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Vitamin D deficiency may be linked to food allergies in infants

September 3, 2014

A new study from Korea suggests that infants with vitamin D deficiency are at an increased risk for food allergies and eczema.

In the observational study, blood vitamin D concentrations were measured in 226 infants with atopic der- matitis (eczema) or food allergy (1). The infants with food allergies were categorized based on their number and severity of food allergies, while the participants with eczema were assigned a score to represent the degree of severity of the condition. The study results showed that infants with more than one food allergy had significantly lower vitamin D levels than infants without food allergies or with only one food allergy. Participants with vitamin D deficiency were more likely to have food allergies, especially to milk and wheat. In the infants with eczema, more severe eczema was significantly associated with lower vitamin D levels.

The researchers commented that clinical trials are needed to investigate if a treatment of food allergies and atopic dermatitis with vitamin D supplements is efficient. Vitamin D is of interest in both eczema and allergies because of its potential ability to reduce inflammation and regulate the immune system (2). Eczema is an inflammatory condition that makes the skin red and itchy. The condition often causes the skin to crack and form lesions, creating an area prone to infection. Eczema is more common at a young age, with about half of all cases clearing up by 18 months of age. Allergies are also more common at a young age.

References

  1. Baek J. et al. The Link between Serum Vitamin D Level, Sensitization to Food Allergens, and the Severity of Atopic Dermatitis in Infancy. Journal of Pediatrics. Published online August 2014.
  2. Szekely J. I. and Pataki A. Effects of vitamin D on immune disorders with special regard to asthma, COPD and autoimmune diseases: a short review. Expert Rev Respir Med. 2012; 6:683–704.