Atopic eczema is an inflammatory skin disease that can substantially impact affected individuals. It is more common in children, often developing before their first birthday. It’s usually a long-term (chronic) condition, although it can improve significantly, or even clear completely, in some children as they get older.
There is increasing evidence that atopic eczema partly originates in utero, where genetic susceptibility and environmental exposures can affect the developing immune system and alter the skin barrier. Understanding the role of early-life environmental exposures, such as maternal micronutrient status, may identify potential preventive strategies.
What are the symptoms?
The main symptoms are pruritus, dry , cracked and sore skin. The lesions can be small or large patches and they can affect any part of the body, it most often affects the hands, insides of the elbows, backs of the knees and the face and scalp in children.
Is vitamin D supplementation a preventative measure to this condition?
El-Heis, an academic clinical lecturer in dermatology at the Medical Research Council Lifecourse Epidemiology Center of the University of Southampton, and her team analyzed data from one of the three UK study sites involved in the double-blind Maternal Vitamin D Osteoporosis Study (MAVIDOS), which enrolled participants between 2008 and 2014.
The study included 1134 women. Half of the participants were randomly assigned to receive cholecalciferol 1000 IU/day from around 14 weeks’ gestation until delivery, and half were assigned to receive placebo. Their babies were assessed for atopic eczema at 12, 24, and 48 months of age.
They found that the infants who were breastfed by the mothers treated with vitamin D at least for 1 month have low risk at 12 months lifetime (OR 0.48 vs 0.93).
The combined effect of vitamin D and breastfeeding for longer than 1 month weakened after 1 year and was not statistically significant among the 611 children assessed at 24 months and the 450 children assessed at 48 months. The ORs of atopic eczema in the treatment group and in the control group increased to 0.76 and 0.75, respectively.
At baseline, the mean maternal serum vitamin D levels in the treatment group (46.0 nmol/L) and in the control group (44.7 nmol/L) were similar. But by late pregnancy, maternal serum vitamin D levels in the treatment group were higher (67.4 nmol/L) than in the control group (42.4 nmol/L).
It seems that the vitamin D supplementation protects offspring just in the 1st year of life. These results may motivate pregnant women to be compliant with their prenatal vitamins that contain the amount of vitamin D studied here
Sarah El-Heis,Stefania D’Angelo,Elizabeth M. Curtis,Eugene Healy,Rebecca J. Moon,Sarah R. Crozier,Hazel Inskip,Cyrus Cooper,Nicholas C. Harvey,Keith M. Godfrey (June 28 , 2022). Maternal antenatal vitamin D supplementation and offspring risk of atopic eczema in the first 4 years of life: evidence from a randomized controlled trial. British Journal Of Dermatology. Retrieved from : https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bjd.21721