Stop Pediatric Atopic Dermatitis With Vitamin D3

Vitamin D and Pediatric Atopic Dermatitis: Scratching the Itch

baby d3

Vitamin D, recently being accredited as the “miracle vitamin,” has many promising health benefits that are allowing it to live up to its name. Originally identified during the Industrial Revolution for its vital connection to bone growth and mineralization, vitamin D via sun exposure was found to offer a cure for childhood rickets.

Hundreds of years have passed since its discovery but this vitamin is still making tremendous headway in the health and wellness community—especially within the fields of pediatric allergy, immunology and dermatology.

Why Vitamin D Supplementation?

Vitamin D is made within the body by a complex chemical reaction between the ultraviolet rays of the sun, our skin cells, liver, and kidneys. From supporting cell growth to reducing inflammation, more and more functions of vitamin D are now being discovered.

Many years ago, the sun and a handful of food sources such as egg yolks and salmon were the only sources of this vitamin. However, with the advancement of health care, vitamin D is readily available and numerous studies have found results that greatly favor supplementation.

The Environmental Protection Agency found that 95% of Americans work indoors. Additionally, adults, children and adolescents spend only 10% of available daylight hours outside. Today’s lifestyle and diet make it nearly impossible to get enough vitamin D, which offers even more of a reason to supplement.

What Is Atopic Dermatitis?

Over the past decade, the incidence of childhood allergies and skin conditions, including atopic dermatitis (AD), has increased globally. Often given the broader term of eczema, AD is a chronic skin condition that has become extremely common affecting 9-30% of the American population. AD can present at any age but most often begins in infancy and early childhood.

According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, symptoms of AD include:

  • Red, dry, itchy skin
  • Cracking
  • Weeping clear fluid
  • Crusting
  • Rashes on the face, inside of elbows, behind the knees, hands and feet
  • Scaly and/or thickened skin

Soothing Atopic Dermatitis with Vitamin D

Numerous studies have found a link between vitamin D status and incidence of AD. Whether vitamin D was received through supplementation or sunshine, the incidence of AD was shown to decrease.

Fetal Exposure to Vitamin D

As early as within the womb, the fetus is exposed to the mother’s vitamin D by way of the placenta. Many studies have shown that low vitamin D status of the mother increases the risk for childhood atopic dermatitis and other allergy-related conditions.

In a study conducted by Baïz et al., cord blood samples were taken at birth from 239 newborns. The infants were then followed up until 5 years of age. Results showed that children of cord blood with low levels of vitamin D were linked to early- and late-onset AD.

Childhood and Adolescent Exposure to Vitamin D

The benefits that vitamin D have on AD may extend further than fetal development and infancy. Kemp et al. followed a sample of 415 infants from birth through 16 years of age. The authors found that children who had daily sun exposure during summer months had significantly reduced eczema.

Not only does the incidence decrease with higher vitamin D stores but so can the severity of already existing AD. A study published in the British Journal of Dermatology observed a sample of girls and boys with AD ages 8-12 years of age. Those with mild severity of the disease had significantly higher vitamin D levels in comparison to those who experienced moderate to severe AD.

If vitamin D stores are already depleted, can supplementation help? Camargo et al. studied children, ages 2-17 years of age, who were at risk for vitamin D deficiency and who also suffered from winter-exacerbated AD. When supplemented with 1000 IU/day of vitamin D, the severity of AD improved clinically and statistically.

Vitamin D and Atopic Dermatitis: Making the Connection

Considering the studies discussed, you may be wondering what actually occurs in the body to produce such promising results. Although not fully understood, vitamin D is thought to regulate many of the immune system processes that protect our body from microbial invasion and inflammation.

That being said, AD is a two-fold chronic condition. In AD:

  • The protective antimicrobial barrier of the skin is compromised

AND

  • The immune system is not working correctly

Antimicrobial molecules on the skin’s surface protect the skin against infection while also playing a role in immune system communication. In AD, there is a deficiency of a specific type of antimicrobial molecule called cathelicidin. Recent studies have found that genes associated with cathelicidin respond to vitamin D. What’s more, vitamin D has been shown to increase growth proteins in the skin that promote wound healing as well as decrease inflammation.

“Sun” Light at the End of the Tunnel

Based on the potential vitamin D has in reducing inflammation, boosting antimicrobial barrier protection, and its capacity to promote wound healing, supplementation may provide a natural therapeutic treatment for AD.

According to National Institutes of Health, the following daily amounts are considered adequate for pediatric individuals:

Age Male Female Pregnant Lactating
0-12 months* 400 IU(10 mcg) 400 IU(10 mcg)
1-13 years 600 IU(15 mcg) 600 IU(15 mcg)
14-18 years 600 IU(15 mcg) 600 IU(15 mcg) 600 IU(15 mcg) 600 IU(15 mcg)
*Adequate Intake (AI)

If your child is experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms or if you suspect s/he is suffering from AD, it is important to seek medical attention. Discussing a supplementation plan with your pediatrician first is best to ensure individualized vitamin D dosages that meet your child’s needs in order to support healthy growth, development, and relief from AD.

Does your baby have atopic dermatitis? Click here to check out how Vita Optimum’s Vitamin D3 (5000IU w/ Organic GMO-Free  Olive Oil) will help soothe the horrible effects of AD .

 

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