Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that your body naturally synthesizes from sun exposure. Being deficient in vitamin D increases your risk of bone disorders, and it can possibly worsen skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. If you have anemia, vitamin D deficiency may make your symptoms worse. Consult a doctor before beginning treatment of medical conditions with vitamin D, as too much vitamin D carries its own risks.
There are people who have used vitamin D to treat skin conditions such as actinic keratosis, lupus vulgaris, psoriasis, scleroderma and vitiligo, notes the government website Medline Plus. Whether vitamin D can actually prevent eczema and atopic dermatitis is unknown, according to the Vitamin D Council. You'll find vitamin D naturally in small amounts in a few foods, including certain types of fish such as herring, mackerel, sardines and tuna. In addition, vitamin D is added to dairy, juice and cereals. About 80 to 90 percent of your vitamin D comes from the sun. With a vitamin D deficiency, you are at risk of getting rickets. Vitamin D treats weak bones, bone pain, bone loss and a bone disease called osteogenesis imperfecta, which makes bones brittle and easily broken. It prevents low calcium and bone loss in people with kidney failure. It also boosts immunity.
Anemia and Vitamin D
If you have chronic kidney disease, vitamin D might lower the prevalence and severity of anemia -- a deficiency of iron. A 2010 study published in "Kidney International" of chronic kidney disease patients, 41 percent of whom had anemia, showed a correlation between less vitamin D and less hemoglobin. About 70 percent of the iron in your body is found in the red blood cells, called hemoglobin, and in myoglobin, the muscle cells in your body. Those with a severe deficiency of two forms of vitamin D at the same time had 5.4 times the prevalence of anemia compared with those who had sufficient amounts of both.
Dry Skin and Vitamin D
Vitamin D might be beneficial to eczema and psoriasis; if you suffer from either condition, you might consider taking vitamin D as part of your treatment. One study in the "British Journal of Dermatology" showed that in eczema patients, the severity of eczema increased as vitamin D levels decreased. Another study in the "Annals of New York Academy of Sciences" gave conflicting results, showing people who took vitamin D supplements regularly in infancy had a 30 percent increased risk of eczema at age 31. Vitamin D produces certain proteins that are suppressed with eczema, and so if you have dermatitis you may benefit from the protein produced by vitamin D.
Recommended Vitamin D Intake
Getting 10 to 15 minutes of sunshine three times a week produces enough vitamin D for your body, according to Medline Plus. You'll need sunshine on your face, arms, back or legs without sunscreen to get the benefit. But you should use sunscreen after a few minutes of sun exposure due to the risk of skin cancer. If you live in a place that's not sunny, you may lack vitamin D and need to get it from other sources. Clouds, shade and dark-colored skin reduce how much vitamin D your skin makes. The recommended intake of vitamin D for adults through age 70 is 15 mcg per day. If you are more than 70 years old, you need 20 mcg per day.