A recent study published in Journal of Pediatrics suggests that infants with vitamin D deficiency are at an increased risk for food allergies than infants with vitamin D sufficiency. The study also found that the severity of eczema may be related to vitamin D status.
Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is an inflammatory condition that makes your skin red and itchy. The condition often causes the skin to crack and form lesions, creating an area prone to infection.
It is known that eczema is more common at a young age, with about half of all cases clearing up by 18 months of age. Allergies are also more common at a young age.
Vitamin D is of interest in both eczema and allergies because of its ability to reduce inflammation and regulate the immune system. Research on allergies has revealed that both low and high levels of vitamin D may contribute to the development of allergies.
Researchers from Korea enrolled 226 infants with eczema or food allergies to compare vitamin D status to the prevalence and severity of both conditions.
The participants with food allergies were categorized based on their number of food allergies and the severity of food allergies. The participants with eczema were assigned a score to represent the degree of severity of the condition.
The researchers found that infants with more than one food allergy had significantly lower vitamin D levels than infants without food allergies or with only one food allergy. Infants with vitamin D deficiency were more likely to have food allergies, especially to milk and wheat.
In the infants with eczema, the severity of eczema was significantly associated with vitamin D levels.
“Our results suggest that vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of sensitization to food allergens and that atopic dermatitis may be more severe in infants with vitamin D deficiency,” the researchers conclude.
Further clinical trials are needed to investigate the treatment of food allergies and atopic dermatitis with vitamin D supplementation.