Vitamin D and Food Allergies
We have be talking about Vitamin deficiencies for years and it still puzzles me when the latest medical expert gets on the telly and tells us ‘don’t worry you get all your nutrients from your diet’. Ten years ago I would get laughed at if I suggested a patient should consider a Vitamin D test – particularly if they mentioned it to their GP. ‘We live in Australia. Your talking about the sunshine vitamin. No one in Australia could be Vitamin D deficient.’ Interesting how things change.
Rarely would a middle age female patient come through now without a Vitamin D test, however no one seems to realise what the optimal range is. Adults need to be somewhere between 100 to 150 for optimal levels. Fifty is way too low.
If I had of asked for a child to be tested – I would probably have been up for malpractice. In reality, I am seeing more and more kids with Vitamin D deficiencies. As the article below indicates there seems to be a direct correlation with food allergies. But it does not stop there. Immune deficiency, cognitive changes, musculoskeletal pains and ‘growing pains’ all seem to be assisted by Vitamin D supplementation. I think it is important for children to have vitamin levels checked, particularly D, when there are chronic issues, allergies and immunosuppression.
It is a easy test to get done, through your GP, or we can organise it through the eClinic.
You may note that we include it as routine in a number of our blood testing profiles, such as:
- The Musculoskeletal Profile
- The Wellness Profile
Whilst the test important; the key is to maintain optimal levels to assist in attaining wellness in kids and adults.
Vitamin D deficiency linked to food allergies
According to a recent article in the Herald Sun an interesting study from Murdoch Childrens Research Institute highlights the importance of Vitamin D levels in children to reduce rates of allergies.
Children deficient in vitamin D at age one are more likely to have food allergies, Melbourne researchers have found.
In a study of 5000 children, researchers from the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute found that one-year-olds with vitamin D deficiency were three times more likely to have a food allergy than those whose levels were sufficient.
Children with two or more allergies were 10 times more likely to have vitamin D deficiency, according to the study, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
Lead researcher Katie Allen said there was some evidence that vitamin D could play an important role in regulating a child’s immune system in the first year of life. She said it was likely that reduced diversity of bacteria in the gut due to increased hygiene explained the current food allergy epidemic, with vitamin D and an infant’s diet also crucial factors.
Vitamin D deficiency was linked to food allergy only in children of Australian-born parents, Professor Allen said, which could be because they may have more diverse gut microbes.
”I personally think the hygiene hypothesis is very critical but in that context I think there’s a second factor, which is vitamin D and what we eat in first year of life,” she said.
”It’s probably the two coming together at a critical moment in history which has driven this quite bizarre situation in the past 20 years where food allergies are on the rise.”
Australia has one of the highest rates of food allergy in the world, affecting more than 10 per cent of infants.
Professor Allen said Australia also had one of the highest rates of vitamin D deficiency, and was one of the few countries that did not fortify foods with vitamin D or provide supplements to infants.
”This study provides the first direct evidence vitamin D sufficiency may be an important protective factor for food allergy in the first year of life. We’re really excited by these results, because what this suggests is there may be a modifiable factor that we can actually change and do something about to turn back the tide in the food allergy epidemic.”
The Spinal Centre’s Comment
Ok, so there are a few takeaways from the story.
Optimise Vitamin D Levels. If your child is suffering from allergies, has poor immunity with recurrent colds and flus, it is worth having their Vitamin D level checked. We can arrange it for you, or alternatively get it done through your GP (your GP should bulk bill it for you – which will save you a couple of bucks).
Bring in the results. You will need to bring the results of the test to your child’s next consultation so we can review their diet and the appropriate D3 dose. Levels that are read as ‘normal’ may be way to low for your child’s unique situation. It is important to know what you are doing when prescribing natural medicines. For anyone – especially your kids.
Use the right Vitamin D supplement. Unfortunately there are mountains of supplements on the market today and it is very hard to know what to take. At the Clinics we use practitioner only natural medicine so we know the ingredients are of the highest quality and what it says on the bottle is actually in the bottle. Talk to me or the Practice Team about the correct Vitamin D for you.
Optimise Gut Flora. There is a strong case to argue that we have become intensely ‘germaphobic’. When you only have one or two kids you tend to boil or sterilise everything. After five or six kids, new concepts like the 10 second rule for food on the ground begin to emerge. If the kids are are fighting the dog for scraps you tend to turn a blind eye. If the dummy (pacifier) is tossed on the ground, a quick wipe on the thigh and in it goes. You haven’t got time to boil.
The regular use of a good probiotic does has a positive effect on the gastrointestinal microbiom. The study above does points to the secondary link of allergies with gut bacterial diversity. Again, if you need the correct pre or probiotic talk to me on the next consultation.
If you like this article be sure to visit the Spinal Centre website at www.thespinalcentre.com.au and view more content by Dr. Hooper and the Spinal Rehabilitation Team.
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