Low Vitamin D, More Allergies?
The increase in the prevalence of food and environmental allergies has not been explained in the current scientific literature. Vitamin D has immune-modulating properties and may play a role in the development of allergies.
In a study published in the February 2011 issue of The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI), Sharief et al. tested whether low vitamin D levels (<15 ng/mL) were associated with a higher prevalence of food and environmental allergies (as tested by serum allergen-specific IgE levels) in over 7000 participants of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2006.
They found that in children and adolescents, there was an association between low vitamin D levels and 11 out of 17 specific allergens tested including peanut. Participants with low vitamin D levels (<15 ng/mL) had 2.4 higher odds of having a peanut allergy compared to participants with levels >30 ng/mL. Adolescents and children with low vitamin D levels were also more likely to have allergic sensitization to ragweed, oak, dog, cockroach, Alterneria species, Shrimp, ryegrass, ragweed, oak, Bermuda grass, birch and thistle. There were no such associations in adults.
These findings suggest that low vitamin D levels may be a risk factor for allergic sensitization, especially in kids and adolescents and that patients with allergies may be at risk for low vitamin D levels.
10-0508, Vitamin D levels and food and environmental allergies in the United States: Results from NHANES 2005-2006
The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI) is the official scientific journal of the AAAAI, and is the most-cited journal in the field of allergy and clinical immunology.