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Vitiligo and Copper Deficiency – What’s the connection?

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Many sources can be listed to confirm that certain metal ions including copper are found in high levels in pigmented tissues involved in melanin synthesis. This only illustrates copper’s far-reaching effects in vitiligo’s management. Keeping in mind that copper stimulates the melanocytes into action, increases melanin and re-pigments the skin, researchers across the globe have attempted to evaluate the role of copper status in the treatment of vitiligo.

Signs of copper deficiency in people with vitiligo

You might have a copper deficiency along with vitiligo if:

  •  You constantly feel tired and weak.
  • You fall sick very often.
  • You feel problems walking.
  • You notice problems with memory and learning.
  • You have weak and brittle bones.
  • You have pale skin and sensitivity to cold.
  • You have premature gray hair.

How is copper deficiency related to vitiligo?

Many research studies have revealed that individuals with vitiligo are often deficient in certain essentials like Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, folic acid, copper, and zinc. Recently many studies have been made to show that copper plays an important role in pigmentation. Nutritional deficiencies are known to alter melanin production. Copper deficiencies have been reported to induce hypopigmentation in various animals. During studies, it is found that the copper content of the skin is concentrated mainly in the epidermis.

Researchers have been suggesting that vitiligo may be a result of autoimmunity, genetic, oxidative stress or neural causes. And, so far the exact cause and subsequent development of vitiligo are not fully understood. But, it has been established that copper is another cofactor in melanin production, and many patients with vitiligo are found low in it. This is worth checking through a blood test, and supplementing with the mineral if the skin disorder can be slowed down with maintaining proper copper level.

Treatment of copper deficiency in people with vitiligo

If people with vitiligo are deficient in copper, then its supplementation could help them slow down or pause the progression of the chronic skin disorder. Since many kinds of research around vitiligo’s relation to copper status are underway, it’s recommended to go for copper supplementation under the guidance of a licensed medical professional. Copper (Cu) is a trace element that is required in minutely small doses. Hence, always consult your doctor for the appropriate dosages.

Long used for skin health, Aloe Vera supports healthy immune system response and contains essential minerals, including copper. Drinking water out of copper vessels can also be beneficial.

Looking Ahead

Although the relationship between copper deficiency and pigmentation has been established in many studies, the association between vitiligo and copper levels still needs to be investigated more thoroughly. So far, conducted studies that establish a link between two have been limited by cross-sectional design and sample size. Hence, further studies are needed to determine the pathological nature of copper status in those living with vitiligo.

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