Is there a Best Vitiligo Diet? Vitiligo, classed as an autoimmune disease, is a skin condition that leaves white patches of skin with no pigmentation. Research suggests that a healthier diet plan can help symptoms of autoimmune disease.
The underlying cause of these conditions is still not fully understood but a combination of genetic susceptibility, environmental triggers, and impairment of biological barriers, such as so-called leaky gut syndrome can all be contributing factors. Another trigger that may also play a role in the development and flare-up of autoimmune disease is diet. It is important to understand, though, that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Understanding your body will go a long way in aiding your recovery.
At best, you will feel great! At worst, you will feel a little better than now! What have you got to lose? Except for some extra kilograms!
Research suggests a gluten-free diet could cause the symptoms of Vitiligo to improve if caught early enough. Proteins in wheat cause inflammation and changes to your intestinal tract, nervous system, and cardiovascular system. Vitiligo may be worsened by gluten in the diet, particularly to those who are gluten intolerant. In some people, Vitiligo patches repigment in the first month, and stabilise after four months of remaining gluten-free. It is, therefore, reasonable to start with eliminating gluten to ascertain your body’s reaction.
Vitiligo has been associated with celiac disease, which causes malabsorption of vital nutrients, so it makes sense that these two conditions can benefit from a healthy diet. It is possible that a nutritious, balanced diet that maintains a healthy gut microbiome may alleviate the inflammatory process that characterises this autoimmune process in Vitiligo.
Let’s start by highlighting some common questions regarding Vitiligo.
Does alcohol consumption affect Vitiligo symptoms?
People with autoimmune diseases, including Vitiligo, are often sensitive to alcohol. Alcohol affects the liver, causing inflammation, so it should be avoided in people with Vitiligo. Regular consumption of alcohol affects the gut flora, accelerating the proliferation of bad bacteria. It also hinders proper digestion and restricts the production of prostaglandins, which help keep gut inflammation at bay. Occasional alcohol use is fine, though, but choose the beverage with low levels of alcohol and sugar and dilute with water if possible. After having drinks, hydrate your body with lots of water to flush your kidneys.
Do supplements work for Vitiligo symptoms?
Each person differs in environment, skin type, genetic background, personal health history, and religion. It is therefore impossible to offer a comprehensive diet or supplement solution. However, common vitamin deficiencies in people with autoimmune conditions like Vitiligo include folic acid, B-12, copper, and zinc. Excessive Vitamin C can worsen Vitiligo symptoms, while Vitamin D levels should be in the upper range unless you have conditions causing fat malabsorption. Ensure you consult with your doctor before making significant changes to your vitamin supplements.
Apart from the diet, there are some fundamentals to help with this journey. Getting a good night’s sleep every night is easier said than done, but try keeping a routine with caffeine intake only in the mornings and restricting all screen time for two hours before bed.
It sounds extreme, but it can be viewed as a sleep goal! Where possible, eat organic foods, drink filtered water and avoid plastic containers and packaging. There are some stresses that you can’t control and others you can. Focus on reducing impossibly expectations for yourself. Be kind to yourself!
What is drug-induced Vitiligo?
This type of Vitiligo happens to people who are taking immune-modulating, biologic, or targeted medicines. These medicines include topical imiquimod, typically used for carcinomas, skin necrosis inhibitors, and in rare cases antimalarials (hydroquinones). Drug-induced Vitiligo tends to have a rapid onset and tends to last longer.
Is sugar good or bad for Vitiligo symptoms?
Excessive sugar consumption has led to an epidemic of obesity and diabetes, as well as changes to intestinal flora and fungal overgrowth (candida). You need to starve the candida by not giving them sugar! Sweet fruits, starch, white carbohydrates (white rice and flour) and grains all contain sugar!
Excessive sugar leads to a much broader range of chronic health problems, including Vitiligo. Certain fruits such as blueberries and pears have a high sugar content as well as high levels of natural hydroquinone, a type of phenol that is a depigmentation agent. This is something to avoid if you have Vitiligo.
Is water good for treating Vitiligo?
Water quenches your thirst, but it also has some miraculous properties that can keep your body healthy. Saliva contains components that aid digestion. Water helps in the formation of saliva and in converting food to components your body can absorb. Water protects the brain and spinal cord, acting as a shock-absorber, and regulates your body temperature which can affect internal organs. Water lubricates your joints and plays a vital role in tissue growth and cell repair. Most importantly, water flushes out body waste, helping to make it toxin-free.
