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Low vitamin D may contribute to allergies in kids

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Vitamin D and allergies

Children with low levels of vitamin D may be at risk for a wide array of allergies that include food and environmental triggers, find researchers.

Low vitamin D trigger for allergies in kids, not adults

Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University looked at serum vitamin D levels in blood collected in 2005-2006 from more than 3,100 children and adolescents and 3,400 adults who were part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) study.

When researchers analyzed the results, lower levels of vitamin D was associated with 11 out of 17 common allergens in kids, but not in adults.

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Less than 15 nanograms of vitamin D per milliliter of blood in children increased the risk of allergies to ragweed, cockroaches, dogs and food allergies like peanuts, compared to kids whose vitamin D levels were more than 30 nanograms per milliliter of blood.

Current recommendations for vitamin D intake for children is 600IU daily to maintain circulating levels of the active form of the vitamin in the bloodstream, though some researchers have suggested higher amounts are needed for preventing disease.

Michal Melamed, M.D., M.H.S., assistant professor of medicine and of epidemiology & population health at Einstein and senior author of the study warns the findings do not show vitamin D deficiency causes allergies in children, but the study did find an association.

JACI: "Vitamin D levels and food and environmental allergies in the United States: Results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2006"

This page is updated on May 23, 2013.