What to eat for vitiligo

Living with the unknowns that come with a vitiligo diagnosis can be socially and emotionally challenging. If you’ve been looking for ways to optimize your diet to help manage your condition or prevent progression, know that you’re not alone.

Vitiligo is a disease in which pigment-producing cells called melanocytes die, leaving a patch of skin that lacks color. While there is no specific diet recommended for vitiligo, eating a nutrient-dense diet rich in antioxidants, beta-carotene, and phytochemicals may be beneficial because these components support a healthy immune system.

However, it is important to note the lack of clinical studies on special diets in vitiligo patients. Preliminary research suggests that dietary gluten may contribute to the development of the condition, but specific vitiligo diets have not been reviewed.

At the end of the day, it’s important to know that there is no one “Vitiligo diet,” but adopting a careful, balanced approach to eating is a good place to start.

This article will discuss the research behind different diets for vitiligo, including recommended foods, what to limit, and why a nutrient-dense diet is important.


Since vitiligo is an autoimmune disease, eating a balanced, antioxidant-rich diet can promote a healthy immune system and complement your ongoing treatment.

Research has shown that vitiligo is triggered by stress on the body’s melanin-producing cells, resulting in depigmentation. Oxidative stress (disrupting the balance between the production and accumulation of oxygen-containing molecules) can further target these cells.

According to a 2021 review, researchers found that oral antioxidant therapy may be beneficial for skin conditions including vitiligo.

The review concluded that antioxidants, especially vitamin E, combined with phototherapy (using UV light) may help people with vitiligo. Notably, this review also highlights the need for broader research.

Other indirect benefits of following a nutrient-dense diet include a reduced risk of chronic disease, improved digestion, improved immunity, weight control, and increased longevity.

Addressing nutritional deficiencies

Nutritional deficiencies do not cause vitiligo. According to the Vitiligo Research Foundation, many people with the condition are more likely to be deficient in vitamin D, vitamin B12, folic acid, copper, and zinc.

The foundation acknowledges the lack of rigorous research to support dietary recommendations or supplements for those who may be nutrient deficient. Instead, they encouraged people with vitiligo to eat a nutrient-dense diet and avoid following special diets that could exacerbate nutrient deficiencies.

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Recently published in Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine Twenty-six studies were looked at to find any evidence of dietary changes and the use of natural supplements to treat vitiligo.

Overall, the review did not acknowledge any specific dietary recommendations, but suggested that phenylalanine, ginkgoand Hydra Combining traditional treatments may improve symptoms.

The Vitiligo Research Foundation also recommends that, ginkgo and Hydra May be helpful when combined with ongoing treatment to prevent disease recurrence.

Another small study found that high-dose vitamin D supplements may increase hyperpigmentation in people with vitiligo who are deficient in this vitamin.

The effectiveness of long-term high-dose supplementation remains unclear.

It is important to speak with your healthcare provider to determine if natural supplements are suitable for you to correct any nutritional deficiencies or supplement your existing therapy.

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how does this work

There is no specific dietary plan recommended for the treatment of vitiligo. Still, most studies recommend eating a nutrient-dense, antioxidant-rich diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

It is important to maintain a healthy diet throughout your life to reduce your risk of chronic disease and promote overall health.

what to eat

Just like there is no standard vitiligo diet, there are no medically approved foods to eat or avoid this condition. Dietary recommendations for people with vitiligo include a nutrient-dense diet.

Since vitiligo is associated with inflammation, many people recommend avoiding pro-inflammatory foods. Following an overall healthy diet should limit foods that can trigger inflammation.

Recommended food

    • whole grains
    • lean poultry
    • Fatty fish (salmon, tuna)
    • Egg
    • nut
    • seed
    • Beans, Lentils and Beans
    • fresh fruits and vegetables
    • healthy fats
    • low-fat dairy or fortified dairy substitutes

restrict food

    • refined carbohydrates
    • sugar
    • Processed or fast food
    • fried food
    • Sweets and Desserts
    • processed meat
    • Alcohol
    • Margarine, butter and lard
    • red meat

Some experts recommend following a plant-based diet because it is rich in antioxidants.

While a plant-based diet can provide general health benefits, there is no strong evidence that this diet directly benefits people with vitiligo.

