Has Paleo helped people who have Vitiligo?

by (38) Updated September 26, 2013 at 7:41 PM Created October 10, 2011 at 4:47 AM

I was diagnosed with Vitiligo about a year and a half ago and the effects of this deficiency at one point has brought my self confidence down big time. Especially because it is primarily on my upper and bottom lips in which I always felt that people were always staring at it and I would always have to explain what it was. I went to see a dermatologist out here in San Diego and I was going for light treatment and was even prescribed all different types of cream medication. I went back home to CT 6 months later and saw another doctor for a second opinion and he advised me that it something I should live more stress-free and to not let it effect me socially. With that said, I dropped the light treatment and medication (mainly due to expensive costs) and started to hit the gym hard.

Up until a 2 months ago, I started Paleo (80/20) and since adapting to the diet of organic vegetables, good meat, chicken and eliminating all the other crap, I noticed today in the mirror that my bottom lip has returned to its original color and just my upper lip is still showing.

Are there any Paleo-ists out there that have struggled with this deficiency and has seen a reverse of this? I'm hoping that in the next 6 months to continue with my new lifestyle change of better eating, exercise and avoiding any stressful situations while maintaining a positive attitude. Knowing there are people in the Paleo community can only inspire and motivate me towards better health! Let me know if you are out there!

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14 Replies

493 · October 10, 2011 at 4:25 PM

Personal experience - I've had vitiligo since I was about 10 years old. It started just on joints, then gradually spread until my hands and feet were void of melanin and the deficiency was creeping up my arms and legs.

I'm not really sure if it's brought on by a wheat sensitivity or by Vitamin D deficiency, but I'm leaning towards the latter. However, I'll never know which helped me - turning to a primal diet, or taking 5000 IU of D3 every day. Thinking of bumping that up to 10K IU.

My hands have regained a lot of color, kind of freckly for the most part, but spreading. Feet, I'm not noticing as much, but I do see that the ankle area is getting darker again where the melanin was going away before.

15261 · July 04, 2012 at 5:32 AM

I "got" vitiligo about 5 years ago, it showed up on my face under my eyes, hands, and a few other areas, and immediately started to spread. It really bothered me, especially on my face. My skin tone kind of changed so it isn't as super noticeable as it was but still really bothers me.

I went paleo about 15 months ago, and also did some vitamin D supplementation. I also stopped wearing sunscreen and made it a point to get more sun exposure. I noticed a big improvement in some inflammation-related issues such as digestion, sore joints and muscles, other minor skin conditions (dry or scaly skin, etc), and hair growth, but up until recently, no change in the vitiligo.

This year so far i have had a lot of sun exposure, and two small patches of vitiligo on my cheeks seem to be re-pigmenting. I have to say i am cautiously optimistic but would be completely thrilled if this is really happening. Small brown dots appeared in the middle of the white areas that are slowly spreading. I also have a round scar about 2 inches across on my elbow from a bicycle crash that was completely white. That too has started to repigment, very slowly filling in.

So at this point i guess i am not totally sure that it is reversing, but it looks like it might be. Looking back, i had quite a few inflammation / autoimmune issues starting about 6-7 years ago among which vitiligo was only one, and they were all slowly getting worse, and the paleo diet pretty much eliminated them all besides vitiligo (so far). So i am hopeful that there is a direct cause and effect.

20 · September 24, 2012 at 7:28 AM

I've had Vitiligo for 16 years. I have it on my face, hands, elbows, knees & private parts. I started eating gluten free bread & taking Vitamin D about 2 months ago. I just noticed that my hands are starting to re-pigment! I was excited, but a little leary until my daughter noticed it, then I knew it was really happening. I'm going to try this Paleo diet too. I'll keep you posted.

10 · December 23, 2012 at 3:02 AM

I've had vitiligo for 33 years and 70% of my body is white. While pregnant two years ago I did mega Vit D supplements (in addition to a number if other supplements)and went grain free. During that time I started to re-pigment so I'm going to try Paleo lifestyle with supplements now. I'm hopeful since it changed once already!

0 · September 26, 2013 at 7:41 PM

I can only speak on my own experience and others that have followed my advice.

I healed myself of Vitiligo and going Paleo/Primal was the foundation of it all. I would say my diet and the positive mind state of knowing I was going to heal did it.

I have before and after pictures on my website: www.howihealedmyselffromvitiligo.com

10 · June 20, 2013 at 7:39 PM

I have a friend that eliminated gluten from her diet and some color was brought back and it slowed the process down.

0 · March 03, 2013 at 11:19 AM

I am vegetarian ( have started having eggs somehow) - paleo contains lot of meat and fish ... can vegetarians follow paleo diet ?

92 · February 11, 2013 at 7:45 PM


I've had vitiligo since birth and about 70-75% of my body is now white.

I'm also gluten and lactose intolerant, and have pernicious anaemia due to the parietal cells in my stomach not producing intrinsic factor for the absorption of B12.

About 12-15 years ago I had PUVA treatment and had some success in re-pigmentation. I haven't noticed any skin changes from dietary changes, the only thing I have noticed is it gets much worse with stress.

It is part of who I am and I now accept it rather than try and change it - this shift in attitude has been the most beneficial improvement to my health and wellbeing.

