Vitiligo is a skin condition where your skin loses the pigment melanin, MayoClinic.com states. Melanin is the substance that gives your skin its colour. Vitiligo occurs when your melanin-producing cells die or cannot make melanin. This causes irregular patches of white skin to gradually appear throughout your body. There is currently no means of curing vitiligo. Various treatments aimed at slowing down or stopping the spread of vitiligo exist, however. Tyrosine, a nonessential amino acid that your body uses to make melanin, is one such treatment, the University of Maryland Medical Center notes.
Tyrosine for Vitiligo
Tyrosine may be found in soy products, turkey, fish, almonds and avocado. Tyrosine is also available in supplement form. Tyrosine may be used in conjunction with ultraviolet radiation and phenylalanine to darken affected sections of skin.
Tyrosine and Phenylalanine
As a precursor to melanin, tyrosine is necessary to maintain the colour of your skin. Normally, your body is able to produce tyrosine using another amino acid called phenylalanine. However, if you are suffering from vitiligo, your body has difficulties transforming phenylalanine to tyrosine, and this causes a decrease in melanin production. To counteract this disorder, you will need to increase your intake of phenylalanine and tyrosine. Consistent ingestion of phenyalanine supplements along with regular exposure to sunlight causes repigmentation in 83 per cent of vitiligo patients.
Tyrosine Dose and Possible Side Effects
You should take your tyrosine dose about 30 minutes prior to eating, the University of Maryland Medical Center notes. You can also take tyrosine with vitamins B6 and B9 as well as copper, as these act in conjunction with tyrosine to process tyrosine into neurotransmitters such as epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine. Children should not take tyrosine without first seeking medical advice. Adults can take between 500mg and 1,000mg three times daily. Tyrosine can cause you to experience migraines and can upset your stomach. Tyrosine can also elevate your thyroid levels. If you suffer from hyperthyroidism, you should refrain from taking tyrosine because it can irritate your thyroid further.
Other Ways of Treating Vitiligo
You may also choose to treat vitiligo via other oral medications such as trimethylpsoralen, the New York Times Health Guide says. Vitiligo may also be treated through skin medications such as corticosteroid creams. You might also use immunosupressants such as pimecrolimusn and tacrolimus. Immunosuppressants are possible forms of treatment for vitiligo because the skin condition may be caused by an autoimmune response. Skin grafting or the removal of normal skin from one part of your body to use on an affected area of skin may also be tried.
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