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Lack of Vitamin D Linked to Food Allergy in Children

Update Date: Mar 04, 2013 06:43 AM EST
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A study from Australia has found a link between lack of vitamin D and food allergies in children. Researchers say that insufficient vitamin D increases food allergy risk by threefold.

Also, children with low levels of the sunshine vitamin are more likely to have multiple food allergies to common foods when compared to children with sufficient levels of vitamin D.

Previous research has shown that pregnant women who don't get enough vitamin D are more likely to give birth to obese children. Babies who don't get enough vitamin D may develop rickets, a disease that affects the development of bones.

The present study included more than 5,200 babies who were about a year old at the start of the study. Researchers then tested whether or not the babies were allergic to foods like egg white, peanut and sesame.

Researchers then tested the levels of vitamin D in more than 700 children in the study group.

"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 adds supporting evidence for medical correction of low vitamin D levels," said professor Katie Allen, lead author of the study, according to a news release from Murdoch Childrens Research Institute.

Researchers add that the relation of vitamin D with food allergy was found only in children whose parents were Australians and not from other countries. They hypothesize that skin color, genetics and environmental factors may have contributed to this difference.

The study is published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about four out of every 100 children in the U.S. suffers from a food allergy.

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