Is Psoriasis Another Symptom of Vitamin D Deficiency?
Vitamin D3, the sunshine vitamin, is commonly prescribed by dermatologists in the form of topical foams, creams, and ointments for the treatment of psoriasis. However, many doctors and dermatologists are now beginning to recognize what has previously been known, that oral vitamin D supplementation can also make a considerable difference in easing the symptoms of this condition.
What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition that involves a rapid turnover of skin cells. This buildup of skin cells causes scaling on the skin’s surface and the formation of scaly, itchy, dry patches.
Typically, skin cells grow deep in the skin and slowly rise to the surface. Eventually, they fall off. The typical life cycle of a skin cell is one month. In people with psoriasis, this production process may occur in just a few days. Because of this, skin cells don’t have time to fall off. This rapid overproduction leads to the buildup of skin cells.
People with psoriasis often find rough areas of painful irritation and silvery scales called plaques on various parts of their bodies. Inflammation and redness around the scales is fairly common. Typical psoriatic scales are whitish-silver and develop in thick, red patches. Sometimes, these patches will crack and bleed.
Scales typically develop on joints, such elbows and knees. They may develop anywhere on the body, including the:
Less common types of psoriasis affect the nails, the mouth, and the area around genitals.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), around 7.5 million Americans have psoriasis. It’s commonly associated with several other conditions, including:
- type 2 diabetes
- inflammatory bowel disease
- heart disease
- psoriatic arthritis
What Causes Psoriasis?
Doctors are unclear as to what causes psoriasis. However, thanks to decades of research, they have a general idea of two key factors: genetics and the immune system.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition. Autoimmune conditions are the result of the body attacking itself. In the case of psoriasis, white blood cells known as T cells mistakenly attack the skin cells.
In a typical body, white blood cells are deployed to attack and destroy invading bacteria and fight infections. This mistaken attack causes the skin cell production process to go into overdrive. The sped-up skin cell production causes new skin cells to develop too quickly. They are pushed to the skin’s surface, where they pile up.
This results in the plaques that are most commonly associated with psoriasis. The attacks on the skin cells also cause red, inflamed areas of skin to develop.
Some people inherit genes that make them more likely to develop psoriasis. If you have an immediate family member with the skin condition, your risk for developing psoriasis is higher. However, the percentage of people who have psoriasis and a genetic predisposition is small. Approximately 2 to 3 percent of people with the gene develop the condition, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation.
While there is no cure for this autoimmune disease, it can be put into remission and there are treatments available that can help ease, and or eliminate your psoriasis symptoms. These include home remedies to calm the skin, topical and oral medications, and light therapy.
Keep reading to learn more about Red Light Therapy for psoriasis, including how it works and if it might be right for you.
What the Research Shows on Vitamin D?
In October, 1986, a study was published in the British Journal of Dermatology which indicated that there was a notable decrease in psoriasis symptoms when vitamin D3 treatments were taking orally.
In August 2013, a study in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment indicated that oral vitamin D remains an option that can help to overcome psoriasis symptoms, as opposed to using the topical treatments. It claimed that this form of supplementation is commonly forgotten as an option but that it is a very promising one. The researchers pointed out that this treatment is both easily available and highly inexpensive, while being a viable treatment option for the condition.
These benefits were reiterated when a similar study was conducted and found comparable results, published in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment in January 2012. What they determined in the second study was that the nutrient could have important immunomodulatory effects on the skin disease. It concluded that Vitamin D deficiency is very common in patients with psoriasis.
What Can You Do
If you suffer from psoriasis, it is possible that an underlying cause is a Vitamin D Deficiency and we encourage you to have your vitamin D level tested right away, and to work with your doctor to bring your levels up to an optimum range . Vitamin D3 is very inexpensive and readily available however, the best source of vitamin D is sun exposure. In fact one of the treatments for psoriasis is ultraviolet (UV) radiation. It used to be that the only place psoriasis patients could get UV radiation was a dermatologist’s office, and it often cost several hundred dollars per treatment. When tanning parlors began to appear, psoriasis patients realized they could utilize commercial sunbeds and get some relief of their symptoms. Some people think that this commercial conflict — between dermatologists and tanning parlors — is the reason dermatologists have so forcefully condemned sun tan parlors. It may take three months or so to correct the deficiency, but that may be all it takes to end your psoriasis.
Additional Recommendations to Treat Psoriasis
If you’re suffering from disease, the number one recommendation for the treatment of psoriasis would be Red and Infrared Light Therapy, followed by a healthy diet, avoiding both acidic and inflammatory foods as well as alcohol, minimizing stress, supplementing with Omega-3 Fish Oils and Magnesium, reducing your toxin burden, and maintaining a healthy body weight all help to manage psoriasis symptoms.
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