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Vitamin D helps the skin heal, boosts immune function and protects against microbes

Date:2008-7-22 11:57
Being out in the sun can help boost your immune system as it tries to heal wounds, a recent study by the University of California-San Diego School of Medicine shows.

The key is a healthy level of vitamin D3, generated from UV irradiation in sunlight.

Study researcher Richard L. Gallo, M.D., Ph.D., said that wounds cause the immune system within skin cells to call up an increased production of vitamin D3. The genes controlled by vitamin D3 then promote further creation of an antimicrobial peptide called cathelicidin that the immune system uses to fight infections.

"Our study shows that skin wounds need vitamin D3 to protect against infection and begin the normal repair process," Gallo said in a UCSD press release. "A deficiency in active D3 may compromise the body's innate immune system which works to resist infection, making a patient more vulnerable to microbes."

Gallo is the chief of UCSD's Division of Dermatology and the dermatology section of the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System

Consumer and health advocate Mike Adams said that this helps show that sunlight offers essential nutrients for the body.

"Yet again, we see more evidence supporting the near-miraculous healing power of Vitamin D, a nutrient that is available free of charge by enjoying sunlight on your skin," said Adams, the author of The Healing Power of Sunlight and Vitamin D.

Adams also discourages the use of sunscreen.

"Using sunscreen actually promotes vitamin D deficiencies, which boost the profits of drug companies by keeping people in a state of sickness and disease," he said.

One other finding is that blacks are not able to absorb vitamin D as well as other ethnicities, which the study correlates to an increased risk of infection.

The next step in researching the effects of vitamin D will be to conduct clinical trials experimenting with oral and topical vitamin D3.

The study will be published in the March issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

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