Psoriasis is a chronic disease of the immune system that causes an accumulation of cells on the surface of the skin and scalp, resulting in thick, red and scaly patches, itching and sometimes pain.
Psoriasis is more than a superficial affection of the skin:
Although psoriasis appears to be a skin problem, it is actually an autoimmune disease. Part of the reaction occurs when a type of white blood cell called T cell mistakenly attacks healthy skin cells. If you suffer from psoriasis, your skin may become so inflamed that it splits and bleeds. Up to 30% of patients also develop psoriatic arthritis, which can cause debilitating joint damage. People with psoriasis are also at higher risk for other chronic diseases, such as eye diseases, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Vitamin D is crucial for autoimmune diseases, including psoriasis.
If you suffer from psoriasis, your vitamin D levels are in optimal shape. Vitamin D is a powerful immune modulator, so it is very important for the prevention of autoimmune diseases. Vitamin D is thought to affect psoriasis at several levels, including helping to regulate the growth and differentiation of keratinocytes (skin cells) and to influence the immune function of T cells and other cells.
In fact, vitamin D derivatives are not only commonly used as a topical treatment for psoriasis. There is also at least one published report on a specific type of drug-induced psoriasis that disappears after high doses of vitamin D3 to treat vitamin D6 deficiency.
Optimize your vitamin D levels if you have psoriasis
As a general rule, the best treatment for psoriasis is exposure to sunlight to optimize your vitamin D levels. Exposure to sunlight works in part because of the sun’s UV rays. some types of artificial light destroy activated T cells in your skin. This slows cell turnover and reduces desquamation and inflammation of the skin.
Adequate exposure to the sun will help you get your vitamin D level in the therapeutic range, which also has additional health benefits. It is probably not a coincidence that people with psoriasis, who often lack vitamin D, are at increased risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease and metabolic syndrome, which are also associated with a low amount of vitamins.