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Eat These 11 Antioxidants to Help Vitiligo

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Vitiligo is caused by a variety of factors, but oxidative stress is one of the most likely causes. You can eliminate oxidative stress by adding extra antioxidants to your diet. The following 11 antioxidants are particularly effective in reversing vitiligo.

Vitiligo is a curious disease that is still relatively unknown in the medical community. Although numerous studies have been conducted on the condition, little is known about how the condition starts or what may cure it.

New evidence points that antioxidants may be the simple cure for certain kinds of vitiligo. Studies have indicated that when oxidative stress is the cause of vitiligo, simply adding a greater influx of antioxidants to the diet can significantly slow the progression of vitiligo spread and even reverse the condition altogether.

Find out more about the role of antioxidants in vitiligo below.

What is Vitiligo?

Vitiligo is a continual and long-term skin problem that produces white non-pigmented patches that develop and enlarge only in certain sections of the skin. These white patches appear because the patient has very little or no skin cells - called melanocytes - which are the cells in charge of producing the skin pigmentation, called melanin, which gives the color of the skin and protects it from the sun's UV rays. There are two types of vitiligo- segmental and nonsegmental.

In segmental vitiligo, the condition spreads rapidly, but at a consistent and stable pace. Only 10 percent of vitiligo patients have segmental vitiligo. Usually, segmental vitiligo is non-symmetrical and affects the dorsal roots of the spine. This form of vitiligo responds to topical treatments more often than non-segmental vitiligo.

In non-segmental vitiligo, patches appear symmetrically on opposite sides of the body. Usually, skin exposed to the sun is the first to be affected. Non-segmental vitiligo is further divided into 5 categories, as described below:

Categories of Non-Segmental Vitiligo

Generalized: No order to size or placement of patches.

Facial: Localized to the face only.

Mucosal: Limited to the nose and mouth.

Acrofacial: Mostly limited to fingers and toes. Universal: Depigmentation covers most of the body.

Focal: Scattered patches in small areas.

What Causes Vitiligo?

Although thousands of people suffer from this strange condition (studies estimate that about 1 percent of people in the world have some form of vitiligo), research has yet to pinpoint the exact cause of vitiligo. According to research, the most common causes of the condition include:

  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Stress
  • Trauma to the area
  • Viruses
  • Exposure to chemicals
  • Oxidative stress

Although some studies have pointed to all of these factors as a cause for the condition, recent studies have pointed to oxidative stress as one of the main causes for this peculiar condition.

What is Oxidative Stress?

Oxidative stress is an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the body’s ability to remove the free radicals from the body or detoxify their effects. Ordinarily, antioxidants are used to remove excess oxidation from the body, but if the balance is upset, strange conditions can occur- just like vitiligo. Free radicals are dangerous because they are molecules containing oxygen-containing unpaired electrons. This makes them reactive with other molecules. Some free radicals are used by the body to kill invading pathogens or viruses.

However, when free radicals run rampant, they can interact with the wrong components like DNA, lipids, and proteins. Free radicals steal the electrons from these elements, which destabilizes those cells, which in turn have to destabilize other cells to become balanced. This triggers a chain reaction that can have devastating effects on the body and leads to the development of strange health conditions, which can range from skin depigmentation to cancer. Your body uses antioxidants to help prevent this chain reaction from occurring.

Antioxidants have cells that donate electrons to free radicals without the need to steal electrons from other cells. Oxidative stress does not occur unless the balance of antioxidants to free radicals is off.

Health Effects of Oxidative Stress
  • Vitiligo
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cancer
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Heart failure
  • Inflammatory disease

Are All Vitiligo Cases Related to Oxidative Stress?

Not all vitiligo cases are related to oxidative stress. Although many studies point to oxidative stress as a cause of vitiligo, there are other studies that suggest that autoimmune disorders are equally to blame.

An autoimmune disorder is simply when the body does not recognize helpful cells and attacks them as if they were invading pathogens. This can lead to a variety of strange symptoms, including vitiligo.

However, there is no way to know exactly what is causing your specific case of vitiligo. Since boosting antioxidant intake is a simple step, there is no harm in trying it no matter the cause of your vitiligo. Some dieticians believe that upping nutritional intake of antioxidants and other healthy vitamins and minerals will help control autoimmune disorders. Even if your vitiligo is caused by something other than oxidative stress, adding antioxidants to your diet will likely benefit you anyway.

In a study published in “Experimental Dermatology” in 2013, researchers found that most people newly diagnosed with vitiligo had a sudden drop in antioxidant levels. The researchers stated, “Moreover, our recent study suggests oxidative stress as the initial triggering factor in precipitating vitiligo.” This indicates that balancing antioxidant levels in the body can reduce or eliminate vitiligo symptoms.

