Vitamin D may make rosacea worse according to researchers in Turkey.
Rosacea is a chronic condition characterized by facial redness and occasional pimples. It typically begins as redness on the central face across the cheeks, nose, or forehead. In some cases, additional symptoms, such as swelling of superficial blood vessels on the face, small red bumps and pustules, red gritty eyes, burning and stinging sensations, and in some advanced cases, a red lobulated nose is seen. It affects 3% of the US population over the age of 30.
Eighty-one percent of patients with rosacea report that sun exposure makes it worse. Of the many environmental triggers that exacerbate the condition, sun exposure is actually the most common. This may be because patients with rosacea have elevated levels of the antimicrobial peptide, cathelicidin, in the affected skin. Vitamin D increases cathelicidin, which may explain why sun exposure is a common environmental trigger, though researchers don’t know for sure.
Overgrowth of a dysfunctional intestinal flora or abnormal intestinal microbiome may play a role in causing the disease. Recently a trial of rifaximin, a non-absorbable antibiotic that treats intestinal overgrowth but does not leave the digestive tract, showed a 96% response rate; meaning, that almost all of the participant’s reported an improvement with this treatment.
What about vitamin D levels in people with rosacea? Recently, scientists in Turkey discovered that rosacea patients had statistically significantly higher 25(OH)D levels than controls.
The mean vitamin D levels in the 41 rosacea patients was 21 ng/ml compared to 18 ng/ml in 32 controls (p=0.047). However, the prevalence of vitamin D levels <20 ng/ml was 37% in the rosacea patients and 28% in healthy controls, which was not significantly different (p=0.34).
The authors concluded:
“Patients with rosacea have relatively high serum vitamin D levels compared to control groups. The result of our study suggests that increased vitamin D levels may lead to the development of rosacea. To confirm status of vitamin D levels in patients with rosacea, larger epidemiological studies are needed.”
While this type of study and their findings are hardly convincing, it does raise some questions. Particularly since sun exposure makes the condition worse.
We know sunlight and sunburn makes rosacea worse, so does supplemental vitamin D do the same? Any readers have any anecdotes in this realm?