No one really knows what causes vitiligo, which is kind of disturbing, because for me, if you do not know the cause of the disease, then of course, you are unable to find the treatment for it. I know that vitiligo is basically influenced and characterized by an autoimmune system malfunction. Knowing that it is associated with a problem of an impaired immune system, building up the immune system should be your first step. This can be done by changing the diet and if necessary, develop an effective weight loss program. Obesity causes a state of chronic inflammation and can definitely compromise your immune system.
Recent studies in humans and models affected by obesity have shown an impaired immune system response or immune function leading to increased chances of various infections. Diets high in sugar and fat, referred as the modern diet, or eating too many calories in general, can make you an easy target for infection.
Modern diet easily leads to an increase in blood sugar that causes an oxidative damage. Oxidative damage increases your chances of infection. Dietary fat has been shown to affect the severity of autoimmune diseases.
Several studies have shown that even the modest weight loss reverses many of the damaging changes often seen in the immune cells of the obese people. Diet and excess body fat can tip the balance, which may lead to turning your immune cells into something that attacks rather than protects the body.
It has been known that excess body fat, particularly the abdominal fat, triggers the production of pro-inflammatory immune cells, which circulate in the blood and can damage the body. The fat tissue also activates the macrophages inflammatory immune cells.
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In this article, I am trying to discover if strengthening a person’s gut flora can efficiently build up the immune system. With the use of probiotics and prebiotics, you may help change the type of microbes living in the intestines and create a healthier ecosystem instead.
The known possible causes of vitiligo are
- Family history
- Viruses and bacteria
- Chemical exposure
- Autoimmune system malfunction
- Low stomach acid
For the most part, the researchers believed that if the vitiligo is caused by anything other than heredity or chemicals, then it is most likely caused by an autoimmune disorder. As a result, the skin loses pigment in small or large patches. If someone in your family has had vitiligo before, there is about a 7 percent chance that you will also get the disorder at some point. http://www.progressivehealth.com/5-treatment-options-vitiligo.htm
In an ideal world, we would all have balanced microbiomes and there would be no need for food supplements. Unfortunately, our modern diet full of processed foods, the overuse of antibiotics, the use of certain medications, the daily stress in our lives and several other lifestyle factors deplete our microbiomes.
Replenishing these critical beneficial bacteria can help restore the body’s gut flora balance and achieve true health as nature intended. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that reside in and on your body and provide support to your overall health.
Some reside in your oral cavity and promote the health of your ears, nose, and throat, though the vast majority of them reside in the digestive tract. Probiotics are good bacteria that can help protect your immune system.
One study came up with the theory that vitiligo is caused by a low stomach acid. The Renton Tahoma Alternative Health Clinic doctor Jonathan Wright, and several other doctors suggest that vitiligo could be a sign of low stomach acid. Low stomach acid levels lead to improper digestion of food.
Low stomach acid in gut
Having a low stomach acid could be one major reason you do not digest food properly, which oftentimes result in allowing undigested molecules to enter the blood stream where they may trigger an antibody response.
Since there is no invader to combat, the immune system may attack the body’s healthy cells, such as the melanocytes, which add pigment to the skin, or the pancreas (diabetes), the myelin sheaths (MS) or any of the other cells in the body involved in autoimmune conditions.
Taking probiotics and replenishing the healthy bacteria in your gut can help you climb to the pinnacle of your health in a variety of ways. Gradually, these nutrients will help train your stomach to produce more stomach acid on its own. Brittle hair and nails are also symptoms of a low stomach acid.
According to Dr. Wright, most adults over the age of 40 have low stomach acid. Restoring the proper amount of stomach acid could be a potential cure or help for vitiligo and other forms of pigment loss. Adding digestive enzymes to your diet meal plan can help you restore the correct balance of acid in the stomach. These include, but certainly aren’t limited to:
- Improving the absorption of vitamins and nutrients
- Restoring the balance of the intestinal flora
- Stimulating immunity
- Normalizing the gut-brain connection
- Balancing normal yeast growth
- Reducing inflammation
- Balancing the pH of the digestive tract
It is possible to experience some detoxification effects as the beneficial organisms in your probiotics begin to colonize. Once the balance of acid is restored in your stomach, you may begin to see the return of pigmentation in your skin.
When taking a multi-strain formula, there are a variety of things happening within your intestinal tract, including the production of byproducts such as lactic and folic acids, niacin, antimicrobials, and other B vitamins.
As it turns out, these byproducts can actually help improve and increase the absorption of vitamins and nutrients through your intestinal wall for overall health.
