in by Coeliac and Vitiligo

I have a five year old son who has recently been diagnosed with Vitiligo. He is otherwise very healthy and happy. He was tested for coeliacs at aged 2 and was negative for antibodies and the common gene that I have.
Autoimmune diseases run in our family, I am desperately trying to eliminate a cause/trigger of the vitiligo and negotiate the mind field of views regarding diet, natural treatments etc.
I am a coeliac and have Raynards, along with my father and siblings. My father also has Graves’ disease and type 1 diabetes. My mother-in law has had thyroid disease and another autoimmune skin condition.
I cannot view my sons Vitiligo as a single event. I am focusing on his diet and looking at testing him for all of the above as a preventative measure.
At present I have two main issues and I would greatly appreciate assistance.
1) I would like to see if anyone else can relate to our situation, where vitiligo and coeliac disease are managed by diet, sun exposure and vitamin and/or herbal supplements. Because there is no published data describing the link I am coming up against resistance from medical staff that diet is related.
2) I would like to couple my dietary intervention with latest research into the best treatment options for children. The common response I get from specialists is “just sit and wait”. As a parent I feel responsible to do everything possible in the early phase. His vitiligo is spreading quickly and has moved to his face. I am interested in treatments (herbal or supplements) that don’t have side effects sand are safe for children.

About Coeliac and Vitiligo

Conditions: Celiac Disease, Vitiligo

Doctors seen: MD – primary care

Treatment: Gluten free

Children: 2

Age: 35-44

Coeliac and Vitiligo

1 Answer


Vitiligo, like any of the autoimmune diseases, can be treated with anti-inflammatory measures such as dietary changes and herbs. Vitiligo can be tricky though, because if there is permanent destruction to the melanocytes then the skin that has been affected may not heal, even with other anti-inflammatory treatments.

Most specialists will not treat vitiligo initial if it is not severe, because like all autoimmune diseases it can go into a remission period without any treatment. Other treatments include steroids to help halt the autoimmune response. And like you said, there are very little studies that actually show the efficacy of alternative treatments for vitiligo and not a lot of correlations between dietary conditions like celiac disease and the progression of vitiligo.

Like all autoimmune diseases though, a basic autoimmune anti-inflammatory protocol may be beneficial in halting the progression. Basic dietary changes such as the autoimmune paleo diet ( can be a good start for overall reducing foods that may cause inflammation and inflammatory responses. In regards to the celiac disease – gluten can still cause inflammation without causing direct destruction to the intestinal lining (which is what happens in celiac disease). Food allergens can cause a wide variety of symptoms and inflammatory responses and can lead to systemic issues without causing direct intestinal inflammation like celiac disease.

Other general anti-inflammatory measures that may be helpful for vitiligo include ensuring that GI flora is in balance. Apart from identifying food allergens and removing them, if there is a disruption in the bacteria in our GI tract, it may cause some triggers in autoimmune diseases if there are more unhealthy bacteria than healthy bacteria. A good probiotic in children can usually help correct this imbalance. Other basic anti-inflammatories such as fish oil, can also be used in children to help reduce the inflammation and halt the progression of the vitiligo.

Jenny Bennett, ND LAc

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Answered on November 6, 2016

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