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    Vitiligo (Holistic)

    Vitiligo (Holistic)

    About This Condition

    White spots on the skin may be the visible signs of vitiligo, a disorder that causes skin depigmentation. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.
    • Go for the ginkgo

      Improve repigmentation by taking 40 mg of a standardized extract of the herb Ginkgo biloba three times a day

    • Discover L-phenylalanine

      Improve repigmentation of skin by taking 50 mg of this nutritional supplement for every 2.2 pounds of body weight on a daily basis, in conjunction with ultraviolet light exposure

    • Check out khella

      Increase the sun sensitivity of the pigmenting skin cells with this herb; take an extract delivering a daily amount of 120 to 160 mg of khellin

    About

    About This Condition

    Vitiligo is a type of skin discoloration characterized by progressively widening areas of depigmented (very white) skin.

    The depigmentation that occurs with this condition is associated with the local destruction of melanocytes, the cells that produce the pigment that darkens the skin, called melanin. Vitiligo affects 1?4% of the world?s population.1

    Symptoms

    Symptoms of vitiligo include decreased or absent pigmentation in localized or diffuse areas of the skin. Hair in these areas is typically white, and the skin tends to sunburn more easily.

    Holistic Options

    People with vitiligo have occasionally improved using hypnosis along with other treatments.2

    Supplements

    What Are Star Ratings?

    Our proprietary ?Star-Rating? system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

    For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

    3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.

    2 Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.

    1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

    Supplement Why
    2 Stars
    Alpha Lipoic Acid
    Refer to label instructions
    In one study, supplementing with a combination of antioxidants including alpha-lipoic acid increased the effectiveness of ultraviolet light therapy.
    In a double-blind trial, supplementation with antioxidants for two months before and for six months during treatment with narrowband ultraviolet B light increased the effectiveness of the ultraviolet light therapy. The antioxidant supplement contained daily 100 mg of alpha-lipoic acid, 100 mg of vitamin C, 40 IU of vitamin E, and 100 mg of cysteine.3
    2 Stars
    Folic Acid
    Refer to label instructions
    Studies have shown folic acid to be effective at skin repigmentation in people with vitiligo.

    A clinical report describes the use of vitamin supplements in the treatment of vitiligo.4 Folic acid and/or vitamin B12 and vitamin C levels were abnormally low in most of the 15 people studied. Supplementation with large amounts of folic acid (1?10 mg per day), along with vitamin C (1 gram per day) and intramuscular vitamin B12 injections (1,000 mcg every two weeks), produced marked repigmentation in eight people. These improvements became apparent after three months, but complete repigmentation required one to two years of continuous supplementation. In another study of people with vitiligo, oral supplementation with folic acid (10 mg per day) and vitamin B12 (2,000 mcg per day), combined with sun exposure, resulted in some repigmentation after three to six months in about half of the participants.5 This combined regimen was more effective than either vitamin supplementation or sun exposure alone.

    2 Stars
    Ginkgo
    120 mg daily of a standardized extract
    Taking ginkgo may help improve repigmentation of skin.

    In a double-blind study of 52 people with slowly spreading vitiligo, supplementation with Ginkgo biloba extract (standardized to contain 24% ginkgoflavonglycosides), in the amount of 40 mg three times per day for up to six months, resulted in marked to complete repigmentation in 40% of cases, compared with only 9% among those receiving a placebo.6 Ginkgo was also found to be effective in a preliminary trial.7

    2 Stars
    Khella
    120 to 160 mg of a khellin herbal extract daily
    Supplementing with khella may increase the sun sensitivity of pigmenting skin cells.

    An extract from khella (Ammi visnaga) may be useful in repigmenting the skin of people with vitiligo. Khellin, the active constituent, appears to work like psoralen drugs?it stimulates repigmentation of the skin by increasing sensitivity of remaining melanocytes to sunlight. Studies have used 120?160 mg of khellin per day.8

    2 Stars
    Phenylalanine
    50 mg daily per 2.2 lbs (1 kg) of body weight, with ultraviolet light exposure
    L-phenylalanine, in conjunction with ultraviolet light exposure, may improve repigmentation of skin.

