Emily’s Vitiligo- part 12
Abrasions and Scratching
We noticed that often times Emily’s scraped knees were not recovering their pigment. This led us to be concerned that scratching might cause new depigmented areas (others have posted information about scratching on VSIG). We have asked Emily not to scratch and if she feels the need, we apply aloe or a skin conditioner.
This problem seems to have gone away. She now repigments scrapes with no problem.
Pesticides, Herbicides and Fungicides
If you know that animal food sources contain a lot of these substances which you know are potentially harmful, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to go on eating them. -Oliver Alabaster, MD, George Washington University Medical Center, from Foods Can Save Your Life by Neal Barnard, page 28
Our home and property is now a pesticide free zone. Any chemicals we used to use, such as diazinon, dursban, baygone, atrazine, have now been replaced by natural alternatives.
We have planted all native (indigenous) plants, with lots of flowers. We use a thick layer of pine bark to fight the weeds. If a fungus attacks our plants, then it didn’t deserve to be a part of our landscape in the first place.
One good thing is that we don’t have all of those poisons around the house to worry about. Like if the kids get into them.
This is another gray area, I used these chemicals for years then Emily developed vitiligo. Could they have caused it, I believe it is possible. I can remember shaking after spraying my house for cockroaches. My whole body shook uncontrollably for a short period of time, probably less than half an hour. My father had used these same chemicals to keep away roaches when I was young, so I used them. You mix the bottle with a few gallons of water, shake it up and apply it to the baseboards of the house. We would evacuate for a few hours and let the stuff dry and the fumes would dissipate. It is amazing what we would do to our bodies in this country, I would do it again and my body would shake, then I would do it again. I would probably be doing it today if the vitiligo had not opened our eyes. We no longer spray, we keep the house very clean, as well as cleaning the dishes immediately after meals (this has always been the case), well sealed and we use Harris roach tablets. They are made with boric acid, are non-toxic and are very effective. They are also easier to use then chemical sprays. Spraying around the beds in the children’s rooms always concerned me.
For ants we use boric acid mixed with powdered sugar, or Terro syrup (a product that contains borax and syrup).
I had considered using an amino acid treatment on Emily. It involves supplementing with phenylalanine. The following excerpt from Foods Can Save Your Life changed my mind. This is from an interview of Richard Wurtman, MD, from MIT:
Phenylalanine can damage brain cells. High levels of phenylalanine develop in children with a disease called phenylketonuria, or PKU. Profound brain damage is often the result. When we consume aspartame, we are essentially drinking phenylalanine. How much NutraSweet can we consume and still be sure that the phenylalanine levels in the brain are safe? No one knows. Wurtman advises pregnant women and small children to stay off aspartame completely. Phenylalanine affects brain cells directly and interferes with substances in the brain, which are responsible for preventing seizures.
This amino acid is abundant in our diets, is it possible that we are not digesting our protein well enough to break down this acid?
My hair has been lightening since I was about 33. I have noticed friends whose hair regained its color. One friend used colloidal minerals and swore that it was the tin that gave him his color back. Another used the Asian herb ginseng and was successful in regaining his hair color. I work with both of them and they both had remarkable changes in hair color. I tried both of these things and didn’t see any progress. The pictures in Dr. Montes’ book have inspired me to try using PABA to regain the pigment in my hair, July 1998. I have also added a hydrochloric acid supplement after each meal. I will keep you updated as to how this is working.
From Let’s Live February 1996, page 22, in the “Preventative Medicine” section by Richard P. Huemer, MD
TWO QUERIES ON VITILIGO
Q. My 11-year-old son has vitiligo, a rare skin pigmentation problem. It started five years ago, and now is spreading over his body. His pediatric dermatologist says nothing can be done for him. Hydrocortisone has failed. Blood tests have ruled out associated conditions like Addison’s disease and diabetes. Would natural products that are good for the immune system and skin be of any benefit? I was wondering about zinc, garlic, royal jelly and vitamins A, E and C. -J.L., Elysburg, Penn.
Q. I found an old article in “Let’s Live” (Dec. 1977) on vitiligo by the late Paavo Airola, ND It was the most encouraging information I’ve found. I began losing my pigment two years ago after a stubborn infection. According to the article, Dr. Sieve gave injections of PABA with monoethanolamine to 48 cases, and had disappearance of vitiligo in every case. Where can I find liquid PABA? -J.K., Rochelle, Ill.
A. Dr. Airola was probably referring to a report by B.F. Sieve in Virginia Medical Monthly (Jan. 1945; 6-17). Sieve started out by giving 100 mg of PABA three or four times daily, in addition to B complex. Because the effect was slow, injectable monoethanolamine PABA was added, 100 mg twice daily. The results were stated to be striking after six or seven months of treatment.
Oral PABA is available in this dosage range, but watch out for potential side effects like skin rash, loss of appetite and liver toxicity with high doses. To get the injectable form, you need three things: a cooperative doctor who will write a prescription, a compounding pharmacist who will prepare the injectable solution and a copy of Dr. Sieve’s original article for both the doctor and the pharmacist.
Other nutrients that have been tried include copper and the amino acid l-phenylalanine. The phenylalanine gets converted by the body into l-tyrosine, another amino acid. Tyrosine has many roles in the body, one of which is to become skin pigment (melanin) through the action of a special enzyme that requires copper.
In a 1985 study, doctors treated patients with doses of phenylalanine in the 3- to 4-gm range, and then exposed the patients to ultraviolet light shortly after the dose. They reported “reasonable” repigmentation after four months of this.
Low stomach acid may be a factor in vitiligo. Of the several ways of testing for this condition, I prefer the radio telemetry pill (“Heidelberg capsule”), which broadcasts pH information from inside the stomach to the outside world. Betaine hydrochloride or glutamic acid hydrochloride are supplements to help correct a low-acid problem.
I don’t see why multiple vitamins wouldn’t help some, but I’d suggest going easy on zinc, since it antagonizes copper.