Early D may prevent allergies, asthma

Vitamin D taken by pregnant mothers and then their infants may prevent allergies and asthma from developing later in childhood, according to new research.

While recent headlines have focused on vitamin D’s health boosting powers among older people, another study suggests the vitamin can help prevent kids’ allergies when taken by pregnant mothers, and then by their offspring during infancy.

Scientists in New Zealand, where both vitamin D deficiency and allergies are prevalent, conducted the study. University of Auckland Associate Prof. Cameron Grant, MD, showed that vitamin D supplements were associated with fewer allergies to house dust mites in children. The study was published in the journal Allergy.

"Based upon a careful review of the records of the children's visits to their family doctor, we also saw that this vitamin D supplementation reduced the proportion of children making primary care visits which their family doctor thought were due to asthma," Grant said in a release.

It’s the first study to demonstrate that correcting poor vitamin D status during pregnancy and infancy might prevent childhood asthma, according to a university release about the research. "This implies that vitamin D caused some change in the child's immune system as it was developing in utero and during early infancy which then resulted in differences in the immune response to house dust mites at age 18 months," Grant said in a release. Another recent study suggests vitamin D deficiency may be the reason obese children and teenagers are more likely to have hard-to-control asthma and allergies.

 

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