    Supplementation with the amino acid L-phenylalanine (LPA) may have value when combined with ultraviolet (UVA) light therapy . Several clinical trials, including one double-blind trial, indicated that LPA (50 mg per 2.2 pounds of body weight per day?3,500 mg per day for a 154-pound person?or less) increased the extent of repigmentation induced by UVA therapy. LPA alone also produced a more modest repigmentation in some people.9 A study of vitiligo in children reported that LPA plus UVA was an effective treatment in a majority of the children.10

    A group of Spanish doctors reported on their experience using LPA over a six-year period. Some of the 171 people with vitiligo received LPA (50 or 100 mg per 2.2 pounds body weight per day) for up to three years. Between April and October of each year, participants also applied a 10% LPA gel, prior to exposing their skin to the sun for 30 minutes. Some improvement was seen in 83% of participants, and the results were rated as good in 57% (75% improvement or better).11

    2 Stars
    Picrorhiza
    400 and 1,500 mg of powdered rhizome
    In one trial, picrorhiza, in combination with the drug methoxsalen and sun exposure, speeded recovery in people with vitiligo.

    In preliminary trial, Picrorhiza , in combination with the drug methoxsalen and sun exposure, was reported to hasten recovery in people with vitiligo compared with use of methoxsalen and sun exposure alone.12 Between 400 and 1,500 mg of powdered, encapsulated picrorhiza per day has been used in a variety of studies.

    2 Stars
    Vitamin B12
    Refer to label instructions
    Studies have shown vitamin B12 to be effective at skin repigmentation in people with vitiligo.

    A clinical report describes the use of vitamin supplements in the treatment of vitiligo.13 Folic acid and/or vitamin B12 and vitamin C levels were abnormally low in most of the 15 people studied. Supplementation with large amounts of folic acid (1?10 mg per day), along with vitamin C (1 gram per day) and intramuscular vitamin B12 injections (1,000 mcg every two weeks), produced marked repigmentation in eight people. These improvements became apparent after three months, but complete repigmentation required one to two years of continuous supplementation. In another study of people with vitiligo, oral supplementation with folic acid (10 mg per day) and vitamin B12 (2,000 mcg per day), combined with sun exposure, resulted in some repigmentation after three to six months in about half of the participants.14 This combined regimen was more effective than either vitamin supplementation or sun exposure alone.

    1 Star
    Betaine Hydrochloride
    Refer to label instructions
    Lack of stomach acid may play a role in vitiligo. Supplementing with betaine HCL may help repigment the skin.

    In one early report, lack of stomach acid (achlorhydria) was associated with vitiligo. Supplementation with dilute hydrochloric acid after meals resulted in gradual repigmentation of the skin (after one year or more).15 Hydrochloric acid, or its more modern counterpart betaine HCl , should be taken only under the supervision of a doctor.

    1 Star
    PABA
    Refer to label instructions
    PABA, a compound commonly found in B-complex vitamins, has been shown to repigment skin affected by vitiligo.

    An early report described the use of PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid)?a compound commonly found in B-complex vitamins ?for vitiligo. Consistent use of 100 mg of PABA three or four times per day, along with an injectable form of PABA and a variety of hormones tailored to individual needs, resulted, in many cases, in repigmentation of areas affected by vitiligo.16

    1 Star
    Vitamin B-Complex
    Refer to label instructions
    PABA, a compound commonly found in B-complex vitamins, has been shown to repigment skin affected by vitiligo.

    An early report described the use of PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid)?a compound commonly found in B-complex vitamins ?for vitiligo. Consistent use of 100 mg of PABA three or four times per day, along with an injectable form of PABA and a variety of hormones tailored to individual needs, resulted, in many cases, in repigmentation of areas affected by vitiligo.17

    1 Star
    Vitamin C
    Refer to label instructions
    Vitamin C has been shown to be effective at skin repigmentation in people with vitiligo.

    A clinical report describes the use of vitamin supplements in the treatment of vitiligo.18 Folic acid and/or vitamin B12 and vitamin C levels were abnormally low in most of the 15 people studied. Supplementation with large amounts of folic acid (1?10 mg per day), along with vitamin C (1 gram per day) and intramuscular vitamin B12 injections (1,000 mcg every two weeks), produced marked repigmentation in eight people. These improvements became apparent after three months, but complete repigmentation required one to two years of continuous supplementation. In another study of people with vitiligo, oral supplementation with folic acid (10 mg per day) and vitamin B12 (2,000 mcg per day), combined with sun exposure, resulted in some repigmentation after three to six months in about half of the participants.19 This combined regimen was more effective than either vitamin supplementation or sun exposure alone.

    1 Star
    Vitamin D
    Refer to label instructions
    When used in combination with sun exposure, a form of vitamin D called calcipotriol may be effective in stimulating repigmentation in children with vitiligo.

