Vitiligo (leucoderma) treatment is just that, a treatment, it isn’t a cure. To find a cure, the cause of vitiligo must be known. Therein lies the problem. At present there are only theories as to what causes vitiligo. The good news is that scientists across the globe are scrambling to find the cause in order to enact the best vitiligo treatment. In researching for this article, I found it illuminating that in ancient texts there are points of intersection which may give clues as to the cause of vitiligo.
As you explore the possible cause of vitiligo in order to treat it at its root, you’re probably going to want to treat the condition as it exists. It’s kind of like taking an aspirin for an infection. You know the aspirin doesn’t cure the infection, but it makes you feel better. If the vitiligo treatment of choice for you is to try an alternative approach, I’ve got some bad news. You aren’t going to live long enough to try them all, as there are hundreds. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try the most promising ones.
Since we know that treating the cause of vitiligo is the way to cure it, we’re going to explore that first. Next we will investigate current alternative treatments which have scientifically shown promising results. Lastly, you will be given links so that you can further investigate treatments you may want to try.
Points of Intersection into possible causes for vitiligo
The mental connection
The mental connection is listed in Ayurvedic medicine and Chinese medicine although it’s vague as to exactly what that connection is. However, there does appear to be a stress related factor particularly in light of accounts of vitiligo manifesting after a stress related event.
One study showed excesses of dopamine in patients with vitiligo. Dopamine has many beneficial functions in the body, but an excess has been associated with depression. One vitiligo clinic in China reported that the treatments for vitiligo were not nearly as effective if the patients were depressed.
The liver connection
In both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, the liver plays a part in vitiligo. Could that be true? Possibly. The liver is a cleansing organ devoted to ridding our systems of toxins. It is also involved in the smooth functioning of every other organ in our system. It plays a part in digestion and our immune systems. Without it we would die very quickly. Maybe the texts connecting an unhealthy liver to vitiligo were onto an important connection.
The circulatory system connection
Every cell in our bodies is fed via the circulatory system. It makes sense that there could be a connection between poor circulation and cell health including the melanocytes responsible for skin color. It would also make sense that if the nutrients weren’t available in the circulatory system to adequately feed the cells, they would die. That brings us to the dietary connection.
The dietary connection
Some nutrients including vitamins D, B12, B9 (folic acid) and C have been reported to assist in the treatment of vitiligo. Though scientific evidence is sparse at best, suffice it to say that if the body isn’t getting the nutrients it needs, the building blocks, the cells, will pay the price.
Alternative Vitiligo Treatments with scientific evidence to back them up
In one study, ginkgo given at 40 mg three times a day slowed the progression of vitiligo. Another study indicated there was some repigmentation. The primary benefit of ginkgo in relation to vitiligo may be its properties to improve blood flow to the small capillaries that feed skin cells and in protection against oxidative cell damage from free radicals.
One study found that piperine and its synthetic derivatives were effective in repigmentation particularly when combined with phototherapy. Piperine is what gives black pepper its spicy flavor.
There is some scientific evidence, though conflicting and ever so small, that some vitamins may be helpful in the treatment of vitiligo. See list above.
Both oral and topical treatment with the amino acid, L-phenylalanine strengthens the effect of UVA vitiligo treatment.
Now for those links I promised
http://www.ayurvedacollege.com/articles/students/leucoderma – I thought this paper on the Ayurvedic approach to vitiligo was extremely well researched and referenced.
After hundreds of hours of research, I’ve come to the following conclusion:
- Vitiligo has a cure, but it hasn’t been found yet
- No treatment works for all people, but some treatments work very well for most people
- It’s wise to take a holistic approach to vitiligo treatment and consider diet including vitamin supplements as a possible aid in treating the underlying cause of vitiligo
- The ignorance of others will continue to cause vitiligo sufferers grief. There are ways to cover up the white spots which we will cover in the next post.
You are not defined by your vitiligo; it just happens to be something to deal with until a cure is found. Stay vigilant as new therapies and research are emerging all the time. Never give up hope and try not to get discouraged or depressed as that may make the condition worse. You might consider joining a vitiligo support group such as http://www.vitiligosupport.org/. Remember, we here at SpaFromScratch love you, white spots and all.
Now go have fun and relax.