Instead, focus on a balanced diet that includes antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats to support a healthy immune system. Options include:

  • Fruits and vegetables: Focus on eating antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables. Choose non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, beets, carrots, cauliflower, green beans, and spinach. Eat more fruits such as berries, oranges, melons and apples. (Darker, darker-colored fruits and vegetables generally contain more antioxidants.)
  • Whole grains: Try to limit or avoid refined grains, as these often deprive whole grains of key nutrients. Eat grains and foods such as brown rice, whole-grain pasta, oats, and quinoa.
  • Protein: The best sources of protein are lean meats, including skinless chicken and turkey, eggs and legumes like lentils, peas, and beans. Fatty fish like salmon and tuna are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which protect the heart and reduce inflammation. Limit processed meats such as hot dogs, salami, and lunch meats. Try to limit your red meat intake to no more than twice a week, and try incorporating more plant-based proteins like beans.
  • Processed foods: Eating too many processed foods can cause inflammation and often have little nutritional value. Focus on enjoying small amounts of desserts, sugar-sweetened beverages, and prepackaged foods.
  • Drinks: The best drink is boiled water. If you choose to drink other beverages, avoid alcohol and beverages with added sugar, such as juices, sports drinks, and sodas. Choose unsweetened tea, soda, and unsweetened coffee.
  • Healthy Fats: It is important to eat enough healthy fats as part of a balanced diet. Foods like avocados, chia seeds, and nut butters are all great sources of healthy fats.

Recommended time

Regular meals and snacks throughout the day can help nourish your body and keep you feeling full throughout the day. Consider eating three meals and two snacks a day. If you like small meals, this can be divided into five to six small meals per day.

cooking skills

Whole foods are the foundation of a healthy diet. Choose fresh fruits and vegetables whenever possible, and choose baked, grilled, or grilled foods rather than fried.

Limit using too much oil when cooking and avoid heavy cream and butter in recipes.

Instead of cooking with salt, use fresh herbs and spices to add flavor and antioxidants to your meals. You can also use a low-fat marinade before grilling, grilling, or roasting food.

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Changing your diet can be scary. Especially when many events in life are food-focused. It’s important to give yourself grace throughout the process and know that change takes time.

Taking a whole-foods approach while limiting fried or processed foods will improve your overall health.

general nutrition

Based on the latest research, you can rest assured that you don’t need to remove any food groups or restrict certain foods from your diet to optimize vitiligo management.

Research shows that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, healthy fats and dairy products can benefit your overall health regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or current health status. It will also provide fiber and antioxidants for added benefits.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a healthy, balanced diet should include:

  • Fruits and vegetables: half of your plate
  • Carbs: a quarter of your plate
  • Protein: a quarter of your plate
  • Dairy or fortified soy substitutes: 1 cup with meals

Find out your recommended dietary needs

You can design a custom MyPlate meal plan that shows your daily calorie intake and how much you should eat from each food group.

Support and Community

Living with vitiligo can be frustrating. You may find yourself needing support outside of your normal health care provider team. In addition to your family and friends, joining a support group is another great way to cope.

You can find a vitiligo support group through your healthcare provider or a nonprofit organization like Vitiligo Support International. There are also online community support groups on Facebook and other social platforms.

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Vitiligo diet vs other diets

Since there is no set diet for vitiligo, it is understandable that many people will try other diets to see if their symptoms improve. According to the Vitiligo Association, a gluten-free diet may be beneficial because it reduces foods that can cause inflammation. Additionally, some people report temporary relief of symptoms after removing gluten from their diet.

gluten free diet

Both vitiligo and celiac disease are considered autoimmune diseases. People with celiac disease are intolerant to gluten and must choose a diet that strictly excludes gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.

People with vitiligo may be at greater risk for celiac disease, a study suggests. The researchers believe that this may be why some people with vitiligo see improvements on a gluten-free diet.

Additionally, one study looked at a young woman with vitiligo who removed gluten from her diet and saw early and extensive repigmentation of facial lesions.

She made the biggest gains in the first month and noticed stability in the fourth month.

While it’s reasonable to try to remove gluten from your diet, research doesn’t prove it’s necessary. In addition to being expensive for gluten-free products, completely eliminating gluten from your diet can be very challenging.

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Currently, there is no diet for vitiligo. Since there is no strong evidence to support major dietary changes, elimination of any particular food or food group may not be necessary. Instead, focus on eating a balanced, antioxidant-rich diet rich in fruits and vegetables to support your overall health.

If you have any questions about the type of diet to follow or whether starting a supplement would be beneficial, talk with your healthcare team.

VigorTip words

Treating vitiligo is difficult because much of the condition remains uncertain. Currently, there is not enough evidence to link a certain diet to improvements in vitiligo symptoms. A healthy diet recommended for the general population may give you the most benefit and complement your ongoing treatment.

Be sure to meet with your healthcare provider before making any major changes to your diet or starting supplements.

If you have any questions about a personalized meal plan, consider talking with a registered dietitian. To find a nutritionist in your area, you can visit The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website and search under Find a Nutrition Expert.