Peace x

0 · February 11, 2013 at 3:26 AM

I have vitiligo since I was 11 and I'm 52 now, 3 years ago I was diagnosed as gluten intolerant, my blood showed antibodies, and I stopped gluten right away. I stopped the gluten before I got my blood results, as I knew something was poisoning me. I felt better within 24 hours. I read an article from Alesio Fassano, a doctor doing research at University of Maryland where he says that there is a connection between wheat and autoinmunity. Rightfully so, I started repigmenting two years after stopping the gluten. I'm not eating paleo but I know I feel better when I'm grain free, so I try to eat as close to paleo as I can. Yes, supplements help, B12 and Vit.D, I think because wheat damages the intestinal wall, there is a problem with absorption of nutrients. The repigmentation is like a miracle, since I've tried many treatments with no success. Stopping gluten stops the autoinmune response of the body to gluten and it will cure many diseases of that nature, not only vitiligo, I never thought I would live to see that... Good luck to you guys out there, nobody needs grains, they are killing humanity.

0 · August 14, 2012 at 12:48 AM

i have vitiligo for about 2 yrs and it is only on my left leg but it started when i was 8yrs old. when i was 8yrs we thoughtit was just a alergie from the heat so we but cream and cuz it was not that hot it wouldnt really spread so when we put the cream it would come for a few months then go for a few months and that kept on happening and then we moved to jordan 3yrs ago and it was hot but we came in october so it wasnt that hot and then i got hit by a car so my leg stayed in a cast for 5mnths and i wouldnt go anywhere so i wasnt exposed to the sun and then it came back when i took off the cast in the summer but it came very slowly so now it is only on my back leg and the sad thing is i only found out i have vitiligo yesterday and it only is coming slowly cuz i dont go out much and i always wear long pants bcoz my leg is hairy cuz of the cast so i feel embaressed so i alway wear long pants. i dont like that im only 12yrs and i have vitiligo.

0 · November 02, 2011 at 11:49 PM

I was diagnosed with vitiligo a couple of years ago. I'm super pale to begin with and it's only on my hands and wrists so far, so I don't have the same experience as you. But now that you mention it, I'm going to start paying more attention to the spots on my fingers. At the moment, they do look like they've gotten back some pigment as opposed to the stark white they used to be. :D

254 · November 02, 2011 at 10:39 PM

I posted this on another thread about auto immune but it's relevant here too ...

I too have had vitiligo for over five years. 90% of the pigment on my face has gone. Recently however, I have started to see some re-pigmentation on my face. Very small patches across my face have started to come back over the last month or so. I still have a very long way to go but it is a positive small step in the right direction so do not give up hope.

I have been eating paleo probably around 80% of the time since around March this year. But have recently increased my intake of bone broth as well as supplementing with Vit D, Magnesium and omega 3 fish oils. I'm still experimenting.

I've been on medium carbs. I do eat potatoes as I find on very low carb I get dizziness. I still eat the odd chunk of 70% Chocolate and a few glasses of red wine each week as life is for living. The main thing I think is zero grains and as Katherine said, lots of bone broth (is it possible to have too much?).

In terms of protein, I eat meat every day but not at breakfast (blueberry's, apple and coconut oil) seafood/fish at lunch with lots of veg, garlic and butter. And then chicken or beef casseroles (with bone broth) in the evening with more veg (inc potato) and butter.

The spots seem to have come back on my cheeks which always catch the sun first. There seems to be a fine balance between not getting enough sun and then getting too much (which in the past has increased the de-pigmentation). I am going to try a narrowband UVB lamp too to try and accelerate the process now I know it is also healing from the inside (I tried this in the past an it didn't work but my diet was bad).

Interestingly earlier on this year I did think the vitilgo seemed to be getting worse at a quicker rate and I wondered if Paleo was the right thing. But then it seems to have slowed and then reversed in some areas (my right hand is showing some re-pigmentation too).

I'll keep experimenting and seeing what seems to increase the rate and let you know how things go. However we are all different so I can't say what will work for you.

I hope this helps. Good luck!

For more Paleo hacks: http://paleohacks.com/questions/42711/please-talk-to-me-about-autoimmune-flares#ixzz1cafCCZOz

2004 · October 10, 2011 at 7:54 AM

Have you seen this post?


We had been on vitamin D (which cured hers and my intermittent asthma) and omega-3s for half-year but noticed no real changes on the white spots until we went gluten-free. Yes, apparently I've ruined my daughter's life since we stopped wheat and gluten (we are the 'weirdos' in her school and understandably she's horribly embarrassed).The trade-off for ruining her life? Within 4wks of our family going gluten-free, her skin toned completely evened out and ALL the few mild white spots disappeared. Now they only re-appear to a limited extent if my babysitter tries to toxify her or if we give in to her whining for wheat.

(I've only found this post in my google reader, not on the blog itself)

In this post lectins are mentioned:


We now understood that WGA and other lectins have a significant effect on the enzyme transglutaminase (TG). Transglutaminase is an enzyme that modifies every protein we make in our body. How many proteins does TG modify folks? That’s right, all of them. Heart, brain, kidney, reproductive organs—all of them. So, if lectins can cause problems with TG, and if TG modifies every protein in our body, how many things can lectins cause problems with? I hope this is obvious—lectins can and do affect every organ system. Reproductive issues, vitiligo (a skin condition where the individual loses pigmentation in the skin) Huntington’s, narcolepsy—we have found literally hundreds of conditions in which lectins appear to be the causative factor. Not only do we have science to support this, we have observed clinical resolution of these conditions upon the removal of grains, legumes, and dairy. I hate to do this to you, but we have to go back into the intestines.

1316 · October 10, 2011 at 5:06 AM

I don't have personal experience, but Robb Wolf mentions a kid who he saw reverse it completely on a Paleo diet. It's a pretty direct autoimmune thing, so it seems a great candidate for some self-experimentation :) You should take before/after pics and send them into some of the Paleo blogs!

Podcast 61 Transcript

It's pretty rare to begin with, but best of luck finding other Paleo peeps with it!

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