Vitamin D is widely used in the treatment and prevention of bone disorders all over the world. Consumption of Vitamin D it appears has other benefits too. Using oral Vitamin D supplements boost the production of a certain protective chemical found in the skin that may help prevent skin infections.
A work of researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, the study suggest that oral Vitamin D supplements showed an improvement in the immune system of patients with skin diseases like atopic dermatitis, the most common form of eczema.
Atopic dermatitis is a chronic skin disease affecting nearly 10 to 20% children and 1-3% adults. It is characterized by severe itching, redness and scaling in certain areas which puts these individuals at increased risk to skin infections like Staph aureus and the herpes and small pox viruses.
“Further research is needed to evaluate the long-term effects of vitamin D supplementation, and to determine if this may be an adequate way to prevent infections in patients with atopic dermatitis,” mentioned Lead researcher, Richard Gallo, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Dermatology at the UCSD School of Medicine and the Dermatology section of the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System.
Tissa R. Hata, M.D., associate professor of medicine at UC San Diego, further remarked, “These results suggest that supplementation with oral vitamin D dramatically induces cathelicidin production in the skin of patients with atopic dermatitis. It also slightly elevated its production in normal skin in this study.”
A small scale study, the research involved about 28 patients of whom 14 were detected with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis and the remaining 14were without the condition. These participants were administered 4000 IUs of oral Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) per day for 21 days. A biopsy of the skin lesions of these volunteers was taken before and after the vitamin D was given. The researchers found that oral vitamin D supplements in fact helped to correct the skin defect in cathelicidin.
The researchers however caution that as the study was small it may need further research to evaluate the long-term effects of vitamin D supplementation along with determining if this may be an adequate way to prevent infections in patients with atopic dermatitis. They were however able to find a significant improvement in the immune system and skin defect for patients who were given oral vitamin D supplements.
The study is published in the October edition of the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology.