In the 20th century, the most devastating disease of the Industrial Revolution emerged in Northern Europe and America: taking many lives and affecting more than 80 percent of young children who worked in cramped, poor, dark conditions. – They called it rickets.
This skeletal disease (which scientists eventually linked to severe Vitamin D deficiencies), inspired an all-out Vitamin D revolution!
Finding that exposure to ultraviolet radiation or sunlight treated and prevented rickets, affected countries practiced Vitamin D fortification in a variety of foods, as well as encouraging regular sunlight and the widespread use of cod liver oil. Thanks to Vitamin D, rickets was no longer a significant health problem by the late 1930s.
But who’s affected today?
Despite efforts to fortify foods and drinks with vitamin D, it’s presently estimated that over a billion people worldwide are Vitamin D deficient. A recent survey showed that over 85% of adults in America and about 1 in 6 people in the UK had a severe vitamin D deficiency.
Additionally, it’s been shown that darker-skinned people (African, African-Caribbean Indians, and South Asian origin), are more at risk for vitamin D deficiencies.
A study comparing more than 2,000 black and white adults, found that African Americans typically had lower levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in their blood. In the UK, it’s estimated that about 9 in 10 adults of South Asian origin may be vitamin D-deficient.
One reason for this is that darker skin isn’t able to produce as much Vitamin-D compared to lighter skinned people with less pigments.
We all need more vitamin D!
This shouldn’t really be news to us: we spend a lot of time indoors, wear sunscreen when the sun does happen to be out, and most of us live in countries where 6 months out of the year we’re lucky to catch a couple of rays.
However, vitamin D has been shown to be extremely important when it comes to faster eczema healing.
An experiment done in 2012 gave patients either 1600 IU of vitamin D or a placebo daily. At the end of 60 days researchers compared the results and found that the vitamin D group showed more improvements in eczema symptoms than those in the placebo group.
In a 2013 study in Poland, adults with low levels of vitamin D took 2,000 IU daily for 3 months in wintertime. The researchers compared the before and after symptoms and found that:
People with the lowest Vitamin D levels had more skin infections.
After supplementing, the eczema symptoms and severity was lower.
People taking vitamin D supplements had significant improvement.
Additionally, other research shows that a sample of patients who received 4,000 IU daily for ONLY 21 days had significant eczema improvement.
A 2012 study in Australia looked at mothers with their newborns. The vitamin D levels in both were studied and researchers discovered that those who developed eczema in the first year were also those who had the lowest vitamin D levels at birth.
Another experiment published in 2008 gave eleven children 1000 IU of vitamin D for 1 month. At the end of the period they found that the symptoms and severity of eczema improved in 80% of children taking vitamin D.
How can vitamin D3 quicken eczema healing?
• Vitamin D works in your immune system and your skin.
There are vitamin D receptors found on the cells of your immune system as well as your skin. Vitamin D binds to these receptors and works in the immune system by reducing levels of inflammatory proteins. At the same time, it also increases amounts of good antimicrobial proteins in the skin, which help by destroying invading germs and viruses.
Scientists found that this unique combination of lowering inflammation and increasing antimicrobial defenses, helps your immune system fight infections better! This means that if you’re struggling with eczema, having adequate vitamin D can help your skin to fight infections, lower inflammation, and repair faster.
• Vitamin D has been demonstrated to have a beneficial effect on the permeability barrier in the epidermis.
The epidermis is the outermost layer of your skin, and is meant to protect you against germs, viruses, pollutions and even strong chemicals in soaps or products.
However, it’s been shown that people suffering from eczema tend to have epidermal dsyfunction, making your skin more susceptible to outside bacteria and strong substances. This is how some eczema can be triggered by perfumes or harsh weather like winter eczema.
Vitamin D helps our skin, as it strengthens your skin barriers. This means that having adequate vitamin D can help with the overall healing of the outer epidermis of your skin.
• Vitamin D has been shown to increase synthesis of PDGF: promoting wound healing.
In the case of skin, this means that any wounds or eczema you have, heals faster when you have adequate amounts of vitamin D, as it promotes proper tissue repair and improves wound healing.
