, suggesting that some people who increase their intake of the vitamin could better control this skin condition that affects up to 8 million people in the United States alone.
Brown University researchers studied almost 500 psoriasis cases taken from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), the scientists told attendees at the conference of the American Society for Nutrition. They compared the peoples’ reports on how much of their body surface was affected by psoriasis to vitamin D levels collected in blood samples.
“After adjusting for lifestyle factors such as smoking, the analysis showed that lower vitamin D levels and vitamin D deficiency were significantly associated with greater psoriasis severity,” the ASN said in a news release. “The researchers also found that patients with the least amount of body surface affected by psoriasis had the highest average vitamin D levels while those with the greatest affected area had the lowest average levels of vitamin D.”
The researchers said that people with psoriasis might improve their condition by getting more vitamin D in their diet and through supplements.
“Topical synthetic vitamin D creams are emerging as new therapies for psoriasis, but these usually require a doctor’s prescription,” said researcher Rachel K. Lim, an MD candidate at Brown University, Providence, R.I. “Our results suggest that a vitamin D–rich diet or oral vitamin D supplementation may also provide some benefit to psoriasis patients.”
The researchers said that vitamin D toxicity is rare but that people should consult with their medical caregivers before they start taking supplements.
A version of this article first appeared on.