I’m a firm believer that certain vitamin deficiencies are the main contributors to acne; Vitamin D is one of those. If you’re ever in doubt of just how important vitamin D is, just remember that we manufacture vitamin D by being in the sun. Think about that….
While humans don’t manufacture their energy via the sun as plants do, vitamin D is still essential for human health:
“Being ‘D-ficient’ may increase the risk of a host of chronic diseases, such as osteoporosis, heart disease, some cancers, and multiple sclerosis, as well as infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis and even the seasonal flu.” (Harvard School of Public Health)
“Worldwide, an estimated 1 billion people have inadequate levels of vitamin D in their blood, and deficiencies can be found in all ethnicities and age groups. (1–3) Indeed, in industrialized countries, doctors are even seeing the resurgence of rickets, the bone-weakening disease that had been largely eradicated through vitamin D fortification.” (Harvard)
That’s 1 billion people as in 1,000,000,000. And your odds of having a vitamin D deficiency are even higher if:
“If you live north of the line connecting San Francisco to Philadelphia and Athens to Beijing, odds are that you don’t get enough vitamin D. The same holds true if you don’t get outside for at least a 15-minute daily walk in the sun. African-Americans and others with dark skin, as well as older individuals, tend to have much lower levels of vitamin D, as do people who are overweight or obese.” (Harvard)
How Vitamin D Fights Acne
It’s clear that vitamin D is one of the most important substances for human health. In terms of healthy skin, vitamin D does the following:
- Lessens inflammation, and thus reducing the onset of acne,
- Keeps circadian rhythm in check, and in turn deep, restful sleep,
- Boosts the immune system so that the body can more effectively fight of acne bacteria,
- Reduces the onset of depression and stress, lowering cortisol levels.
All of the above are related to overall wellness and skin; that’s not a coincidence.
Witness the Power Of the ‘D’
Have you ever taken a vacation to the beach and your skin miraculously looked great? This has happened to me several times. The combination of the sun and salt water do wonders for your skin. If only there was a way to replicate the beach at your home…
Fortunately that big yellow thing in the sky is always around, so whether you’re at the beach or at home you’re bound to be exposed to it. The problem that arises is that a.) It’s stronger in climates closer to the equator and b.) The sun is weaker in the winter.
The ideal means of getting sufficient amounts of Vitamin D is via the Sun. So if it’s the time of year when the sun is out, aim to get at least 15-20 minutes of sun (preferably with as little clothing as possible) without sunscreen.
If the sun is weak, or it’s too cold out, then you’re going to have to get vitamin D via supplementation. Depending on the time of year (less sunny/colder months) I take about 5000 IU of vitamin D daily, but synthetic vitamins have a terrible absorption rate in the body, so I truly have no idea how much my body is really absorbing.
Originally done to prevent the onset of rickets, foods such as milk are still fortified with vitamin D. This fortification seems to be for the most part ineffective, consuming foods fortified with vitamin D are not nearly enough.
So what’s your recommendation Seth?
In Summer (or sunny months) get 15-20 minutes of sun without screen daily, and continue to supplement with Cod Liver Oil.
In Winter (or grayer months) take at least 5000 IU’s of Vitamin D daily, and continue to supplement with Cod Liver Oil.
There you have it. Remember that your vitamin D should come from the sun first and foremost, but where that’s not possible supplement via synthetic vitamin D and Cod Liver Oil.
Feel free to post any comments or questions below.
Vitamin D, Nutrition Source from Harvard Public Health