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Foods You Should Avoid If You Have Vitiligo

vitiligo foods to avoid

Irrespective of what you see on the internet, I constantly tell my patients that diet doesn’t play an integral role in vitiligo treatment and recovery. You can follow a balanced diet plan in conjunction with Kayakalp Global’s treatment for effective results instead.

Vitiligo is an autoimmune skin disorder that leads to the production of antibodies against the melanin-forming melanocytes in the body. The destruction of melanocytes leads to depigmentation, which appears as white spots and patches on the skin.

In general, vitiligo treatment relies on medications, re-pigmentation agents, topical ointments, and lifestyle changes. However, some anecdotal evidence shows that our diet plays an equally important role in the treatment and management of the disorder effectively.

This article will explore the list of the best food for vitiligo and also the ones you should avoid while you are on vitiligo treatment.

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What is the Role of Food in Vitiligo?

At Kayakalp Global, we have been treating vitiligo patients for the past 30 years, and the collective experience of our specialists concludes that diet contributes to only 5% of the vitiligo treatment.

So, while the foods you eat have little contribution to the outcome and recovery of the white patches on the skin, it isn’t the primary factor of concern. 95% of the recovery depends on the following:

  • Whether or not your vitiligo triggers like stress, smoking, or alcohol consumption is under control.
  • The prescribed treatment and how well the patient is following it.
  • Adequate exposure to sunlight following the topical application of the ointment.

With the misinformation surrounding the relationship between diet and vitiligo, it is very common for patients to be confused about what to eat and what to avoid with vitiligo.

Hence, we recommend our patients at Kayakalp Global focus on eating a diet that’s nutritionally balanced and adequate enough to meet the patient’s daily nutritional requirements. There are instances where patients cut out certain important food groups from their diet due to misinformation.

While doing so might show positive results in the short term, it can lead to nutritional deficiencies, which is a common trigger of vitiligo.

Some of the complications that can happen due to an improper diet for vitiligo include:

  • Calcium deficiency
  • Low hemoglobin levels
  • Copper deficiency
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency, etc.

However, as a quick disclaimer, no scientific evidence suggests eating or avoiding certain foods could improve or worsen the condition of vitiligo.

Which Foods Support Vitiligo Treatment?

Before we walk you through the list of foods that you should avoid with vitiligo, let us first focus on the food items you should include in your diet to supplement vitiligo recovery.

1. Iron-rich foods

At Kayakalp Global, we often encounter patients with low hemoglobin levels. Our first advice, in that case, is to up the consumption of iron-rich foods.

Now, you must wonder, “Why are iron-rich foods necessary?”

Melanocytes, which are responsible for the production of melanin in the skin, require iron to facilitate melanin production.

Hence, including iron-rich foods like spinach, oats, broccoli, tofu, apples, etc., are essential to promote recovery while on the vitiligo treatment regimen.

2. Vitamin B12-rich foods

Next thing that you should include in your diet while undergoing vitiligo treatment include Vitamin B12-rich foods. These include chicken, dairy, etc.

Many patients often fall trapped by the misinformation available on the internet, which advises patients to stay away from non-vegetarian foods to promote recovery from vitiligo. That isn’t true at all.

In fact, Vitamin B12 deficiency is a leading cause that worsens the symptoms of vitiligo, further contributing to the spread of white patches on the skin.

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3. Foods rich in Antioxidants

Certain foods, like figs and dates, contain high percentages of copper and antioxidants, supporting vitiligo treatment and recovery.

Furthermore, fresh vegetables like carrots and beets contain beta-carotene, which is beneficial in the recovery of vitiligo.

Also, a new study indicates that Cremini mushrooms, which are rich in copper, selenium, and different types of vitamins, have proven benefits in helping with vitiligo treatment and recovery.

4. Foods rich in Thiols

Onions and Apples are two of the most common foods that contain a plant compound called thiols, which directly reduce the oxidative stress in the body – a leading trigger behind vitiligo.

Hence, the antioxidative properties in onions and apples due to thiols have been beneficial for vitiligo patients.


Now that we have highlighted a few food groups that are a must-include in your diet, let us shift our focus to the food groups that one should avoid with vitiligo.

Which Foods to Avoid during Vitiligo Treatment?

When discussing the foods to avoid in Vitiligo, there are a few different things that you should prioritize and discuss at length with your doctor.

Following are a few we advise our patients at Kayakalp Global to avoid to maximize their treatment results:

1. Foods rich in Plant-based Phenols and Tannins

Some foods, including mangos, almonds, pistachios, beetle nuts, and berries, contain plant-based phenols and tannins, which directly trigger the destruction of the melanocytes in the body.

Eventual damage caused to these cells leads to visible white spots on the skin. Hence, reducing the consumption of these individual food items is considered ideal if you have vitiligo or are undergoing treatment.

2. Fruits containing Hydroquinone

For those who aren’t aware, hydroquinone is a depigmenting agent found in bleaching creams. Now, you must think it’s only available in creams and chemicals.

However, research also suggests hydroquinone is found in sparing quantities in certain fruits like blueberries and pears. Consuming these fruits reduces melanin production further, leading to the appearance of more white patches on the skin.

3. Foods that cause inflammation

Some foods like raw tomatoes and brinjal are not ideal for patients with vitiligo. They are known to promote inflammation in the body, which could be detrimental to the patient’s condition.

The list of foods to avoid with vitiligo isn’t that extensive. However, it’s crucial that you pay attention to these individual dietary triggers and avoid them at all costs to support recovery while on vitiligo treatment.

Does Whey Protein Promote Vitiligo Recovery?

Before we discuss the scientific evidence behind whey protein and its benefits in vitiligo treatment, let us understand its constituents.

Some elements in whey protein that promotes vitiligo treatment include:

Cysteine – Promotes production of thiols, which reduces oxidative stress in the body and reduces risks of white patch production.

Lactoferrin – It is an iron-bounding protein that improves hemoglobin levels in vitiligo patients to support and amplify their recovery.

Lactoperoxidase – It is responsible for the neutralization of the heavy metals in the body, reducing oxidative stress and promoting vitiligo recovery.

So, overall, consumption of whey protein, to an extent, can support your recovery if you are undergoing vitiligo treatment. You should include this under food to eat in vitiligo.

Does Eating Sour Foods Trigger Vitiligo?

One of the most common myths surrounding vitiligo is people thinking there is a correlation between sour foods and vitiligo.

There is no scientific evidence that confirms that. So, consuming lemons, limes, oranges, etc., has no influence on your symptoms of vitiligo. It will not worsen your condition whatsoever.

Furthermore, there is also no evidence that showcases that the consumption of fish and milk contributes to vitiligo. These are myths and have no clinical basis for the statement.


That concludes all that you need to know regarding the correlation between vitiligo and the patient’s daily diet. Overall, aim for foods that alleviate oxidative stress in the body, promote the production of hemoglobin and meet the daily nutritional requirements so there are no deficiencies in the body.

At Kayakalp Global, we urge patients to eat every food in moderation. We have specialized nutritionists who further guide our patients about their daily dietary needs and requirements.

If you are confused about what to eat and what to avoid with vitiligo, kindly contact us at Kayakalp Global for more details.

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