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Last modified on August 25th, 2020
Eczema, a skin condition also known as atopic dermatitis, is one of the most common skin conditions in the world. It is characterized by dry, itchy skin and rashes, which can become further inflamed if scratched. In severe cases, the skin can become cracked and ooze fluid.
Treating and preventing eczema can be important in those who suffer from the condition, both to stop the discomfort and the appearance of the condition.
Topical steroids are often used as a medical treatment. However, long-term use of topical steroids can be risky and lead to side effects like thin skin and delayed wound healing. For this reason, supplements are sometimes used in an effort to improve skin health and prevent eczema outbreaks.
Although eczema can be a lifelong condition in some people, certain factors can trigger outbreaks. Avoiding these triggers when possible is, therefore, an important strategy in helping to control eczema without medication.
Common eczema triggers include:
-Metals, especially nickel
-Perfumes and fragrances
-Fabrics, especially wool and polyester
-Topical antibacterials like isothiazolinones in baby wipes
-Dyes like paraphenylene-diamine in leather and temporary tattoos
Making sure that dry skin is moisturized and avoiding contact with items that irritate your eczema are some of the best ways to minimize outbreaks.
Unfortunately, even if you try to avoid all known triggers, eczema outbreaks may continue to occur.
Although prescription medications and phototherapy are options your doctor may discuss with you, treatment can also include the use of supplements.
Vitamin D and Eczema
Recent studies have looked at the relationship between Vitamin D and eczema.
Some evidence shows that low Vitamin D levels may be linked to eczema in people of all ages, but especially in non-Hispanic white adults. Several randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies, the gold standard of scientific research, have examined whether Vitamin D supplementation can help eczema symptoms.
Many participants in these studies either had low Vitamin D levels or were at risk for low Vitamin D levels. These studies have shown that eczema symptoms have improved in people who have supplemented Vitamin D with amounts ranging from 1000 international units, or IU, to 1600 IU daily. This improvement in eczema symptoms held true for both children and adults in the studies.
Those with moderate to severe eczema appear to benefit most from Vitamin D supplementation, as those with more mild eczema may have higher Vitamin D levels in their body to begin with. Importantly, the effects of Vitamin D supplementation may wear off if the supplement is discontinued, which occurred in 25% of people in one study.
Although experts say that they are not sure why Vitamin D supplementation appears to improve eczema symptoms, they believe it might help to fight off microbes that can worsen eczema. Specifically, antimicrobial substances in the skin include cathelicidin and β-defensin. These substances are small proteins that play a role in the immune system, helping the body fight off pathogens. Studies have shown that both of these substances increase with Vitamin D supplementation.
Vitamin B12 and Eczema
Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, has also been studied in eczema. Specifically, topical Vitamin B12 formulations have been studied. These studies have shown improvement in eczema symptoms when cream containing 0.07% Vitamin B12 was applied to the skin.
Experts think that topical Vitamin B12 may improve eczema symptoms by lowering nitric oxide levels in the skin. Nitric oxide dilates blood vessels, which can lead to swelling and redness in some cases.
Topical steroids, which are often used to treat mild to moderate eczema, can also help to lower nitric oxide levels in the skin. Importantly, long-term use of steroids may lead to a rebound increase in nitric oxide levels when the steroid is stopped.
In turn, this means the skin discomfort, redness and swelling linked to eczema may increase. It is not known whether Vitamin B12 topical creams may cause the same results after discontinuation.
The Top Supplements to Treat and Prevent Eczema
Some of the best Vitamin D and topical Vitamin B12 supplements are available on Amazon.com. We have provided a description of our top choices and a link to them on Amazon.com.
Thorne Research’s Vitamin D3 come in a dose of 1000 IU, which was found to help eczema. The capsules are free of lactose, BHT, BHA, sodium benzoate, sorbic acid, gluten, dairy, soy, yeast, fish and shellfish.
Besides Vitamin D, other ingredients include microcrystalline cellulose, hyprocellulose, leucine, silicon and Vitamin E. Notably, the source of the Vitamin D is lanolin from sheep’s wool. Therefore, if lanolin triggers your eczema you may want to avoid this product.
The Vitamin E contained in the product is sourced from grains. However, the amount of Vitamin E in the product is so little that the recommended daily allowance is not listed on the package.
The capsules are manufactured in the United States, although it is unclear where the materials are originally sourced.
Liquid Vitamin D is an option for those who have trouble swallowing tablets or capsules. Carlson Vitamin D drops are in liquid form, with each drop giving 1000 IU of Vitamin D, a dose that was found to help eczema.
The drops can be swallowed directly, mixed with liquid or put on food. The drops have a non-GMO label as they contain no genetically modified organisms. The drops are vegetarian-friendly and have no flavoring. They are free of dairy products, gluten, preservatives and soy.
Besides Vitamin D, other ingredients include medium chain triglyceride oil sourced from coconut and palm.
BIOLabs INNERGIZE Vitamin B12 cream contains 500 mcg of Vitamin B12 per pump in the form of methylcobalamin.
Each bottle contains at least 60 pumps worth of cream. Other ingredients include water, L-arginine, vegetable glycerin, aloe vera, folic acid, olive oil, coconut oil and shea butter, among others.
The product is made in an FDA-certified and kosher-certified facility in the United States. The product comes with a 60-day money back guarantee from the manufacturer.
Life-Flo’s Vitamin B12 cream comes as a pump product in the form of cyanocobalamin. Other Ingredients include aloe vera, avocado oil, Vitamin E and sangre de grado, among others. The product is free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates, artificial colors and fragrances. Further, the product is cruelty-free as it is not tested on animals.
The product comes with a 60-day money back guarantee from the manufacturer.
Eczema is an uncomfortable condition that can be lifelong in some people. Using strategies like avoiding allergens and keeping your skin moisturized can help avoid eczema flares.
Supplementing with Vitamin D and topical Vitamin B12 may also help control eczema and keep your skin healthy.