Strong stomach acid accomplishes several things: it activates protein-digesting enzymes and helps you absorb vitamins and minerals like calcium, zinc, iron, folate, and B12.
Wright and Lenard offer detailed and shocking explanations of the role of insufficient HCl in anemia, osteoporosis, depression, memory loss, and other conditions caused by deficiencies in these nutrients. Further, strong HCl destroys pathogens and triggers subsequent steps in the digestive cascade that are signaled by the proper degree of acidity.
If digestion in the stomach is compromised, then the breakdown and absorption of nutrients in the stomach and beyond won’t be optimal. In fact, they can be reduced to the point where even if someone is consuming a nutrient-dense diet, they can suffer both sub-clinical and overt deficiencies because they’re not assimilating those nutrients.
Because of the inadequate stomach acid, your breakfasts, lunches, and dinners aren’t being digested, then you cannot fully and effectively absorb the amount of nutrients from that food that Nature intended. How can you expect to stay healthy if you have a chronically poor nutrient absorption due to incomplete digestion?
The physical problems that can manifest from poor stomach acid are only one side of the coin. You should understand that individual amino acids (particularly tyrosine, tryptophan, and phenylalanine) are required to make neurotransmitters that facilitate stable moods and psychological balance.
If, due to insufficient stomach acid, you don’t break down proteins properly, then you may not be able to absorb these critical molecules. Thus, there’s a logical link between low stomach acid and depression, anxiety, and other debilitating mood imbalances.
This link is compounded when you also consider the role of the fatty acids in mood stabilization. A low stomach acid will not trigger the correct environment for pancreatic enzymes to function optimally in breaking down fats.
A sub-optimal fat digestion means you do not benefit from the anti-inflammatory properties of the omega-3 fats, nor the wide array of beneficial effects of fats for fertility, skin health, immunity, etc. Things get even more interesting when Wright and Lenard address allergies, food sensitivities, and autoimmune conditions.
Diseases and other complications
Too little stomach acid can lead to compromised health situations, many of which are becoming more common, such as the parasitic infection, yeast overgrowth, and the overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria. Also, if foods are not broken down properly, opportunistic bacteria in our GI tracts feed off of them, leading to microbial imbalances in the gut and all the consequences that result.
Many of the potential accompaniments of long-term acid suppression, including asthma, allergies, skin disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, insomnia, osteoporosis, gastrointestinal infection, depression, and many, many others, can take years or even decades to develop. They would seem to have nothing to do with stomach acid and, therefore, would rarely, if ever, be reported.
However, taking the acid lowering drugs may produce some byproducts along with the bacterial balancing of your intestinal tract that can cause temporary digestive effects, which includes bloating, gas or even a change in the frequency or texture of your stool.
While some of these conditions take a long time to manifest, clinical trials of most acids lowering drugs generally last only months, making it easier for drug companies to ignore (at best) and cover-up (at worst) any long-term complications.
It’s also possible to experience temporarily reddened skin or headaches. Keep in mind that experiences like these are actually signs that positive changes are occurring at a microbial level.
For most people, these sensations tend to subside quickly (within a few weeks) as their body begins to acclimate to these new levels of activity. You can help ease side effects before they start by staying hydrated.
It helps keep things moving in your body and will allow you to feel healthier and more energized even faster. Besides too little acid, another cause of digestive distress is a weakened lower esophageal sphincter (the ring of muscle between the esophagus and stomach).
According to the authors of several studies, other things that can weaken this sphincter and cause heartburn and GERD are NSAIDs, calcium channel blockers, beta blockers, and many other OTC and commonly prescribed drugs.
So, the modern, fast-paced age of stress, chronic dehydration, and popping pain pills and blood pressure medication like they’re candy is indeed a recipe for heartburn and indigestion.
Low stomach acid could mean increased food allergies and lower absorption of amino acids, vitamins, and minerals – which for us translates into deficiencies in B-12, folate, zinc, etc. Symptoms of low stomach acid are related to an impaired digestion, increased susceptibility to infection, and reduced absorption of nutrients from food. The symptoms may include
- Upset stomach
- Nausea when taking vitamins and supplements
- Desire to eat when not hungry
- Hair loss
- Undigested food in stool
- Weak, brittle fingernails
- GI infections
- Iron deficiency anemia
- Deficiencies of other minerals, such as Vitamin B12, calcium and magnesium
- Protein deficiency
- Neurological issues, such as numbness, tingling and vision changes
Chronic illnesses associated with low levels of stomach acid
- Thyroid issues
- Chronic autoimmune disorders
- Pernicious anemia
Low stomach acid linked to vitiligo
Autoimmune disorders, including vitiligo, have all been linked to low stomach acid and a leaky gut. Those with vitiligo are shown to be deficient in B12 and folate (among others). Low stomach acid increases intestinal permeability (aka leaky gut), inflammation, and infection.