Studies on Vitiligo and Antioxidants

Numerous studies have examined the link between oxidative stress, antioxidants, and vitiligo. Numerous studies from 1995, 1999, and 2001 published in Investigative Dermatology offered antioxidants to patients currently on UV therapy for vitiligo. The researchers found that patients who were taking the antioxidants had greater success rates than patients who simply underwent UV therapy.

In 2006, researchers from Russia looked at how oxidative stress relates to vitiligo. The researchers found that patches of vitiligo generated large amounts of superoxide anions. In the study, 25 participants with vitiligo were given a mixture of antioxidants, catalase, and superoxide dismutase. This treatment was able to return color to the white patches of skin in all participants. 

In 2008, researchers from Trakya University compared the antioxidant levels of vitiligo patients with healthy controls. The researchers found that healthy participants had higher catalase and glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase levels and lower super-oxide dismutase and plasma malondialdehyde levels. Based on these results, researchers concluded that “Melanocyte damage in vitiligo might be linked to generalized oxidative stress.” 

In 2010, researchers from the University of Guilan compared antioxidant levels of 50 participants with vitiligo and 50 patients without vitiligo. The study used similar comparisons as the Trakya University study with similar results. The researchers concluded, “Our study shows that oxidative stress is involved in the pathophysiology of vitiligo, as indicated by the high levels of serum superoxide dismutase activity.”

Antioxidants for Treating Vitiligo

If you have vitiligo, upping your antioxidant intake could be the key to halting the progression of the condition and even bringing color back to your skin. The following antioxidants can be readily found and added to your diet for a beneficial vitiligo-fighting and repigmenting boost.


Vitamin A: Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant contained in foods such as sweet potatoes, leafy greens, carrots, squash, red peppers, cantaloupes, and other orange vegetables and fruit.

Vitamin C: Vitamin C is an antioxidant used in studies to counteract the effects of oxidative stress (including cancer). In a study from 2003 conducted by the National Institutes of Health, Vitamin C was found to counteract the oxidative damage.

Vitamin E: Vitamin E is known for its ability to break oxidative chain reactions in cells. Vitamin E comes from foods including leafy greens, nuts, tropical fruits, wheat, and vegetable oils. However, many vegetable oils sold today are already oxidized- negating the benefits of any remaining vitamin E. Look for cold-processed and non-refined vegetable oils to prevent further oxidation of vegetable oils.


A few minerals have antioxidant properties. The best minerals for antioxidant effects are manganese, selenium, and iodine. These minerals either act as antioxidants on their own or act in conjunction with other cells in the body to stimulate the production of antioxidants. Upping your intake of these three minerals can help increase the ratio of antioxidant cells in your body.


Flavonoids are the antioxidants most commonly found in the modern diet. Flavonoids are found in fruit, vegetables, and some grain products. Common sources of flavonoids in the diet are wine, beer, tea, vegetables, fruit, and soy products. There are over 4,000 varieties of flavonoids that can all reduce oxidative stress.

Other Antioxidants

A few other ingredients also act as antioxidants in the body and can help relieve oxidative stress. These antioxidants include:

Capsaicin: This antioxidant is found in chili peppers and other spicy plants and food.

Alpha-lipoic-acid: This chain-breaking antioxidant prevents free radicals from damaging biological membranes. ALA is particularly effective because it is both fat-soluble and water-soluble, meaning that once consumed, ALA remains in the body and is easily absorbed.

Fructose: Fructose- the sugar found in fruit and vegetables is able to elevate uric acid levels. Uric acid accounts for half of the antioxidant capacity in human plasma- making fructose an important source of antioxidants. However, a 2006 study published in “Nutrition” journal showed that diets high in fructose negatively affect the antioxidant level of the blood but positively affect antioxidant effects of the liver. The safest way to receive the antioxidant benefits of uric acid and fructose is by consuming it straight from fruit rather than the extracted form found in sweetened foods and beverages.

Ginkgo Biloba: Ginkgo biloba is an herb with antioxidant properties. In a 2001 study on rats conducted by the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil, it was found that ginkgo biloba was able to significantly reduce the oxidative stress in the rats. Another study from 2003 that looked at ginkgo biloba for vitiligo specifically found that ginkgo was able to slow the progression of slow-spreading vitiligo.

Antioxidants and Vitiligo

Numerous studies have linked oxidative stress with vitiligo, and an increase in antioxidants with a reduction in vitiligo symptoms. These studies outline that, although scientists do not know the cause or cure for every case of vitiligo, adding extra antioxidants to the diet is a good place to start. Antioxidants benefit the body in numerous ways and help fight countless health conditions and diseases, which makes them an excellent first-line defense for nearly every health condition.

If you want to stop the progression of existing vitiligo and have the chance to see repigmentation, adding antioxidants to your diet can help.





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*Callumae is a Vitiligo Remedy designed to help get rid of white spots on your skin. Use in conjunction with light therapy (or natural sun light) to help get the most repigmentation to your skin.