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Article at a glance:

  • No longer just important for strong bones, vitamin D is known to be involved in many aspects of health
  • Vitamin D is made in the skin, has multiple effects on the skin and is becoming well-known as a therapeutic option for many skin problems
  • In a recent review published in Skin Pharmacology and Psychology scientists have found vitamin D to be beneficial in psoriasis and atopic dermatitis (eczema)

A new scientific review, published in the journal Skin Pharmacology and Physiology has found that vitamin D supplements may help to improve symptoms of common skin complaints such as eczema and psoriasis.

Vitamin D has long been known for its crucial role in helping calcium to build strong bones, with severe deficiency linked to the bone-softening disease rickets. More recently however, research into the importance of this fat-soluble nutrient for many other aspects of health have emerged. Vitamin D helps to regulate the immune and neuromuscular systems and plays a major role in the life cycle of human cells. Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment, depression, high blood pressure, infectious diseases, cancer risk and problems with auto-immunity such as multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes. And whilst our understanding of the wide-ranging bodily functions of vitamin D in the body increases, we also now know that many people (of all ages) have low levels of this essential nutrient. Vitamin D deficiency, especially in the colder winter months has become a significant public health problem.

In this latest review published in Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, scientists analysed data from recent studies on vitamin D functions in skin physiology. The skin is the site of vitamin D synthesis, yet vitamin D also affects multiple functions in the skin and is becoming known as a therapeutic option for many skin pathologies. In the review, researchers focused mainly on inflammatory skin problems such as eczema and psoriasis and overall, found vitamin D to have beneficial therapeutic effects.

The researchers concluded, “vitamin D exhibits a pleiotropic effect in the skin with its role as antiproliferative, prodifferentiative, antiapoptotic and immunomodulator. It is also intricately involved in many skin pathologies, and it positively influences the outcome of certain inflammatory dermopathologies. So far, therapeutic interventions (topical and systemic) based on vitamin D have been proved beneficial in psoriasis and atopic dermatitis (eczema).”

Umar M, Sastry KS et al. Vitamin D and the pathophysiology of inflammatory skin diseases.  Skin Pharmacology and Physiology.  Published online https://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/485132

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