The Truth about Vitamin D and Eczema

Vitamin D and Eczema

Have you ever wondered how important Vitamin D can be for eczema? This week, we take a look at a variety of studies that examine vitamin D and eczema. We’ll also discuss how much of it you may need in order to heal eczema properly and effectively.

Please keep in mind that although these tips and information have worked for several eczema sufferers, I am in no way a medical professional. If you’re experiencing severe eczema or have a topical infection, it is always best to seek medical advice immediately.

If you are not producing enough vitamin D, your immune system can weaken which can cause the skin barrier to break down and the chances for skin infection to increase. It is no wonder why many eczema sufferers’ skin gets worse in the winter. In addition to the dry air created by indoor heaters, it’s possible they’re not getting enough vitamin D.

ILW Recommends: Does your Child’s Eczema Get Worse in the Winter?

For a while now, a common treatment for severe eczema (especially during the winter months) has been to expose skin to ultraviolet light, which essentially stimulates the production of vitamin D in the skin.

However, recently the consumption of vitamin D has shown to be just as effective in treating and healing eczema. In fact, several studies have been conducted to determine the levels of vitamin D present in the skin of those with eczema, as well as the effects of vitamin D in treating eczema.

Studies with Vitamin D and Eczema

Randomized controlled trial using vitamins E and D supplementation in atopic dermatitis

In 2011, a study [1] was conducted to assess the effects of vitamins D and E supplementation in eczema patients. 45 eczema patients were included in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled experiment where each were treated for 60 days. Separate vitamin D groups and vitamin E groups each saw an improvement in the intensity and amount of eczema around 35%. But together, when 1600 IU of vitamin D3 and 600 IU of vitamin E were given together, patients improved by 64%!!

The study revealed that there were notable effects and benefits in supplementing vitamin D for eczema patients and even more so when given together with vitamin E.

Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis) treated by 1600 IU of vitamin D

In December 2016 a systematic review [2] was conducted in order to compile results from various past studies on vitamin D and eczema.

They looked at four randomized controlled trials, including the one mentioned just above, and they were able to discover that serum vitamin D levels were generally lower in eczema patients, but especially so in children. And all studies they reviewed indicated that vitamin D helped to improve a patient’s eczema overall.

But How Much Vitamin D Should You Take?

Although many studies have shown that vitamin D can be beneficial in the treatment of eczema, another question might be: how much vitamin D does one need to heal safely and effectively?

Prior to supplementing vitamin D, it’s important to note that in summer conditions or hot weather, it’s possible to generate close to 20,000 units of vitamin D just from exposure to the sun. However, during the winter months, it’s difficult to generate anything close to that amount let alone the recommended dosage.

Vitamin D Dose Recommendations

Generally, 35 IUs of vitamin D per pound of body weight is the recommended average dose.

Check out the chart below for more information:

Age Dosage
Below 5 35 units per pound per day
Age 5 – 10 2500 units
Adults 4000-8000 units
Pregnant Women 5000-10000 units

Although these are general recommendations, testing your blood for vitamin D really is the only reliable way to know how much vitamin D you or your little one needs.

ALWAYS speak with your physician before starting any sort of supplementation.

Where to find Vitamin D?

  • Vitamin D is naturally found in fatty fish and fish oils, as well as small amounts in beef liver, egg yolks and cheese. Not all oils are created equal, so be sure to read about fish oil for eczema to learn about the safest oils.
  • Foods fortified with vitamin D like some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals.
  • Sun, sun, sun…oh and, SUN!
  • As available, safe and inexpensive tablets such as these Viva Naturals High Potency Vitamin D3 Jennifer Roberge, our founder and editor, swears by liquid drops and loves this brand for her family. She adds the drops to her kid’s oatmeal and cereal or any breakfast food and it doesn’t change the taste.

Again, if you are vitamin D deficient or think you might have to supplement with higher doses, it’s always best to see your doctor before doing so.

What about probiotics? Learn more in Can Probiotics Help Eczema?

Looking for more answers to the eczema puzzle? Find out more in Jennifer’s post Natural Remedies for Eczema: What Worked For My Son.

What’s your eczema like in the winter? Do you supplement with vitamin D? We want to hear from you in the comments below!

Bio: Laura Dolgy is a contributor and content developer for It’s An Itchy Little World. She is in no way a medical professional. Her comments, suggestions, and reflections are not intended to replace any medical advice. Always seek the help of a medical professional before undertaking any diet or lifestyle changes. Please see It’s An Itchy Little World’s disclaimer for information about affiliate links and more.

Sources:

  1. Randomized controlled trial using vitamins E and D supplementation in atopic dermatitis.
  2. Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis) treated by 1600 IU of vitamin D

FROM: Eczema

9 Comments

  1. Deanna on November 7, 2017 at 5:44 am

    I had to stop giving my baby vitamin D because it was suspended in coconut oil and she is allergic to coconut oil, egg whites and soy protein. I cannot find a supplement for babies that does not contain coconut oil or medium chain triglycerides. Does anyone have any advice on how I can find one without coconut oil? Thank you.

    • Jennifer Roberge on November 8, 2017 at 12:48 pm

      Yes, we like the Pure brand Vitamin D.

      • Deanna on November 8, 2017 at 3:13 pm

        Thank you, but I believe the Pure Vitamin D supplement contains MCT oil which is made from coconut oil as well:(

    • Hello on May 15, 2018 at 11:58 pm

      MRM brand vegan/vegetarian D3 (made from lichen) with K2. iHerb have it. Contains ‘vitashine’ 2500IU of D3 per capsule so you’ll have to open them up and make a paste with perhaps non salted grass fed butter. Shame your baby can’t tolerate coconut oil as it’s great topically as well.
      Vaccines don’t appear to contain lichen so you should be alergy free hopefully.
      You want to avoid oil based D3 derived from sheep’s wool (yes, not a typo) as sheep get dipped in pesticides/fungicides etc and I doubt they can completely remove it from the lanolin/wool prior to UV radiation.

  2. Ashley on November 7, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    Hi
    Sorry to add negative comments on this vitamin d3 and vitamin E supplements this kind of works short term
    Although it has stopped working I still take it anyway thinking it might help me out in the long term (taking for the last two years)
    There is no cure for psoriasis sufferers yet.

  3. Carrie on March 24, 2018 at 10:48 am

    Which vitamin E supplement is recommended? And at what dosage?

    • Jennifer Roberge on March 28, 2018 at 4:43 pm

      Not sure about vitamin E. Vitamin D is more commonly recommended for eczema.

  4. Kate Horler on May 9, 2018 at 9:40 am

    I had severe eczema for over 30 years mostly on my hands, also painful cracks at the side of my mouth and pain in my hip bones, doctors gave me steroid cream and moisturizers that my skin couldn’t tolerate. Then a colleague was diagnosed with Vitamin D deficiency and I thought I would try taking supplements, amazingly within weeks my eczema cleared up almost completely the pain in my hips went and the cracks around my mouth healed up. That was 6 years ago and I continue to take vitamin D tablets and I remain eczema free.

    • Jennifer Roberge on May 14, 2018 at 11:49 am

      That’s great Kate! So glad vitamin D helped you!

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