Higher Vitamin B3 Levels in Mom May Mean Lower Eczema Risk for Baby

Babies are known for their soft, smooth skin, but eczema, an uncomfortably itchy skin condition, can take that away. Luckily, pregnant women may be able to take steps to protect their babies from eczema: research has found that the risk of developing eczema was lower in babies born to women with higher levels of nicotinamide, a compound made from vitamin B3. The study was published in Clinical & Experimental Allergy and included 497 mother–infant pairs. During late pregnancy, researchers measured the mothers’ levels of nicotinamide and several other metabolites of B3. They then checked on the babies at ages 6 and 12 months to see if they had developed eczema, finding that:

  • At age 6 months, there was no association between maternal levels of nicotinamide and the babies’ eczema risk.
  • However, at age 12 months, babies born to mothers with higher nicotinamide levels had a 31% lower eczema risk compared with babies born to mothers with lower nicotinamide levels.

While this study doesn’t establish a direct link between nicotinamide and lower eczema risk, the findings indicate that getting enough B3 during pregnancy may reduce your child’s chance of developing eczema. It’s easy to get enough B3 and its metabolites from diet alone, as long as you include unprocessed foods: B3 is found in many whole foods, particularly seafood, poultry, peanuts, peas, and beans, as well as in whole grains, seeds, and an array of fruits and vegetables. But, like most B vitamins, B3 doesn’t accumulate in the body and needs to be replenished every day.

Source: Clinical & Experimental Allergy

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