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Vitamin B for mom: Natural remedy for eczema in child

Harold Mandel's picture
A pregnant woman

A new Southampton study has shown infants whose mothers had a higher level of a specific type of vitamin B during pregnancy have a decreased risk of eczema at age 12 months.


Maternal nutrition is very important for the health of the baby. The risk of a child developing many conditions is associated with what type of diet the mother has during pregnancy.

The University of Southampton reports researchers have found that eczema risk in a child is associated with vitamin B levels during pregnancy. At the age of 12 months there was a decreased risk of eczema in infants whose
mothers had a higher level of a specific type of vitamin B while they were pregnant.

There is an association between maternal serum levels of nicotinamide and the risk of the child getting atopic eczema

This study which was done at the Medical Research Council Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit of the University of Southampton is the first study which has found an association between maternal serum levels of nicotinamide, which is a naturally occurring vitamin, and metabolites, to the risk of the child getting atopic eczema. It is the belief of the researchers that these findings support the idea that eczema partly develops as a baby is growing in the womb and may reveal ways of lowering the risk of this skin condition.

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Dr Sarah El-Heis, who was the lead researcher of the study from the University of Southampton, has said nicotinamide cream has been used to treat eczema. However the association between the mother’s levels of nicotinamide while she is pregnant and the risk of the offspring getting atopic eczema has not previously been studied. This study highlights potentially modifiable nutritional influences on this very common and distressing condition.

Nicotinamide is a B vitamin found in many foods such as chicken, fish, meat, and nuts

Nicotinamide is a specific form of vitamin B3. Adequate levels of nicotinamide can be maintained via consumption of foods such as meat, fish, mushrooms, chicken, nuts, coffee and tryptophan, which an amino acid that is found in most proteins. Nicotinamide and associated nutrients are vital for the immune responses and energy metabolism of the body.

The findings in this study showed that the offspring of mothers who had higher levels of nicotinamide had a 30 per cent decreased chance of developing atopic eczema at 12 months of age. This association was found to be even stronger with increased levels of anthranilic acid, which a tryptophan metabolite.

The researchers say that nicotinamide has the potential to change the disease processes which are associated with eczema because this type of vitamin B can improve the overall moisture, elasticity and structure of skin. Professor Keith Godfrey, who is the Director of the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre in Nutrition, says the findings in this study are further evidence of the possible benefits of eating a healthy balanced diet when a woman is pregnant.

This study has been published in the journal Clinical & Experimental Allergy. There has been increasing evidence that there is an association between aspects of the diet of the mother during pregnancy and the risk of the offspring getting atopic eczema. It seems that adequate nicotinamide levels in a pregnant woman can serve as a good natural remedy to prevent this skin condition in her child.