Published on February 8, 2021
What is Vitamin D Good For? (Part 3: The Dermatological System) – Vitamin D is needed by virtually every cell in the body, and is essential for hundreds of processes each and every day
Vitamin D contributes to hundreds of physiological processes each day having to do with a wide array of health effects, which is why a deficiency can lead to so many different negative health outcomes – from brittle bones to heart disease and cancer. Vitamin D acts as a protector and regulator so it is able to enhance the functioning of our cells, tissues and organs to keep us healthy and defend against diseases of many kinds. From musculoskeletal to cognitive and mental-emotional wellness, vitamin D has many benefits, and a deficit in vitamin D can lead to impairment or disease. With this in mind, why take a chance at being deficient in vitamin D?
Today, we take a look at why vitamin D is important to the health and function of the dermatological system – your skin not only makes vitamin D, but needs it to stay healthy!
Vitamin D Produced in the Skin also Helps Protect the Skin
Unlike traditional vitamins that you must get from your diet or supplements, vitamin D can be produced naturally in your skin when exposed to UVB rays in the proper circumstances.
Studies have shown that vitamin D made in the skin can decrease DNA damage in the skin cells, facilitate DNA repair acting directly upon any UV damage produced from sun exposure, and help prevent cell death. Furthermore, sensible exposure to sunlight actually protects the skin and deeper tissues from UV damage by increasing pigmentation (short term tanning) and thickening the outermost layer of skin – a process beneficial even for those with already darker skin. In fact, one study following 29,518 Swedish women over 20 years found that all-cause mortality was inversely related to sun exposure, in other words the risk of death was higher in those who avoided the sun.
Moreover, keratinocytes, which make up over 90% of the outermost layer of skin, cannot rely on vitamin D3 from supplements. Keratinocytes must synthesize their own supply of vitamin D directly from sun exposure, or by topical application as described in a review by Bolerazska et al. (2017) – so make sure you feed your keratinocytes vitamin D from the sun or topical application!
What Does Vitamin D do for the Skin?
Vitamin D roles in the dermatological system include:
- Vitamin D synthesis begins when the skin is exposed to the sun when it contains UVB rays (this varies depending on latitude and time of year)
- Important for normal hair, skin and nail growth
- Protects from excessive cell proliferation (e.g. skin cancer or psoriasis)
Dermatological Diseases associated with low vitamin D include:
Vitamin D, Sun Exposure, and Skin Cancer
Melanoma accounts for approximately 1-7% of all skin cancers (depending on the country) and is most dangerous among skin cancers because it is more likely to spread to other parts of the body (metastasize) if not caught early. Despite public health messages to the contrary, not all skin cancers, particularly melanomas and basal cell carcinomas, are directly attributable to moderate sun exposure. Painful sunburns before the age of 20 seem to be a strong predictor of all types of skin cancer, and chronic or lifetime sun exposure has been associated with an increased risk of SCC but a decreased risk of BCC and melanoma.
In fact, the vitamin D made in the skin can help protect from melanoma. Research shows that people who have a vitamin D level of at least 30 ng/ml (75 nmol/L) have a 96% reduced risk of melanoma as evidenced by a case-control study by Cattaruzza et al. (2018):
Results from this study showed a clear decrease in melanoma risk as vitamin D levels increased, as illustrated in the chart above. The study included 137 melanoma patients and 99 healthy controls. The research team found that the average vitamin D level of melanoma patients was lower than the average level of the healthy controls by 10 ng/ml (25 nmol/L) and that the majority of melanoma patients had vitamin D levels at or below 20 ng/ml (50 nmol/L) compared to just 15% of the healthy controls. Furthermore, participants with vitamin D levels at or above 30 ng/ml (75 nmol/L) had a 96% lower risk of melanoma compared to participants with levels at or below 20 ng/ml (50 nmol/L) after adjusting for age, sex and BMI.
Other Important Co-Nutrients for Dermatological Health
Don’t forget that vitamin D works along with other essential nutrients for our health. For our skin, hair and nails, these include:
- Omega-3s for skin cancer
- Vitamin C plays an important role in collagen production and acts as an antioxidant to protect against sun damage
- Vitamin E, like vitamin C, functions as an antioxidant in the skin to protect against sun damage
- B Vitamins
- Zinc and Copper
Are You Getting Enough Vitamin D to Support Healthy Skin, Hair and Nails?
