Lower vitamin D levels & dust mite sensitivity

Patients with severe atopic dermatitis (eczema) who have lower serum vitamin D levels have a higher risk of sensitivity to house dust mites which can aggravate their condition, a new study shows.

The findings, which are described as “significant,” but preliminary, appear in the August print issue of the Annals of Dermatology. “Patients with low serum vitamin D levels have an increased risk of house dust mites sensitization by increased penetration of house dust mites through broken skin barrier. Findings of this study suggest that vitamin D level may affect sensitization,” wrote the authors who were led by Do Won Kim of the National University School of Medicine, Korea.

The study was small, with only 43 men and 37 women of which 43.8% had mild to moderate disease and 56% had severe atopic dermatitis.

Recent studies have shown there may be a connection between vitamin D and allergic diseases, such as atopic dermatitis. There is evidence that sub-therapeutic levels of vitamin D can also contribute to other allergic conditions including asthma. But there is little evidence that connects vitamin D with the development of allergic skin diseases and the severity of these diseases, yet researchers continue to contemplate this connection. Some studies show an inverse association between vitamin D and atopic dermatitis severity, while other studies show no significant correlation between the two.

Here’s what we know with certainty: Vitamin D has a role in both the innate and adaptive immune systems. And, the more defective the immune system, the weaker antimicrobial defense systems become compromising the integrity of the epidermal skin barrier.

If vitamin D disrupts the immune system, it is possible that it may impair the body’s natural defense mechanisms against common household allergens, such as the house dust mite.

Wild Fires and Air Quality

As we continue through the driest and warmest part of the year, the threat for wildfires persists across the U.S. Yes, wildfires are destructive, but they also have serious health implications.

Smoke from wildfires wreaks havoc on air quality and can pose serious health risks for you and your loved ones. Smoke is composed of gases and fine particles, which go deep into your lungs when you breathe them in. Not only will it make your eyes itch, but it can also cause severe health complications for those with heart and lung diseases.

Smoke can intensify the symptoms of heart and lung disease and can trigger and worsen asthma attacks. If you think you’re having an adverse reaction to smoke, or the poor air quality in general, contact your doctor so you can get the care you need.

If a wildfire does impact your area, pay attention to air quality reports and avoid outdoor activities. If you are told to stay indoors, keep your windows and doors closed and if you have one, keep your air conditioner on. Avoid using wood fireplaces, gas stoves and even candles. Follow recommendations on “Spare the Air” days.

While not always possible, do your best to minimize other allergic triggers. Keep up with your recommended allergy & asthma treatment and maintain a healthy lifestyle by keeping up with adequate hydration & healthy, well balanced meals, as well as a regular exercise regimen.

Download September 2017 Newsletter (opens in PDF)