Children born to women who have higher serum levels of nicotinamide during late pregnancy have shown a decreased risk of developing atopic eczema at 12 months of age according to results of a new UK study released last week.
Researchers obtained study participants from the UK Southampton Women’s Survey (a mother-offspring study) – who had information on their maternal diet, lifestyle and socioeconomic status collected and were followed-up throughout their pregnancies. Three thousand and eight women in the Southampton Women’s Survey delivered a live-born infant with no major congenital growth abnormalities who were assessed for atopic eczema at six or 12 months of age. Of these women, 497 were further assessed for the amount of nicotinamide and related tryptophan metabolites during their pregnancy.
The results showed that maternal vitamin B3 (nicotinamide) concentrations and related tryptophan metabolites, were not associated with offspring atopic eczema at six months. However, higher late pregnancy concentrations of nicotinamide and anthranilic acid were associated with a lower prevalence of eczema at 12 months of age (odds ratios 0.69, 95% CI 0.53–0.91/SD change, P = 0.007 and 0.63, 0.48–0.83, P = 0.001, respectively) – even when adjusted for potential confounding variables.
Nicotinamide can improve the overall structure, moisture and elasticity of skin by increasing the synthesis of collagen and proteins that play an important role in the formation of keratin. Nicotinamide can be found in foods such as fish, meat, chicken, mushrooms, nuts and coffee as well as tryptophan, an amino acid found in most proteins.
According to the researchers, these functions of nicotinamide have the potential to alter the disease processes associated with atopic eczema, “Our study is the first to link maternal serum levels of nicotinamide and related metabolites to the risk of atopic eczema in the offspring. The findings point to potentially modifiable maternal influences on this complex, multifactorial condition and support the evidence that atopic eczema partly originates in utero.”
Clin Exp Allergy. 2016 Oct;46(10):1337-43. doi: 10.1111/cea.12782. Epub 2016 Sep 15.