Best Vitamins for Lichen Sclerosis
Lichen sclerosis is a skin condition that develops when an immune system starts attacking healthy cells and tissue. According to the National Cancer Institute, this condition may be triggered by the human papillomavirus (HPV), leading to genital warts and cervical cancer. The symptoms of this skin disorder include thinning skin, changes in skin color, or patches of skin that turn white. Lichens sclerosis [LS] may cause chronic vulvar itching and pain, burning sensations, and dryness.
The debilitating effects of lichens sclerosis can leave some individuals unable to work or engage in normal daily activities. There is no known cure for the disease; however, certain vitamins and supplements have been proven effective at alleviating some symptoms.
The right vitamins and supplements may improve an individual’s health while minimizing discomfort. Here are ten vitamins that can help improve lichens sclerosis [LS].
a) Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps reduce inflammation, swelling, and pain. Experts recommend taking 500 milligrams of vitamin C twice a day. When supplementing with vitamin C to treat LS, choosing a high-quality brand, such as Jarrow Formula’s Ascorbate Buffered-C Powder, is important. This formula provides the body with 500 milligrams of vitamin C per serving through calcium ascorbate and magnesium ascorbate. These forms are gentle on the stomach and may help reduce acid reflux.
b) Vitamin D: Individuals with LS are more likely than others to suffer from osteoporosis or thinning of the bone tissue. Vitamin D not only helps strengthen bones, but research suggests that it is highly effective at relieving pain caused by LS. Experts recommend taking 800 international units (IU) per day.
c) Saw palmetto extract: This extract comes from fruit berries native to North America. The plant is often used in traditional medicine because of its medicinal properties. Saw palmetto is thought to inhibit the enzyme 5-a reductase, which plays a key role in triggering male hormone activity that can lead to various types of prostate disease. This may help reduce symptoms of LS because male hormones are thought to play a role in the development of this skin disorder. Saw palmetto is available in many forms, but it is important to choose an extract that provides no less than 85 percent fatty acids and sterols per dose.
d) Borage oil: Borage oil contains high levels of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which has been shown to prevent histamine release when applied topically to broken skin. Histamines are chemical compounds that can trigger itching, burning sensations, and redness in individuals with LS. It’s best to take borage oil supplements orally. Vegans can obtain borage oil by consuming hemp seeds, walnuts, and flaxseed oil.
e) Folic acid: Patients with LS have low levels of folic acid or vitamin B-9. Research has shown that supplementing with 400 micrograms of folic acid per day can alleviate symptoms of LS and prevent cervical cell changes linked to the development of cervical cancer. Folate may also help fight symptoms associated with lichen planus, a skin condition that shares symptoms with LS.
f) Vitamin A: Vitamin A is another antioxidant that can reduce inflammation and other symptoms associated with LS. It also helps regulate the immune system, which may help protect against infection. This vitamin is available in most daily multivitamins. However, it’s best to take a separate dose because larger quantities may cause side effects such as nausea, dizziness, and diarrhea. Take up to 200 micrograms per day of vitamin A to achieve therapeutic benefits.
g) Biotin: This B-vitamin helps rebuild cells and maintain cellular health. Although scientists are still unsure exactly how biotin works, research suggests it may be useful for treating LS due to its antioxidant properties. However, it’s important not to take more than 100 micrograms per day because excess amounts may cause fatigue, nausea, and yeast infections.
h) Cod liver oil: If you have LS, taking cod liver oil supplements can help reduce the pain and discomfort caused by this skin disorder. Cod liver oil contains high levels of vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids, both of which help relieve the symptoms of this condition.
i) Vitamin E: Vitamin E can reduce itching and inflammation caused by LS. This antioxidant protects against free radical damage, which may trigger changes linked to the development of this skin disorder. It’s best to take vitamin E supplements orally in quantities no greater than 400 IU per day. Side effects may include diarrhea and fatigue.
j) Zinc: Zinc is an important mineral that regulates many biochemical processes connected with LS. Research indicates that supplementing with 50 milligrams per day can significantly reduce genital itching, burning sensations, and pain. During supplementation, it’s best to avoid taking zinc simultaneously as other minerals that compete with zinc, such as copper and calcium.
k) Stinging nettle: Stinging nettle is another herb that helps relieve LS symptoms by regulating the immune system. The plant has natural anti-inflammatory properties and can reduce pain, itching, and inflammation in the genital area. It’s best to consume stinging nettle supplements orally in quantities of 400 milligrams per day for two weeks. A break should be taken after two weeks of supplementation before starting again.
Lichen sclerosis, or LS, is a skin disorder characterized by changes in the skin that may develop into white patches on the genitals, groin, or underarms. This condition is fairly common among women and may affect up to 2 percent of all adult women. LS is also prevalent in men, and the frequency among men increases with age.
There are currently no known causes for lichen sclerosis, but doctors believe it’s likely influenced by genetics and skin trauma such as dermabrasion or forcible genital rubbing. Topical steroid creams can effectively relieve symptoms associated with this condition; however, they don’t fully restore the skin’s normal appearance.
Vitamins have been used to treat different diseases with varying degrees of success for many years. There are reports that some vitamins were successful in treating skin conditions such as psoriasis and acne vulgaris. Furthermore, the application of topical retinoids has been known to cause side effects related to dryness and erythema, especially when exposed to sunlight which may reduce compliance among patients using them. This prompted researchers to look for alternative medications or treatments with fewer adverse reactions. Two studies revealed that the application of vitamin B and vitamin D is effective in treating lichen sclerosis. Some vitamins are more beneficial than others for the treatment of lichen sclerosis. Vitamin D is shown to be effective in treating this disease, while vitamin A should be chosen carefully because it can worsen symptoms with prolonged use.