Published Online March 1, 2013
Epidemiological evidence has shown pediatric food allergy is more prevalent in regions further from the Equator (which have lower ambient ultraviolet radiation), suggesting vitamin D insufficiency may play a role in this disease. However, the relationship between vitamin D and food allergy has not previously been investigated using direct serological measurements of vitamin D status.
In research published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI), Allen et al measured serum vitamin D levels in infants participating in the population-based HealthNuts food allergy study. This is the largest study to objectively ascertain food sensitization status in an entire population-based sample, to use gold-standard measure of food allergy status of all sensitized infants, and to explore directly the association between serum vitamin D levels and challenge-proven food allergy status adjusting for a wide range of potential confounders.
Infants of Australian–born parents with vitamin D insufficiency were three times more likely to have egg allergy and eleven times more likely to have peanut allergy, the odds increasing to ten-fold among those with two or more food allergies. Furthermore, among food sensitized infants, those with vitamin D insufficiency were six times more likely to be food allergic than tolerant.
This study provides the first direct evidence that vitamin D sufficiency may be an important protective factor for food allergy in the first year of life. This finding supports a need for randomized controlled trials stratified by genetic, racial, or migratory status to determine whether correction of vitamin D status either prevents infantile food allergy or promotes the development of tolerance in food-allergic infants.
The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI) is an official scientific journal of the AAAAI, and is the most-cited journal in the field of allergy and clinical immunology.