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Can vitamin D deficiency cause acne

Last reviewed by Editorial Team on August 28th, 2018.

Vitamin D use

Vitamin D refers to a group of liposoluble compounds known as secosteroids, which are responsible for intestinal absorption of calcium, phosphate, iron, magnesium and zinc. Vitamin D3 (also known as cholecalciferol, the active form of Vitamin D) and vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) are most imoprtant vitamind D compounds in humans. Cholecalciferol and ergocalciferol can be taken from the diet and from supplements.

Not many foods contain vitamin D thus synthesis of vitamin D3 in the skin from cholesterol that is dependent on sun exposure (specifically UVB radiation) is the major natural source of this vitamin.

Vitamin D has an essential role in bone and calcium homeostasis, but it is also being investigated for use in cardiovascular disease, cancer, infections, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, respiratory health, psoriasis and other conditions.

vitamin d cystic acne

Vitamin D mechanism of action and bioactivation

Non-active form of Vitamin D is transported from the bloodstream to the liver, where it is converted into the prohormone calcifediol. Calcifediol is then in kidneys converted into calcitriol – Vitamin D3, which is the biologically active form of vitamin D. The final step is calcitriol’s release into the circulation where it binds to a carrier protein known as vitamin D-binding proteins and transported to various target organs.

Additionally, calcitriol is also synthesized by monocyte-macrophages in the immune system. In this situation calcitriol acts locally as a cytokine, defending the body against microbes by stimulating the innate immune system.

Vitamin D dosing

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 400 IU/day of vitamin D in infants and adolescents. Clinical data have not yet established definitive recommendations for therapeutic dosages of vitamin D. However, it has been shown that in elderly, 700 to 1,000 IU/day reduce the risk of falls.

Vitamin D hypervitaminosis

Vitamin D is very tolerable vitamin and has low toxicity rates. If toxicity occurs then it is caused by supplementing with high doses of vitamin D rather than sunlight.

The threshold for the toxicity of vitamin D has not been established, but, according to some studies, the tolerable upper intake level is 4,000 IU per day while other studies found that, in healthy adults, sustained intake of more than 50,000 IU can produce overt toxicity after several months use and can increase serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels.

Patients with certain conditions, such as primary hyperparathyroidism are far more sensitive to vitamin D and may develop hypercalcemia in response to any increase in vitamin D intake, whereas hypercalcemia during pregnancy may increase fetal sensitivity to vitamin D effects leading to a syndrome of mental retardation and facial deformities.

Vitamin D overdose causes hypercalcemia and this is a strong indication for vitamin D toxicity. Most usual signs of such toxicity are increase in urination and thirst. If hypercalcemia is not treated, it will result in excess calcium deposits in soft tissues and organs such as the kidneys, liver, and heart, causing pain and organ damage.

The main symptoms of vitamin D overdose are following:

  • anorexia
  • nausea
  • vomiting

This is frequently followed by:

  • polyuria
  • weakness
  • polydipsia
  • insomnia
  • nervousness
  • pruritus
  • ultimately renal failure

Additionally, proteinuria, azotemia, urinary casts and metastatic calcification may also develop.

Other symptoms of vitamin D toxicity may be: mental retardation in young children, diarrhea, irritability, abnormal bone growth and formation, weight loss, and severe depression.

Vitamin D defficiency

A low intake of vitamin D in addition with reduced sun exposure may cause osteomalacia or rickets if it occurs in children, medical conditions known as softening of the bones. In the developed world, this is a rare disease, but, deficiency of vitamin D has become problem worldwide in elderly and it still remain an issue in children and adults.

Low blood Vitamin D2 can result from low sun exposure. It has been also shown that low-levels of Vitamin D may be risk factor for diabetes mellitus and the cause of hyperpigmentation.

Is acne caused by vitamin D deficiency

how effective is vitamin d for acne

The connection between Vitamin D deficiency and acne is questionable, but many patients are unaware of this fact. It is known that those who have spent the summer sunbathing will for sure notice improvement in their acne and their overall health. It is true that sunlight have positive effects on your skin, but also Vitamin D has an ability to nourish your skin and support the function of endocrine system.

Vitamin D is different from other vitamins as it isn’t actually a vitamin at all, but a hormone usually called Vitamin D3 hormone. It is created through the skin from steady sunlight exposure, though you can also intake small amounts of it from certain foods like cod liver oil and liver. The best kind of cod liver is fermented cod liver oil.

So, if you are suffering from acne, Vitamin D might have the impact on your acne status, as it is one of the most important hormones in the body that also affects other hormones too. When your Vitamin D levels are reduced, it may also create the imbalance among other hormones in the body disrupting the way your skin produces oil. This hormone imbalance often causes acne.

Vitamin D is also needed for proper immunological function, so it’s important to keep balanced levels of this hormone so that the blemishes can heal completely and without further infection. Since Vitamin D stimulates T-cells to fight microbes and thus existing infection, it can be very helpful in killing the ever annoying Pyogenes acnes bacteria.

Taking 2,000 IU per day is considered to be as effective as at clearing skin as a medicated acne wash. Vitamin D is also known to suppress activity of sebaceous glands and helps with regulation of the skin’s sebum production. It may also reduce overactive cell turnover which keeps your pores from getting clogged with dead skin cells.

Skin is usually softer, smoother and protected from free radicals and oxidation with balanced Vitamin D levels because it contains antioxidant properties. Vitamin D is also vital for optimal emotional health and has a huge impact when it comes to reducing stress and balancing hormones. Getting enough Vitamin D will reduce stress, depression, and will improve mood.

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