Will Paleo Help my Vitiligo?

December 3, 2012

Will Paleo Help my Vitiligo? | The Paleo Diet

Dear Dr. Cordain,

I know that you are very busy, but I wanted to express to you my appreciation of The Paleo Diet.  Thank you so much for doing this work and writing this book.  It has changed my life.

In the spring of 2009 I first noticed a change in the coloration of the skin on my fingers, and that June it was diagnosed as vitiligo.  For three years I watched the depigmented patches spread on my hands and face.  Then last spring I read your book and went on a very strict paleo diet (100% paleo meals, plus no nightshades or even meat that had been fed grains (I eat a lot of grass-fed beef, thinking perhaps lectins or other substances from the grains might remain in the meat)).  The depigmented patches have stopped growing!  This has been a relief beyond words.  (One of the agonizing parts of the disease was knowing intuitively that it was my body’s way of indicating that something was wrong, but not knowing what was wrong or what to do about it.)  I wanted to share this with you both to express my appreciation for the incredible positive influence you have had on my life, as well as to potentially help people by sharing my personal experience.  (I know that you are continuing to do research on the health effects of the paleo diet.)

Dr. Cordain, thank you again.  If you have any advice for me about who else to talk to regarding my experience and possible ways to spread the word about The Paleo Diet, I would very much love to know.


Liz Uhlig



Dr. Cordain’s Response:

Hi Liz,

Many thanks for your kind words and congratulations with your success with the Paleo Diet and your vitiligo.  In my most recent book, The Paleo Diet, I describe before and after photos shown to me by a young man with vitiligo who attended one of my lectures in San Diego in 2009.  His pre-Paleo photos showed vitiligo extending to his hands arms, legs and trunk.  After 1 year on Paleo, the photos revealed about a 50 to 75 % regression of the lesions.  I also know of a devoted CrossFitter and Paleo Diet fan from NYC whose vitiligo lesions did not improve, but did not worsen after a year of Paleo.  I would like to post your comments on my blog and see what other vitiligo patients experiences are.  If you are OK with this, let me know and I will have Kyle, my webmaster post your story.  If you would like, we can do the post anonymously.


Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus

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About the Author:

Loren Cordain, PhD, Professor Emeritus Dr. Loren Cordain is Professor Emeritus of the Department of Health and Exercise Science at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. His research emphasis over the past 20 years has focused upon the evolutionary and anthropological basis for diet, health and well being in modern humans. Dr. Cordain’s scientific publications have examined the nutritional characteristics of worldwide hunter-gatherer diets as well as the nutrient composition of wild plant and animal foods consumed by foraging humans. He is the world’s leading expert on Paleolithic diets and has lectured extensively on the Paleolithic nutrition worldwide. Dr. Cordain is the author of six popular bestselling books including The Real Paleo Diet Cookbook, The Paleo Diet, The Paleo Answer, and The Paleo Diet Cookbook, summarizing his research findings.

24 Comments on "Will Paleo Help my Vitiligo?"

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  1. Amanda says:

    I have had vitiligo since I was 11 years old. I went gluten free 5 years ago and started to repigment like magic, no treatment was effective before. This was something I ws not expecting at this point in my life, I’m 54 now. I started to see brown spots even in vitiligo lessions that were 40 years old!
    I have noticed that Vitamin D and B-12 help even more with the repigmentation. I have no doubt that food plays a main role in provoking the auto-immune response in our bodies. Going paleo is probably the best treatment…

    • rizzu amanda says:

      Hi amanda…i have read your posts almost in every website related to vitiligo cure…i salute your dedication to help the needy.i too have vitiligo since i was 8years old…i am gluten free as per your advise from last 6 months.. I m seeing repigmentation on my legs and almost all other areas..the only problem is my hands palms fingers are not repigmenting instead its getting more worse!!! Any expert comments on that….please help!!! My age is 30.

