Vitamin D levels: sub-optimal in common skin disorders

Vitamin D is considered a key nutrient in reducing the risk of developing many forms of cancer, bacterial infection, autoimmune diseases and cardiovascular disease (Grant, Cross, Garland, Gorhan, Moan, Peterlik, Porojnicu, Reichrath & Zitterman, 2009). We receive vitamin D primarily through sun exposure, and to some extent diet. There is growing evidence to suggest that vitamin D status among patients with skin disorders is low (Grant, Cross, Garland, Gorhan, Moan, Peterlik, Porojnicu, Reichrath & Zitterman, 2009), which is not surprising when we consider that the lack of outdoor activity unfolding in the West is increasing. In a recent study, researchers from the Tampere University Hospital in Finland, examined whether narrow band ultra-violet B treatment improves vitamin D status in patients presenting with psoriasis and atopic dermatitis during winter (Vahavihu, Ala-Houhala, Peric, Karisola, Kautiainen, Hasan, Snellman, Alenius, Schauber & Reunala, 2010). Of the 56 adult subjects in this study, 16 patients with psoriasis , 17 with atopic dermatitis and 8 healthy subjects had vitamin D insufficiency (<50 nmol/L). Moreover, there were 5 subjects with psoriasis and 7 with atopic dermatitis that had vitamin D concentrations <25 nmol/L. These levels are extremely low when we consider that the recommended concentration of vitamin D should be between 75 to 100 nmol/L.

Grant, W.B., Cross, H.S., Garland, C.F., Gorhan, E.D., Moan, J., Peterlik, M., Porojnicu, A.C., Reichrath, J. & Zitterman, A. 2009. Estimated benefit of increased vitamin D status in reducing economic burden of disease in western Europe. Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology, 99, 3, 104-113.

Vahavihu, K., Ala-Houhala, M., Peric, M., Karisola, P., Kautiainen, H., Hasan, T., Snellman, E., Alenius, H., Schauber, J. & Reunala, T, 2010. Narrow band ultraviolet B treatment  improves vitamin D balance and alters antimicrobial peptide expression in skin lesions of psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. British Journal of Dermatology, 163, 2, 321-328.

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