Sure rickets may no longer be a significant issue in our modern times but vitamin D deficiency is still a common problem. If people only knew what many other health issues getting enough vitamin D could solve, they would become sun worshipers. It is not called the sunshine vitamin for nothing. Is there a connection between vitamin D and psoriasis and can it help you rid yourself of the skin lesions associated with this chronic skin disease?
What is so great about vitamin D?
Before we look into the connection between vitamin D and psoriasis, we need to first consider what is so great about this vitamin.
When the sun comes into contact with the skin, the ultraviolet rays present in the sun are used by the body to create vitamin D which is very essential for transporting calcium and phosphorous into the bones which helps with the development of healthy bones in childhood and helps with maintaining these healthy bones in adulthood. If you don’t get enough of this vitamin, your bones will become weak and soft and bowing may occur in some cases under the weight of the body.
But this vitamin is not just important for maintaining healthy bones. It has also been discovered that various cells in the body contain a vitamin D receptor which is believed to help the immune system. If your body has enough vitamin D, it is believed that this helps the immune system fight off various infections and diseases. It is also able to lower your risk of developing autoimmune diseases, heart disease as well as certain cancers.
Vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency in people is currently a big issue. This deficiency is mostly blamed on current lifestyles that are much different from previous generations.
Exposure to the sun is the easiest way to get vitamin D which allows the body to make vitamin D and this is how most people used to get it before doctors started cautioning people about the dangers of the sun. The current deficiency is therefore due to many people not getting any or enough sun as well as not consuming foods or supplements that contain this vitamin.
You don’t even need a lot of sun exposure to get the required daily amount of vitamin D. As little as 15 minutes a day is enough but effective supplementation or consuming foods fortified with vitamin D can give you all you need of this vitamin as well.
The connection between vitamin D and psoriasis is believed to be twofold – internal and external. Some of the benefits of vitamin D when used internally were mentioned above. Psoriasis is believed to be an autoimmune disease and vitamin D through a process that is still not very well understood may be able to work on the immune system which can help reduce the risk of developing autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis.
Some studies have also shown that vitamin D may change the way cells grow including skin cells. Since psoriasis represents rapid skin turnover, by changing the way cells grow, vitamin D may be able to slow down the growth and severity of psoriasis lesions when applied topically.
How much vitamin D is needed?
The daily requirement for vitamin D for most people between the ages of 1 and 70 is at least 600 IU (international units) but definitely strive for more than 600 IU each day especially if you are dealing with this chronic skin condition.
Ingesting too much vitamin D is a rare occurrence even in amounts of 6,000 daily but vitamin D toxicity or hypersensitivity can occur so see your doctor if you think you have taken too much vitamin D. Signs that you have taken too much vitamin D include an upset stomach that may be followed by vomiting and/or excessive thirst.
Should you go out in the sun?
Exposure to the sun is the cheapest and easiest way to enable the body to create vitamin D when sunlight is absorbed but due to skin cancer fears, it is important to exercise care while exposing yourself to the sun. You can also obtain vitamin D from supplements and various foods that are fortified with this vitamin.
Another benefit of going out into the sun if you have psoriasis is that light therapy has been shown to be very beneficial for treating psoriasis lesions.
Some research has shown that it is the sunlight itself that helps to heal the lesions but that the increased levels of vitamin D due to sun exposure improve the results of light therapy for psoriasis.
Guidance on how much sun you need to not only get the benefits from exposure to ultraviolet rays but also to allow the body to create vitamin D is to first determine how long it takes for you to get slightly tanned and then half this time. Spend this time out in the sun three times a week but do talk to your doctor first and you will need to get your skin examined periodically because of cancer risk.
If you are dark skin toned, you may need to spend a bit more time in the sun (5 to 10 times more sun exposure) because of the melanin (skin pigment) in dark skin which is a much stronger natural sunscreen than in those with fair skin which is why if you are dark-skinned, you are usually even more deficient in vitamin D than someone with fair skin.
Vitamin D3 for psoriasis
While you can go out into the sun, supplementing using a topical vitamin D ointment has also been found to be very effective in the fight against psoriasis. There are various ointments that include vitamin D as an active ingredient and this is usually vitamin D3.
There is another type of vitamin D – vitamin D2 – which is less commonly used because it is not thought to be as effective as vitamin D3. D2 is produced in a laboratory whereas D3 is obtained from fish oil and other food sources and more closely matches the type of vitamin D produced by the skin and is easier to convert in the body by the liver. Side effects from using vitamin D supplements are also more commonly noted when D2 is used which may be due to the way it is manufactured.
All in all, when supplementing, it will be better for you to use vitamin D3 for psoriasis treatment. When using an ointment that contains vitamin D3, most psoriasis sufferers reported significant improvement in the appearance of the lesions.
Vitamin D is important for general health and well-being and there seems to be a connection between vitamin D and psoriasis so this is a natural treatment that is worthy of consideration if you are struggling with psoriasis.
Besides the connection between vitamin d and psoriasis, for more ways on how to get rid of psoriasis naturally, you need the step-by-step guidance set forth in the bestselling holistic Psoriasis Free For Life guide which you can find out more about here.