Research shows that eczema and vitamins, like your diet, have a strong connection. Vitamins and supplements may improve atopic eczema symptoms, prevent outbreaks, and decrease eczema severity.
Alongside watching your diet, you should consider complementing your eczema-friendly diet with vitamins and supplements that may improve your eczema and overall skin health.
This blog discusses six vitamins that may improve skin health and reduce the symptoms of eczema.
6 Helpful Vitamins for Eczema
Several studies show that vitamins and supplements may be beneficial in treating and managing atopic dermatitis. One 2019 study suggests that vitamin supplements may be used as therapeutics in managing eczema.
In this read, we'll be discussing vitamins and supplements that may improve eczema symptoms, prevent or treat outbreaks, and improve overall immunity.
According to an article published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, vitamin A stimulates collagen accumulation in naturally aged human skin. It interrupts the collagen breakdown process, thus preventing the skin from sun damage — although not as much as sunscreen does — and reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. This fat-soluble vitamin is well-known for its eye care, antioxidant, and healthy immune system properties.
Among other essential health benefits, vitamin A also helps promote healthier, elastic, and glowing skin and may reduce the severity of atopic dermatitis. Evidence suggests that vitamin A's antioxidant and collagen accumulating properties may help improve eczema conditions.
One study even shows that the co-deficiency of vitamin A and vitamin D may worsen eczema symptoms in children. The daily requirement for vitamin A is 700mcg for adult women and 900 mcg for adult men. Daily intake of vitamin A may be beneficial in preventing eczema flare-ups and easing inflammation. Vitamin A superfoods include:
- Beef liver
- King Mackerel
- Hard-Boiled egg
- Blue cheese
- Green peas
Vitamin B12 is a popular member of the Vitamin B complex - the blood vitamins - and is essential for red blood cell formation, neurological function, and DNA production. Vitamin B12 also reduces acne severity, skin inflammation, redness, and dryness. So, it is highly recommended for people with skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
One article published in the Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Journal confirmed that vitamin B12 may lessen symptoms of atopic dermatitis by reducing nitric oxide production. Evidence suggests that nitric oxide (NO) plays a fundamental role in food allergies, intestinal inflammation, and eczema. By reducing nitric oxide levels in the body, vitamin B12 helps soothe inflammation and eczema symptoms or flare-ups.
Several studies show that topical vitamin B12 is an effective treatment for eczema in children and adults. Its food sources include:
- Liver and kidneys
- Fortified cereals
Ascorbic acid, popularly known as vitamin C is a vitamin commonly found in fruits and veggies. It is necessary for tissue repair, growth, and development. Its healing and antioxidant function accelerates collagen and elastin production, keeping the skin firm, plump, and youthful. Vitamin C can also act as an antihistamine by reducing inflammation, redness, swelling, and other symptoms of allergic reactions and skin conditions like eczema.
According to one article published in the Frontiers in Physiology Journal, vitamin C wards off skin oxidants and wrinkles and plays a physiological role in cell growth and differentiation in the skin, which may help reduce symptoms of atopic dermatitis and other skin diseases.
An article in the National Library of Medicine suggests that vitamin C deficiency may worsen atopic eczema symptoms. The recommended daily amount of vitamin C is 65 to 90 mg. Taking the required amount of vitamin C may help prevent and reduce eczema symptoms and breakouts caused by vitamin C deficiencies.
Vitamin C is sourced from:
- Chili peppers
- Sweet yellow peppers
Not only does Vitamin D help support bone growth and development, but it also helps fight inflammation and boost immune function.
In one study, researchers discovered eczema and climate have a strong connection. They observed that people living in areas with low sunlight levels had increased rates of vitamin D deficiency and atopic dermatitis.
Also, evidence suggests a link between low serum vitamin D levels and a high incidence and increased severity of atopic eczema symptoms.
You can source vitamin D from:
- oily fish
- egg yolk
- fortified foods
- direct sun exposure
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin beneficial to skin health and key for boosting immunity. It acts as an antioxidant, protecting cells against damage from free radicals and harsh UV rays. Vitamin E keeps the skin youthful, supple, and soft. According to research, it may significantly improve the appearance and symptoms of atopic eczema by reducing inflammation and promoting skin barrier function.
Vitamin E is very beneficial in preventing and managing eczema outbreaks. Results from a recent clinical trial show that vitamin E may soothe eczema symptoms and reduce its severity. In this 4-month study, where participants received 400 IU of vitamin E daily, they experienced a significant improvement in symptoms, like lesions and itching, eczema severity, and quality of life.
In addition to its healing properties, taking vitamin E may strengthen your immunity and improve the appearance of atopic dermatitis. In fact, combining vitamin E with other vitamins, like vitamin D, may significantly reduce eczema severity and promote youthful skin. According to an older 60-day study with 45 eczema patients, there was a 36% reduction in eczema severity after taking 600IU of vitamin E. In combination with 1600IU of vitamin D, the severity was reduced by 64%.
Foods rich in vitamin E include:
- Sweet potatoes
- Leafy greens (e.g., spinach, turnip greens, cauliflower, broccoli, etc.)
Several studies show that an imbalance in friendly skin and gut bacteria communities (dysbiosis) is strongly linked to poor health and a high occurrence of skin conditions. Such skin conditions include psoriasis, acne vulgaris, atopic dermatitis, and even skin cancer. Probiotics and commensal bacteria are live microorganisms found in supplements and fermented foods that help balance the bacteria in the body and prevent dysbiosis.
Some evidence suggests that probiotics may alter microbiota in the GI tract of eczema patients and may improve eczema severity and symptoms. However, there isn't sufficient research to back up probiotics use in eczema treatment. Experts suggest they can be used to complement medicines, vitamins, and supplements for atopic eczema.
Foods rich in probiotics are:
The Bottom Line
Current research providing evidence for the use of vitamins to treat eczema is not sufficient, but the vitamins discussed in this blog and other vitamins and supplements may help improve the appearance of atopic eczema, decrease its severity, and prevent outbreaks. Some of such vitamins and supplements are:
- Zinc (found in legumes, dairy, seafood, and meat)
- Melatonin (sleep hormone and supplement)
- Fish oil
We recommend you consult your doctor to know the best supplements, vitamins, and foods to treat your specific eczema. A paper suggests that taking high doses of vitamin B3 may increase the risk of developing eczema, so consult a medical practitioner to prevent negative outcomes.
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