The researchers look at the serum vitamin D levels in blood samples that were national representative of 3,100 children and adolescents and 3,400 adults. The samples were derived from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. This survey is unique in that it combines interviews, physical exams, and laboratory studies. One of the tests performed on the blood samples was to gauge the sensitivity to 17 different allergens.
When the researchers viewed the results, there was no association between vitamin D levels and allergies in adults, but in the case of the children and adolescence, low vitamin d levels were found to correlate with sensitivity to 11 of the 17 allergens tested. These included both environmental allergens like ragweed and food allergens like peanuts. Children who had a vitamin D deficiency were 2.4 times more likely to have a peanut allergy than those who did not.
The researchers stressed that an association between vitamin d deficiency and allergies in children does not prove causation. Senior author of the study, Michal Melamed, M.D., M.H.S., who is also an assistant professor of medicine and of epidemiology & population health at Einstein, said that, “children should certainly consume adequate amounts of the vitamin, [and that] the latest dietary recommendations calling for children to take in 600 IU of vitamin D daily should keep them from becoming vitamin-D deficient.”
Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University