What Causes Low Stomach Acid? A number of things can contribute to low stomach acid, which is why so many of us have it. Some of them are
- Low thyroid or thyroid dysfunction
- Adrenal fatigue/insufficiency
- Pylori infection
- Poor diet
Generally, you can assume your digestive tract is in trouble if you have multiple food sensitivities or allergies, chronic diarrhea and/or constipation, hives or skin eruptions, discomfort in your abdomen during and/or after you eat, excessive fatigue, brain fog, and nutritional deficiency, just to name a few.
If your food happens to contain harmful bacteria, the normal stomach acids will usually kill them. In people with a low stomach acid, the bacteria can manage to survive and cause illness.
At one time, it was believed that too much stomach acid was the primary cause of gastric ulcers. We now know that about 93% of all gastric ulcers are caused by the bacteria called Helicobacter pylori, which is able to survive and infect the stomach lining when acid production is depressed.
Haven’t you observed that people who live stressful lives are prone to digestive and nutritional problems? When the body is under stress, the digestive process, including the production of the stomach acid, slows down. So, ulcers are really a result of too little acid rather than too much.
Symptoms that are frequently associated with low stomach acidity are bloating, belching, heartburn, indigestion, and ulcers. Affected people usually have one or two of them. Since low acidity affects nutrient absorption, other signs may include fingernails that easily peel or break, hair loss in women, and unusual dilation of the capillaries in the cheeks and on the nose.
Health problems that may also be associated with low acidity are diabetes, underactive and overactive thyroid, frequent yeast infections, childhood asthma, eczema, gallbladder disease, weak adrenals, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic hives, lupus, chronic hepatitis, vitiligo, and rosacea.
Food that is incompletely digested may find its way into the bloodstream. The immune system identifies these food particles as foreign invaders and attacks them, bringing on symptoms typically associated with allergic reactions.
Age is also associated with low acidity. Acidity normally declines with age. Over 50% of those over age 60 are affected. You can run a test for an under acid stomach precise diagnosis using the Heidelberg capsule.
A less direct test is the hair analysis. Hair can indicate the mineral status of the body. If several minerals are low, it indicates poor mineral absorption, which suggests low stomach acidity.
The easiest test is the stool specimen examination, where they will look for the presence of incompletely digested foods. Low stomach acidity can be treated by lowering the pH (increase acidity) of the digestive juices, which can be met by taking dietary supplements that focuses on lowering stomach acid.
Most people can correct low stomach acid by eating a balanced diet of wholesome foods and by reducing the daily stress level. I am trying to develop an immune system recovery plan, and that means managing my meals and buying probiotics supplement or maybe simply eating the yummy alternative – yogurt!
Treating low stomach acid
- Eat a diet high in cooked vegetables – provides fiber, helps restore good bacteria and promotes gut healing
- Restrict or eliminate gut irritating foods, such as sugar and grains
- Zinc supplementation
- L-glutamine supplementation
- Aloe vera
- Probiotics – to restore healthy gut bacteria
- Apple cider vinegar
- Digestive enzymes – to help you fully digest food and extra needed amino acids and nutrients
Repairing a leaky gut can take up to a year or more to fully heal.
What I have learned from my research
Using probiotics and prebiotics can help change the type of microbes in the intestine, which may stop the immune system from attacking and reducing the symptoms. The probiotics and prebiotics can help reduce the symptoms of the disease as well as help protect you at the times your immune system is weak.
Fife, B. (2005). Eat fat look thin: A safe and natural way to lose weight permanently. Colorado: Piccadilly Books.
With all honesty, I believe there is a direct link between the gut flora and in your ability to maintain the body’s acid levels. Simply put, having a low stomach acid would mean increased food allergies and lower absorption of amino acids, vitamins and minerals, which can be translated into deficiencies in B12, folate, zinc and many more.
When your stomach acid is low, you do not digest the food you eat properly. The undigested food that passes through the small intestines becomes the breeding ground for pathogenic bacteria and candida, which causes the friendly gut flora to become depleted and overrun by bad bacteria. Once this happens, the gut turns into an inflamed leaky gut. When these microscopic food particles enter the blood stream, things can get ugly! Autoimmune disorders, including vitiligo, have all been linked to low stomach acid and a leaky gut.