Hormone Fights Skin Infections

 

The fact that Vitamin D helps fend off infection-causing bugs on the skin has long been known, but now scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine say a hormone previously linked only with bone health takes over to protect you when Vitamin D levels are low.

This is not a license to forego getting enough of the sunshine vitamin in your food and through judicious exposure to rays on a thrice-weekly basis. Even so, how comforting to know that your body has the parathyroid hormone (PTH) as a built-in backup defense to keep you from succumbing to disease-producing microbes.

The finding was published in the May 23th 2012 online issue of Science Translational Medicine. In a release from the university, lead author Richard L. Gallo, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and chief of UCSD’s Division of Dermatology and the Dermatology section of the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System, is quoted as as saying, “No one suspected a role for PTH . . . This may help resolve some of the controversy surrounding vitamin D. It fills in the blanks.”

He went on to quip that "PTH may be what permits us to have low D in the diet and not kill ourselves with too much UV radiation.” 

Please note, however, that vitamin D supplements are no longer recommended for older women. See our related ThirdAge story here: http://www.thirdage.com/osteoporosis/calcium-d-pills-no-benefit

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