Skin Benefits of Vitamin D
Skin Benefits of Vitamin D.
Being fat-soluble, vitamin D as calcitriol easily crosses the phospholipid membranes of your cells and migrates to the nucleus. Here it binds with vitamin D receptors, a special group of proteins that sense the presence of steroid hormones. This linking regulates the expression of genes that turn different cell functions on or off Vitamin D receptors are directly involved in cell proliferation and differentiation, as well as optimal immune function. These issues are vitally important to your skin, which not only serves as your first line of defence against pathological invaders, but must also replace approximately 30-40,000 lost cells a minute.
This constant loss of cells on your skin’s surface must be offset naturally by an ongoing vitamin D- dependent renewal process that takes place in specialized cells called keratinocytes. Keratinocytes account for about 95% of all cells in your epidermis. They possess two properties which make them extremely valuable—the ability to actively divide, and the ability to differentiate. They are continuously providing new cells for replenishment of your skin’s surface.
People today are aware of the importance of maintaining optimal blood levels of vitamin D for their overall health and well being. What many people do not know is that vitamin D is also indispensable to the health, beauty, and longevity of the largest organ in the body: your skin.
The problem is that while the body uses sunlight to make vitamin D, sun exposure itself accelerates skin aging. Over time, ultraviolet light damages the skin, leading to wrinkles, sun spots, and higher risk of skin cancer. In addition, much of the vitamin D produced in the skin is taken up and used by other systems of the body.
Technically, vitamin D doesn’t fit the classic definition of a vitamin at all. A vitamin is a substance that is crucial to normal everyday life function, but can’t be synthesized in sufficient quantities by an organism, and thus must be obtained from the diet. Your skin has the ability to manufacture as much as 10,000 IU of vitamin D after 20–30 minutes of summer sun exposure. But there are many limiting factors to internal vitamin D synthesis that include age, skin color, geographic latitude, seasonal variation in sunlight availability, and the widespread (but necessary) use of sunscreen, which all make it difficult for your body to produce the vitamin D it needs for optimal health through sun exposure alone.
The main reasons why vitamin D is absolutely essential to the maintenance of healthy-looking skin is that if adequate amounts of vitamin D are not available, your epidermal cells won’t differentiate optimally. As a result, the outer layer of your skin may become thinner and more fragile. It begins to sag from lack of adequate support. Dryness and wrinkles set in as moisture is gradually lost to the outside.
Cell activity in this layer is responsible for the creation of an underlying structural framework for your skin to reinforce the delicate matrix of skin tissue. This helps your epidermis form a watertight barrier that locks in moisture and keeps your skin soft and supple.
In addition to overall health, vitamin D plays an integral role in skin protection and rejuvenation.
· While the body can produce vitamin D on its own through sun exposure, too much sun accelerates skin aging. Over time, it can damage the skin, leading to wrinkles, sun spots—and increased risk of skin cancer.
· Age, skin color, geographic latitude, seasonal variations in sunlight availability, and sunscreen use make it difficult for your body to produce all the vitamin D it needs.
· Along with optimal vitamin D intake, topical vitamin D application can exert a protective and rejuvenating effect on aging skin.
· Much of the vitamin D produced in the skin is also taken up and used by other systems of the body.
· In its active form as calcitriol, vitamin D contributes to skin cell growth, repair, and metabolism. It optimizes the skin’s immune system and helps destroy free radicals that can cause premature aging.
· Between the ages of 20 and 70, your skin loses about 75% of its ability to produce vitamin D3—the metabolic precursor to calcitriol.