Vitiligo is an autoimmune condition that destroys cells that produce brown pigment in the skin, causing the skin to change color. While there is no known cure for vitiligo, studies involving vitamin treatment have provided mixed results, leaving the question of what vitamins to take for vitiligo unanswered.
Common vitamin deficiencies in people with autoimmune conditions like vitiligo include folic acid, B-12, copper and zinc. As a result, doctors may prescribe vitamin supplements to fortify or help stabilize your immune system, in conjunction with other traditional vitiligo treatments.
Vitamin-B12 with Folic Acid
Studies focusing on vitamin B-12 deficiencies and vitiligo show a high incidence of vitiligo among individuals with pernicious anemia, a condition that hinders B-12 absorption. Nevertheless, no recent studies indicate that supplementing vitamin B-12, or B-12 with folic acid, will help improve skin pigmentation.
Epidemiological studies have found that autoimmune diseases increase as the latitude increases, suggesting that vitamin D synthesis may play a role in the development of these diseases, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. The results of several studies also suggest that adequate vitamin D intake could possibly decrease the risk of autoimmune diseases. With this in mind, doctors should test vitiligo patients for vitamin D deficiency and prescribe supplements accordingly.
Copper and Zinc
A study appearing in "Veterinary Record" looked at buffalo and dairy cattle in India with leucoderma, another name for vitiligo. Researchers discovered that a treatment combining copper and zinc improved moderate leucoderma within 10 days. Unfortunately, 20 percent of recovered animals relapsed shortly after treatment ended.
- PubMed Health: Vitiligo
- Vitiligo Support International: Vitamins
- National Vitiligo Foundation: Vitamins
- iHerb: Vitiligo
- Acta Dermato-Venereologica; Improvement of Vitiligo After Oral Treatment with Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid and the Importance of Sun Exposure; Nov. 1997
- Vitiligo Notes; Vitamin D and Vitiligo; April 3, 2010