Have you ever wondered from where do we get our skin color? Humans derive their skin color ranging almost translucent to black from the melanin pigment present in the skin. When our skin is exposed to sun, it produces Vitamin D, which plays a vital role in the healthy development and our immune systems.
Melanin is an important coloring agent in our body, but sometimes for some people it turns out to be a deficit in the production of the melanin, where pigment to produce color for hair, skin, eyes or even internal ear is absent, and this disorder is known as Albinism deficit.
Albinism is a deficiency inherited through families, a rare disorder that fails in melanin production which causes the hair, eyes or skin to have less or no color. Albinism arises by one of several genetic defects that make the body incapable to generate or dispense melanin.
Now that we have explained what albinism is, let us understand the relation of vitamin d with albinism.
People having albinism disorder are at a high risk of skin cancer because melanin is responsible for a natural sun block that shields your skin from harsh UV rays of the sun. Vitamin D levels are very vital to manage the patients with albinism disorder as it helps to maintain the level of melanin production in the skin. High level of melanin production enhances the risk of Vitamin D deficiency.
There are three forms of melanin: Eumelanin –most basic form, responsible to produce black and brown pigments to give black or brown color to hair or skin, Pheomelanin –responsible to produce reddish-brown color and is not much protective against UV rays and stimulates cancer, and Neuromelanin –responsible to produce black color near certain parts of the brain and loss of the this melanin may cause neurological disorder.
Melanin is formed when our skin is exposed to UV lights, for protection against the harshness of the rays. Vitamin D helps in the levels of this melanin production, which when exposed to more sunlight produces more amount of melanin which may even lead to skin cancer named melanoma.
Vitamin D deficiency and Albinism may be related. Individuals with hypopigmentation may tend to be suffering from abnormally low levels of vitamin D as indicated by the study of Goswani et al. The study concluded that individuals from New Delhi with albinism or vitiligo universalis were much more likely than individuals without hypopigmentation to seek lower levels of sun exposure, leading to an average level of vitamin D that was so low in the winter that it fell beyond the range considered to be adequate/healthy.
It is advisable to ensure that your Vitamin D levels stay above 30 ng/ml. Keep a diet rich in fatty fish such as salmon, cod, certain mushrooms and milk. In cases of acute deficiency, supplementation may be necessary which must strictly be done under the guidance of a qualified physician.