Emily’s Vitiligo- part 9
Of all cancers, colon cancer is the one which is most characteristic of modern Western culture. Colorectal cancer is always rare amongst primitive people. Everything points to diet, and the most important things in diet are fat and fiber. -Denis Burkitt, MD
While we are on the subject of constipation let’s talk about bowel movements. Here are Eric’s rules to live by; rules of good health, your movements should occur two to three times a day. After all, you eat two to three times each day. A two foot by two inch comfortable and pain-free movement should not be a surprise, no-urgency, no brown racing stripes in the underwear, no anal itching, not excessively smelly, no diarrhea or constipation, a one wiper. Of course all of this would rule out Olestra (the fake fat put out by Monsanto, also known as Olean) with its warnings of, anal leakage and fecal urgency, Yuk.
If you don’t turn your compost pile it will really stink, that is an indication of rotting putrefied matter, and you are supposed to turn it often. If your bowel movement smells really bad then you have a problem with putrefying and rotting matter. This can be corrected by getting more fiber in your diet; this decreases transit time, thus increasing the frequency that you turn your internal compost pile. Death begins in the colon, eat an apple a day and make sure you stay away from refined white flour. Get some fiber and acidophilus in your life. Increase the percentage of raw and unprocessed foods that you eat. It might help to squat on the toilet or put a stool in front of the toilet to raise your feet off of the ground and put you in the proper position. A colon cleansing might help if you have consistent complaints. Your skin is an eliminatory organ, if the rest of the elimination system is backed up or not working smoothly; the skin has to handle more of the load. If your skin is dealing with extra toxins, what possibility will there be for your skin to heal itself? One last point, hemorrhoids are not a vegetarian disease.
You should see a minimum of one clear urination per day, if not then you should be drinking more water. That’s right, just plain old ordinary water, not soda with its 9 teaspoons of sugar per can. Can you imagine sitting down and eating 9 to 12 teaspoons of sugar at once? The section about phenylalanine will show you why NutraSweet should also be avoided. Distilled water is our preferred choice.
These are all things that can be passed on from generation to generation; they are a gift from me to you. They are important things to talk about even though many of us would rather not. 🙂 These are not things that have to happen overnight. It is just movement (no pun) in the right direction we need. Check back occasionally to see how you are doing.
We use natural light, and we tend to wear hats more often than we used too. When in the sun, we only stay out for about half an hour to an hour then take a break inside. There is always a fun inside activity to fill a half-hour. This is of course effected by the time of day, we really try to avoid the mid day sun. At times when she might get too much sun, I cut an aloe leaf off of one of our plants and slather it all over her pink areas. This keeps her from peeling and helps tan. Even in Florida we can’t get sun all year round, so we plan on visiting a tanning salon in the cooler weeks.
Everyone on the planet seems to be concerned about skin cancer, specifically melanoma. On VSIG we have heard that vitiligo patients may have more of a chance for skin cancer. Then we hear that they have less of a chance to develop melanoma. Which is it? In our concern for skin cancer we eat low on the food chain, this also reduces your chance for skin cancer. When you eat lots of fruits and veggies you increase your intake of anti-oxidants, which help fight off the free radicals that, cause so much damage. This also reduces the saturated fat we eat, which means we get more oxygen to our tissues than the average American.
Anyone with vitiligo and concerned about skin cancer should read this:
Researchers have found that a low fat diet may decrease the likelihood of skin cancer. Subjects fed a low fat diet (20 percent of calories from fat) had 70 percent fewer appearances of a skin lesion associated with increased risk for skin cancer compared with subjects consuming the usual American diet of 36 percent of calories from fat. “The International Journal of Cancer” 1995; 62:165-169
So, we use sunlight to help our daughter repigment. We do not use sunscreen unless we can’t get out of the sun for some reason. This might be because of a long day at a local spring where we don’t anticipate there being a lot of shade. Emily also has a few different bathing suits so that different areas of her skin get exposed. She had a little resistance at first to a bikini, but now she loves them. She went on a special shopping trip with her Mom and sister, and that’s all it took.
This is one of the most confusing parts of the whole vitiligo puzzle to me. It seems (to me) the confusion comes from the conventional PUVA therapy. The doctor prescribes a specific amount of psoralen and UVA. She/he doesn’t want you to get anymore sun than what was prescribed so they tell you to stay out of the sun and wear sun block. The doctor probably tells you to stay away from foods that contain a lot of psoralen as well (I only say this because I seem to remember reading it somewhere).
IMHO, if you are not on PUVA you need to get sun light to repigment. So… it doesn’t make sense to overdo it on sunscreen. Don’t go out and get burned, but get some daily exposure. If you are going to be out for a long time, use sunscreen. Planned interruption or breaks in outdoor activity, would be the better option. Time enough to allow your skin to recover from its previous sun exposure.
