Something fishyThis surge in the incidence of itchy skin conditions coincides with a decrease in our consumption of omega-3-rich oily fish. There may also be a link between the boom in vegansim and vegetarianism. At the same time, we’re eating more processed foods that are laden with omega-6 fatty acids. Coincidence? Some scientists think not.
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Feeling off-balance?Itchy skin tends to result from an inflammatory response to something the body believes is an allergen or irritant. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation by inhibiting the production of inflammatory substances, such as leukotriene B4, which are known to play a role in eczema. Omega-6 fatty acids, on the other hand, tend to promote inflammation. Consuming too much omega-6 and too little omega-3 can throw us off balance, increasing our susceptibility to inflammatory skin conditions. People with eczema tend to have significantly lower levels of the omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, in their systems. However, taking omega-3 supplements can help reduce inflammation in the body and improve symptoms of itchy skin by up to 25% over eight weeks.
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Itching and immunityItchy skin sometimes results from an allergic or autoimmune reaction in which the body mistakes a harmless substance or element of its own tissue for a toxin, triggering a defensive inflammatory response. Omega-3 appears to protect against a wide range of autoimmune disorders. Furthermore, the children of mothers who take fish oil supplements while pregnant and breastfeeding are less likely to develop eczema or allergies.
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Repair and rebuildItchy skin conditions are also associated with defects in the skin’s barrier function. Omega-3 supplements may help to repair and rebuild skin-cell membranes, enhancing the skin’s capacity to absorb and retain water, repel toxins and expel waste products: a soothing prospect.
Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please consult a doctor or healthcare professional before trying any remedies.Shop our Vitamins & Supplements range.