Vitamin D during Pregnancy may Reduce Risk of Allergies

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for our immune system.  A new study shows that expectant moms who consume a diet rich in Vitamin-D can reduce the risk of allergies in their babies by up to 20%.  These findings could lead to new nutritional recommendations for mothers.

Vitamin D and pregnancy__1457710298_162.206.228.38 (1)The study followed over 1,200 expectant moms from their first trimester of pregnancy through their child’s first seven years of life.  Researchers tracked Vitamin D intake with food logs and serum tests in both the pregnant mothers and children at various points.  The results showed less incidence of the common allergy known as hay fever in children born to moms that consumed more Vitamin D in their diet.  Intake of around 100 IU of Vitamin D – equivalent to an 8 oz. serving of milk – yielded these positive results.

The study, conducted at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, only found these results in dietary consumption of Vitamin D, not through supplements.  Besides milk, there are many potent, bioavailable sources of Vitamin D that are easy to incorporate into your diet.  Many fish including salmon, trout, tuna and halibut contain Vitamin D.  Eggs, yogurt, tofu, cheese, cereal and mushrooms are other excellent sources of Vitamin D.

Allergies are a sensitive response of the immune system to an irritant.  Usually the culprit is not actually harmful, but the immune system perceives it as such and therefore responds with allergy symptoms to try to get rid of the foreign substance.  Once an allergen has triggered an immune response, it is likely to continue to do so with each subsequent exposure.

Vitamin D can bolster the immune system to potentially prevent allergic responses.  Vital T-cells that defend the body against infections and other perceived pathogens are activated by Vitamin D.  With a deficiency in this key nutrient, T-cells cannot function properly.  T-cells deliver targeted immune responses to protect the body from a variety of harmful substances.

Interestingly, Vitamin D is the one supplement that is recommended for breastfed babies because it is so crucial to building a strong immune system.  Babies that are exclusively breastfed should take 400 IU of Vitamin D drops per day.  Although it is rare for a baby who is adequately fed and receives sufficient sunlight exposure to have a Vitamin D deficiency, the recommendation is a precaution because breast milk may lack an adequate amount of Vitamin D for immune stimulation.  How, breast milk alone does have allergy-reducing benefits.  Many studies indicate that breastfed babies are less likely to suffer from allergies.

Vitamin D is a critical nutrient during pregnancy, in infancy, childhood and throughout our lives to sustain strong immune systems.  The results of this new study may influence guidelines for expectant moms and continues to show the power of this vitamin in fighting infections and preventing allergies.