Emily’s Vitiligo- part 5
After the frame is arranged and the border to the puzzle is all laid out, it is time to decide where to start. Pick a well recognizable picture on the cover to start on. One holiday we worked on a scene of a small town covered in snow. So I started my work on a house in the center of town that had very distinguishable characteristics. Its coloring was quite different from the rest of the puzzle. Each piece was easily recognizable as belonging to that house. In this chapter I will try to identify all of the bases that you should consider, in order to better understand if you really have vitiligo and what may have caused it.
Causes of vitiligo
What causes vitiligo? Stress or unusual trauma (especially to the head) can cause vitiligo. Diabetes mellitus (adult onset), abnormal thyroid function, Addison’s disease, Pernicious anemia and Alopecia areata (hair loss in patches) are each associated with vitiligo. So you want to rule out each of these diseases and minimize stress. I started asking myself questions, like what do these diseases have in common? What connections are there? Many of the answers pointed towards diet.
Another possibility is that you were exposed to an industrial chemical that affected your pigment.
Genetics and Heredity in vitiligo
Turns out that my grandmother’s hair turned white at age 18. My parent’s hair turned white when they were about 32. My hair is currently turning white and I am 37. I have been studying our family tree and these are the only links I can find to vitiligo that I can find. There are no reports of anyone with milk-white patches of skin.
I think that too often we try to say it is one or the other, environmental or genetic. I think that it could be both. I believe genetics is involved, but it is my belief that environmental factors have more weight. Since the environmental factors are the only ones we as parents can change, the only ones we have some control over, this book will deal exclusively with them. If we tend to have a genetic propensity towards vitiligo or any disease, we need to influence the environmental factors in order to make life easier and symptom free.
Life-style changes can alter a child’s genetic blueprint by many fold. -Charles R. Attwood, M.D., F.A.A.P.
I tend to like Dr. Christine Northrup’s view of disease, as a messenger, telling us it is time to re-evaluate our lives. Maybe it is time to slow down and clean up our act. The fast paced, fast food world we live in can have a tremendous influence on our health.
Go to a dermatologist that uses a Wood’s lamp. This is like a black light and the vitiligo will show up under the lamp. Find a dermatologist that knows vitiligo and can differentiate it from the fungus (tinea versicolor). Early on a friend, who happens to be a doctor, thought Emily’s vitiligo might have been the fungus, so we wasted time putting Selson Blue on it.
Another pigment related disorder is guttate hypomelanosis I have this as well. It is said to be caused by sun damage and looks like small white porcelain spots on the skin.
For further information on making a correct diagnosis Dr. Montes has an excellent chapter in his book. Dr. Montes takes a skin biopsy in his diagnosis, which may be a little traumatic for a child.
Your doctor will probably not recommend this but you should get a blood test for vitamin and mineral levels. See the following table for the vitamin and mineral levels to check for.
If you have been taking vitamins, stop for three months then take the blood test, which is what we did. Emily was tested on 1-3-95 and all of her levels were normal. Even though her levels were normal Dr. Montes recommended we treat her with high doses of vitamins. We didn’t feel he was correct at the time, we figured this was not the problem since her levels were all normal. We were wrong, we have come around to the wisdom of his suggestion. I think that our diet change as well as our juicing vegetables increased our intake of B vitamins, which is essentially the same and probably better than supplementing. As of 3-98 we added folic acid and B12 to our regime. We have also become more systematic about taking our supplements. I remember the first blood test we forced Emily to take, it was terrible. I almost think it would have been better to have waited, taking the vitamins, until she was older. We could have then taken her off of the vitamins for a few months and tested her blood levels. It might not be important to know which one your child is deficient in, right away. One thing to remember when taking any B vitamins, you should also be taking a B complex, a B complex contains a broad spectrum of B vitamins. This is important since B vitamins work together, a lot of one of them might reduce the supply of another. Dr. Montes has found that many of his patients are deficient in one or more of the following vitamins.
