Researchers out of Australia are launching a new study to examine if vitamin D supplements may help reduce the risk of developing allergies.
Allergies are a global issue with ever increasing prevalence. Australia has rates of allergies almost double of other countries. Some previous research has suggested low levels of vitamin D in infancy may lead to increased risk of allergies later in life, though we need more research to say for sure.
“Recently here in Perth we identified that in core blood, that’s the blood between mum and baby at birth, that if there was low level of vitamin D that children had a higher risk of having eczema at one year of age and that’s often the first allergy children get,” Professor Debra Palmer said.
Now, Dr Palmer and collaborators are going to put vitamin D supplements to the test, to see if vitamin D supplements during infancy can reduce risk of allergies later in life. The research team, led by Dr Palmer, received an $110,000 grant to conduct the study. They will examine the impacts of vitamin D supplements on babies over two years.
The study will include 120 babies with half receiving vitamin D supplements and the other half given a placebo. The researchers hope their trial will show benefit in taking vitamin D.
“Ultimately, the idea is if it is beneficial, it becomes standard practice in Australia like it is in the northern hemisphere,” Professor Palmer said.
Pownall, A. World-first look at allergy cause. The West Australian, 2013.