The Western diet has too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3 fatty acids, creating an imbalance. Omega-3 comes from fish oil, and omega-6 from corn and soy oils. Study authors believe that allergic eczema—the chronic itchy skin disorder—is increasing because of this imbalance in the Western diet. Researchers recruited 53 participants with allergic eczema to take 5,400 mg of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) per day or a placebo for eight weeks. After 20 weeks, those who had taken DHA had 23 percent fewer symptoms compared to six percent for placebo. The DHA group also had less inflammation and a more normal immune response, while the placebo group did not improve. Blood levels of omega-3 increased in the DHA group, bringing the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 more into balance.
Reference: British Journal of Dermatology; 2008, Vol. 158, No. 4, 786-92.