Kids with less Vitamin D more likely to have allergies

Friday, February 25, 2011

WASHINGTON - Children with low vitamin D levels are more likely to develop allergies, a new study warns.

Researchers looked at vitamin D levels in blood samples collected from more than 3,100 children and 3,400 adults under the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

One of the blood tests assessed was sensitivity to 17 different allergens by measuring levels of Immunoglobulin E (IgE), a protein made when the immune system responds to allergens, the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology reports.

Researchers from Albert Einstein College of Medicine who analysed the data, however, found no link between vitamin D levels and allergies in adults, according to an Einstein College statement.

But for children and adolescents, low vitamin D levels correlated with sensitivity to 11 of the 17 allergens tested, including both environmental allergens (ragweed, oak, dog, cockroach) and food allergens (peanuts).

For example, children with vitamin D deficiency were 2.4 times likely to have a peanut allergy than were children with sufficient levels of vitamin D.

The research shows only an association and does not prove that vitamin D deficiency causes allergies in children, cautioned Michal Melamed, assistant professor of medicine, and epidemiology and population health at Einstein College, and study author.

Nevertheless, she said, children should certainly consume adequate amounts of the vitamin.

Filed under: Medicine, World

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