As always, my mind seems to tirelessly think of possible causes of Cholinergic Urticaria. The big question on my mind is always, “What is causing this?” So naturally, I tend to look at a lot of possibilities.
Recently, I have been reflecting on my own development of chronic cholinergic urticaria. I was thinking back to the times when I first developed it. I was thinking about what happened when it went away.
I was thinking about what I was doing when it came back full force. I then looked a few threads on the Cholinergic Urticaria forum on this site, I researched a few articles, I read a few polls on this site, and pondered about it for a while. My research and pondering led to me think this question: Could a Vitamin D deficiency lead to cholinergic urticaria symptoms?
What is Vitamin D, What Does it Do, and How Do We Get it?
Vitamin D is a chemical we all need to be healthy. According to several articles I read, Vitamin D is a group of fat-soluble prohormones. It is responsible for helping to regulate various functions in our body. It regulates Calcium levels and absorption which helps our bones, it regulates our immune system, and much more.
It can be found in some foods we eat naturally, and we also get a huge portion of Vitamin D from the sun–simply by standing outside and letting the ultraviolet rays soak into our skin. Some foods that are rich in Vitamin D include: Fish (such as Salmon), Eggs, Fish Liver Oils, and Milk. Another source of Vitamin D is through supplements. You can purchase them online for about $7-15 and this includes anywhere from 100-400 pills.
Many of the articles I read about, seemed to indicate that Vitamin D is being found to have an effect of reducing cancer risks, and even helping to combat cancer. This is because of a role Vitamin D has on the immune system. Studies are finding that it helps to prevent tumor growth.
Furthermore, they are doing some research on autoimmune conditions with regards to Vitamin D levels. This is all very interesting. It is obvious we all need Vitamin D, and that it can really make a difference in life span, reduced cancer risks, and overall health.
Could a Vitamin D Deficiency Cause Cholinergic Urticaria?
Okay, so the question is could this vitamin have an effect on cholinergic urticaria (or other chronic hives or autoimmune conditions)? Of course, I don’t know the answer to that question. But here are some interesting points I found concerning Vitamin D with respect to cholinergic urticaria (these all came after some reflecting I did):
Point # 1-My own personal hives story– When I first developed CU, I was kind of “lost” in the world. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I have quit my job (I was 18 and still living with my mother at the time). I had dropped out of college. I became a recluse and rarely went outside. I stayed mostly indoors, in the air conditioning and dark, watching TV and thinking of what I was going to do with my life. Then, I got CU all of a sudden. I then battled with this for the next several months, and had a very severe case. But then, it went away.
Did anything special happen when it went away? Not really. I didn’t try any diets. I wasn’t on any medication. Instead, it was getting summer time. I went outside, and was decided I was going to tough it out and wash my car. I did this over the course of a couple of days. I noticed after the itching, I started to sweat. Then I was sweating more often.
The next thing I know-it went away. It just kind of disappeared! I met my future wife. We were outside a lot that summer, and that winter. We were outside a lot for the next 2 years as a matter of fact. Literally, we would go outside for long periods of time (sometimes hours), and just spend time and talk.
Here is what I find interesting: During this whole time, my hives were gone, and I almost forgot about this crazy condition. They stayed gone too. They didn’t even come back during the winter months. I could sweat and everything.
But when did my hives come back? It was after my wife and I had jobs, and were constantly indoors. We almost were never outside anymore. I had started to get a little itchy before we moved out, but nothing major at all.
Then we moved into my “crappy 1 bedroom apartment.” I call it crappy not because it is nasty (it is actually brand new and very nice). I call it “crappy” because it is small, it has absolutely NO sound barrier between walls (I can hear my neighbors do EVERTYHING (EEWW), and because I can never go outside since there is no where to go.
If I want to go outside, I have to drive a long way to a park or something. So for these few years while living here, I have gotten very little sunlight at all!
So I see a very strong correlation with my hives and the level of REGULAR sun exposure. I say regular, because I don’t think going out all day in the sun will do too much. I think it needs to be steady and regular. Correlation does not always mean causation. So there is always a chance it was just a coincidence. But I feel like there could be something more to it.
Point # 2-I Took A Look At Our Cholinergic Urticaria Polls- Do you remember those polls I put up with questions about CU? I took a few questions and placed a series of polls for us to take. I had planned on letting them sit for a few months while the traffic grew to this site. After all, to have good information we need as many CU people to take it as possible. So I put them up, and several forum members took them.
You can find the links to them here under the “Pages” section to right of this article. Something really stuck out on one of these polls. It was on the 3rd poll page, and it was the question regarding sun exposure. Here are the results from the question about “How much sun exposure do you get per week?”
- 5 hours or less per week 70%
- 6-10 hours per week 22%
- 11-15 hours per week 5%
- more than 15 hours per week 3%
Those results are interesting. Out of the people that have taken it so far, 82% get less than 6-10 hours of sun exposure per week. In other words, most of us don’t get out into the sunshine much, huh? Again, I can completely vouch for this. I know I get very little CONSISTENT sun exposure. Sure, I may have a few days here and there where I get a lot. But not consistently at all.
Point # 3- A Thread on the Forum Talks About Sunshine– A thread was opened on the forum with someone indicating that they noticed a connection with the sun as well. They said the more sun exposure they get, the less their symptoms come out.
Point # 4- Our Immune System Could Be Involved– As the first few paragraphs pointed out, most of the articles I read indicate that researchers are starting to find some strong connections with Vitamin D and the immune system. They think people with high levels of Vitamin D are at a much lower risk of getting cancers, osteoporosis, autoimmune conditions, and more.
This is interesting, because cholinergic urticaria could somehow be involved with our immune system. Maybe our immune system is faulty, and thinks sweating=enemy, which then=hives reaction. I am not sure, and I don’t understand everything involved (I wish I did).
Point # 5- We Were Made to Get Sun Exposure– I have mentioned this before a long time ago, but I will bring it up again. We humans are meant to be in the sun. It doesn’t matter what your beliefs are about how life originated. If you believe in Evolution, then you can argue that we have evolved under the sun for millions of years, and we are set up to get regular sun exposure. If you are a creationist, you can argue God created us to work outside (after all, Adam and Eve were in a garden all day).
Either way you slice it, it seems we were created to be outside. But what happened? Computers, internet, technology, etc. I’ll bet most of us spend time indoors, right? How many people these days spend almost all day indoors? People work indoors in front of desks, not outside in the hot sun. Even people that used to work outside now have indoor jobs. I know a guy who drives a big bulldozer all day in construction-but guess what- he is inside of the bulldozer all day (and it has an air conditioner in it). So most all of us spend almost the entire day indoors.
Conclusion: Could Sun Exposure Play a Role in Cholinergic Urticaria
Okay, so this has turned out to be a massive article I just wrote. But the question remains: Does this cause or have an effect on CU? I am not sure, but I hope to find out soon. There are so many possible things causing this crazy condition.
Could it really be that simple? Just not getting outside frequently enough?
Of course, I will still be living in this apartment for a while, but I hope to buy a house within the next 8 months to a year. Once I do this, I will be able to DRAMATICALLY increase my sun exposure. Of course, we have to play it safe. We don’t want to over-expose ourselves and get skin cancer or a sun burn.
But I just wonder if getting consistent 1-2 hours of sun per day at the times when the sun isn’t as intense (like around 4 pm) would eventually make cholinergic urticaria go away, just like the first time it went away for me? Could the cure be as simple as just getting more Vitamin D or Sun Exposure?