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Foods that Make Vitiligo Worse

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Do you suffer from vitiligo? Did you know that your diet may be making your symptoms worse? The following foods have been linked with increasing symptoms of vitiligo. Read more about the connection below.

Vitiligo is an autoimmune disorder where the skin loses all pigments. Typically, this pattern appears in patches and it is common on the hands, face, and feet. Vitiligo occurs when the immune system attacks the cells that cause skin pigmentation and kills them. This causes the body to lose pigmentation in certain areas of the body.

Since vitiligo is an autoimmune disorder, common treatments include boosting the immune system and helping reset the autoimmune response. This does not work in every case, but it can help. Changing your diet may also boost the effectiveness of other vitiligo treatments.

Common Vitiligo Treatments

Vitiligo is treated with several different options. Treatment methods vary based on how many patches of skin have lost pigmentation and the size of the patches. Usually, a combination of treatments is used. Common treatments include:


  • PUVA light therapy
  • Bleaching the skin
  • Steroid creams
  • Oral medication
  • Skin grafting
  • Tattoos


Many individuals with vitiligo use cosmetics to cover their white patches until treatment is found.

How Can Diet Affect Vitiligo?

Autoimmune diseases are caused by an over-reaction of the immune system. While this is largely determined by genetics, research has also suggested that other factors can also trigger autoimmune disorders, including trauma, illness, allergies, a sluggish metabolism, and diet. Certain foods have been linked more closely with autoimmune disorders than others. The following is a list of foods associated with making vitiligo symptoms worse:


If you have a gluten allergy, this can lead to inflammation in the body. Excessive inflammation can trigger autoimmune disorders as the body is overwhelmed and tries to attack everything to heal. Eliminating gluten could cut down on vitiligo symptoms if you are allergic to the grain. You can ask for a gluten sensitivity and allergy test at your doctor's office. Common symptoms of gluten intolerance include digestive issues, constipation, and poor nutrient absorption.

Nightshade Vegetables

in the nightshade family can cause immune problems with a small group of people. Nightshade causes inflammation and can make vitiligo symptoms worse. Edible members of the nightshade family include potatoes, tomatoes, tobacco, eggplant, and paprika. Try eliminating these vegetables for a few weeks and see if your vitiligo symptoms lessen or your white patches stop spreading.

Junk Food

Junk food isn't good for anyone, but for individuals with vitiligo, it can be even worse. Your immune system requires the right level of nutrients to stop the autoimmune system balance and reset your immune system. Eliminate all sources of junk food including trans fats, processed grains, fried foods, and general junk food with empty calories, processed ingredients, chemicals, preservatives, and sugar. Avoid eating pre-packaged foods and you will eliminate most forms of junk food.


Large quantities of sugar are particularly bad for the body. Your body is only able to absorb about 9 teaspoons of sugar daily, but a single large soda has more than 9 teaspoons of sugar. It is incredibly easy to eat too much sugar in a day, which causes numerous problems including obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Sugar overload can also trigger excessive inflammation and irritate the autoimmune system, possibly making vitiligo symptoms worse.

Acidic Foods

A diet high in acid can also trigger the autoimmune response. Look for low-acid foods to eat and avoid foods high in acid, including lemons, strawberries, yogurt, pickles, citrus fruit, and pineapple.

GMO Foods

GMO foods haven't been around for long. The full health effects of GMOs are unknown, but many health experts believe nothing good comes from foods that contain pesticides, herbicides, and preservatives already in the seeds. If you have allergies to any GMO ingredients, it could trigger your autoimmune response and make your vitiligo symptoms much worse. Avoid GMO foods as much as possible to protect your autoimmune system if you suffer from vitiligo.

How to Reverse Vitiligo Naturally

In addition to eliminating foods that are bad for vitiligo, there are steps you can take that will boost the effectiveness of other vitiligo treatments. Research has found that when multiple treatments are used to fight vitiligo, it can stop the spread of the white patches and even cause pigmentation to return to white areas of the skin.

Boost Your Metabolism

A sluggish metabolism has been linked with an overactive autoimmune system. A sluggish thyroid is often accompanied by weight gain and other health problems that cause arthritis and inflammation. Excessive inflammation can make vitiligo worse. Boost your metabolism by implementing the following steps:

Eat breakfast: Breakfast wakes up the metabolism and helps prevent binge eating later in the day.

Eat iron: Iron offers a large boost in energy and metabolism.

Exercise regularly: Exercise is essential for a healthy metabolism. Aim for exercising at least 30 minutes a day three or four times a week.

Try Herbal Supplements

Researchers have linked several herbal supplements to a reduction in vitiligo symptoms. According to these studies, the following supplements can slow, reverse, and prevent future outbreaks of vitiligo.

Alpha Lipoic Acid: ALA is an antioxidant that can relieve oxidative stress, which is attributed as one cause of vitiligo. According to one study from 2003, it was found that the antioxidant ALA improves the response to free radical production and reduces the spread of vitiligo.

L-Phenylalanine: The amino acid l-phenylalanine has been used as a complementary therapy for vitiligo for years. In a study from 2003, it was found that l-phenylalanine boosted the effectiveness of UV therapy for vitiligo patients.

Ginkgo Biloba: Ginkgo biloba is an herb that helps reduce oxidative stress and treats vitiligo with antioxidant power. In a study from 2003, it was found that ginkgo biloba supplements were able to stop the spread of vitiligo in study participants and even boosted re-pigmentation efforts.

Picrorhiza Kurroa: PK is a medicinal plant used to treat immune system malfunctions. In one study from 2001, it was found that supplementing with PK was beneficial in preventing the spread of vitiligo by reducing total body inflammation.

Eat Your Vitamins

The following vitamins have been shown to be beneficial in the natural treatment of vitiligo.

Vitamins for Vitiligo

Vitamin B6: Vitamin B6 is essential for energy, boosting metabolic function, regulating the nervous system, and proper regulation of the immune system. Vitamin B6 is a common treatment for all autoimmune disorders.

Folic Acid and Vitamin B12: Research has found that when vitiligo patients take a combination supplement of vitamin C, vitamin B12, and folic acid, the effectiveness of UVB treatments was increased significantly with 100 percent of patients showing improvement within 8 weeks.

Avoid These Foods and Treat Vitiligo Naturally

Vitiligo is not common, but for those that have it, it can completely change how others see you and may even affect your career and life. If you have vitiligo, a combination treatment of herbal supplements, conventional treatments, and a healthy diet can go a long way toward reversing symptoms of vitiligo. In addition to eating healthy foods, avoid the foods listed above that have been listed vitiligo triggers for even greater benefit.





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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.