Vitamins & supplements
As part of a balanced diet, additional health supplements can ensure that you're getting all the vitamins, minerals and fatty acids you need. If you have to exclude certain foods due to a food intolerance, then it becomes very difficult to consume your recommended daily allowance of vitamins and minerals (RDA). Supplements should not replace meals or any of your five a day; they should be taken to help maintain a balanced diet.
It can be quite difficult to get your RDA or all your vitamins if you have to exclude certain foods without consuming large quantities of food. This is where taking vitamins and supplements can help as eczema can be due/aggravated by a lack of essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.
Vitamins and supplements can be used alone or alongside other vitamins and supplements, and can be combined with conventional prescription drugs and over the counter medications.
Listed below are some supplements, vitamins and minerals you may want to consider taking, or wish to discuss with your doctor if you are struggling to maintain a balanced diet which in turn assists in preventing/aggravating your eczema symptoms:
Essential fatty acids
A lack of omega 3 can be a factor for people with eczema. Fish oils can help with skin problems and are at the top of the list of omega 3’s.
Flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, dark green veggies such as kale, chard and parsley, borage, blackcurrant and primrose are also good sources of essential fatty acids: however, they are not always as powerful as fish oils for healing skin conditions such as eczema.
Each oil also has a different balance between omega 3, 6, and 9. Omega 3 is the most needed in supplement form because omega 6 and 9 are found more readily in the diet.
Linoleic acid is used to build omega-6 fatty acids and alpha-linolenic acid is used to build up omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids are important in the normal functioning of all tissues of the body, especially the skin.
If you are unable to produce GLA-gamma linoleic acid, evening primrose oil may prove helpful. Blackcurrant seed oil is a good substitute if you are unable to take evening primrose oil.
Vitamins and minerals
The lack of vitamins and minerals can also trigger the symptoms of eczema. Vitamins A, C, E, and B are especially important.
Some people also become deficient in trace minerals, which are much harder to absorb. Many of the trace minerals that are required to make important functions happen within the body are often completely lacking in individuals with health issues.
Vitamin A: can help prevent scaling, dryness, itchiness and promotes the development of smooth skin. Vitamin A can be found in cod liver oil, and foods such as liver, sweet potato, carrot, broccoli, kale, apricots, peas and tomatoes , and it provides a boost to the immune system and also helps increase antibodies (proteins that can neutralise pathogens, certain chemicals that are foreign to the body, in a number of ways) and lymphocytes (white blood cells).
Vitamin D: is essential for your skin, this can be found in foods such as fruit juice and breakfast cereal.
Vitamin C: is a natural antihistamine, which can help to reduce the symptoms of an allergy or allergic reaction. Vitamin C also helps to reduce inflammation, promote healthy skin cell growth and the healing of the skin. Vitamin C can be found in foods such as kiwi fruit, broccoli, oranges, raspberry, grapefruit, spinach, tomato and banana.
Vitamin E: dryness and itchiness can be reduced through vitamin E. Vitamin E provides the body with antioxidants (protects the body from damage caused by harmful molecules) which help moisturise the skin and help to promote healing of the skin and also preventing the oxidation of essential fatty acids. Vitamin E can be found in foods such as avocados, kiwi fruit, sweet potato, hazelnut and peanut.
Vitamin B complex: is necessary for healthy skin, hair and nails and also for good circulation and tissue growth/repair. Vitamin B complex also helps the body digest proteins, carbohydrates and essential fats. Vitamin B12 is important in cell formation and in longevity of the cell. Vitamin B can be found in most fortified breakfast cereals.
Biotin, which has found to be lacking in some eczema sufferers, is part of the Vitamin B complex, and produces fatty acids also vital for healthy skin.
Selenium: helps boosts the benefit of vitamin C, and zinc, a natural medication to help clear rashes.
Zinc: the healing and restoration of the skin is improved by zinc supplements. Zinc bolsters the performance of the immune system and aids in the healing process of the skin. The biochemical processing of the essential fatty acids also involves zinc and it is an essential part of that process.
Since an increase in zinc brings a reduction in the levels of the copper in the body, copper supplements can be necessary alongside zinc in order to restore the balance.
Before embarking on a regime of vitamins and supplements consult your GP or pharmacist. If you think you may be pregnant or are pregnant then you should consult your GP before taking any vitamins and supplements.
Sources used in writing this article are available on request
Information contained in this Articles page has been written by talkhealth based on available medical evidence. Our evidence-based articles are certified by the Information Standard and our sources are available on request. The content is not, though, written by medical professionals and should never be considered a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek medical advice before changing your treatment routine. talkhealth does not endorse any specific products, brands, or treatments.
Information written by the talkhealth team
Last revised: 26 February 2018
Next review: 26 February 2021