High vitamin D in pregnancy may increase food allergy risk in children

By Helen Albert, Senior medwireNews Reporter

Study results published in Allergy suggest that supplementing pregnant women with vitamin D may increase their children's risk for developing food allergy in infancy.

The team hopes the findings will help clarify the effects of vitamin D levels on symptoms of allergy in children, as results from previous studies have been conflicting, with some showing allergic symptoms associated with high vitamin D levels in pregnant women and children and some with low levels.

Irina Lehmann (University of Leipzig, Germany) and colleagues assessed levels of vitamin D in the blood of 378 women during pregnancy and in the cord blood of their babies at birth. The women were all participating in the Lifestyle and environmental factors and their Influence on Newborns Allergy risk (LINA) cohort study.

As well as data on vitamin D status, the researchers collected information about any atopic manifestations displayed by the children during the first 2 years of life through parental questionnaires and by testing allergen specific Immunoglobulin (Ig)E levels at the age of 2 years.

They found that women in the highest quartile for vitamin D during pregnancy (32.20-60.80 ng/mL) were a significant 3.66-fold more likely to have a child who developed food allergy during their second year of life than those in the bottom quartile (6.13-14.39 ng/mL), following adjustment for various confounders including family atopy history, cotinine level in pregnancy, and vitamin D supplementation in first year of life.

Children of mothers in the highest quartile for vitamin D status in pregnancy also had a significant 1.91-fold increased risk for food allergy within the first 2 years of life compared with children of mothers in the bottom quartile for vitamin D, as well as a 1.59-fold increased risk for having food-specific IgE antibodies.

Children with the highest levels of vitamin D (17.40-40.10 ng/mL) in their cord blood at birth also had a significant 4.65-fold increased risk for developing food allergy in the second year of life compared with children with the lowest levels (1.50-6.98 ng/mL).

Lehmann and team suggest that an inhibition of regulatory T cell numbers at birth associated with high levels of vitamin D in the blood may explain the increased risk for food allergy seen in these children.

"Our study demonstrates that high vitamin D levels in pregnancy and at birth may contribute to a higher risk for food allergy and therefore argues against vitamin D supplement to protect against allergy," writes the team.

"It is of high relevance to clarify how vitamin D in the pre- or neonatal period is able to modify programming of future immune function and therefore atopic outcomes later on," they add.

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  1. Elisabeth Puur Elisabeth Puur United States says:

    I hope everyone understands that it is a statistical connection. No causal effect .Did all the women breast feed? How long did they breas feed, fully and part time breast feeding, what where the mothers D3-levels when the children were one and two yeras old and what were the childrens D3 levels at one oand two years old?Were all eating wheat?

  2. Jacob Finn Jacob Finn Finland says:

    Everyone was on low vitamin D.

    - What happens when D 25 OH is more than 80 nmol/l.

    - The effect of environment?
    Kids with dogs and dust living in dirty home have less allergy compared to families with better economy and clean home-they also et more vitamin D.

    Many confounding factors.
    I don´t believe in one study.

    - If true people (pregnant women) living in sunny countries must have more allergy. Also babies born after winter time should have less allergy??This is not true.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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