Something Can Be Done For Vitiligo
The following information is from pages 1149 through 1151, Chapter 255, found in The Encyclopedia of Common Diseases by the staff of Prevention Magazine which included Charles Gerras, E. John Hanna, John Feltman, Joan Bingham, Joseph Golant and Anne Moyer. Copyright 1976 by Rodale Press. Printed in 1983.
Chapter 255. Something Can Be Done For Vitiligo
“There is little discussion of the disease in medical textbooks, except for the detailed descriptions of it. The impression is that the medical profession sees little to be done for the victims of vitiligo except to recommend cosmetics…
Several years ago, Dr. Benjamin Sieve, a professor at Tufts Medical School, compiled a comprehensive history of the treatments in use dating back to the 1930’s and 1940’s, and the then-current thinking on the subject. Among the treatments described by Dr. Sieve was one used by Dr. H. W. Francis. He thought the disease was due to the absence of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, since he had vitiligo and found the acid absent in himself. He took 15 cubic centimeter doses of hydrochloric acid at each meal for two years and noted that the light areas completely disappeared. He used the same therapy on three other patients and reported similar results. Dr. Sieve suggested that the effect of the hydrochloric might have been to aid in the processing and absorption of necessary nutrients.
Para-amino-benzoic acid (PABA ), a B vitamin, has been mentioned repeatedly in connection with the treatment of vitiligo. Dr. M. J. Costello, in the Archives of Dermatology and Syphilology (February, 1943) reported success in treating vitiligo of the eye-lids in a two-year-old child with 100 mg. of PABA daily. Dr. Sieve was impressed with the potential of PABA and set up an experiment to observe its effect on 48 cases of vitiligo.
The group consisted of 25 females and 23 males, ranging in age from 10 to 70 years. The vitiligo condition had persisted from two to 28 years. Most of the patients showed evidence of chronically poor diet and a history of gland imbalance….
After only partial success with administering a patent combination of B complex vitamins, Dr. Sieve instituted injections of the vitamin, coupled with monoethananolamine ( to help the vitamin remain in the blood longer) twice daily- morning and evening- and a 100 mg. tablet of PABA to be taken at noon and at bedtime. He soon observed new pigmentation in the depigmented areas. Within four to eight weeks the milk white areas of vitiligo turned pinkish. In six to 16 weeks after therapy was started, small islands of brown pigment were usually noted within the areas of vitiligo. Soon streaks were thrown form these islands and the streaks reached out to join other islands. Eventually the islands disappeared and the repigmentation became complete. The results of the therapy in all 48 patients were termed “striking” after six or seven months.
Dr. Sieve stressed, time and again, the important part diet plays in vitiligo. In his opinion hormonal imbalance can also cause the disease, and contributory factors can be wounds, infections, pressure points, and light rays. The problem with vitiligo is more complex than the simple lack of the B vitamin PABA. According to Dr. Sieve’s research, dietary deficiencies must be corrected, hormonal imbalances righted and local infections cleared up before a single specific vitamin can be expected to have any effect. He also emphasized that the injections to supplement the tablets are essential, because the vitamin alone, taken orally, does not remain in the blood stream for a sufficient length of time to act effectively.”