    When used topically in combination with sun exposure, a pharmaceutical form of vitamin D , called calcipotriol, may be effective in stimulating repigmentation in children with vitiligo. In a preliminary study, children applied a cream containing calcipotriol daily and exposed themselves to sunlight for 10?15 minutes the following morning.20 After 11 months, marked to complete repigmentation occurred in 55% of the children, moderate repigmentation occurred in 22%, and little or no improvement was seen in 22%. None of the children developed new areas of vitiligo. The first evidence of repigmentation occurred within 6 to 12 weeks in the majority of the children. All participants tolerated the cream well, with approximately 17% complaining of mild, transient skin irritation. Calcipotriol is a prescription medication to be used only under the supervision of a doctor. It is not known whether vitamin D as a dietary supplement has any effect on vitiligo.

    References

    1. Ortonne JP, Bose SK. Vitiligo: where do we stand? Pigment Cell Res 1993;6:61?72.

    2. Shenefelt PD. Hypnosis in dermatology. Arch Dermatol 2000;136:393?9.

    3. Dell'Anna ML, Mastrofrancesco A, Sala R, et el. Antioxidants and narrow band-UVB in the treatment of vitiligo: a double-blind placebo controlled trial. Clin Exp Dermatol 2007;32:631?6.

    4. Montes LF, Diaz ML, Lajous J, Garcia NJ. Folic acid and vitamin B12 in vitiligo: a nutritional approach. Cutis 1992;50:39?42.

    5. Juhlin L, Olsson MJ. Improvement of vitiligo after oral treatment with vitamin B12 and folic acid and the importance of sun exposure. Acta Derm Venereol 1997;77:460?2.

    6. Parsad D, Pandhi R, Juneja A. Effectiveness of oral Ginkgo biloba in treating limited, slowly spreading vitiligo. Clin Exp Dermatol 2003;28:285?7.

    7. Szczurko O, Shear N, Taddio A, Boon H. Ginkgo biloba for the treatment of vitilgo vulgaris: an open label pilot clinical trial. BMC Complement Altern Med 2011;11:21.

    8. Abdel-Fattah, Aboul-Enein MN, Wassel GM, El-Menshawi BS. An approach to the treatment of vitiligo by khellin. Dermatologica 1982;165:136?40.

    9. Siddiqui AH, Stolk LM, Bhaggoe R, et al. L-phenylalanine and UVA irradiation in the treatment of vitiligo. Dermatology 1994;188:215?8.

    10. Schulpis CH, Antoniou C, Michas T, Strarigos J. Phenylalanine plus ultraviolet light: preliminary report of a promising treatment for childhood vitiligo. Pediatr Dermatol 1989;6:332?5.

    11. Camacho F, Mazuecos J. Treatment of vitiligo with oral and topical phenylalanine: 6 years of experience. Arch Dermatol 1999;135:216?7.

    12. Bedi KL, Zutshi U, Chopra CL, Amla V. Picrorhiza kurroa, an Ayurvedic herb, may potentiate photochemotherapy in vitiligo. J Ethnopharmacol 1989;27:347?52.

    13. Montes LF, Diaz ML, Lajous J, Garcia NJ. Folic acid and vitamin B12 in vitiligo: a nutritional approach. Cutis 1992;50:39?42.

    14. Juhlin L, Olsson MJ. Improvement of vitiligo after oral treatment with vitamin B12 and folic acid and the importance of sun exposure. Acta Derm Venereol 1997;77:460?2.

    15. Francis HW. Achlorhydria as an etiological factor in vitiligo, with report of four cases. Nebraska State Med J 1931;16(1):25?6.

    16. Sieve BF. Further investigations in the treatment of vitiligo. Virginia Med Monthly 1945;Jan:6?17.

    17. Sieve BF. Further investigations in the treatment of vitiligo. Virginia Med Monthly 1945;Jan:6?17.

    18. Montes LF, Diaz ML, Lajous J, Garcia NJ. Folic acid and vitamin B12 in vitiligo: a nutritional approach. Cutis 1992;50:39?42.

    19. Juhlin L, Olsson MJ. Improvement of vitiligo after oral treatment with vitamin B12 and folic acid and the importance of sun exposure. Acta Derm Venereol 1997;77:460?2.

    20. Parsad D, Saini R, Nagpal R. Calcipotriol in vitiligo: A preliminary study. Pediatr Dermatol 1999;16:317?20.

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