Skin conditions. Psoriasis and vitamin D. Recent studies suggest that it is easier to find deficiency of vitamin D in patients with psoriasis, particularly in the "plaque" variant. Foods can provide this important vitamin and sun exposure helps our body to produce it.
Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease characterized by reddish and rounded patches where silvery "scales" appear due to a cell replacement that is up to ten times greater than normal cell renewal in patient suffering psoriasis. Treatments, habits and nutrition play an important role in this disease, as well as vitamins, essential to counteract the main symptoms. Especially, when people talk about psoriasis, we hear about vitamin D and its importance.
Vitamin D is a group of 5 different vitamins: vitamins D1, D2, D3, D4 and D5. The two most important ones are vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), which have very similar biological activities but different origins. The first one has vegetable origin, while the second has its origin in the cholesterol and is synthesized in animal organisms.
Why is this vitamin so important for people with psoriasis?
Keratinocytes are the predominant cells of the epidermis where the cell cycle stages are developed. They mainly have a protective action against the aggressions of the pathogenic organisms, the heat, the UV radiation and the loss of water. They are the only cells that, thanks to the ultraviolet B rays, are able to synthesize the Vitamin D3, besides they are essential for the activation of the specific immune response in which lymphocytes are involved. In the presence of psoriasis and the resulting vitamin D deficiency, many of these cells lose their normal function and produce substances capable of influencing an "anomalous" response, both at the immune and keratinocyte proliferation level, developing changes in the renewal of epidermal cells.
Foods can provide this important vitamin and sun exposure helps our body to produce it. Vitamin D that is got from sun exposure is biologically non-active but two chemical reactions have to take place to become it biologically active. In relation to our lifestyle, we spend much of our time at closed spaces, so vitamin D levels are not adequate in most of the population. For those who, on the other hand, have the possibility to enjoy beautiful sunny days it is required at least 40 minutes a day in the sun wearing T-shirt and shorts to get a vitamin D reserve for the whole winter. The benefits will be substantial because vitamin D is a vitamin D is a potent inmmunomodulator hormone that has antitumor effects. It regulates the immune system, increases serotonin levels by improving overall mood and has an antihypertensive function that decreases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Vitamin D is also known because it is important for bone mineralization, responsible for the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, which is absolutely vital for children, who have to develop strong bones, for elderly people, who must keep the skeletal system healthy, but above all, for those suffering from psoriatic arthritis. Therefore, when vitamin D levels are low, it is necessary to see a doctor who will tell you what to do in order to avoid unpleasant consequences for the body.
The vitamin excesses are never healthy that’s why the difference between vitamin D deficiency and vitamin D toxicity has to be pointed out, highlighting the possible consequences.
Vitamin D deficiency
Recent studies suggest that it is easier to find deficiency of this vitamin in patients with psoriasis, particularly in the "plaque" variant. The reasons why there is vitamin deficiency are not clear, but the data are consistent with previous tests that had showed low levels of vitamin D in other autoimmune skin diseases such as atopic dermatitis, vitiligo and chronic hives.
In presence of vitamin D deficiency, myopathy (primary muscle diseases or disorders of voluntary muscle) and sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass) were specifically manifested by difficulties in getting up from the chair, reduced muscle strength, balance disorder and a higher risk of falls and, therefore, broken bones, especially in elderly people.
In this case, it may be helpful to eat foods rich in vitamin D, such as:
Whole egg, sardine, herring, milk and dairy products, viscera, orange juice, cod-liver oil, wheat germ, salmon, and tuna. If possible, you should take advantage of good weather to get some sun.
Just as vitamin D deficiency can lead to problems, an excessive amount for therapeutic purposes can lead to unexpected consequences such as: frequent urination, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, calcification of soft tissues of the heart, hypertension and hyperactivity in children.
In relation to toxicity from excess vitamin D the following should be specified:
• When taking vitamin supplements as a therapy these should be prescribed by a doctor and taken with the utmost care;
• Hypervitaminosis usually has nothing to do with diet;
• Hypervitaminosis due to overexposure to sunlight is unlikely.
Regular check-ups to keep Vitamin D levels under control is always the best option because in this way, you are protecting your health. Vitamin D deficiency is a common condition among Italian population; therefore, a preventive actions to self-care should be taken to have a healthier life.
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