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Oral supplements of vitamin D may boost production of protective compounds in the skin, and may ultimate help prevent skin infections, according to a new study.
The small study focused on patients with atopic dermatitis, characterised by areas of severe itching, redness and scaling, and found that supplements of vitamin D enhanced the skin’s ability to produce a peptide called cathelicidin, which protects against microbial invasion. The findings are reported in the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology.
“[Our] results suggest that supplementation with oral vitamin D dramatically induces cathelicidin production in AD lesional skin, and may also induce production in normal skin,” wrote the researchers, led by Richard Gallo from the University of California, San Diego.
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is one of the first signs of allergy during the early days of life and is said to be due to delayed development of the immune system. According to the American Academy of Dermatologists, it affects between 10 to 20% of all infants, but almost half of these kids will 'grow out' of eczema between the ages of five and 15.