Eczema is a common condition that’s estimated to affect up to 20% of children and adults worldwide (
Characterized by itchy, dry, and inflamed skin, living with eczema can be frustrating at times.
Although several treatment options and medications are available, many supplements may likewise be beneficial for eczema.
Here are 6 supplements that may help reduce symptoms of eczema.
One review of several eczema supplements found that fish oil was moderately beneficial for eczema compared with a placebo treatment. However, some of the studies in this review had size and quality limitations (
Meanwhile, a study in mice concluded that omega-3 fatty acids may help decrease markers of inflammation and reduce skin lesions caused by eczema (
What’s more, one study found that consuming fish oil during pregnancy may help reduce the prevalence and severity of eczema in their children (
Still, more high quality human studies are needed to determine whether taking fish oil could help treat eczema.
Although more research is needed, some animal and human studies suggest that fish oil may be beneficial for the treatment of eczema.
Your skin produces vitamin D — also known as the sunshine vitamin — when it’s exposed to the sun. Vitamin D is also found naturally in several foods and widely available as a supplement (
Some research suggests that vitamin D may help treat eczema.
In fact, one review of four studies concluded that supplementing with vitamin D was more effective at reducing the severity of eczema symptoms than placebo treatment (
Another review of 21 studies associated lower levels of vitamin D with increased eczema severity in children. It also found that supplementing with vitamin D improved eczema symptoms in about two-thirds of the studies (
Multiple studies suggest that supplementing with vitamin D may reduce inflammation and symptoms of eczema.
Vitamin E is an essential micronutrient that’s featured in a variety of skin care products.
In addition to its ability to protect the skin against oxidative stress, some studies have found that it may help decrease symptoms of eczema (
According to one 4-month study, participants who received 400 IU of vitamin E daily experienced significant improvements in eczema severity and symptoms like itching, compared with a control group (
In another older study, taking 600 IU of vitamin E led to a 36% reduction in eczema severity after 60 days. Plus, when combined with 1,600 IU of vitamin D, eczema severity decreased by 64% (
Additionally, a recent review concluded that a daily dosage of up to 600 IU of vitamin E is considered safe and may be beneficial for skin health (
Supplementing with vitamin E may help improve skin health and decrease symptoms of eczema.
Zinc is an important mineral that plays a key role in skin health (
Several studies suggest that it may be useful in the treatment of inflammatory skin conditions, including acne and eczema (
One review of 16 studies associated low levels of zinc with a higher risk of eczema (
Another study observed similar findings, reporting that children with severe eczema were more likely to be deficient in zinc (
Plus, one study showed that supplementing with zinc significantly reduced eczema severity in children with low zinc levels (
Keep in mind that zinc is found in a variety of food sources, including meat, seafood, dairy, and legumes, and most people can meet their needs by following a healthy, well-rounded diet.
However, if you think you may have a deficiency, talk with your doctor to see whether supplementation may be beneficial.
Some studies show that supplementing with zinc may help reduce eczema severity, especially if you have a deficiency.
Although melatonin is best known as a sleep supplement, it may also help treat eczema.
Research shows that melatonin may act as an antioxidant, reduce levels of certain markers of inflammation, and inhibit the development of eczema (
In one study including 48 children, taking 3 mg of melatonin per day for 4 weeks improved sleep quality and reduced eczema severity (
Interestingly, another study in children tied increased eczema severity to greater sleep disturbances and decreased secretion of melatonin (
However, further studies are needed, especially in adults.
Melatonin may act as an antioxidant and reduce levels of inflammation. Some research suggests that it may decrease eczema severity in children, but more studies are needed.
Probiotics are a type of beneficial bacteria that are associated with numerous health benefits (
Although research has found mixed results, some studies suggest that probiotics may help reduce symptoms of eczema.
For instance, one analysis of 25 studies linked probiotic supplements to decreased eczema severity in both children and adults (
Another study showed that infants who received probiotics were less likely to develop eczema than those in a control group (
On the other hand, one large review of 39 studies concluded that probiotics didn’t significantly affect symptoms or quality of life in people with eczema (
Therefore, more research is needed to determine whether probiotics are beneficial for the treatment of eczema.
Some studies show that probiotics may help treat and prevent eczema, but research is conflicting.
While living with eczema can be frustrating and uncomfortable, many supplements may help ease your symptoms.
Keep in mind that many of the nutrients listed above can also be obtained from food sources by following a healthy, well-rounded diet.
Additionally, be sure to talk with your doctor before using supplements to determine the best course of treatment.