  2. morganotoole says:

    It was a time of stress, of worry, of feeling trapped by family members neediness. I had this great clear skin but after sitting in the sun, briefly, using a sun lamp, briefly, and suffering from stress, almost overnight I got a major hit from vitiligo and it didn’t help the stress. What do I do now! That’s rhetorical. I see all the suggestions, all the claims, all the effects true or not. My question always is, if true, send me proof, I’ll pay for the cost of proof if needed, but visual posts are rather easy and we all know how to do that don’t we. I’m sure there has to be some successes, but proof is needed. It’s like the company who guaranteed male impotency would turn to male potency. It was such an obvious scam it almost made on laugh. I wrote back and explained how if such a product existed they would be billionaires in no time, and I would pay not a mere 89.00 dollars but 1500.00 but I had to have proof it worked, with names and ways t contact those “cured.” I contacted the locations of their business, it was a Mail receiving place and their home base was Nigeria. Needless to say, I never did hear from them and their ad disappeared from the Internet. My email is rlkindelan2000@yahoo.com.

  3. Sue says:

    Hi, my husband and children have vitiligo, and I have an immune system disorder called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, which causes hypothyroidism. I have been doing a lot of research into our immune system disorders and have found a lot more work being done on my disorder, but I really believe the research I am finding is applicable and helpful for all immune system disorders. I’m looking for both what I can do in the way of lifestyle changes and what the medical community can do to support me in this process. We are adopting a Paleo autoimmune approach diet, and in a couple of weeks I have already seen improvement in all of us.

    For further information on possible underlying causes, I would recommend starting with Izabella Wentz (www.thyroidpharmacist.com) and her book, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause. There are underlying causes for our conditions and when we find them and fix them, we can start to heal. Even though her book focuses on Hashimoto’s, I believe the underlying causes and body functions that can get unbalanced are the same for most autoimmune disorders. A traditionally trained pharmacist, she is very thorough in discussing all the seemingly unrelated symptoms and underlying causes of immune system disorders. She has Hashimoto’s and her story is very inspiring. If you’re doing everything right and are still having symptoms, her book has info on other unsuspected health issues (all of which she experienced and resolved) that directly contribute to autoimmune responses.

    Two great resources for the autoimmune Paleo diet are Sarah Ballantyne (ThePaleoMom.com, The Paleo Approach Cookbook, & The Paleo Approach, an incredible book on the research she did for her Paleo Approach diet), and Mickey Trescott (The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook). They too have incredible stories.

    I also recently listened to a web seminar called The Hashimoto’s Institute that has a wealth of info on immune system disorders. I costs a bit to access it, but you can also look up the speakers’ websites to get an idea of what they have to offer.

    We’re all unique individuals and each one of us must find our unique balance. I see it as a combination of information and action. All this information gives us a place to start, then how we respond and feel with these changes gives us the opportunity to fine tune our changes to our unique needs. The task can be overwhelming at times, but patience and baby steps will get us there. Good luck to all of us 😉

  4. Jenn says:

    I’ve had Vitiligo for 14 years and have noticed that in spite of eating a paleo diet (which is certainly how I feel best), a whole body approach to improving gut health, balancing hormones and drastically reducing stress is required. My lesions grow by leaps and bounds during times of acute stress, to which I seem to be prone.

  5. Jess says:

    Great to see that this has been taken into consideration, I’m age 25 and had it for 22 years, it’s become apart of me but I’m glad it’s regressing. I have given up wheat 2 years ago and better the last 5 since moving from a stressful home, I think paelo as well as lots of other factors can help :)

  6. Vitiligo says:

    Thank you for sharing the information. Though I think that natural products are best suitable to cure such disease. There are many companies that have come up with organically created products for treating this condition. But, natural products such as Psoralen still work efficiently.

  7. Jim says:

    Hello, just responding to your statement “I would like to post your comments on my blog and see what other vitiligo patients experiences are”

    While I’m not necessarily following the protocols of any particular diet, I have been consuming many foods that I believe are consistent with the Paleo diet and have experienced a radical change in my own vitiligo. I developed vitiligo in my mid 30s and am now in my early 40s. Lesions covered my arms, legs, hands, feet, and armpits and few spot on my face(and a couple of other locations).

    The only thing that remains, after two years of adjusting my diet(similar to the Paleo) and incorporating lots of sunlight, are a few small patches on my left leg and foot and on my fingers. Patches on the back of my hands, both arms, right leg and foot, and most of my left leg/foot are completely gone now.

