« Back to Articles for Therapists Nutritional Supplements And Eczema Nutritional Supplements And Eczema by Jane Thurnell-Read Eating a healthy diet is very important even though organisations like the British National Eczema Society do not seem to think so: "The role of diet in the management of eczema has not been ascertained. Generally changes in diet are only considered in severe cases, when conventional treatments are failing." Ideally any food allergies should be found and corrected and a healthy diet followed. A diet that is good for an eczema sufferer is likely to be good for the whole family, as it should contain lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, hardly any processed food and a plentiful intake of water. Sadly some people are unwilling to make the changes, and parents will often say that their children refuse to eat vegetables, etc. In these cases there is a big need for nutritional supplementation. The main specific supplements used for eczema are zinc, evening primrose oil and fish oils. Vegetarians can use flax seed oil instead of fish oils, and this supplement may be better for everyone because the toxins (heavy metals and chemicals) that are found in some fish oils are not a problem in flax seed oil.Zinc is one of the most important minerals, as it is involved in many enzyme activities in the body. Unfortunately many people are mildly zinc deficient. Good sources of zinc include lean meat, liver, eggs, cheese, seafood (particularly oysters), whole grains, sesame seeds, walnuts, and lentils.Evening primrose oil provides the body with gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). This is useful for people who are unable to turn the essential fatty acids in vegetable oils into GLA, a precursor of prostaglandins (hormone-like substances that play an important role in the body).Fish oils provide the body with eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These are again involved with prostaglandin production. Vegetarians can take flax/linseed oil or pumpkin seeds to attain the same result.Eczema produces a lot of misery (as I know from personal experience). Paying attention to allergies and diet should be an important part of any treatment, working with the body and helping it to heal itself.