- by Dr Vivekananda Bhat
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- Feb 09 2017
White Patches on mouth
What is vitiligo?
Vitiligo is a condition that causes the loss of skin color. This occurs in blotches and the extent and loss of color may vary. It can affect different parts of the body including the inner part of the mouth or hair. Melanin is the compound that determines the color of the skin and vitiligo occurs when the cells responsible for melanin die or stop producing melanin.
What causes it?
There are many factors which can cause the cells to stop producing melanin like:
- Immune system disorder.
- It may also be congenitally inherited.
- Sometimes the skin may react to sun rays or chemicals and may cause it.
Importance of Vitamin D:
Vitamin D is very helpful to the immune system. It helps affect the function of as many as 1000 genes in the body, many of which are related to the immune system. Besides having anti-inflammatory properties, it is also an essential component for the build-up of melanin.
How can it help in Vitiligo?
Modern research shows that people suffering from vitiligo have extremely low levels of vitamin D in their body as compared to others. People with autoimmune disease (which is a major cause of vitiligo) also have very low levels of vitamin D. The researchers also found that there is a correlation between the vitamin D levels and the duration of disease.
The research is still in its nascent stage and no conclusions can be drawn from it, but whatever limited evidence is available, vitamin D may be the gateway to treating vitiligo.
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