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Does Your Child’s Eczema Get Worse in the Winter?

Vitamin D for eczema

By Sabra Way (Bio below)

Vitamin D supplementation in the winter may have just become even more important for children with atopic dermatitis (AD). Especially, if it gets worse with the fall-to-winter transition and they have a vitamin D deficiency. A recent study found that vitamin D supplementation improved AD symptoms in just 30 days. The children received either 1000 I.U. of vitamin D  or placebo every day for one month. At the end of one month the children’s symptoms improved by 29%! There was a reduction in redness, scaliness, swelling and itchiness, as well as, the total area affected by eczema.

In The United States 10% of children are vitamin D deficient. Children with eczema and those with increased eczema severity are both more likely to have low levels of vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency has many causes but the dedicated practice of sun protection in children may be part of the problem. Protecting the skin from sunlight by covering up and/or wearing sunscreen decreases the opportunity for your skin to make vitamin D in the summer months. Supplementation with vitamin D may become more important in an age where we fear the sun. One study found that 74% of children with mild AD had complete resolution of their symptoms on summer holiday’s and there was greater improvement seen in children who went on seaside holidays with higher UV levels. Having enough vitamin D strengthens the immune system and improves skin barrier function which decreases the chances of skin infection. Reducing skin infection plays an important role in eczema care.

Fun Facts about Vitamin D
  • It is the only vitamin we make from standing in the sun
  • You are more likely deficient if you live in or north of Boston, Toronto or London
  • If your shadow is longer than you are tall, you’re not making much vitamin D
  • It is found naturally in fatty fish and fish oils and there are small amounts in beef liver, egg yolks and cheese
  • The top vitamin D foods that come to mind like milk, yogurt, orange juice and cereal are fortified.
  • It is a readily available, safe and inexpensive supplement

Sources:

Randomized trial of vitamin D supplementation for winter-related atopic dermatitis in children
The effect of summer holidays and sun exposure on atopic dermatitis.
Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 11.44.29 AM
Bio: Sabra Way is a Medical Herbalist and member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists. She writes about herbal and complementary medicine and how it can heal the body when used effectively. An avid reader, she scans medical journals looking for studies that have an impact on complementary medicine. She is the editor of Galen’s Watch, a journal watch focused on complementary and alternative medicine for complementary health practitioners to stay up-to-date with the latest studies. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, and her website
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