Q. I have had psoriasis for more than 35 years. A few years ago, my doctor suggested vitamin D, as my blood level was low. Much to my surprise, my psoriasis began to disappear almost immediately.
Several patches had proved impossible to cure with other medications. When my blood test showed a normal level of vitamin D, the doctor asked me to cut back the dosage. I did and the psoriasis returned.
I now take 5,000 units of vitamin D capsules per day and that keeps my psoriasis in check. Regular monitoring of my vitamin D level shows that I am in the middle of the acceptable range with this dosage.
A. Dermatologists have embraced topical vitamin D-like prescription creams, foams and ointments for psoriasis (American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, Aug, 2012). Calcipotriene (Calcitrene, Dovonex, Sorilux) is pricey, however.
Many doctors may have forgotten that oral vitamin D can also be helpful (Journal of Dermatological Treatment, online, Jan. 21, 2012). More than 25 years ago Japanese researchers noted that oral vitamin D3 reduced the symptoms of psoriasis without side effects (British Journal of Dermatology, Oct. 1986).
It makes sense to give inexpensive vitamin D pills a try, but anyone who uses a dose higher than 4,000 IU daily should ask the doctor to order a blood test, to make sure that the vitamin D level remains, like yours, in the healthy range. We discuss vitamin D, the appropriate dose and how to interpret the blood test in our Guide to Vitamin D Deficiency.

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  1. Orv
    United States
    Reply

    I have gone through this thread and I’m going to give the D3 a try today. I’ll let you know the outcome after a few days or if I see an improvement sooner. This has been very enlightening and I hope to finally see some improvement with my psoriasis which I’ve been fighting for over 10 years.

    • Orv
      United States
      Reply

      Okay. I’ve been taking D3 for about 5-6 weeks now and I’ve seen improvement. I’m only taking 6000 IU’s a day and the itching has lessened considerably and the redness has lightened in color. I may try increasing my intake to 8000 IU’s next week to see if I see more improvement, but so far…so good!

  2. julie
    Reply

    See my remarks today

  3. Julie
    Reply

    I had a full hysterectomy last May. I developed PS on the bottom of my feet and palm of my hands in December, 2013.. I believe my PS was a result of removing hormones/estrogen. Apparently the feet/hands is a rare ps condition. No improvements until recently since I thought it was a bacteria infection originally. So after taking creams/ointments and wrapping my feet in saran wrap; I decided to fix the problem internally…started taking liquid D3 5000 (Grocery outlet carries it dirt cheap), Omega 3-6-9 Fish, Flax, & Borage Oil.. kinda surprised not to hear of anyone taking Borage since it raises the GLA levels..
    In addition, I’m doing the Infrared (at home foot spa) with vinegar/listerine…what an amazing difference in just one week!!! The redness is almost gone and the plaque has gone away… Starting to feel human again and had to share!

  4. KVS
    Reply

    I take 2,000 IU of vitamin D3 every day as my primary care doctor recommended. It has not made any difference in my scalp psoriasis, though other things on People’s Pharmacy have.
    Currently I am drinking saffron tea. It is making the most difference since cilantro and is much less trouble.

  5. smiller
    Reply

    Was wondering if the vit d is still working at this time? I’m currently struggling with what I’m sure is psoriasis. definitely want to try this method.

  6. Hady
    Reply

    Hello all, thank you for your feedback. I have had it for a few years too, I did the vitamin D blood test and of course I was Deficient. I took Euro D 50,000 per week for 10 weeks, my psoriasis was 90% gone & my vitamin D came back to normal. I stopped & my psoriasis came back. I am now taking 10,000 per week and it’s not helping much it’s getting worse (maybe coming back slower than before). Do you think I should increase my dosage? thanks guys ! :)

  7. tammy
    Reply

    I have had plaque psoriasis since I was 20yrs old it goes away and then comes back. At age 28 it came back and now I can’t get rid of it, I need to know how much vitamin d and vitamin c I can safely take?

  8. Kahleen
    Reply

    WOW Molly, that is a high dosage of Vit D3. What does your doctor say is the upper safe limit? I take 2,000 iu D3 and I think it helps my scalp psoriasis.

  9. Molly
    Reply

    I began taking 6000 iu of d3 just 3 days ago and already seeing improvement. I have severe plaque psoriasis on my scalp and moderate on my arms and legs. I also began applying a few vitamins directly to my skin that are shown to be anti-inflammatory.. ( vit. D3, vit. A, fish oil, and garlic) so im not sure which is doing the trick .. Perhaps a combination.

  10. Molly
    Reply

    I began taking 6000 iu of d3 just 3 days ago and already seeing improvement. I have severe plaque psoriasis on my scalp and moderate on my arms and legs. I also began applying a few vitamins directly to my skin that are shown to be anti-inflammatory.. ( vit. D3, vit. A, fish oil, and garlic) so im not sure which is doing the trick .. Perhaps a combination.

