Eczema skin rashes can be both unsightly and uncomfortable. Although several factors can contribute to the development of the issue, vitamin D can play a role in eliminating eczema. The annual fluctuation in the vitamin D levels in most individuals may explain why some people notice the condition only in winter.
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Also known as atopic dermatitis, eczema is characterized by itchy and inflamed skin. Many sufferers notice that the insides of their wrists and elbows appear most affected, together with their face and the backs of their knees. Dr. Michael Murray, a naturopathic physician and the author of “The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine,” considers allergy the most likely cause of eczema.
Often known as the sunshine vitamin, your body produces vitamin D after exposure to intense sunshine. The National Institutes of Health says that, while several foods contain vitamin D in low levels, only cod liver oil offers the nutrient at high concentrations. As a result, many people's stores of vitamin D fall during the winter, when the intensity of sunshine falls and the skin can no longer make any more.
Dr. Joseph Mercola, a physician and the author of “The No-Grain Diet,” says that vitamin D has a multitude of roles in the body. These include maintaining bone health, boosting metabolism and supporting the immune system. Vitamin D boosts the number of antimicrobial peptides in circulation while discouraging the likelihood of reactions at the skin by boosting the expression of major histocompatibility complexes in the body's cells. This latter action allows the immune system to easily differentiate between its own cells and potentially dangerous invaders.
During the winter, you can boost your vitamin D levels through the use of cod liver oil, vitamin D supplements and sunbeds. The Vitamin D Council suggests that, if using supplements, you choose vitamin D3. This form of the nutrient has a more potent effect in the body and also matches the form produced in the skin naturally.
Vitamin D treatment may provide dramatic improvements in some cases of eczema but may have little effect in others. Murray suggests looking at allergies when eczema occurs, saying that an elimination diet brings about improvement in 4/5 of patients with the condition.