A new study reports that a daily treatment of children with a vitamin D supplement seems to significantly reduce the symptoms of winter-related atopic dermatitis.
In the randomized controlled study, 107 children, aged 2 to 17 years, with a history of atopic dermatitis symptoms worsening either during cold weather or around the transition from autumn to winter, received a daily vitamin D dose of 1000 IU or placebo for one month (1). The study results showed that the children who received the vitamin D treatment had an average 29% improvement of disease symptoms, compared with 16% improvement in the placebo group. The study did not determine whether or not the participants were deficient in vitamin D, but a larger study with children from the same region conducted at the same time found significant vitamin D deficiency in 98% of participants, supporting the probability that the children in this study were also deficient.
The scientists commented that parents of children with symptoms of atopic dermatitis that worsen in the winter should try a vitamin D supplement for a few weeks when symptoms flare to see if it helps. Future studies are needed to assess the value of vitamin D treatment in adults and in children with year-round symptoms. As a chronic inflammatory disorder of the skin, atopic dermatitis (a type of eczema) is uncomfortable and makes patients more vulnerable to bacterial infection. Symptoms of the disorder – most commonly seen in children – often worsen during wintertime. Controlled administration of ultraviolet light, which can stimulate the production of vitamin D in the skin, has shown to improve symptoms.