|Vitamin or Mineral||Normal Range|
|Vitamin B12||205-700 PG/ML|
|Plasma Folate||2-10 NG/ML|
|RBC Folate||140-340 NG/ML|
|Vitamin A||25-70 UG %|
|Vitamin E||0.6-1.4 MG %|
|Vitamin C||0.2-1.5 MG %|
|Vitamin B-6 A/C||1.0-1.89 A/C|
|thiamin B1 A/C||1.0-1.23 A/C|
|Carotene||79-237 UG %|
|Iron||did not get a normal range from them|
These are the blood levels checked at the University of Alabama at Birmingham for Dr. Montes. If you are interested in more information about the nutritional approach to vitiligo, read Dr. Montes book Vitiligo, Nutritional Therapy. Dr. Montes has also mentioned checking homocysteine levels, high levels of homocysteine is also an indicator of coronary artery disease. Just as high levels of homocysteine indicate CAD, high cholesterol levels indicate the same problem. In Emily’s blood test, her cholesterol levels were high. High homocysteine levels can be corrected with B vitamins, and I believe they help with high cholesterol as well. So have them add a cholesterol and homocysteine check to your blood test. As well as tests to rule out diabetes, thyroid disease, Addison’s disease, the B12 check above will check for pernicious anemia.
I have read that the blood test for thyroid problems is not very accurate. I suggest the morning temperature test or the iodine absorption test. Emily’s blood test for thyroid levels came out normal, but her morning temperature was a little low. Balch describes this test in Prescription for Nutritional Healing. The iodine absorption test was brought to my attention on VSIG. I have paraphrased it here, from the archives of VSIG, thanks to Nuki.
Your thyroid (located at the frontal base of the neck) is a key gland that furnishes energy to every cell in your body. It is dependent on a balance of two trace minerals, manganese and especially iodine. Thyroid does not function proficiently in the absence of adequate iodine.
Applying a tincture of Brown Iodine to your skin is the most efficient (as well as economical) method of determining a metabolic deficiency of iodine. It is a test as well as a treatment. If the brown stain fades in 24 hours (or less), it indicates that iodine is not sufficient to normalize thyroid secretion to the cells. By following these instructions, when the faded brown stain is apparent after 24 hours, your thyroid will more likely be able to function normally.
Use applicator rod to apply iodine to upper thigh or low abdomen in a 3″ square patch. Apply as often as you notice that the iodine has absorbed and the skin is clear, rotating areas of applications each time. For instance, if absorption occurs in 2 hours, reapply then; if it occurs in 4 or 8 or 12 hours, reapply whenever you notice the skin is clear.
When you eventually notice a faded brown stain after 12 hours, check in another 12 hours for the stain. If your skin is clear after 24 hours, continue application once a day until the stain is still apparent after 24 hours. Discontinue application when you observe a faded stain at 24 hours after initial application. The objective of the frequent applications is to accomplish the 24-hour slight stain as quickly as possible, rather than have to continue to apply over several months time. Recheck iodine absorption every 3 months. Repeat the process as above if it fades in 24 hours or less.
It seems this test is for people with skin on which the stain would be more apparent, so I apologize if those of us with darker skin will not be able to use this test. As always, if you have questions, check with your doctor.
Iodine is good for hypothyroidism. A good source of iodine is kelp, a sea vegetable that grows off of the coast of California. Emily reacted well to kelp pills, she used to have fits after school (depressed, cranky, tired), now she seems to be the old happy Emily all day long.
The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease. -Thomas Edison
Diabetes (the body’s inability to maintain blood sugar levels) is influenced by the amount of fat in our diet. My glucose level dropped into the normal range when I shifted to a low-fat vegetarian diet.
Just as in working a puzzle, taking an occasional break can be a healthy thing. Treat yourself to a night out at the movies. Make it a comedy, they say laughter is the best remedy.