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Vitamin D & Eyelash Thinning

By Shamala Pulugurtha

Thick, long eyelashes are associated with beauty and youth. They also prevent dust and other foreign particles from entering the eyes, thereby lowering the risk of eye infections. Several factors such as old age, radiation therapy, autoimmune diseases, thyroid diseases and certain nutritional deficiencies and medications can lead to loss of eyelashes. Your doctor may suggest over-the-counter cosmetic products such as mascaras and prescription medications such as bimatoprost to treat severe cases. Certain supplements such as vitamin D also play an important role in preventing the loss of eyelashes.

About Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin essential for the maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. It also promotes proper functioning of the immune system. The National Institute of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements recommends 400 to 800 IU of the vitamin per day. This can be obtained from foods such as fortified dairy products and cereals and oysters. Your body can make vitamin D when exposed to sunlight for 10 to 15 minutes three times a week. You may also take supplements under the supervision of a doctor to overcome deficiency of the vitamin. The dose and form of the supplements depends on the age of the patient and condition being treated.

Link Between Vitamin D and Thinning of Eyelashes

Some children with hereditary vitamin D resistant rickets, or HVDRR, may have sparse body hair, including eyebrows and eyelashes, according to Z. Hochberg, author of the book “Vitamin D and Rickets.” A case report published in the August 2010 issue of the “Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism,” also states that mutation in the vitamin D receptor gene can lead to HVDRR and the hair loss associated with it. HVDRR is generally treated with calcium and calciferol, a form of vitamin D, although the exact connection between HVDRR and hair loss or thinning is not clear, says Bruno Bissonnette, author of the book “Genetic Syndromes.”

Side Effects

Calciferol supplements are generally safe to use, although allergic reactions such as hives, rash and shortness of breath may sometimes occur. Other side effects include behavioral changes, irritation, chest pain and frequent urination.

Precautions

Although calciferol and vitamin D supplements are available at most pharmacies without a prescription, always talk to a doctor before using them to improve your eyelashes, because the exact link between vitamin D deficiency and loss of eyelashes has not yet been established. It is also important to determine if your condition is due to the vitamin deficiency or not. Inform you doctor about any other conditions you have and medications you're taking.

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