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Abstract

Background Vitamin E (VE) is a potent antioxidant that can improve the immune macrophage-mediated response, decrease the production and/or release of prostaglandins in humans, and decrease the serum levels of immunoglobulin E (IgE) in atopic subjects.

Aim To compare the effects of placebo (PL) and VE intake (400 IU/day) on subjective symptoms and serum IgE levels in 96 subjects with atopic dermatitis.

Materials and methods A single-blind clinical analysis was performed on 96 subjects randomly divided into two groups. Fifty subjects were given orally 400 IU (268 mg) of VE of natural origin, once a day for 8 months, and 46 took PL for the same period. Complete blood count, serum IgE levels, radioallergosorbent test (RAST) score, antinuclear antibodies (ANA), and biochemical analysis were obtained at the time of enrollment and every 15 days during the 8 months of the study. To evaluate VE therapy, a questionnaire was sent to each subject for completion at the end of the study.

Results The results were as follows: (A) four subjects treated with VE worsened, compared to 36 in the PL group; (B) six subjects in the VE group and five in the PL group showed no change; (C) slight improvement was observed in 10 subjects in the VE group and four in the PL group; (D) 23 of the 50 subjects treated with VE showed great improvement, compared to only one in the PL group; and (E) there was almost complete remission of atopic dermatitis in seven of the 50 subjects in the VE group, but none in the PL group. Females showed less progression of atopic dermatitis than males in both groups and a higher percentage of almost complete remission (five females and two males). The range of serum IgE levels varied markedly from 1005 to 490 IU/mL in the VE group and from 1239 to 812 IU/mL in the PL group over 8 months. Subjects with great improvement and near remission of atopic dermatitis in the VE group demonstrated a decrease of 62% in serum IgE levels based on initial conditions, while, in subjects taking PL, the difference was approximately 34.4%. No complications were observed in either group. A remarkable improvement in facial erythema, lichenification, and the presence of apparently normal skin was reported. Eczematous lesions healed mostly as a result of decreased pruritus.

Conclusions The correlation between VE intake, IgE levels, and the clinical manifestations of atopy indicates that VE could be an excellent therapeutic tool for atopic dermatitis.