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Vitiligo diet tips to remember

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Foods rich in vitamin b12

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  • A healthy and balanced diet that helps regulate the immune system is recommended for anyone who has or is at risk of contracting vitiligo. There are also specific vitamins and minerals that can help in promoting the production of melanin
  • People with vitiligo should not eat certain types of food to avoid aggravating the symptoms of this condition

A healthy and balanced diet that helps regulate the immune system is recommended for anyone who has or is at risk of contracting vitiligo. Studies have shown that this skin condition can be directly affected by different components in the environment, including diet. There are also specific vitamins and minerals that can help in promoting the production of melanin.

Vitamins and minerals that may help improve vitiligo

Some of the essential vitamins and minerals that can help you deal with vitiligo include the following:

Vitamin B12 and folate — A 1997 study found that vitamin B12 and folic acid (the synthetic form of folate), together with regular sun exposure, may help promote repigmentation.1 Nutritional deficiency in both these nutrients have also been found to cause hypopigmentation by inhibiting the tyrosinase enzyme.2 Some examples of foods rich in vitamin B12 are grass fed beef, raw milk, homemade yogurt and pasture-raised, organic eggs.3

Vitamin D — Vitamin D has been connected to autoimmune diseases due to its role in transcription, in conjunction with the vitamin D3 receptor. It was found to inhibit Th17 cytokine production while promoting Th2, which assists in the regulation of immune responses. In addition, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a heightened risk for multiple sclerosis and systemic lupus erythematosus.4

Sun exposure can also help optimize your vitamin D levels naturally, but because vitiligo patients have increased sensitivity to sunlight, you can instead get vitamin D from foods like eggs, shiitake mushrooms, wild Alaskan salmon and sardines. Taking a vitamin D3 supplement is also a good alternative.

Vitamin A — Vitamin A is known for its role in immune response, regulating tissue-specific immunity and inflammation. Vitamin A metabolites have also been linked to B-cell proliferation and T-cell activation, which may help regulate and manage autoimmunity.5 Some good sources of vitamin A include grass fed beef liver, carrots, spinach and broccoli.6

Zinc — A 2011 study from the Indian Journal of Dermatology suggested the possibility of zinc having a protective mechanism that may be beneficial for vitiligo patients. Zinc is believed to have antiapoptotic properties and is a crucial component in melanogenesis.7 Foods rich in zinc include grass fed beef, veal, lamb and cheese.8

Foods to avoid when you have vitiligo

Vitiligo patients should avoid the following foods to avoid aggravating the symptoms of this condition:

  • Wheat and other grain products — They contain gluten, which has been closely linked to inflammation. Gluten can trigger the immune system to attack your melanocytes.9 A 2014 study from the Case Reports of Dermatology showed significant improvement in a patient with acrofacial vitiligo after a gluten-free diet was put in place. Rapid repigmentation happened with the depigmented patches within four months.10
  • Sugar-loaded foods — Diets high in refined sugar were found to promote the production of proinflammatory molecules, which may aggravate vitiligo and its symptoms.11
  • Barbecued meat and processed foods — Barbecued meat may promote oxidative damage and increase carcinogen production. The surplus of oxygen free radicals in the body may worsen vitiligo. Likewise, patients should avoid fast food and other processed foods because they lack the nutrients they need to promote better health.12

MORE ABOUT VITILIGO

Vitiligo: an Introduction

What Is Vitiligo?

Vitiligo Symptoms

Vitiligo Causes

Types of Vitiligo

Vitiligo Treatment

Vitiligo Prevention

Vitiligo Diet

Vitiligo FAQ

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