Do you suffer from acne, psoriasis or eczema? If so, you may know that vitamin D is crucial for the protection it provides from the effects of many of these skin disorders (as well as boosting bone health, and nail and hair formation). Now researchers have discovered exactly how it eases the inflammation that worsens these conditions.
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury, but left unchecked, it can exacerbate acne, eczema or psoriasis. It’s also to blame for ongoing symptoms for people with asthma and arthritis. Scientists at National Jewish Health discovered that cells with low vitamin D created more of an inflammatory response compared to those with adequate levels.
During the study, they found a new area where vitamin D binds with DNA. That’s important because they can now delve deeper into the exact science behind vitamin D and inflammation and develop ways to combat inflammation-related symptoms. Namely, finding the right balance of vitamin D in our daily lives.
During testing, the researchers discovered that those who had a blood serum level of 30 nanograms/mililiter of vitamin D, fared better than those with lower levels. Those at 50 ng/ml had the best inflammation inhibition of all, which is far above the current national recommendation of 20 ng/ml.
“Patients with chronic inflammatory diseases…who are vitamin D deficient, may benefit from vitamin D supplementation to get their serum vitamin D levels above 30 ng/ml,” said lead author Elena Goleva, assistant professor at National Jewish Health. Vitamin D levels can be checked with a blood test at your doctor’s office.
You can get more vitamin D through a diet rich in fresh fish, fortified dairy, cereal, and veggies like button mushrooms. There are also beauty products that now contain vitamin D too. Supplementing up to no more than 4,000 IU a day is considered safe (ask your doctor first), and spending a few minutes outside in the sun will increase vitamin D levels, but shouldn’t be considered an excuse for prolonged, unprotected exposure to UV rays, which is known to cause pre-mature aging and skin cancer.
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