Vitamin D reduces skin sensitivity, speeds burn healing

Less dust mite allergy

People with skin allergy, or dermatitis, often have weak immune systems that overreact by producing antibodies that cause an allergic reaction and raise skin sensitivity. Because vitamin D plays a role in immunity, doctors wanted to test for a link between vitamin D levels and sensitivity to house dust mites, a skin irritant. In this study, doctors measured levels of vitamin D and immune antibodies in 80 men and women with mild to severe atopic dermatitis.

All participants were deficient in vitamin D, with levels below 20 nanograms per milliliter of blood. Those with severe dermatitis had nearly eight times the level of antibodies compared to those with mild dermatitis.

Discussing the findings, doctors said people with dermatitis who are also low in vitamin D are more sensitive to dust mites, and that raising vitamin D levels may reduce sensitivity to dust mites and ease dermatitis symptoms.

Faster burn healing, less scarring

Major burn injury draws on the body’s vitamin D stores, reducing vitamin D levels. In this first-of-its-kind study, over one year, doctors followed 38 people recovering from severe burns averaging 42 percent of the surface area of the body.

Compared to those with lower levels, those with higher vitamin D levels were more likely to survive, had fewer complications, faster and more complete wound healing, and less scarring. Those with lower vitamin D levels were more likely to develop serious infections.

Discussing the findings, doctors said that clinicians treating burn patients generally overlook vitamin D levels, and that supplementing with high doses of vitamin D immediately after burn injury would boost tissue-specific antibacterial function and improve the body’s wound-healing response. Raising the circulating level of vitamin D by supplementing with high vitamin D doses may greatly improve health outcomes in burn patients.

Reference: Annals of Dermatology; 2017, Vol. 29, No. 4, 400-6

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