vitamin d and allergies

Allergies and Vitamin D

It seems that Vitamin D could have a positive effect on allergies. Over 50 million Americans suffer from allergies, and the numbers keep rising. As more people turn to natural methods to relieve symptoms, Vitamin D could be an option.

Allergic reactions develop when the immune system overreacts to a specific substance(s). These substances, also referred to as allergens, are often pollen, pet dander, medications, foods, or insect stings. Many of these allergens are everyday compounds and are initially harmless. However, if you have an allergy, your immune system sees these substances as harmful.

While many researchers are developing new drugs and therapies, others are exploring possible nutrient deficiencies that may contribute to the development of allergies. Over the last two decades, there has been an interest in Vitamin D’s role in allergies. More scientific studies show that the vitamin is essential in immune health.

Such a vital vitamin could reduce the chances of developing allergies. Unfortunately, too many people are Vitamin D deficient.

vitamin d may be linked to allergies

About Vitamin D

Vitamin D or calciferol is a fat-soluble vitamin. It’s naturally present in some foods or added to others. You can also take it as a dietary supplement.

Except for cod liver oil, foods contain minimal amounts of Vitamin D. The best way to get the nutrient is actually from the sun. Your skin makes vitamin D when exposed to UVB rays. For example, when exposed to the sun for 20 minutes, your body will produce up to 10,000 IU of Vitamin D. For this to happen, most of your body must be uncovered and use no sunscreen.
Vitamin D deficiency is a common problem worldwide.

The elderly, breastfed infants, individuals with darker skin, and those who have digestive conditions are more likely to have a shortage of this nutrient.

Most people think of vitamin D as being essential for bone and tooth health. This is true, as this nutrient helps maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus, which are important for bone health. But the benefits of vitamin D go way beyond bone health.

This nutrient also supports the health of the immune system, brain, and nervous system. It helps regulate blood glucose levels, promotes heart health and strong muscles. Vitamin D also influences many genes, including those that cause inflammation and cancer.

allergies and vitamin d deficiency

Vitamin D and Allergies

Several studies link Vitamin D deficiency to asthma and allergies in both children and adults. Some researchers think a shortage of Vitamin D is a risk factor for allergies and asthma in children. There is a pattern in the lack of Vitamin D in children with conditions such as asthma, hay fever, atopic dermatitis, acute urticaria (hives), and food allergies. The deficiency also correlates with certain markers of allergies in children with asthma.

While pregnant, if the mother has a Vitamin D deficiency, her baby’s lungs may not properly develop. This puts the baby at risk to develop wheezing and eczema later on in life. Healthy levels of Vitamin D are essential after the baby is born too. It helps protect against respiratory infections, further promoting lung development and immune health.

Healthy levels of Vitamin D levels may also protect against severe forms of allergy and lung diseases. You can correct your Vitamin D deficiency by taking supplements. This can help improve atopic dermatitis, asthma, and allergy symptoms if taken along with medication.

vitamin d supplements to boost immune health

How Much Vitamin D Should You Take?

Researchers do not have an exact answer to this question.
According to the National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements you should take the following:

  • Infants – 10 mcg (400 IU)
  • Ages 1-70 – 15 mcg (600 IU)
  • Ages 71 and Older – 20 mcg (800 IU)

The current RDA may need some updating as Vitamin D deficiency is prevalent. Therefore, many people may need higher doses.

If you need an upper tolerable intake level of Vitamin D, refer to the following doses:

  • 0-6 months old – 25 mcg (1,000 IU)
  • 7-12 months old – 38 mcg (1,500 IU)
  • 1-3 years old – 63 mcg (2,500 IU)
  • 4-8 years old – 75 mcg (3,000 IU)
  • 9 years and above – 100 mcg (4,000 IU)*

*This dosage is also safe for pregnant and lactating women.

Use the above numbers as a guideline. The best way to find out the optimal dosage of vitamin D is to talk to a doctor, and adjust the dose based on your Vitamin D (25(OH)D) blood levels. If you consider taking cod liver oil, make sure not to exceed the daily recommended dose. This supplement contains vitamin A. Both vitamin A and D are fat-soluble and taking higher than recommended doses could be detrimental.

Natural food sources of Vitamin D include rainbow trout, salmon, and mushrooms. Milk and other foods are fortified with Vitamin D.

If you choose to get Vitamin D from the sun during the warm weather, make sure you don’t overexpose your skin to the sun. Spend time in the sun during the morning or late afternoon and wear sunscreen after 20 minutes.

Conclusion

Vitamin D could play a major role in the development of allergies and asthma. As many people are deficient in the vitamin, it could explain the recent rise in allergies.

You can take Vitamin D supplements to boost your immune system health. Although, there are natural ways to get more of it such as consuming certain foods and staying 15-20 minutes in the sun.

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