Emily doesn’t say much about her vitiligo, although recently I upset her. I didn’t mean to, she got a little too much sun one day so I told her that it could cause vitiligo (trauma to the skin). You have to walk a tight rope; you want sun to repigment, but not enough to burn and cause the vitiligo to come back. Later that night Susie told me Emily cried a little about it, that she didn’t want to get any more vitiligo. So the next morning I talked to her about it. I told her about the tight rope thing and I also told her that because of everything we have done, the problem may have gone away. By that I mean, trauma like sunburn may not cause her to lose her pigment, because her body may be able to handle it better. (I am not saying that she was ever affected by trauma, just that in general trauma affects some people with loss of pigment. We just try to avoid anything that could cause vitiligo.)
The following is information from an August 12, 1996 article called The Treatment Of Children With Vitiligo by Aaron B. Lerner, M.D. Department of Dermatology Yale University School of Medicine. I really like the way he describes this whole issue of sun exposure.
The child should be exposed to as much sunlight as possible without getting sunburn. Ultraviolet light is a mitogen for pigment cells. That is, light stimulates pigments cells to divide so that new cells can be made. Whether this action of light on pigment cells is direct or indirect is not known. We are walking a tightrope here because sunburn is trauma to the skin, and the normal pigmented skin in a person with vitiligo is easily depigmented when traumatized. In fact, it is common for a patient to state that his/her vitiligo first appeared after sunburn. Following a 15- to 60-minute stay in sunlight, a light protective preparation or sunscreen cream or lotion of SPF 8 or higher should then be applied to the skin to stop the further action of light. This controlled, limited exposure to light will most likely avoid predisposing the child to significant photo-aging of skin.
Feeling grouchy? Weak or anxious? Sleeping poorly? You could be deficient in folic acid. Folic acid is important for healthy skin and for the nervous system. It rebuilds damaged DNA. Often times vitiligo follows along areas of the skin where bundles of nerves branch out to the skin from the spinal column. There is a theory that the nerve cells are improperly functioning and damaging the melanocytes.
Thus the depigmentation often strikes places that are richly supplied by nerves. -Leopoldo Montes, MD
We have this handy kitchen reference card that contains the following information about folic acid. From the Nutritional Awareness Guide by Legion of Light, The benefits and whole-food sources of vitamins and minerals. Legion of Light Products PO Box 1557 Mount Shasta, CA 96067 (916) 938-1461
Vitamin: Folic Acid (B complex) (Destroyed by heat)
Functions in the body: Necessary for proper brain function. Essential for mental and emotional health. Improves lactation. Helps prevent anemia. Essential to the formation of red blood cells. Promotes healthy skin. Aids in the performance of the liver. Needed for the division of body cells. Aids in protein metabolism. Important for the production of the nucleic acids RNA and DNA. Aids the intestinal tract. Enhances circulation.
Finest food sources: Alfalfa sprouts, Apricot, Asparagus, Avocados, Beans (sprouted and whole), Beet Greens, Broccoli, Buckwheat sprouts, Cantaloupe, Cauliflower, Citrus Fruits, Comfrey Leaf (herb), Cucumber, Ginseng (Korean), Grains (sprouted and whole), Greens (leafy), Kelp, Peas, Soybeans (sprouted and whole), Spinach, Spirulina, Sprouts (all kinds), Wheat-germ, Wheat-grass
This is something I received from the National Vitiligo Foundation Inc., during the summer of 1998:
From a Journal Watch for Dermatology (Published by the Massachusetts Medical Society, publishers of The New England Journal of Medicine and Journal Watch): Treatment of Vitiligo with Oral Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid.
Vitiligo rarely improves with current therapies. A previous report found low levels of folic acid and vitamin B12 in some patients with vitiligo and a response to aggressive replacement therapy. Prompted by that report, investigators in Sweden conducted a non-blinded, uncontrolled study of oral folic acid and vitamin B12 supplementation in 100 patients with vitiligo.
The patients ranged in age from 9 to 79 years; 67 were women, and 64 had active disease. Vitiligo had been present for 1 to 43 years, with the age of onset ranging from 1 to 65 years. Patients were treated with tablets containing 1 mg of vitamin B12 and 5 mg of folic acid twice daily, which they were instructed to take for 3 months or more. They were encouraged to seek UVB exposure throughout the year. Baseline vitamin B12 and folate levels were normal in the subgroup tested.
Patients were ultimately treated for 1 to 12 months. Repigmentation to some degree occurred in 52 patients, mostly in sun-exposed areas. The best predictors of success were age less than 26 years, vitiligo duration less than 10 years, treatment for 7 to 12 months, and a commitment to UVB exposure.
This was the article that finally convinced my dermatologist to give Emily vitamins.
Here is something I read in Good Medicine (Spring/Summer 1998) put out by PCRM:
“People suffering from depression often are low in folic acid, a B-vitamin found in vegetables and
beans, according to psychiatrist Jonathan E. Alpert of Harvard Medical School.”
The more I read about depression and vitiligo, the more I find circumstantial evidence that folic acid and St. Johns Wort should be helpful for both problems.
Folic acid is very safe, it is even given to neonatal children.