Is a Lack of Sun Causing Your Child’s Eczema?

by Mel on November 12, 2009

20% of children in the United States are deficient in the Sunshine Vitamin – Vitamin D

These are the results of a nationally representative study out of the Children’s Hospital Boston carried out on 5000 United States children (1 – 11 year olds) between 2001 – 2006 that have just been released.

At this point in time there is some discrepancy as to exactly how much vitamin D children require.  Currently the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children have vitamin D blood levels of at least 50 nmol/L.  However many pediatricians including the study author Jonathan Mansback believe safe levels of vitamin D may be as high as 75 nmol/L or even 100 nmol/L.

“If 75 nmol/L or higher is eventually demonstrated to be the healthy normal level of vitamin D, then there is much more vitamin D deficiency in the U.S. than people realize,”  Jonathan Mansbach, M.D., Children’s Hospital Boston, was quoted as saying.

Vitamin D deficiency causing eczema

Vitamin D is best known for ensuring strong bones in our children and preventing rickets.  Recent studies suggest that it may also prevent a host of common childhood illnesses including respiratory infections, childhood wheezing and winter-related eczema.

Who is deficient?

Changes in our living styles have possibly lead to the deficiency of vitamin D.  Children are now spending a large amount of time indoors away from the sun and parents are lathering their children in sunblock to protect them from sunburn and skin cancers.  Whilst pediatricians recommend wearing sunblock it is important to be aware that this actually blocks our skin’s ability to make vitamin D.

The children most at risk are those with darker skin.  The percentage of Hispanic children deficient in vitamin D is as high as 80% whilst as many as 92% of black children are deficient.  The reason for this is the darker the skin the greater the amount of melanin in the skin.  Melanin impedes vitamin D production so it will take significantly longer for someone with darker skin to produce adequate amounts of vitamin D.

What can we do about it?

Vitamin D is found in foods like liver and fatty fish however almost all children in the U.S. do not consume enough of these foods to match the level of vitamin D provided by sunshine.  Pediatricians are recommending that parents consider giving their children supplements that contain vitamin D especially during winter and in higher altitudes where the sunshine vitamin is most scarce.

How this affects your child’s eczema

Eczema is a difficult condition to control at the best of times and it is not uncommon for the flareups to occur in winter.  Whilst it is often not possible to remove all of the triggers that affect your child’s eczema is is worth considering alleviating the triggers or factors that you can.

If you live in an area where sunshine is limited or if your child does not spend a lot of time out of doors pediatricians believe that children prone to eczema are more likely to flareups due to a lack of vitamin D.  This can be rectified by taking vitamin D supplements.

Previous post:

Next post: