Vitamin D Could Reduce Skin Infection Risks

    Oral vitamin D supplements may help prevent some skin infections caused by atopic dermatitis, the most common form of eczema, according to a UCSD School of Medicine study published last week.

    Led by professor of medicine Richard Gallo and associate professor of medicine Tissa R. Hata, the research suggested that the use of vitamin D corrects an immune system defect in those affected by the skin disease by boosting production of a protein called cathelicidin, which protects against microbial invasion.

    Atopic dermatitis — a chronic skin disease characterized by severe itching, redness and scaling — affects 10 to 20 percent of children and 1 to 3 percent of adults, putting them at risk for Staph infections, herpes and smallpox.

    “These results suggest that supplementation with oral vitamin D dramatically induces cathelicidin production in the skin of patients with atopic dermatitis,” Hata said. “It also slightly elevated its production in normal skin in this study.”

    Other recent UCSD studies have linked vitamin D deficiency to increased rates of multiple cancers, diabetes and other diseases.

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