Vitamin D for Psoriasis: How It Works and How to Take It

When you go searching for the best vitamins for psoriasis, one keeps showing up again and again. Yup, we’re talking about Vitamin D for psoriasis. And it’s not just for psoriasis – the origins of Vitamin D date back at least 0.5 billion years to the first phytoplankton on the planet and it would appear that nearly every organism that dwells in the light of day requires this life-essential nutrient!

So what exactly is it?

Vitamin D is a very important vitamin, hormone and antioxidant compound that our bodies usually make in response to sunlight. Without Vitamin D, our bodies would suffer immensely, being exposed to higher amounts of inflammation, weaker bones and a severely compromised immune system.

Noting this, it comes as no surprise that those of us with auto-immune and inflammatory conditions, such as psoriasis, have all been linked with a deficiency in Vitamin D. Not only does deficiency occur in those with psoriasis, but it also occurs in the fun bag of all those conditions that psoriasis sufferers stand an increased risk of inheriting, such as:

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Neurological Disorders
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Dermatitis
  • Metabolic Syndrome
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Cancer

So the good news? Treating psoriasis, as well as these other conditions, with Vitamin D supplementation has proven highly effective, at least in terms of alleviating symptoms.

But that’s not all, of course. Let’s go over exactly how taking Vitamin D for psoriasis can help as well as how to actually take it!

What Form of Vitamin D is Best for Psoriasis?

Before we dive into exactly how Vitamin D is effective for dealing with psoriasis, we need to understand the type of Vitamin D that has “got the power!”

There are only two forms of Vitamin D that one can get: Vitamin D3 or D2.

Vitamin D2 is a common additive in dairy products and other popular commodities, but it is actually a form of calcium that our bodies cannot easily process and ends up causing more harm than good!

Vitamin D3 on the other hand is excellent for us and is known as the active form of Vitamin D, readily available for our bodies to use instantaneously. Other names for the correct form of Vitamin D3 are 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol or 1,25- dihydroxyvitamin D3.

Yes, that’s ridiculous long but thanks to your copy-and-paste functions, at least you won’t need to know how to spell it. And yes, that’s the one you should get.

Why Vitamin D for Psoriasis Works

Here is a more in depth view of how Vitamin D for psoriasis works, with several reasons illuminating why Vitamin D is the go-to vitamin for treating psoriasis.

For starters, Vitamin D3…

Prevents Inflammation

In psoriasis, the nasty skin legions, scales and rashes are caused by an auto-immune reaction that results in excessive inflammation. Vitamin D3 has proven time and time again to prevent and reduce this inflammation.

Vitamin D works by preventing inflammation cascades. In several studies, it lowered markers of inflammation in psoriasis and other inflammatory diseases. Vitamin D3 goes a step further, however, upregulating the genes involved in creating anti-inflammatory compounds.

That means that it switches on your body’s ability to make the guys that counteract the inflammation, empowering your body to auto-heal itself!

Regulates Dendritic Cell Formation and Rapid Skin Cell Growth

A more in-depth view of the auto-immune reaction involved in psoriasis revealed that the skin legions are a result of over functioning T-cells as well as Dendritic Cells.

Dendritic Cells (not to be confused with neuron dendrites) are what signal the body to produce T-cells in response to an infection. Both T-cells and Dendritic Cells have been found in vast quantities in the skin of psoriasis patients in areas with and without skin rashes.

These cells are involved in the immune response which generates cascades of inflammation and are linked to the formation of psoriasis skin legions. Vitamin D3 has been shown to effectively regulate both of these types of cells, keeping their numbers in check and preventing an auto-immune response.

In addition, Vitamin D regulates the rapid formation of skin growth as seen in psoriasis cases. One 2013 Brazilian study monitored nine people with psoriasis over six months, with each person taking 35,000 IU of Vitamin D3 every single day.

vitamin d for psoriasis

It’s a huge dose, to be sure, so the patients were under regular doctor supervision – side note: it is not advised you do this by yourself at home. But the results were outstanding with every person seeing improvements. Some were significant, as you can see above in the pictures of patients before and after.