    It was nearly a year before I noticed my entire right leg and some of my left leg was healed so I didn’t get many photos at first. However, I did start photographing my left leg and both hands about one year ago. I do have photos if anyone is interested. My own diet is not extremely restrictive and focuses on five primary things that must dominate. For the most part, much of my food is low quality and comes from the grocery store. However, I do try to get raw products when I’m able and I do ferment my own foods. I’ve never used any type of ointment or taken any type of supplement. Jim

  8. I purchased Natural Vitiligo Treatment System last week. This eBook mentions a lot of remedies but it mainly advocates supplementing with 3 vitamins and 1 herbal extract. After one week my vitiligo has ended spreading and I’m starting to see a bit of pigment back. The guy who has written this is also very supportive, I emailed him with some questions before I even bought the book and he sent me a very lengthy answer.

    • Cara says:

      Which supplements? My vitiligo isn’t getting better and I have been Paleo for five years. It might actually be worse.

    • morganotoole says:

      So, what are the vitamins and the herbal extract. Sounds like a placebo effect but to have V end in one week, wow, that’s amazing. If that were the case in every case, the person who sells the V & H could make millions.

  9. The more natural your diet, the better. Food allergies usually go away quickly when the right adjustments are made to a diet.

  10. sandra says:

    I’m 40 yr old woman who had vitiligo for 12 years. Mine spread rapidly throughout my body, with depigmentation on joints, under eyes, hair, etc. I tried oral and light medications to no real avail. People used to make hurtful comments before, during and after treatment,… and this was tough. Eventually I started to make a natural treatment which has been a blessing to me. You only need to read this review in the link below… you have nothing to lose.


    Begin a new life, you deserve it …Good luck!

  11. Karen says:

    I am new to the Paleo diet. I have seen the term ‘Nightshades’ but I haven’t been able to figure out what this means. Can you please clarify this for me? Thank you.

  12. Sheila says:

    I am not trying to lose weight, as I am already under weight. I want to eat healthy though. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to eat healthy without losing weight. Also, with the Paleo diet, are you cooking all the vegetables or are you eating them raw. Again, I need to gain weight.

    • Sheron says:

      Saffron will aid digestion and increase appetite. Maybe an increase in appetite could help you gain a little weight, by eating a little more.

  13. David V. says:

    I can't speak for the Paleo diet, but I do have experience with Vitiligo. A few years ago I came across something on the internet that suggested Ginkgo biloba. I started to take it with the thought that whether it worked or not, there seemed to be enough evidence of benefits in other areas. It took almost six months, but all of the depigmented patches on my hands and arms (which were the only area really visible) cleared up. Now here is the funny thing. Once they cleared up, I stopped taking the Ginkgo biloba. Several months later they came back. So I started to take it again. Six months later, they cleared up… and I am embarrassed to say… I stopped taking the Ginkgo biloba again… and guess what? It came back. This time I am committed to sticking with it. (Truth be told I was able to see some progress after about three months… and then it progressively got better and better until you couldn't tell where the spots had been).

    I'm not sure that it will help everyone, but… I would give it a try… and I would make sure to stick it out for at least six months or so. If I had been in most of the trials, I would have listed it at a failure as few seem to go that long.

    • Ricardo says:

      Hi, I just read your information and it’s very interesting. Can you give me the name of the Ginkgo biloba brand you are taking? I have vitiligo also and I Am trying to enter in poleo diet to, but I would like to tray with the ginkgo to. thanks

      • carolina says:

        Hi,Im Carolina, Ihave Vitiligo, in my underarms, neck and face I’m embarrasing to wear some cloths, can you give me the Binkgo biloba you are taking? Thanks.

      • carolina says:

        Hi,Im Carolina, Ihave Vitiligo, in my underarms, neck and face I’m embarrasing to wear some cloths, can you give me the Binkgo biloba brand you are taking? Thanks.

        • Kay krawczyk says:

          I have vitiligo my face hands breast feet button My hands are all white .i wear a coverup make up and it helps when I go out in public. . It started on my hands after I found out I had thyroid problems .but also found out it was hereditary. I guess I’m the one .so I would like to know the name brand of the bill a brand you took .ive had it for22years I want to get rid of it .so please help me please my name is Kay from Ohio.

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