Alopecia Areata

Vitamin D Deficiency Is Common in Patients With Alopecia

Individuals with alopecia areata (AA) are prone to vitamin D deficiencies and could potentially benefit from vitamin D supplementation, according to a recent systematic review and meta-analysis.

Various autoimmune diseases including inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis are known to be associated with vitamin D deficiencies. However, previous studies that evaluated vitamin D levels in patients with AA had reached inconsistent conclusions.

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To explore this further, the researchers analyzed 456 patients in 11 studies published before May 15, 2017, that had compared the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency or vitamin D levels in patients with AA vs controls.

Findings indicated that, of the 8 studies that had assessed the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency, 5 had demonstrated a higher prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in patients with AA vs controls.

Furthermore, of the 9 studies that had examined vitamin D levels, 8 had shown that patients with AA had significantly lower levels of vitamin D vs controls. Specifically, 25-hydroxyvitamin D deficiency (odds ratio, 4.86) and lower levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (standardized mean difference, -1.08) were significantly more prevalent among patents with AA compared with controls.

“In conclusion, our meta-analysis found that patients with AA have a higher prevalence of 25-hydroxyvitamin D deficiency and lower 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels than the control group,” the researchers wrote. “Further research is needed to elucidate the underlying mechanisms and assess the efficacy of vitamin D supplementation in treating AA.”

—Christina Vogt


Tsai TY, Huang YC. Vitamin D deficiency in patients with alopecia areata: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2018;78(1):207-209.