Sunburn can be troublesome. Your skin is itchy, inflamed and often painful. Sunburn is a form of radiation burn that happens due to over exposure to the harsh ultra violet rays of the sun which damages the living tissues of the skin. While there is nothing you can do to reverse the damage but there are many ways to soothe the discomfort. According to studies conducted in Caste Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, High doses of vitamin D taken one hour after sunburn significantly reduce skin redness, inflammation and swelling.
For the study, researchers divided 20 participants into four groups to receive a placebo pill or 50,000, 100,000, or 200,000 IU of vitamin D one hour after a small UV lamp “sunburn” on their inner arm. The participants were examined after 24, 48 and 72 hours and 1 week after the experiment was conducted a part of their skin tissue was sent for a biopsy for further testing.
The results showed that the consumption of Vitamin D was not only able to suppress inflammation but it also helped in stimulating genes that repair the skin cells. Participants who consumed high doses of Vitamin D experienced less skin inflammation after 48 hours of the sunburn. Further, those who reported highest levels of Vitamin D in their blood also had less skin redness and experienced faster recovery.
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“We found benefits from vitamin D were dose-dependent,” said Kurt Lu, MD, senior author on the study and Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. “We hypothesize that vitamin D helps promote protective barriers in the skin by rapidly reducing inflammation. What we did not expect was that at a certain dose, vitamin D not only was capable of suppressing inflammation, it was also activating skin repair genes.”
The research was carried out by measuring gene activity in biopsies where the researchers also unleashed a potential mechanism behind how vitamin D aids skin repair. The results revealed that it increases the levels of anti-inflammatory enzyme, arginase-1. This enzyme enhances tissue repair after damage and helps activate other anti-inflammatory proteins.
While the experiments had positive results, however, Dr. Kurt noted, “I would not recommend at this moment that people start taking vitamin D after sunburn based on this study alone. But, the results are promising and worthy of further study.”
Vitamin D is an important nutrient that your body requires to regulate the calcium and phosphorus levels of our blood. It is also known as the sunshine vitamin as exposure to sunlight converts the cholesterol present in the skin to Vitamin D. Sun exposure is the best source of Vitamin D but you can also derive it from foods like eggs, cod fish, soy milk and mushrooms. The Indian Council of Medical Research recommends supplementation of 10 micro-grams per day in case of minimal exposure to sun.