Boosts Immune Function

Originally Vitamin D was thought to only be used by the body as a means for calcium regulation. Over time, science has discovered that this Vitamin is actually involved in many immune functions and that several tissues in our body have receptors for it.

Vitamin D acts as a mediator and is involved in signaling and regulating healthy immune responses when the body is compromised. Many studies have backed up this research, demonstrating just how potent this wonder vitamin is at bolstering the immune system against infections as well as over-active immune responses.

Helps Get A Good Night’s Sleep

Poor sleep in general has been shown to weaken the functioning of the skin. What you may not know is that lack of sleep exacerbates all symptoms of psoriasis by releasing even more inflammatory compounds.

While there is not much evidence to support that Vitamin D3 is directly effective at inducing enhanced sleep, there are countless anecdotal reports from those who take it, stating that D3 makes them feel drowsy and improves the quality of sleep. Plus, it has been shown that those who are deficient in vitamin D3 are also more likely to have disturbed sleeping patterns.

Possible clues as to how D3 appears to aid sleep lie within it’s ability to protect against Serotonin depletion, as well as being an all-round anti-inflammatory compound. Serotonin works hand in hand with Melatonin in the body and without it, one cannot produce melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone and master antioxidant that puts us to sleep, in very simple terms.

Furthermore, levels of Melatonin were reported to be decreased in those with this awful skin condition and a lack of both melatonin and Vitamin D3 is linked to sleep disorders in general.

Common sleeping disorders are exacerbated by increased levels of cytokines (or inflammation). Since Vitamin D3 helps to reduce inflammation, protects against serotonin depletion and is linked to sleep irregularities when one is deficient in it, it is safe to say that it will help to improve the quality of sleep in psoriasis sufferers.

Reduces Pain and Pain Perception

One thing all psoriasis patients have in common with one another is pain. The scabby legions and rashes that occur along the body are itchy and terribly sore, only getting worse when scratched. Thankfully, Vitamin D3 comes to the rescue yet again!

In a case study done on those with Rheumatoid Arthritis, 500 IU of Vitamin D3 daily significantly reduced joint pain after 3 months.

Arthritis is another inflammatory autoimmune condition which is very similar to Psoriasis. In fact, 30% of all psoriasis cases manifest in the form of psoriatic arthritis and many Psoriasis sufferers develop arthritis at later stages of the disease.

Improves Bone Health

As mentioned above, Psoriasis is actually commonly associated with arthritis due to its similarities regarding chronic inflammation. This means that those who suffer from psoriasis are most likely to develop weaker or fractured joints at later stages of the disease, which vitamin D3 protects against.

A decline of bone health is another risk factor involved, particularly for men with psoriasis! In a 2009 research paper, it was clearly shown that men with psoriasis stand a great chance of developing osteoporosis, whereas women did not seem to at all.

Vitamin D3 increases bone density and protects against fractures. It also works with Vitamin K2 to ensure strong healthy bones, which prevents the onset of osteoporosis.

Protects the Heart

The severe inflammation in psoriasis is connected to high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Higher levels of vitamin D3 have been associated with a decreased risk of both of these conditions.

This potent vitamin protects the heart by lowering ‘bad’ cholesterol and increasing ‘good’ cholesterol. Bad or LDL cholesterol, when out of proportion in the body, leads to increased inflammation which will worsen the symptoms of psoriasis.

Vitamin D3 also regulates high blood pressure and reduces weight in those who are obese, another risk factor for psoriasis sufferers, as well as CVD.

Aids the Microbiome

A disruption of the microbiome plays an important role in a multitude of inflammatory conditions and psoriasis is no exception.

The microbiome has been reported to affect our body as a whole, even with seemingly unrelated sites like the skin. Taking probiotics was noted to reduce markers of inflammation in psoriasis patients. It has also been hypothesized that inflammatory bowel disease and psoriasis share the same inflammation pathways due to their close association with one another.

