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Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to Allergies in Children Vitamin D levels and food and environmental allergies in the United States

Published online 17 February 2011.

Shimi Sharief, MD, Department of Medicine, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago

Sunit Jariwala, MD, Department of Allergy and Immunology, Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY

Juhi Kumar, MD, MPH, Department of Pediatrics, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY

Paul Muntner, PhD, Department of Epidemiology, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health, Birmingham, Ala

Michal L. Melamed, MD, MHS, Departments of Medicine and Epidemiology and Population Health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY

Corresponding Author:: Michal L. Melamed, MD, MHS, 1300 Morris Park Ave, Ullmann 615, Bronx, NY10461.


Previous research supports a possible link between low vitamin D levels and atopic disease. However, the association between low vitamin D levels and total and allergen-specific IgE levels has not been studied.


We sought to test the association between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) deficiency (<15 ng/mL) and insufficiency (15-29 ng/mL) and allergic sensitization measured by serum IgE levels in a US nationally representative sample of 3136 children and adolescents and 3454 adults in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2006.


The association of 25(OH)D deficiency with 17 different allergens was assessed after adjustment for potential confounders, including age; sex; race/ethnicity; obesity, low socioeconomic status; frequency of milk intake; daily hours spent watching television, playing videogames, or using a computer; serum cotinine levels; and vitamin D supplement use.


In children and adolescents allergic sensitization to 11 of 17 allergens was more common in those with 25(OH)D deficiency. Compared with sufficient vitamin D levels of greater than 30 ng/mL, after multivariate adjustment, 25(OH)D levels of less than 15 ng/mL were associated with peanut (odds ratio [OR], 2.39; 95% CI, 1.29-4.45), ragweed (OR, 1.83; 95% CI, 1.20-2.80), and oak (OR, 4.75; 95% CI, 1.53-4.94) allergies (P < .01 for all). Eight other allergens were associated with 25(OH)D deficiency, with P values of less than .05 but greater than .01. There were no consistent associations seen between 25(OH)D levels and allergic sensitization in adults.


Vitamin D deficiency is associated with higher levels of IgE sensitization in children and adolescents. Further research is needed to confirm these findings.

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