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Low Vitamin D linked to allergies

Posted on March 5th, 2011 by Alison Read 8 Comments - Add Your Own »

Vitamin DChildren with low vitamin D levels were found to be 2.4 times more likely to be allergic to peanuts than children with adequate vitamin D levels, researchers discovered, according to a new study in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. This was just one of 17 allergens tested in kids with vitamin D deficiency. These children were also more likely to be allergic to 11 of the 17 allergens tested, which included both environmental (such as oak and ragweed) and food (such as shrimp) allergens.

What does this mean? Researchers aren’t quite sure what the link means, but there has been a lot of emerging research about vitamin D deficiency and also about the role of vitamin D in protecting against various health conditions. Food allergies, like many other immune conditions, are on the rise, as is vitamin D deficiency.

In 2010 the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for Vitamin D were raised to 400 IU/day for infants, 600 IU/day for people age 1-70, and 800 IU/day for those over 70 years old. In addition, the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL), meaning the dose at which there are no known adverse effects, was set at 4,000 IU/day for people age 9 or older, with gradually lower amounts for lower ages. See the National Institutes of Health Vitamin D fact sheet for more information.

These new RDA levels for vitamin D, though higher than before, are thought to be still too low, according to many researchers, doctors and health practitioners. I personally supplement with vitamin D (my levels tested low) and give my kids vitamin D supplements on the advice of a nutritionist and based on my own research. My experience is not meant to be taken as medical advice. I suggest that you see a health professional for his/her recommendations on vitamin D supplementation, especially if you suffer from any chronic health condition.

If you have undiagnosed celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, you may be at greater risk for vitamin D deficiency. Dr. Vikki Petersen explains the correlation very well in this video:

Research continues, and there’s a lot more to learn about vitamin D and its crucial role in our health.

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  1. Wow, those are some eye-opening statistics, Alison. Thanks so much for sharing them. The need for Vitamin D is critical for everyone. I think our D levels have plummeted, especially for kids as there are more video games and a fear of the sun, concerns on children playing outside, etc.


  2. Shirley,
    I never really thought of it being related to more computer time, but it makes sense. I would like to see some statistics from other cultures where computers are not so prevalent. I think it has to be related to our processed diet as well. I was surprised that mine was low — I eat well and live in California!

  3. So do you think there is a corresponding reduction in sensitivity if a non-Celiac individual is getting *enough* vit-D?

  4. Amy Jane,
    I wish I knew the answer to that one! It’s a question of which comes first I guess: does the low vitamin D mean a weakened immune system that triggers celiac disease, or is celiac disease the cause of the low vitamin D? Or is it both?

  5. I do know that we’re getting fewer and less severe symptoms from Gluten (we’re not celiac but were avoiding 100% post-test-positive until our lives fell apart).

    We’ve returned “convenience” foods to our diet out of necessity, (which tears me up b/c I’ve got these visions of gluten causing every behavioral/physical symptom that follows) but we’ve not reached anything near the level (e.g. daily tummy aches) that we had last year that drove us to testing.

    Aaand we’ve been pumping massive amounts of vit-D into our bodies. Made me wonder about the connection.

  6. Should add that I maximize GF foods, so maybe it’s the lower levels of gluten and not the D at all…

  7. WOW! I had to self-diagnose myself after 13 years of complete agony with health issues. I am 104 GF and feel like I had a rebirth in my health. My “new” doctor tested my vitamin D level and it was pretty much non-existent. She told me it was so low it is mimicking thyroid symptoms. I didn’t realize the two were related I just figured living in freezing cold, no sun ND and having to go dairy free did caused my levels to drop so low. Very good video! Thanks for posting!

  8. Kristi,
    I really worry about undiagnosed celiac/gluten intolerance and low vitamin D! No one is really talking about the fact that the low vitamin D may be linked to rising gluten intolerance.

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