Beyond Bones : A review of pre-natal vitamin D levels and allergy development in children

Alexa Janaye McEwen


Although the connection between vitamin D, the immune system, and allergies encompass a large area of research, a consensus about the specifics of the vitamin’s role in the developing immune system has yet to be reached. At the same time, prevalence of allergies and hypersensitization has seen a dramatic increase in the last 50 years, especially in developed nations, with very little understanding as to why. Some have connected the so-called allergy pandemic to vitamin D, placing the blame on either the similarly concerning vitamin D deficiency prevalence or the rise in supplementation of the vitamin (and thus, an argued excess). Through conducting a non-exhaustive review of the literature, the aim of this paper was to answer the question: Does prenatal vitamin D insufficiency or exposure result in increased risk of developing an atopic condition, including eczema, asthma, and food allergy sensitization? For food allergies and eczema, there is support for both increased and decreased exposure causing each condition, as well as support for vitamin D having no effect at all. The debate around asthma is more specific and focuses on whether elevated vitamin D has a detrimental effect or not. The current evidence is largely based in observational research and findings are still very inconsistent, but as new intervention studies are conducted, a more definitive answer should eventually emerge. 


Vitamin D; 25(OH)D; asthma; food allergy; eczema

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