There are many people who eat healthy, but are still extremely vitamin D deficient. In this case, even a healthy diet might not be enough to help their eczema heal completely, as they are still missing the vitamin that helps with wound healing.
If your eczema isn’t healing as fast as you would like, then getting vitamin D can definitely help improve your condition and speed up the process!
How much vitamin D3 should people with eczema take?
Ahhh…This is where it gets a bit complicated as currently, there’s still a lot of debate on what the proper amount should be.
Basically, you need to get enough vitamin D to raise your body’s natural serum levels to an adequate level. However, there is an ongoing debate in the medical field on how much you should take to reach that adequate level.
One of the first recommendations was for 1000-2000 IU daily, however recent research is showing that this number is nowhere near the amount we should be taking. Additionally, studies show that adults receive optimal benefits from taking up to 8,000 IU a day.
If you want to take a guess I would suggest starting at 2,000-5,000 IU daily, as it’s been shown that taking up to 10,000 IU a day has no side effects.
However, in some people this might not be enough. The only way to know for sure how much Vitamin D you should be taking, is to get your blood levels tested by a doctor. Only he or she will be able to tell you for certain.
How to get Vitamin D3!
Once you’ve gotten your levels checked (and for the sake of your eczema, do it soon!), it’s time to get some vitamin D to help your skin heal faster!
1) The sunshine
Of course, sunlight is the safest and best way to get vitamin D, as your body only naturally converts what it needs. That means that you don’t have to worry about overdoing on Vitamin D when you’re in the sun! 😀
For a fair-skinned person, it is estimated that around 20-30 minutes of direct sunlight on the face and forearms around the middle of the day (noon – 2pm), about 2-3 times a week is sufficient to make enough D3.
However keep in mind that this is in the summer months. In spring, autumn, or winter time, you may have to do more.
For people with darker skin, the amount of time needed exposed to sunlight can be much more than this!
If you have darker skin, that means you produce less vitamin D and are at higher risks for deficiencies. In this case, you might want to consider staying out for up to 90 minutes. This is especially the case if your eczema is really bad.
2) Vitamin D3 supplements:
It’s not as efficient as the sunshine, but it’s definitely better than no Vitamin D at all! Just make sure that you’re getting Vitamin D3 (not D2!), as this has been shown to have the most benefits.
Personally, I take the 5,000 IU one, especially during the winter time when I can’t get much sun. If you want to start at a lower amount, check out the second link.
Vitamin D3 5,000 IU from NOW foods. 240 Softgels.
Vitamin D3 2,000 IU in organic olive oil. 360 softgels.
3) Cod Liver Oil
Cod liver oil was used in the 20th century against rickets, as it packs a whopping 1,360 IU of vitamin D per tablespoon! However, just be careful about what kind of cod liver oil you buy, as most commercial fishing get the fish from polluted waters.
Below is one I recommend, as it doesn’t taste so fishy. If you’re buying from a supermarket or health store, make sure you get an organic cod liver oil or one that gets tested regularly against metals and pollution.
Norwegian lightly lemon cod liver oil: fortified with vitamin E, regularly tested for purity.
In short: Vitamin D3 is important in eczema treatment.
Vitamin D deficiencies shouldn’t be ignored or taken lightly, as inadequate Vitamin D3 could slow down your overall eczema-healing process.
I’m of the darker-skinned origin (those at higher risk for deficiencies), and I did notice that my skin was at its best when I would expose it to daily sunlight. I remember spending over an hour each day soaking in the Vitamin-D!
If you’re doing the 30-day reset, I highly recommend that you get your blood levels tested and take a Vitamin D supplement to speed up your eczema healing! Even if you’re a healthy person, you can still be deficient: especially if you live in a climate where there’s not much sun.
I’m confident it can help you or your young one get better results! 😀
Do you have eczema? Are you receiving adequate amounts of Vitamin D3? Have you seen the results on your skin? Let me know in the comments below! Also, don’t forget to share this post with a friend or someone who needs it.
PS: Don't know where to start? Sign up to my free series The Clear Skin Plan !