  11. Kahleen
    Reply

    Craig – thanks for your helpful feedback. My brother has a sun lamp and that is what did the trick for him with his psoriasis.

  12. Craig
    Reply

    Hello all ps people ! : )
    Just wanted to say thanks for all the info !! Vit D3 works great, and also a white light purchased at Walmart for around $100 works great for sun therapy. I’ve had ps for 30 years. I eliminated a lot of rash/scaling years ago by experimenting with my diet.
    I found that peanut butter and cola products were an immediate bad reaction. I stopped taking pb and cola, and worked wonders. Ps has moved around my body with age, and is definitely a lack of sunshine issue with me, as I have no ps in the spring/summer.
    Also there are great studies being done to show that Seratonin levels in your brain diminish in the winter time. A great simple method of raising those levels, is to consume amounts of Extra dark chocolate, yes chocolate !! It has to be the extra dark kind, the stuff that tastes like chalk ! Lol but it works for me. The body is low in vit D3 and seratonin levels in the winter, so you have to bring those levels up. Hope this info helped out !

  13. Kahleen
    Reply

    500 mg of Evening Primrose Oil and Fish Oil or Krill Oil taken at the SAME TIME has helped my psoriasis tremendously. It is the latest thing that has helped me the most. I also have been taking 2000 mg of D3 which seemed to help a little (maybe I should have increased that to see more of a difference)? I read about the Primrose and Fish Oil combination from my Arthritis Magazine; but it did say to take them at THE SAME TIME. Hope this is helpful to someone else as psoriasis can drive you crazy. I have it on my scalp.

  14. Nb
    Reply

    Just a follow up post. Ihave been on 2000iu’s since the beginning of the year. 95 %clear everywhere within months and has stayed that way, except for a couple of times that it comes back in my ears and on the eyebrows, but not nearly as bad as it used to be before Vit D 3. A couple of patches on the lower back are very stubborn but again under control.
    Hope those that are on vit d are better as well. What with the latest talk about vitamins and the the benefits or lack thereof.

  15. Kahleen
    Reply

    So happy for you Mayra. Glad the Vit. D is working. It helps me as well. What is PA?

  16. mayra E.
    Reply

    I have severe psoriasis and PA for 13 years now. Started when I was 41. Since then nothing really worked. I think one summer it cleared. I have been hearing about Vitamin D and ask my doctor to check my levels. Reluctantly she did and I was, of course, deficient. I mentioned the vitamin D therapy and of course reluctantly I got a prescription for 50,000 IU weekly.
    I’m on my third pill now. Last week my skin went through a crazy change. All my skin started falling out, itchy and I was going out my mind, but then it looks like the new skin is coming out smooth, redness is fading and I am feeling like something good is happening!! Don’t want to jinx it, so I will post again after my fourth pill. ps. Also seems like my joints are not so inflammed…tune in next week for an update

  17. LynnZ
    Reply

    Shortly after my last post 04/03/13 my condition began to deteriorate. I reviewed food diary, stopped going out in the sun, nothing helped, not even cilantro. About 2 weeks ago I was reading an article, and a light bulb went on. A couple of years ago I had started supplementing with zinc, beyond the 100% RDA in my multi. I had never seen any visible results, so when it ran out a couple of months ago I did not restock, apparently a very bad decision.
    I have been taking the additional supplement for about 2 weeks now, and I am once again seeing improvement. We learn as we go along. It looks like the Vit. D made such a difference because the zinc was already there. So, I am learning and appreciating “cofactors.” Here is the article.
    http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/vitamin-d-and-other-vitamins-and-minerals/

  18. NB
    Reply

    After reading all over the interest about cilantro and PS, decided to try it, even though the ps continued to get better each day. However, now, I do not know which one is actually doing the trick. If it keeps improving the way it is, I am hoping to be totally clear of all patches in a couple of months. The patch on my right calf has shrunk to a quarter of what I was. Back, much, much better. Zero scaling anywhere including scalp. Hope it continues and if I am dreaming, let me not wake up.

  19. KATHLEEN V.
    Reply

    @NB — thank you — no I did not apply Clobex to my armpits. I put it on my scalp where I have the psoriasis and I broke out in a very red rash in my arm pits. It cleared up after a few days of not having the Clobex and getting it out of my system.

  20. NB
    Reply

    Hi, I have always been very cautious about any meds, so much so that my dermatologist says I never use enough. I figured since there is no known cure, I would be happy if it were under control and without having to suffer the side affects of the steroids and dovonex, from excessive use. I am no doctor but I hope you did not apply clobex in the armpits! I was told by my dermatologist that I could safely take 2000 icu of D3. I took 2000 every day for the first week and now three weeks later I take 1000 one day and 2000 the next.
    Seems to be working well for me. After 30 yrs or so I think it will take its time clearing up. Had not heard of cilantro up until today, I must admit. Do not plan on trying either, as long as the vit d keeps working like the way it is.

