheat: People with wheat allergies or Celiac Disease should avoid wheat to see the results.
- Soy: Soy interferes with Vitamin D absorption causing autoimmune diseases like vitiligo. People who are allergic to soy must avoid it entirely because it can also cause other health problems.
- White Sugar: Excessive intake of white sugar decreases our immunity increasing our chances of developing autoimmune diseases like vitiligo.
A balanced diet is always good for overall good health, so it is always better to make some changes in your current diet plan rather than following an entirely new one. You can also consider seeing a homeopathy doctor if you have vitiligo, as a homeopathic treatment for vitiligo is known for its positive results. A homeopathy doctor can help you understand the root cause of the disease and guide you with the proper homeopathic treatment for vitiligo. Homeopathic treatment for vitiligo has a holistic approach and targets the immune system for disease management. This treatment is natural and does not impose many diet restrictions, making it ideal for people with vitiligo. For more information on vitiligo treatment, book an appointment with a homeopathy doctor through OHO Homeopathy. We would be happy to help you!