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Vitamin D for psoriasis? A warning…

9th November 2007

Imagine a large cattle prod jammed in the spinal column of a live Tyrannosaurus Rex...

THAT'S how much of a nerve I struck with my Good Life Letter
last Friday (2nd November).


Seriously. I've never had such a passionate response to a
letter before. Dozens of your emails came pouring in within the first hour of broadcast.

It appears that you Good Lifers are even less likely to get hoodwinked by scare-mongering news stories than I am!

If you didn't read last Friday's email, it's in the Stomach and Bowel section to your left...

The story was about how a recent study 'revealed' that red
meat 'caused' obesity and cancer. (Sorry for the overuse of quotation marks, but when you read it, you'll see what I mean.)

In a fit of rage, I debunked what I thought as a sensationally
skewed report on Channel 4 news.

As a result...

Even vegetarians agreed with me!

This wasn't an issue of promeat or antimeat. It was a case of
victimising one food while letting far more processed,
unnatural and factoryproduced products off the hook!

And dismissing the very many and complex reasons for the
decline of western health.

One vegetarian Good Lifer wrote:

As a lifelong vegetarian I can't say I care much what
happens to intensive pig farmers or whether my meat
eating mates can still enjoy their bacon sarnies .... BUT.... I
have to say I agree absolutely with all you say!!

I love Channel 4 News but that bit got up MY nose too!

My dad used to write books on vegetarianism and how it
could save the world and we weren't physiologically meant
to eat meat anyway etc. And when I grew up and learned
to think for myself I realised how so often campaigners
(and journalists) distort things, and ignore the facts that
don't fit, in order to make their point or manipulate their

As you can imagine, if even the vegetarians agreed with me,
the omnivores were even more enraged.

Like this reader, for instance:

Don't often do feedback emails, but like you, I was fuming
at that report on Ch4. Sorry, but, what a load of bunkem!
You have put into words everything that was going through
my mind.

My stress levels went up just watching the article and
that's not good for anyone trying to avoid cancer.

Anyway, this whole debate distracted me from what I was
originally going to write about last week...

Why I remember World Psoriasis Day

On Monday 29th October it was World Psoriasis Day. This is an
ever more common skin condition which affects at least
THREE people close to me.

It's worth recognising this problem. Because it's not just the
skin that's affected. It caused huge amounts of social anxiety
and depression. Sufferer's commonly wear long sleeved shirts
in summer, avoid swimming, and simply don't get the sunlight
they need.

This is vital because psoriasis sufferers need vitamin D.

Now the weird thing about vitamin D is that it's not technically
a vitamin. Although it's produced in the human body, you don't
get it in any foods except fish and egg yolks. Even then, your
body has to transform the vitamins first before it has any effect.

Another controversy to get angry about

One of the world's principle vitamin D researchers is Dr.
Michael Holick.

You may have heard of this guy. He used to be Professor of
Dermatology at the Boston University School of Medicine.

Until he was kicked out for his controversial views on vitamin

In 2004 he claimed we were missing out on essential vitamin D
by staying out of the sun. Something which he believes causes
thousands of deaths each year.

'People don't realise that 90% - 95% of your vitamin D
requirement comes from exposure from sunlight,' he told the

'And if you always wear sun block and never have direct sun
exposure you will become vitamin D deficient, and at high risk
of developing many serious chronic diseases.'

By this he only meant 5 minutes of exposure three or four
times a week.

Seems sensible to me. But no... he was SACKED!

Blimey, you don't have to do much to lose your job in the
mainstream science universe do you?

An alternative to sun - in lotion form

Fortunately, Holick has also looked into lotions that may be
able to help.

He has found that there are vitamin D receptors in the skin that
can response to 'activated vitamin D'.

This is the hormone that prevents your skin cells from
shedding too rapidly, which cases the flaking and rashes
associated with psoriasis.

If you take a form of high-powered activated vitamin D and use
it as a lotion on your skin, it can alter the rate of growth of the
skin cells.

But a warning...

While we'd all prefer natural sources of non-prescription
vitamins, this may not be possible with vitamin D and

According to Dr. Holick, simply taking huge doses of over-the-
counter vitamin D pills won't have the same effect.

He says:

The reason is that the body is very particular about the
amount of vitamin D that it takes in.

It will not make any more activated vitamin D (1,25-dihydroxy
vitamin D3), regardless of how much of the vitamin you take.
You can become vitamin D-intoxicated, but you won't be
able to treat your psoriasis.

Instead, he recommends an ointment like Dovonex, which also
reduces itching and inflammation.

In his opinion:

Among those who use Dovonex topically, upward of 50 to 60
percent have seen significant improvement.

So this is definitely something to think about.

Yours as ever,

Ray Collins
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