August 13, 2022

New study investigates the association between vitamin D and allergic diseases in children

Atopic diseases have become more prevalent over the past decade. They are caused by immune system dysfunction, genetic factors, and inherited and acquired skin barrier defects.

Vitamin D deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies and plays a important role on many chronic diseases. Vitamin D receptors (VDR) are in many different tissues and present in almost all cells of the immune system. Vitamin D has significant immunomodulatory effect and has been shown to inhibit Th1 cells by reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-2, INF-gamma, and TNF-alpha.

According to a new study published last week in Nutrients, researchers investigated the association between vitamin D and allergic diseases in children.

This study included 75 children with an average age of seven with atopic dermatitis and/or asthma. The control group consisted of 37 children without symptoms of allergic disease and without signs of respiratory tract infections. All of the children in the study group were divided into three subgroups including children with mild, moderate, and severe allergic disease. Laboratory assessments included vitamin D levels, phenotype of blood lymphocytes, natural T-regulatory lymphocytes, and cytokines.

As a result, a vitamin D deficiency was significantly more frequent in the group of children with an allergic disease than in the control group. Also, statistically significant higher vitamin D concentrations were seen in children with mild disease compared to children with a severe clinical course. In addition, statistically significant lower percentages of NKT lymphocytes and T-regulatory lymphocytes were in children with a vitamin D deficiency. This demonstrates a potential weakness of the immune system in these individuals. There were also statistically higher levels of interleukin-22 were observed in the children with a vitamin D deficiency suggesting a pro-inflammatory state.

These results show that children with allergies had lower average vitamin D levels compared to that of healthy children. Since the pathophysiology of atopic diseases are multifactorial as with many chronic diseases, there are several nutrients that should be considered to modulate the underlying dysfunction and immune response.

Other nutrients to consider to include fish oil, magnesium, and probiotics. Previous research has shown the intricate interrelationships among magnesium levels and omega-3 fatty acid status on vitamin D concentrations.

By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, CNS Source: Lipinska-Opalka A, Tomaszewska A et al. Vitamin D and Immunological Patterns of Allergic Diseases in Children. Nutrients 8 January 2021, 13(1), 177.