Vitamin and Minerals May
Reduce Eczema In Children
Increased intakes of beta-carotene, vitamin E, folic acid, and iron
may reduce the risk of atopic dermatitis, a form of eczema, suggests
a new study from Korea.
Children with the highest average intakes of the four nutrients
were found to have significantly lower risks of atopic dermatitis,
than children with the lowest average intakes, according to findings
published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Researchers from Kyung Hee University in Seoul used both data
on intakes of vitamin and minerals, and corresponding biomarkers,
in relation to atopic dermatitis, the first time such an approach
had been used.
Atopic dermatitis (AD), characterised by areas of severe itching,
redness and scaling, is one of the first signs of allergy during
the early days of life and is said to be due to delayed development
of the immune system. According to the American Academy of Dermatologists
it affects between 10 to 20 per cent of all infants, but almost
half of these kids will 'grow out' of eczema between the ages
of five and 15.
The Seoul-based scientists recruited 180 five-year olds with
AD, and 242 five-year olds without AD and assessed their diets
using a validated semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire
(FFQ). Blood samples were also taken after a period of fasting
to determine levels of fat-soluble vitamins, like retinol, alpha-tocopherol
(a form of vitamin E), and beta-carotene, and vitamin C.
Results showed that the risk of AD was 56 per cent lower in children
with the highest average intakes of beta-carotene, compared to
Moreover, dietary vitamin E, folic acid, and iron were associated
with 67, 63, and 61 per cent reductions in AD risk, added the
The dietary intake data was also matched by data from the blood
samples, with the highest average levels of alpha-tocopherol associated
with a 36 per cent lower risk of AD, while retinol was associated
with a 26 per cent lower risk.
These findings suggest that higher antioxidant nutritional
status reduces the risk of AD and that such risk-reduction effects
depend on nutrient type, wrote the researchers.
Benefits are skin deep
Commenting on the possible mechanism, the researchers note that
reactive oxygen species (ROS) from environmental pollution and
the sun may promote oxidative damage to proteins in the outermost
layer of the skin (stratum corneum), which would exacerbate AD.
Antioxidant nutrients have been proposed to counteract
oxidative stress and inhibit the inflammatory response and are
known to be possibly associated with the ability of the individual
to restrain the inflammatory response and allergic diseases,
The subject of antioxidants and health will be discussed in more
detail at the upcoming conference, NutraIngredients Antioxidants
2010: Science, Testing and Regulation. For more information about
the conference, please click here .
Source: European Journal of Clinical Nutrition
February 2, 2010