Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid precursor to the synthesis of tyrosine, and thereby, of melanin.

Since 1985, numerous articles have been published regarding the treatment of vitiligo with phenylalanine, both topically and orally applied, with good results. Here we will focus on the study “Alternative Systemic Treatments for Vitiligo: A Review”( Cohen BE, Elbuluk N, Mu EW, Orlow SJ).

The work reflects the results of a study carried out on 149 patients with vitiligo, that received a 50-100mg/kg dose of phenylalanine once a day, plus phototherapy twice a week. Following 18 months of treatment, 71.2% of the patients showed improvements, with re-pigmentation rates between 25 to 77%. It also mentions two other studies in which 50mg/kg a day of phenylalanine were administered, plus phototherapy twice a week, with response rates of between 85 to 95% following 6-8 months of treatment.

LAs well as not being photo-toxic (making it ideal for use on children), phenylalanine helps strengthen tolerance to sun exposure and stimulates melanocyte activity in combination with narrow band ultraviolet B phototherapy, allowing melanocytes to migrate from pigmented areas to non-pigmented areas.

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