With almost 90% of the general population having vitamin D levels below the recommended 40-60 ng/ml (100-150 nmol/L), it is obvious that most people need more vitamin D. While most of us cannot achieve a vitamin D level of 40-60 ng/ml from sun alone, either due to our lifestyle, where we live, or other circumstances, we can certainly reach those levels with the right amount of supplementation.
By joining the GrassrootsHealth projects, you are not only contributing valuable information to our study, but you are also gaining knowledge about how you could improve your own health through measuring and tracking your nutrient status, and educating yourself on how to improve it. Do you know what your status of vitamin D, omega-3s, and other essential nutrients is? Could your levels be improved? Test now to find out!
We now have a NEW GIFTING SERVICE that allows you to quickly send ‘Gift Cards’ to friends, family and coworkers who you consider might need immediate access to testing, and to Claim the Joy of Your Health TODAY. Give the gift today!
What does the Research Say about Vitamin D & COVID-19?
It’s TIME to start saving lives! If you can help PREVENT the majority of the death, it’s time! What’s it costing you/us not to take action NOW?
There is much published research that supports a clear link between vitamin D and COVID-19 showing that higher vitamin D levels are related to:
Be sure to educate yourself on the benefits and importance of vitamin D for immune health, and take steps to ensure you and your loved ones are getting enough.
You can review all of the COVID-19 and immune health information we have shared on this page.
What Does it Take YOU to Get Your D to 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L)?
Did you know your health could be greatly affected by making sure you have a vitamin D level of at least 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L)? Help us help you.
STEP 1 - Do you know what your vitamin D level is? If not, be sure to test today to find out.
STEP 2 – Determine your target level. Are you at your target level? Experts recommend a level of at least 40-60 ng/ml (100-150 nmol/L).
STEP 3 – Need to boost your level? Use the D*calculator to see how much vitamin D it may take to reach your target. Opt for the Loading Dose for a quicker boost.
STEP 4 – Optimize how your body absorbs and utilizes vitamin D with co-nutrients and these simple steps.
STEP 5 – Re-Test! This is an important step to make sure you have reached your target level, and to ensure you are not taking too much! Re-testing after 3-4 months is recommended.
STEP 6 – Adjust, Repeat…
Give your immune system the nutrients it needs to support a healthy you and protect yourself from unnecessary diseases, especially COVID-19.
The first Randomized Controlled Trial on vitamin D and COVID-19 has shown a 96% lower risk of ICU admission for those receiving vitamin D (as 25(OH)D to quickly boost vitamin D blood levels) along with the standard treatment, compared to those receiving standard treatment alone.
These results support many previous observational studies showing a relationship between vitamin D levels and intake and COVID-19 severity.
GrassrootsHealth Nutrient Research Institute has launched the new Immune Boost project with the use of our myData-myAnswers nutrient health system that nearly 15,000 people are already using for their health. Specific markers that influence immune health are suggested for testing as part of this project including:
- Vitamin D
- Omega-3 Index
- Essential elements magnesium, selenium, and zinc
Our goal is to demonstrate how one can use the Nutrient Research Model established by Dr. Robert Heaney to show the effect of vitamin D serum levels of at least 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L) on risk reduction for all ethnicities in the population. Status and intake of other nutrients will also be analyzed for any type of relationship to immune status and symptom severity. Join the project today!
Please let us know if you're interested in helping sponsor this project.
Through GrassrootsHealth Nutrient Research Institute, you can also test your essential elements magnesium, copper, zinc and selenium, toxins such as lead, mercury and cadmium, as well as your omega-3 levels, inflammation levels and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) level. Find out your levels today! Log on to the test selection page (click the link below) to get your tests and see for yourself if your levels can be improved.
Make sure you track your results before and after, about every 6 months!
How can I track my nutrient intake and levels over time?
To help you track your supplement use and nutrient levels, GrassrootsHealth has created the Personal Health Nutrient Decision System called
For each specific supplement, you can track what days you take it, how much, and many other details. This will help you know your true supplemental intake and what patterns of use work for you to reach and maintain optimum nutrient levels. Check it out today!