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Seborrheic Dermatitis, Vitamin D, and K2: Benefits, Side Effects, and Dosage
Vitamin D (especially D3) is known as the 'sunshine vitamin,' and it's essential for maintaining healthy bones, muscles, and teeth .
Ultimately, you can attain vitamin D through various sources. Yet, low vitamin D levels are becoming a common problem worldwide . In fact, many of us may not be getting enough vitamin D each day.
In this article, we'll explore the effect of vitamin D deficiency and supplementation on your skin and mood. We'll also look at the recommended dosages of vitamin D supplements.
Forms of Vitamin D
Your body produces vitamin D naturally when under sunlight exposure. However, you won't be getting adequate sun exposure during seasons like autumn and winter. And if we're honest, some of us don't enjoy being in the sun too much!
You can also get vitamin D from food sources, such as fatty fish, liver, egg yolk, and mushrooms . But it can be challenging to meet your daily recommended vitamin D intake through your diet alone. And this is where vitamin D supplementation comes into play.
So, what are the main forms of vitamin D?
Vitamin D comes in two major forms: Vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. Vitamin D2 mainly comes from plant-food sources. On the other hand, vitamin D3 is produced when your skin comes into contact with sunlight and can also be found in animal food sources .
While both forms of vitamin D are well-absorbed into your bloodstream, they're processed differently by your liver. Hence, research has shown that vitamin D3 is more effective than vitamin D2 at improving your vitamin D status .
Because of this, vitamin D3 supplements may be a better choice over D2.
How Does Vitamin D Affect Your Skin?
Well, vitamin D plays a role in regulating the various processes of your skin. It's involved in regulating the lifecycle of your skin cells, maintaining the skin barrier, and supporting the skin's immune function.
Some studies have also suggested that vitamin D has a protective effect in decreasing your risk of chronic illnesses and skin cancer—though the results are generally mixed, and more research is required to confirm this .
Besides your skin, the 'sunlight vitamin' is also vital for your physical health and wellness, as it plays a role in maintaining your muscle, teeth, and bone health.
How about seborrheic dermatitis?
Natural treatment has become more popular in the seb derm community, mainly because seborrheic dermatitis can be tricky and frustrating to treat. And if you have this skin condition, you may be looking into trialing various dietary supplements for treating it.
Based on research, vitamin D supplements look like a promising candidate for tackling seborrheic dermatitis.
One study has shown that the levels of vitamin D in participants with seborrheic dermatitis were significantly lower compared to participants who did not have this skin ailment . Additionally, those with more severe symptoms on their face and scalp had lower vitamin D levels compared to those with less severe symptoms .
Another study found that the recurrence of seborrheic dermatitis flareups was reduced in participants who consumed vitamin D supplements. Nonetheless, it's important to note that this study was conducted on participants who had vitamin D deficiency diagnosed via a blood test .
In short, vitamin D deficiency may increase your risk of seborrheic dermatitis flareups and recurrences. On top of that, vitamin D supplementation could prove helpful in combatting this skin ailment, especially if you have inadequate vitamin D levels in your body.
How Does Vitamin D Affect Your Mood?
Currently, research on the effects of vitamin D on mood and sleep shows inconsistent results.
While some studies showed that vitamin D insufficiency could negatively impact mental health, other studies did not demonstrate that vitamin D supplementation effectively improved mood disorders or depressive symptoms .
There is still some evidence showing that increasing vitamin D levels could help with clinical depression. Still, this evidence isn't robust enough to have vitamin D supplements routinely recommended for those who have major depressive disorder or to treat depression .
In short, this vitamin may help with symptoms of depression, elevate mood, and improve sleep, but the evidence proving this is limited. After all, the body's response to supplementation differs from person to person.
Why Take Vitamin D3 With Vitamin K2?
Vitamin K, just like vitamin D, is a fat-soluble vitamin. There are also two main forms of vitamin K, namely K1 and K2.
Vitamin K1 is mainly derived from leafy greens and vegetables, while vitamin K2 comes from animal products and fermented food. Vitamin K2 is thought to be better absorbed and stays in your blood longer compared to K1. So supplementation with K2 may be useful unless you consume foods high in K2, such as grass-fed butter or emu oil.
The role of vitamin K2
If you've been on the lookout for vitamin D supplements, you might have noticed some supplements containing both vitamin D3 and K2. These two vitamins work as a team. The importance of vitamin K2 in our modern diet was popularized by Dr. Weston A. Price.
So, what does vitamin K2 do? We'll first need to break down the role of Vitamin D.
This vitamin helps maintain healthy bones and teeth by regulating your blood calcium levels. However, this vitamin doesn't have much control over where the calcium ends up.
The calcium could end up where it needs to be, such as in your teeth and bones. Or the calcium could take a wrong turn and end up in soft tissues, such as your blood vessels, which isn't good.
And this is where vitamin K comes into play. Two of vitamin K's crucial roles are to:
Support the accumulation of calcium in your bones and teeth .
Prevent the deposition of calcium in soft tissues such as your blood vessel .
Vitamin D toxicity could lead to blood vessel calcification, where the calcium in your blood ends up depositing in blood vessels. And vitamin K is said to help prevent this.
What About Megadosing With Vitamin D?
Oral vitamin D supplementation is becoming more popular, but there are still some questions surrounding the best dosage to take.
General guidelines would typically recommend supplementing with a low dose of vitamin D, but even these guidelines vary. For instance, the Endocrine Society has recommended at least 1500-2000 IU of vitamin D a day for adults to maintain healthy vitamin D levels. Meanwhile, the UK government recommends just 400 IU for individuals aged 4 and above . Your doctor may also recommend supplementation for treating vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning that it can be stored in your body for a longer time than water-soluble vitamins. This means that any excess will not be excreted in your urine.
Because of this, megadosing with vitamin D3 has gained a lot of attention over the years. Research studies have demonstrated the various benefits of consuming higher doses of vitamin D in maintaining optimal vitamin levels. Megadoses of vitamin D3 were also given to participants in several studies, which appeared to be safe [15, 16].
The role of vitamin K2 in the case of megadosing is especially prominent since it helps direct the calcium to where it needs to go.
Personal story: Dermazen's co-founder, Austin, was taking 5,000 IU of D3 daily for over a year with no noticeable improvement to his skin. When he learned about megadosing, he increased his D3 consumption to 50,000 IU a day for a week (with 500 micrograms of K2). Only then did he see his seborrheic dermatitis symptoms disappear without any topical treatment. He lowered his dose to 20,000 IU/day for several months, and his skin remained peaceful and symptom-free until he gradually fell out of the habit of taking D3 daily.
Nonetheless, for legal reasons, we do not advise you to megadose with vitamin D3. If you wish to try out a high dose of vitamin D3 (above 4000 IU), it's best to consult your healthcare professional beforehand.
Side effects of vitamin D
Side effects of vitamin D consumption include:
Chest pain or shortness of breath
Too much calcium in your blood
It's best to keep a lookout for such side effects, especially if this is your first time taking vitamin D or if you're going for a higher dose.
Final Takeaway: Vitamin D3 for Mood and Skin
Vitamin D3 may help tackle mood disorders, but more research is needed to confirm this. It may also help combat inflammatory skin conditions, such as seborrheic dermatitis. Ultimately, it may take some trial and error to see how your body responds to this supplement.
If you're looking for a natural treatment option for seborrheic dermatitis, the Calming Seborrheic Serum may just be the solution for you. This topical serum contains holistic ingredients that help alleviate the symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis by reducing itch, redness, and inflammation. And best of all? It's also dermatologist-approved!