B12, Folic Acid and Vitiligo

Juhlin L and Olsson MJ from department of dermatology in University Hospital, Uppsala, Sweden published their study regarding the favorable effect of folic acid and vitamin b12 on vitiligo. The study was published in Acta Derm Venereol in 1997. The studied a heterogeneous group of 100 patients. The patients were given 5mg of folic acid twice daily and 1mg of Vitamin b12 once daily for three months and they were encouraged to take UV exposures for one year.

They reported partial to complete success in 52 patients, and achieved better results for in younger patients with a short disease history and prolonged use of the vitamins.

The study was welcomed because of its apparent positive message, but it is found to be of poor design on micro dissection. No controls were used and the investigators were not blinded either. No data is available on the side effects and/or compliance. Since the patients were exposed to UVB which has its own healing power in vitiligo it is difficult to attribute the success to these vitamins only. It may also be noted that the subjects were reported to have normal levels of B12 and folate at the base line. More and better designed scientific studies would be required to evaluate the validity of this report.