Here’s where Vitamin D3 can once again shine! A study showed that Vitamin D positively regulated the upper portion of the microbiome, resulting in less gut disruptions and a larger diversity of healthy gut bacteria.

How to Take Vitamin D for Psoriasis

Okay, you say at this point, you’re convinced. But how do you know if you even need it?

You already know that your body naturally makes its own Vitamin D3 but how much is highly dependent on things like how much sunlight you get in any given day.

If you live in a dark, dreary region (or it’s wintertime), then there’s a good chance you may be lacking. Even if you’re in sunnier pastures, many of us are in the habit of covering up so you may be deficient even if there’s sunlight out every day.

If you want to make absolutely sure, you can always ask your doctor for a blood test to confirm.

Okay, if you’ve determined that this is a supplement you want to add to your life – you’ve got two options when it comes to taking Vitamin D3 and both are recommended for psoriasis. So, choices! Here’s the first one…

Oral Vitamin D3 Supplementation

In healthy individuals who want to load up on their Vitamin D3 intake, 800 to 2000 IU per day is optimal. Vitamin D is best taken before bedtime after dinner, as it can make one feel drowsy.

With psoriasis however, higher doses of Vitamin D3 are recommended. This is because in many autoimmune disorders, Vitamin D metabolism appears to be hampered by genetic mutations known as polymorphisms. These polymorphisms create a resistance to Vitamin D, making it necessary to take higher supplemental doses than most people.

In a fairly recent study done, nine psoriasis patients took 35 000 IU of Vitamin D3 per day for 6 months! They were also placed on a low calcium diet and drank a minimum of 2.5L daily to compensate for any possible side effects or toxicity from this drastic calcium intake. After the time period, all nine of these patients had significant improvements in their symptoms without any negative side effects.

These scientists have recommended to take high doses of Vitamin D with a low calcium diet; yet no adverse effects were reported in those who were administered even up to 200 000 IU in other studies done on diabetics. On the contrary, this high dose each week effectively lowered and stabilized high blood pressure.

To be on the safe side, though, start with a lower dose of 4000 IU daily and work your way up while also removing sources of calcium from your diet. High sources of calcium include all dairy products. If you have hard water in your home, rather buy bottled spring water during this time or better yet, invest in an advanced water filtration system for your home.

Topical Vitamin D3 Ointments

The other option of getting your Vitamin D3 is by wearing it.

The topical application of vitamin D3 proves to be highly effective at reducing the size and texture of the annoyingly persistent scabby patches that come with Psoriasis. Dated clinical trials conducted in 1988 have already shown that larger amounts of D3 applied topically yielded better results than lesser amounts, without any negative side effects.

Most pharmaceutical OTC ointments sold for psoriasis have a lot of synthetic constituents in them which will aggravate the condition. These ointments also work using corticosteroids, which suppress the immune system, rather than help it come back into a natural balance.

To prevent this, one can easily make a natural topical ointment for their skin rashes from manuka honey, beeswax, olive oil and Vitamin D3.

In an experiment done, a preparation of honey, olive oil and beeswax was mixed with corticosteroid ointment in three different proportions. The ratios of 1:1, 1:2 and 1:3 was used in each, the 1 being the corticosteroid ointment portion. In the majority of both dermatitis and psoriasis patients, the mixture with the highest amount of these natural ingredients was the most effective at reducing the rashes.

We may not know exactly why or how but natural moisturizers and emollients like beeswax and honey help so feel free to make your own concoction with Vitamin D3 and natural ingredients (like the best oils for psoriasis) that feel best on your skin.

After extensive research and multiple clinical trials, it is very clear that Vitamin D is a safe and highly effective anti-inflammatory treatment for psoriasis. The more vitamin D3 administered and the more time that passes, the better the results. So what are you waiting for? Go and get some vitamin D3 today and start the process already!

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