Dear Dr. Cannell:
I would like to request that you add allergies to your list of maladies associated with Vitamin D. I did not have issues with allergies as a younger adult, but after menopause, I started to suffer from springtime allergies and mouth allergies from orchard fruits like apples, pears, peaches, plums, apricots, cherries, nectarines, figs, etc. I saw an allergist who diagnosed a birch tree allergy as being responsible for both my seasonal allergy and my mouth allergy.
For ten years, I have suffered with seasonal allergies and experience hives every time I accidentally ingest apple cider vinegar or some other fruit product in a prepared food. Three years ago, I started taking vitamin D supplements after a vitamin D test showed a low level of 8 ng/ml. I started taking 2500 IU of vitamin D daily and over two years my tested levels improved to around 30 ng/ml. This winter I started taking 5000 IU of vitamin D once a week plus 2500 IU per day. By March, my tested levels were 50 ng/ml. This year I have had no problem with seasonal allergies, despite the fact that everyone around me is saying this is the worst allergy season they can remember.
Thanks for all you do. I understand that you do this full time now, trying to spread the word about vitamin D. You certainly helped me, thank you.
You’re welcome. Yes, I retired from the hospital and work full-time at the Vitamin D Council, trying to spread the word and help as many people as we can.
I’m glad your allergies seemed to improve with vitamin D, not everyone’s does. This is the one field with lot’s of conflicting data. The paper below, which is free to download and read, explains how vitamin D works, when it does, in allergies, asthma, and atopic dermatitis. It is somewhat complicated, but vitamin D tends to prevent overreaction to allergens by the immune system. However, one study indicated vitamin D supplements, 2,000 IU/day, given to infants, actually made allergies worse down the road. In terms of life-threatening allergies, prescriptions for adrenalin are more common in the north than the south, suggesting the higher vitamin D levels in the south are protective against life-threatening allergic reactions.
Personally, I don’t get atopic skin rashes in the winter anymore, but I do have a clear runny nose fairly often. I wonder if other readers have noted anything similar since starting vitamin D?
John Cannell, MD