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The Role of Antioxidants in Treatment of Vitiligo 

Adéla Režná and Daniel Rušar (From Book - Strakáč a Tíoni)

Many studies hint that oxidative stress has a definite role to play in the genesis of several skin conditions. So, naturally, it has also been investigated if oxidative stress in the skin triggers vitiligo in the first place. While all studies investigating the connection between oxidative stress and vitiligo have been limited by sample size, experimentally it has been proven that patients living from the generalized form of vitiligo have a disbalance between oxidative and antioxidative systems. 

As per a few studies, low levels of antioxidant enzymes have been established in the skin of vitiligo patients. The presence of oxidative stress in these patients indicates that they have an imbalance between antioxidants and free radicals in their bodies. Antioxidants can bind electrons in their body to the free radicals and thereby protect their cells. 

Intake of Antioxidants in vitiligo 

Considering the above, including antioxidants in the treatment of vitiligo is important and should be explored more. There are multiple mechanisms through which excessive melanocyte oxidative stress can translate to an autoimmune reaction. That’s one of the reasons why oral vitamins and supplements have gained increased interest in the treatment of vitiligo because of their antioxidant properties. By the logic explained above, antioxidant supplementation in vitiligo can boost the antioxidant defense mechanism and prevent melanocyte damage by reactive oxygen species. 

Final Thoughts 

Many dermatologists around the world believe taking antioxidants should promote repigmentation in vitiligo, and many of them have even started recommending this for their patients. They often prescribe antioxidants like vitamin E, beta-carotene, and vitamin C in the hope that they will improve their patients’ vitiligo. Their beliefs are based on facts such as “clinical trials that include antioxidants as an adjunct to UVB phototherapy have shown encouraging results.”

However, it is important that no matter how much things seem to make sense from the “oxidative stress-vitiligo theory” perspective, we can’t know for sure if this approach will help vitiligo until such claims are cleared in clinical trials with large, diverse sample sizes.

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