In my article about low stomach acid and leaky gut, I mentioned probiotics as a way to help heal a leaky gut.
However, it has come to my attention by a friend of mine over on the Facebook vitiligo, that in Ayurvedic medicine it is recommended that fermented foods and probiotics be avoided if you have vitiligo.
Interestingly, I have also come across an article about how fermented foods are not necessarily good for you due to their tendency to contain aldehydes and other toxins.
Fermented foods are often considered to be superior to encapsulated or powdered probiotic supplements because they are a live food that is teeming with active bacteria that are anxious to get busy cleaning house and repairing your gut.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of opening a fresh, fizzy, bubbly jar of fermented veggies, you don’t know what you’re missing 😉 They are chock full of b-vitamins, enzymes, and several different strains of probiotic bacteria – all things that are great for the immune system and the gut.
They are actually quite yummy, and can be very addicting. I did feel that they helped keep me regular. They also helped me digest my food better.
As for my vitiligo, I did not notice any increased spreading of my white spots while I was eating them on a regular basis (3 times per day). But I also didn’t notice any slowing down of the spreading either.
Still, I decided to stop eating them.
Why I Quit Fermented Veggies
The main reason I quit the fermented veggies is that they are a raw food, and I am focusing on purging toxins out of my body with lots of cooked vegetables. I am also trying to improve my methylation process.
Also, during the fermentation process of some foods and drinks, chemical compounds called aldehydes are produced. This doesn’t always happen, especially if the foods are fermented correctly. This seems to be more problematic in foods like kombucha tea and pickles.
Although I always used a culture starter to control what organisms ended up in my ferments, I still felt I couldn’t be certain that my fermentation process avoided the formation of aldehydes. I also could never be sure of how much to eat.
The aldehydes that fermented foods produce increase the need for methylation, and I know that I already don’t have enough methyl groups.
Methylation is your body’s way of cleaning house. In order to remove toxins, your body must apply a methyl group to a toxin in order to “tag” it for removal (read more about methylation here). If you have too many toxins floating around inside of your body already, a problem most of us with vitiligo typically have, then you may not have enough methyl groups to get rid of those toxins. And so they build up and cause problems.
Adding something else, like aldehydes, that your body needs to be worried about cleaning up just doesn’t seem like a good idea. I’m sure there are people that will disagree with me on this, but in the interest of vitiligo and ridding the body of excess toxins, it’s just seems logical to me.
That said, there are some fermented foods that are better than others and actually are quite beneficial. Kefir and yogurt are good choices, although milk is a suspected problematic food for those with vitiligo, so the risks may outweigh the benefits in this case.
If you do decide to try kefir or yogurt, just make sure they are organic and plain, with no sugar added. Personally, I am avoiding all milk products because I do have a known allergy to milk, and dairy really isn’t a necessary food to be healthy.
Probiotics – A Better Choice for Those with Vitiligo
Powdered or encapsulated probiotics may be a better choice for healing a leaky gut for those of us with vitiligo. They do not contain the chemical compounds and toxins that fermented foods do.
The biggest issue with probiotics is that you want to make sure they are alive and active. Probiotics are little bacteria creatures that can only do their job when they are living…they are useless to you if they are dead.
One good indication of whether or not they are alive is if they are refrigerated. It’s a good sign if a probiotic is in the refrigerated section of the store and you must keep it in the fridge to maintain it. Here’s a great article about how you can be sure that your probiotics are working.
As I was doing research for vitiligo “cures” about a year ago, I came across this page of a young woman who reversed her vitiligo using probiotics as part of her treatment plan.
It just shows that using the right probiotics can’t hurt, and will help heal a leaky gut.
As of the time of this writing, I am not taking any probiotics or eating any fermented foods. I have chosen a different route to heal my gut, and so I don’t need them. You can read about what I am doing here if you’re interested ;).
P.S. Do you take probiotics? Have you noticed a difference in your digestion? Please post your response below, I’d love to hear what you have to say about probiotics and fermented foods.