Salt Causing Dark Spots On Albinos! Myth or Fact?


salt

The 13th of June every year is the day set aside as the World Albinism Day in order to help fight the myth and wrong perceptions generally projected by those who do not have it against Albinos. Albinism is a congenital disorder (Birth disorder) which come to be due to lack of melanin in the skin, eyes and hair. Those with no melanin are called Albinos while those with little melanin are called albinoids. This is usually due to genetic interpretation in the body of parents of an albino. While this is the main cause of the condition, a lot of people give different assumptions. Some of them include; The parents of Albinos had intercourse in the hot afternoon, the child belongs to another father or the child is a representation of a certain god on earth. I cannot laugh enough.

Many Nigerians, even the older generation have regularly said to mothers of Albinos to avoid giving their Albino children salt or foods containing salt because it causes the proliferation of dark spots all over the skin of Albinos. Is this the reality or one of those myths that is used to stigmatize people living with albinism?

salt

As I pondered about this, I began to search, and I realised that there seem not to exist any fact on this claim. It was then I went further to consult with a few Albinos and their parents. All of them have this to say; Salt has nothing to do with the dark spot on the faces of Albino, I have included salt in the diet of my child since she was born without caution on the acceptable level as she ate same food with her siblings yet she is evenly coloured without dark spots. The reason for the dark spot is exposure to sunlight which causes sun burn. They emphasised that they did well to protect their children and self from excessive exposure to sunlight in order to have a non dark spotted skin.

While the afforementioned remains the opinion of Albinos and parents, I have also taken a stand to agree with their claims. If you avoid to add salt to the food of your Albino child, do not  forget a significant level of sodium is found in all our foods. The last reason that made me completely concur with this opinion was when I heard an Albino speak of his dark spotted skin on a radio show. He insisted that right from childhood her mum had avoided adding table salt yet he is dark spotted. He also said he had been exposed to sunlight when he was younger as he was always playing with other kids in the hot afternoon.

Let your Albino children maximise food options like other kids. Chocolates, biscuits, crackers, sharwama and other snacks contain a reasonable amount of salt and children regardless of their skin type, race and age would always love to have a bite. As your child grows up, you do not want them to develop a condition of hypotension due to low level of sodium which can be very dangerous. I am not saying you should include salt without caution into their diets. Moderation does it.

Although, no scientific fact has explained if salt contributes to this or not but clearly from consultations it shows that it might just be a myth.

If you are an Albino or you know anyone who is an Albino or you are a parent of an Albino, please we would like you to share your opinions to help educate others.

FoodsNG says: #STOPTHESTIGMATISATIONAGAINSTALBINOS



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Oladipupo Abioye
Oladipupo is a Pediatric Nutritionist with Lagos State Ministry of Health. He is an adventurous foodie and loves to teach and render presentations on foods and nutritional topics at different symposia. He loves Messi but Chelsea FC is his baby.

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