We’re talking about Vitamin D here people! Vitamin D and the vitally important role it plays in skin health and immunity. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin with two main forms; ergocalciferol (Vitamin D2) that can be found in plant sources like avocado or moringa, and cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3) which is animal derived vitamin d commonly found in dietary sources like cheese, eggs and beef liver. You also synthesize Vitamin D3 when 7-dehydrocholesterol, a sterol that is found in your keratinocytes (type of skin cell), is exposed to UVB radiation. The UVB exposure converts 7DHC into pre-vitamin d which is the further synthesized into cholecalciferol or Vitamin D3. You are literally a Vitamin D3 making machine and the sunshine is your battery. Fun fact: Keratinocytes are the only cell in your body that is able to synthesize Vitamin D3 and also responds to its active metabolites.
(Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3 are very similar in their biologic actions and for the purpose of this post Vitamin D refers to either or both)
Vitamin D impacts and regulates the life cycle of multiple types of skin cells including the Proliferation (division) , Differentiation (selection) and Apoptosis (death) of melanocytes (melanin producing cells), keratinocytes (skin building blocks made of keratin), and the follicular growth cycle. The epidermal immunity is also heavily dependent on Vitamin D as it contributes to production of long chain glucosylceramides that are necessary to form a healthy lipid barrier, and promotes production of antimicrobial proteins (AMPs) that either destroy microbial invaders or send out the signal for other immune cells like natural killer cells and neutrophils. Multiple studies have show that optimum Vitamin D levels have been associated with positive skin benefits including
- Enhanced lipid barrier repair following disruption by sodium laurel sulfates or corticosteroids
- Enhanced immune response and healing
- Stimulation of the follicular cycle, specifically the Anagen (growth) stage. Vitamin D has been used in the treatment of Androgenic Female Pattern Hair loss and Telogen Effulvium.
- General increased photoprotection of the skin and protection of the “melanin unit”. Vitamin D has been shown to reduce UVB induced apoptosis in melanocytes in vitiligo patients.
- Suppression of the acne inflammatory response and the P. Acnes bacteria that causes it
- Reduction of symptoms associated with inflammatory skin conditions like Psoriasis and Atopic Dermatitis.
The importance of Vitamin D for skin health is heavily implicated by the number of processes that are either dependent on or enhanced by the presence of Vitamin D, including responses to stress and how well we heal. Optimum Vitamin D levels have been associated with delaying the aging process, including hair loss. Optimum is the key word – too much Vitamin D has been associated with rosacea and too little can mean reduced immune responses and impaired barrier function – and that’s just in your skin. Vitamin D also effect skeletal structures, mood, and hormonal pathways.
You probably aren’ t getting enough vitamin d, one study states that up to 50% of the global population across all ethnicities is vitamin D deficient, so what can you do?
#1 FREE D!!! Get some sunshine! 15-20 minus of bright, direct sunlight is believed to be equal to 10 000iu of vitamin D or the recommended daily dose in supplement form.
#2 SUPPLEMENT D! Vitamin D is often added to multivitamins and is also available in pill form and sublingual (under the tongue) oil suspension drops.
#3 TOPICAL D!!!! Get some vitamin d onto your skin! The easiest kind to access is going to be plant sourced ergocalciferol or Vitamin D2, naturally occurring in plant oils like avocado, moringa, and olive. This is a way to help support your moisture barrier from the outside while you do everything you can to support it from the inside!
So get out there and get your D! ; )
Source Material; Vitamin D and the skin: Focus on a complex relationship: A reviewWedad Z. Mostafa and Rehab A. Hegazy , Vitamin D and the Pathophysiology of Inflammatory Skin Diseases – Umar M. · Sastry K.S. · Al Ali F. · Al-Khulaifi M. · Wang E. · Chouchane A.I. , Vitamin D: The “sunshine” vitamin Rathish Nair and Arun Maseeh