Psoriasis is a disease of the immune system which causes cells to accumulate on the skin`s surface, leading to red, thick, scaly patches which are painful and extremely itchy. It is estimated that about 7.5 million Americas suffer from this chronic disease. According to a study in JAMA Dermatology, the US healthcare costs related to psoriasis are up to $63 billion annually. This refers to direct costs, while the indirect costs like loss of work hours should be taken into consideration, too.
Psoriasis Is More Than a Superficial Skin Condition
Even though psoriasis appears as a skin condition, it is actually an autoimmune disease. This reaction happens when T-cells attack healthy skin cells. Overactive T cells trigger immune responses which accelerate the growth of skin cells, which in turn causes them to move to the outer layer of the skin in a few days.
As the dead skin cells cannot be removed that fast, they accumulate into the patches typical for psoriasis. This condition seriously affects the daily life of those suffering from it. In addition to this, psoriasis patients are also at increased risk of other diseases, such hypertension, heart disease, type II diabetes, and eye conditions.
Vitamin D Is Crucial for Autoimmune Diseases, Including Psoriasis
For those with psoriasis, it is of utmost importance to have their vitamin D levels tested and keep their levels in the range of 50-70 ng/ml year-round. Vitamin D acts as a powerful immune modulator, so the fact that it plays important role in the prevention of psoriasis doesn’t come as surprise. According to one study, “vitamin D could have important immunomodulatory effects in psoriasis,” but up to 80 %of patients in winter and 50 % in the summer were vitamin-D deficient.
It is believed that vitamin D affects psoriasis on multiple levels, including regulation of skin cells growth and affecting the immune functions of T lymphocytes. Additionally, it inhibits toxic T cells, which then helps regulate skin cell growth. The current treatments for psoriasis are quite risky and expensive. Raptiva, one of the drugs, was removed from the market for increasing the risk of brain infections.
Optimize Your Vitamin D Levels If You Have Psoriasis
The best psoriasis treatment is exposure to sunlight in order to boost vitamin D levels. Back in 2004, Dr. Michael Holick published a book in which he encouraged readers to get more sun exposure. At that time, he was a professor of dermatology, focused on treatments for psoriasis. As a matter of fact, he received the American Skin Association’s Psoriasis Research Achievement Award.
“As a result, I was in the department of dermatology, continuing to do psoriasis research. But once I began recommending sensible sun exposure for vitamin D, which is counter to what the American Academy of Dermatology’s message was, I was asked to step down as professor of dermatology back in 2004… The American Academy of Dermatology still recommends: you should never be exposed to one direct ray of sunlight for your entire life.”
Low Vitamin D Linked to Parkinson’s Disease and Cancer
People suffering from psoriasis are at increased risk of Parkinson`s disease due to the vitamin D deficiency. According to a study, “Plasma levels of both dietary and sunlight-derived vitamin D are inversely correlated with the risk of Parkinson disease (PD) … The finding suggests that low vitamin D levels in PD are not simply a result of reduced mobility.”
Another study has shown that higher vitamin D levels are linked with improved survival in those with advanced colorectal cancer, too.