  21. LynnZ
    Reply

    Update – In the last two weeks improvement has continued. I am having good results all over, although the level of improvement is not universal. I’d say my arms are around 75% improved – I actually have more normal skin on my arms than psoriasis. My upper back looks good, lower back not as good. Legs are still the worst, with below the knee the very worst (but still improved) – hmm, maybe I should try a little direct sunlight this weekend. The scalp, more improvement in the back of my head than on the top. I think the pace of improvement is faster now. Besides the Vit. D3 supplement I am testing to see if I am still allergic to the sun, I try to get about 10-15 Min. a day on hands, arms, and face. I am guessing that the faster pace may be due to my serum levels elevating. It’s not time to test yet.
    I also know others that are supplementing with Vit. D3 for other health concerns, some showing marked improvement. Now, I don’t think Vit. D3 is a cure-all miracle, but the body does seem to need it. I have read that nearly all (if not all) of the cells in the body have Vit. D receptors, so I suppose we should provide it.
    Good luck everyone.

  22. KATHLEEN V.
    Reply

    @NB — have you tried the cilantro yet as well? I’m interested to know which would work better for you. The Cilantro has helped me immensely, but not taken away my scalp psoriasis completely. I broke out in a rash from Clobec under my arm pits. I currently take 1000 mg of D3 and have not noticed much of a difference. I may increase that amount. Thanks so much for your input!

  23. NB
    Reply

    Hi ,
    Although I have been visiting different sites and forums over the years, reading about psoriasis, I have never posted a comment up until now.
    I have had PS for almost 25 years. In the recent past, however, it had become so bad that I had given up and stopped visiting my dermatologist. Alternated between clobec shampoo and creams, dovonex and recently started using dovobet, all without too much relief. Three weeks ago I started to take 200ICU of vitamin D 3 daily. Do not want to count my chickens before they are hatched but my scalp is pretty much clear of PS. Patches on my knuckles, legs, ears and lower back have started to clear up fairly rapidly. There is almost no scaling or itching.
    I will continue to post comments to update the condition. All the best to those who are thinking of trying Vitamin D .

  24. JIM
    Reply

    I saw this Tuesday 03-19-2013 in the newspaper People’s Pharmacy column. So that day ordered Vitamin D3 5,000iu. Arrived Thurs & took first one.
    Pleasant surprise! NOCTURNAL LEG CRAMPS CEASED Thurs night after taking D3. D3 was the only change.
    My plan is to take 5,000iu daily for eight weeks then test levels. See the following web link & article. “Vitamin D: How to Determine Your Optimal Dose”. http://www.naturalnews.com/027345_Vitamin_D_exposure_sun.html

  25. KATHLEEN V.
    Reply

    I have rosacea as well as scalp psoriasis. Keep us informed on how you are doing.

  26. KATHLEEN V.
    Reply

    Good luck to you — keep us informed.

  27. KATHLEEN V.
    Reply

    I take 1,000 mg Vit D3 now. I am going to double it to see if it makes a difference with my scalp psoriasis. Where was your psoriasis?

  28. L. A.
    Reply

    Is it possible D3 is also helpful with rosacea? I too was low on vitamin D and my Dr. put me on a prescription dose of D3 for a couple months. Afterwards I went to 5000 iu most days/week and I think the redness and I know the breakouts are significantly better.

  29. LynnZ
    Reply

    Psoriasis began for me over 19 years ago, just before my 40th birthday. Approximately 8 years prior to that I had been diagnosed as allergic to the sun, told to stay out of the sun or to use a sunscreen when I couldn’t avoid the sun. When the psoriasis began it went to severe quickly, within a few months I was covered head to toe. The second Dr. I saw (after about a year), introduced me to Dovonex. After great results I asked if it could be that I was not getting enough Vit. D, due to my sun allergy. I was assured that I got more than enough sun (and therefore Vit. D) on my arms, hands, and face walking to my car a couple of times a day. Two years ago when my long time dermatologist moved I saw another Dr., again, no mention of the possibility of a Vit. D deficiency.
    In frustration with my insurance I gave up prescription medications about 18 months ago and concentrated on dietary changes. There were some interesting results, such as broccoli helped, yogurt was bad. Which lead me to give up dairy by about 90%. These and some other dietary changes gave me a little relief.
    I started supplementing with Vit. D3 a few months ago. I am thrilled with the results. Am I clear, no. Am I doing better than I ever have without prescriptions, absolutely. It’s not overnight, it has been slow, but steady. In some areas I am seeing normal skin for the first time in many years. Other areas, not so much change, yet. I will stay the course with the Vit. D3 supplements, my goal being to get my blood serum to 80 ng/ml. and see what effect it has had on the psoriasis.
    Of note, when I was receiving D2 via dairy, it did not help. It was the opposite as there was some improvement when I eliminated 90% of dairy from my diet. I just couldn’t seem to give up the last 10%.
    I encourage everyone, not just psoriasis sufferers, to have their Vit. D blood serum level checked.

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