Diet – Eliminate
If you have an autoimmune disease, like Vitiligo, the most important factor to address is your gut health. Research shows over 70% of the population are living with gastrointestinal discomfort like diarrhea, gas, bloating and abdominal pain.
Before you start, you should have an elimination phase to reduce inflammation and imbalance. This will not be pretty, but neither are any of the above symptoms!
Cut out grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, eggs, and dairy products. Tobacco, alcohol, coffee, oils, food additives, refined and processed sugars, and certain medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs should also be avoided.
On average, most people maintain this phase for 30-90 days, but some may notice improvements as early as within the first 3 weeks. Each person will experience these changes differently. Be patient and resilient.
Theoretically, by eliminating irritants from your diet, you should notice a decrease in symptoms. You should experience a smaller amount of intestinal trouble, deeper sleep, have more mental clarity, have more energy, and generally feel better. Once this is achieved, you can start to introduce foods or food groups one by one.
You are running a foodstuffs experiment with your body as the laboratory!
Diet – Reintroduce
Once you have chosen the food you wish to introduce (from the list below), choose a day of the week. Eat a small helping and wait for 30 minutes. If there are no adverse symptoms, eat a bit more. After 2 hours if you still feel fine, then eat a normal portion. Revert to the ‘elimination’ eating plan without your chosen food for the rest of that week. If you still feel good, the food is safe to include in your new diet. Repeat this process until all food groups have been tested. You will now know a lot more about what foods irritate your body and which ones do not.
It is a very good idea to keep a record or journal to track your progress. This will be a valuable guide for the rest of your life.
Here is a list of what you can reintroduce
- Cruciferous vegetables (cooked): cauliflower, cabbage, kale, garden cress, bok choy (Chinese cabbage), broccoli, brussels sprouts, mustard plant, and similar green leafy vegetables. White potatoes, sweet potatoes, and other root vegetables, as well as flash-frozen organic vegetables.
- Poultry, fish, and grass-fed meat.
- Small quantities of (low sugar) berries and a few fresh lemon/lime wedges.
- Herbs: basil, oregano, rosemary, dill, chives, cilantro, and parsley.
- Oils for cooking: high-flash-point oils (avocado, coconut, palm) and animal fats such as ghee and duck fat.
- Oils for salads: extra-virgin olive oil.
- Condiments: vinegar (but restrict to apple cider vinegar for two months).
- Beverages: organic herbal tea (hot or iced), bone broths (reduce the seasoning), water and unsweetened sparkling waters.
- Stevia for sweetening.
Is there a silver lining?
Yes, in the form of a shiny, chrome juicer!
If you get into the habit of drinking one fresh vegetable juice daily, your body will thank you! Vegetable juices provide a concentrated batch of nutrients that are readily absorbed into your bloodstream, nourishing your cells. Vegetable juices provide intact enzymes which are nutrients that have already been extracted from fibrous vegetables. Choose carrots and beetroot and dandelion greens for repigmentation – a delicious shot of natural vitamins, minerals and live enzymes that are delivered immediately with no fuss!
Carrots contain Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Potassium, Vitamin C, and Iron. Carrots have a wealth of antioxidants and offer many health benefits. They are also good for your eyes. Beetroot has health and medicinal qualities, including Vitamin C, Folate, Vitamin B6, Magnesium, Potassium, Phosphorous, Manganese and Iron. They also contain inorganic nitrates and pigments, both of which are plant compounds that have several health benefits. Both carrots and beetroot have high fibre content.
Beware of overdoing it with carrots. Your skin could turn an orange-yellow colour due to too much beta-carotene. This can be treated, but in extreme cases can keep Vitamin A from doing its job.
These juices will also aid and rebuild the liver and boost your immune system.
Remember, Vitiligo can be Treated:
Vitiligo can be treated, and it is important to keep perceptions in line with reality! Commitment and adherence to the available treatment options are important when managing Vitiligo. Medications and light-based therapies exist to help restore skin colour or even out skin tone.
Living with Vitiligo can be challenging! After you have been diagnosed, deal with your emotions and find a solution. Get support from a reputable Vitiligo treatment specialist and embark on a specific treatment plan – one that is sustainable for you.
At Vitiligo Treatment we offer a large range of products to help treat most Vitiligo conditions. This is one of the factors that has contributed to our success in Treating Vitiligo.
We do have a combination of products formulated to treat Low, Medium, and High Vitiligo body coverage. Contact one of our consultants or read more on our website for information pertaining to your own Vitiligo condition.
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Published by Vitiligo Treatment