One of the primary nutritional factors behind eczema is vitamin B deficiency. The usual suspects are B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid) B7 (biotin).
B3 is necessary for hormone production, detoxification and helping the body process carbohydrates to produce energy and form fat. While forming fat might not sound like a great idea, we're not talking about weight or weight gain. We're talking about good fat – the kind that is combined with dead skin cells and oils to form the protective layer of the skin. Without it, the skin loses its natural moisture which, in turn, can lead to skin problems. If you also have problems with insomnia, weakness, mental confusion or aggression, B3 may also help your eczema.
B5, which, like B3, also helps convert carbohydrates to energy and fat, helps the body form healthy red blood cells and antibodies, and helps it make hormones. It may also help detoxify the body. If your skin condition is accompanied by stomach discomfort, headaches, fatigue or difficulty sleeping, you may be deficient in vitamin B5.
B6 helps process amino acids – the building blocks of all proteins and some hormones. If you find you're not as sharp as you'd like to be or your mood is not very pleasant, you could have a B6 deficiency.
PABA, considered by some to be part of the B vitamin family, is an antioxidant that fights free radicals, helps form the red blood cells that carry oxygen through the body, enables the body to break down proteins, and maintains intestinal flora. If you have red, itchy and patchy skin or lesions along with depression, fatigue, irritability, nervousness, and constipation, chances are you need PABA.
B7, in addition to many other functions, helps the body produce new cells, maintains proper function of oil glands, and helps control glucose levels. If your blood sugar tends to run high, your eczema might be connected to B7 deficiency.
As you may have noticed, many of the B vitamins have similar functions and they do work together. Sometimes it's best to take a supplement that includes all the B vitamins but, if you're already doing that, you may want to increase the dose of one or the other, depending on your symptoms.