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Dermatitis

C O N D I T I O N S

The Type of Fat that helps a Itchy Dermatitis

By Dr. Kristie

Are you experiencing itching from a bad case of dermatitis? It could mean you’re not getting enough fat in your diet. While too much fat isn’t heart healthy, too little dietary fat could make an itchy dermatitis even worse.

Does Lack of Omega-6 Fatty Acids Worsen Dermatitis Symptoms?

According to a new study carried out by University of Illinois researchers, mice that lack the enzyme required to make arachidonic acid from linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid, develop a severe dermatitis skin reaction with almost constant irritation and scratching. When arachidonic acid supplements are added to their diet their itchy dermatitis disappears.

Normally, humans and animals are able to make arachidonic acid from linoleic acid, an omega-6 obtained from diet, but these mice lacked the ability to make this conversion - which led to worsening of their skin problems. This shows that arachidonic acid is important for healthy skin – and for preventing skin irritation and dermatitis.

Help for a Bad Dermatitis?

Since humans normally produce arachidonic acid from the omega-6 fatty acids they get through diet, if a person has enough of this type of dietary fat, it could improve the symptoms of dermatitis. Linoleic acid is found in vegetable oils such as soybean oil, sesame oil, corn oil, walnut oil, sunflower oil, and safflower oil. Linoleic acid is important for skin health because it helps form the fatty barrier that protects skin against moisture loss.

Although omega-6 fatty acids such as linoleic acid may prevent severe dermatitis skin reactions in mice, there are downsides to getting too much linoleic acid. When linoleic acid is converted to arachidonic acid in the body it increases inflammation which isn’t a good thing in terms of overall health. Most people get enough omega-6 fatty acids in their diet as long as they’re not eating a very low-fat diet.

Omega-6’s for Skin Dermatitis: The Bottom Line?

If you suffer from an itchy dermatitis and nothing seems to help, make sure you’re not overly restricting the amount of fat you eat. Fat isn’t all bad. It plays an important role in keeping skin healthy and dermatitis free.

References:

Medical News Today website. “Lack of Omega-6 Fatty Acid Linked to Severe Dermatitis.”


About the Author

She is a Medical Doctor with a concentration in Family Practice. She also has an undergraduate degree in both Biology and Psychology and masters in Clinical Pathology.


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