Nutrition – can it make any difference?

A common question that people with vitiligo ask is whether their diet makes any difference to their skin condition.

Current research suggests that changing the food you eat is not going to cure your vitiligo.   However, this may well help if you are not eating a healthy, varied, balanced diet at the moment.  You need to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables (at least five servings per day), as well as a variety of starchy foods and proteins.  Try to cut down on fatty, rich foods and processed foods, which have fewer nutrients.  A healthy diet, including drinking plenty of water, is good for you generally, not just your skin!

Such a diet is needed to give you a good supply of the nutrients which promote healthy skin and are involved in the pigmentation process:

  • Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Beta carotene
  • Minerals (copper, iron and zinc)  

Unfortunately there are no known particular foods which will cure vitiligo and there are none which will make it worse either.  It will not help to avoid particular food groups.  It is not true (as has been suggested in some cultures) that avoiding white foods can lead to an improvement in vitiligo.  White foods include dairy products, which are a good source of calcium, particularly important for young children to develop strong bones and teeth.  The body is complex, requiring a wide, balanced range of nutrients to maintain it in a healthy state.  These nutrients need each other to function effectively.  This is why picking out one type of food, vitamin or mineral to take as a supplement is not usually helpful.