According to new research Vitamin D supplements can improve symptoms of atopic dermatitis (eczema).
Atopic dermatitis (AD) or eczema is a chronic disease that causes an itchy, inflamed rash. Eczema rates are growing worldwide at alarming rates and some areas of the world have rates that have climbed as high as 38%.
The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, recently published a study where researchers studied 95 men and women between the ages of 18 and 50 suffering from atopic dermatitis or eczema. They then compared these individuals to 58 healthy individuals. Vitamin D levels were studied and compared between the two groups, and the severity of the atopic dermatitis or eczema was evaluated by a dermatologist.
Average vitamin D levels were not different between the atopic dermatitis/eczema group and the control groups though the men in the study had significantly lower levels than the women. The interesting finding was that the frequency of bacterial skin infections and eczema flares of atopic dermatitis/eczema were higher in the individuals that had lower levels of vitamin D in their bodies. The study found that 82% of individuals with low levels of vitamin D (below 30 nanograms per millilitre of blood) experienced bacterial skin infections compared with 17% of individuals with normal levels (30 ng/ml or higher).
These results are similar to another study, published earlier this year, which also correlated a link between low levels of vitamin D and atopic dermatitis/eczema.
The benefits of vitamin D are likely because of the immune system's protective properties in vitamin D.
After the above finding, the researchers then tested the theory and took 22 patients with the lowest vitamin D levels (7 ng/ml) who also had histories of skin infections. These individuals were given a daily supplement of 2000 IU vitamin D3 daily for 3 months.
On average, the vitamin D levels nearly doubled to 13 ng/ml, although none of the participants reached normal levels. Following supplementation, atopic dermatitis/eczema symptoms significantly improved, as reported by the dermatologist evaluating the atopic dermatitis/eczema in these individuals while taking the vitamin D supplements.
The researchers said a need for more studies and larger scale studies on this subject would be beneficial to further explore their findings. If you suffer from eczema you may want to consider taking a vitamin D supplement.