According to a recent study, pregnant women should avoid taking vitamin D supplements because excess vitamin D appears to raise the risk of babies developing food allergies.
These recommendations result from a survey undertaken by the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research and Martin Luther University in Germany. The study results were published in last month’s issue ofAllergy,a medical journal.
Vitamin D has many beneficial qualities, including strengthening bones and protecting against infection. However, there may be a link between high vitamin D levels and allergy development. Previous studies showed the potential for such a link, leading some scientists to question the positive aspects of this vitamin.
About the Research
Dr. Kristin Weibe from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research conducted the research in order to determine whether there is a correlation between vitamin D concentration in the blood of pregnant women and in the cord blood of the babies.
A second research team, led by Professor Gabriele Stangl of the Institute of Agricultural and Nutritional Sciences at Martin Luther University, sought to determine whether there was an association between vitamin D levels in pregnant women’s blood and the allergies experienced by the children later in life.
Both research teams used samples from a large cohort study conducted between 2006 and 2008. In all, 622 mothers and their 629 children were included in the study, titled “Lifestyle and environmental factors and their impact on the newborn allergy risk.”
Results of Research
Through vitamin D tests and questionnaires, the research teams concluded that when expectant mothers had low vitamin D levels in their blood, their children had a lower rate of food allergies at two years old than in cases with a high vitamin D blood level.
Vitamin D levels are affected by diet as well as exposure to the sun, amount of time spent outdoors and the season. Vitamin D is also available in the form of a dietary supplement.
The researchers concluded, “Based on our information, an excess of vitamin D can increase the risk of children developing a food allergy in the first two years of their life.”