If you suffer from eczema, you might now be able to blame your mother for it. Fortunately, new research shedding light on the link between a mother's dietary choices and her child's risk of developing eczema can provide some guideposts in treating eczema even into adulthood. Plus, it can help you reduce your risk of passing on the painful condition to your own children if you're considering becoming pregnant.
Researchers in the Medical Research Council Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit at the University of Southampton have found that a mother's levels of a particular vitamin and its metabolites are related to her child's risk of developing atopic eczema. The researchers discovered this link after they recognized that nicotinamide cream is frequently used to help treat symptoms of eczema. They decided to investigate whether the mother's levels of nicotinamide during pregnancy affected her child's risk of developing eczema in the first place.
For their study, the results of which they published in the journal Clinical and Experimental Allergy, the researchers measured nicotinamide and related tryptophan metabolite levels in a total of 497 pregnant women. They then evaluated the rates of eczema in their children at 6 and 12 months. Sure enough, they found that when the women had high levels of nicotinamide, their children had a 30% lower chance of having atopic eczema by their first birthdays compared to the children of women with low levels.
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So what is nicotinamide anyway? It's simply a form of vitamin B3. You'll find it in fish, meat, chicken, mushrooms, nuts, and even coffee. It helps support your immune response and energy metabolism. But it also works to improve skin structure, moisture, and elasticity, which is likely why it plays such a significant role in helping prevent eczema. If you're pregnant, make sure you're consuming sufficient levels, particularly if you're a vegetarian and are eating fewer of these sources as a result.
If you currently suffer from eczema, it's of course too late to do anything about your mother's diet when she was pregnant with you. But I have seen a number of patients get relief from eczema symptoms by taking a high-quality liquid form of vitamin B in conjunction with a high quality fish oil product and a probiotic. This research could help explain why the vitamin B helps. And it's certainly worth a try if you're seeking relief from eczema symptoms, as they can be quite painful.
To your health, naturally,
S. El-Heis, S. R. Crozier, S. M. Robinson, N. C. Harvey, C. Cooper, H. M. Inskip, K. M. Godfrey. Higher maternal serum concentrations of nicotinamide and related metabolites in late pregnancy are associated with a lower risk of offspring atopic eczema at age 12 months. Clinical & Experimental Allergy, 2016; DOI: 10.1111/cea.12782.