Opinion

Thiel: Study: Vitamin D supplement important for youngsters

If you have a child or adolescent, and you are concerned about their susceptibility to allergies, this column is for you.

Research recently published by Dr. Michael Melamed of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, found that children who did not get enough vitamin D may have an increased risk of developing allergies later in life.

Researchers examined blood levels of more than 3,100 children and adolescents and 3,400 adults.

Interestingly enough, they found there was a significant association between low vitamin D levels and allergies in children, but not in adults.

In their study they found that the subjects between the age of one and 21 years of age with low vitamin D levels were at a significantly increased risk of developing food sensitivities and allergies to 11 of the 17 allergens tested which included environmental and food allergies.

As an example, they found that children with less than 15 ng of vitamin D per milliliter of blood were 2.4 times more likely to have allergies to peanuts as opposed to children with sufficient levels.

They defined sufficient levels of vitamin D as 30 ng of vitamin D per milliliter of blood.

In addition, children and adolescents with low vitamin D levels also had an additional increased risk of allergic reactions and sensitization to shrimp, dogs, cockroaches, ragweed, rye grass and thistle.

The researchers were careful to say that their findings do not make a direct correlation between vitamin D insufficiency and allergies in children and adults but attention should be given so that they should get adequate amounts of vitamin D while they’re young.

The researchers attributed these findings to the anti-inflammatory effects that vitamin D has on the body.

Dr. Melamed stated that the latest dietary recommendations for children is 600 international unit’s of vitamin D daily in an attempt to keep them away from deficiency.

Vitamin D is a class of vitamins that is considered fat-soluble.

Vitamin D is produced when the skin is exposed to ultraviolet light from the sun or artificial sources.

Vitamin D can also naturally occur in some food sources which include fatty fish, eggs and meat in addition to light-exposed mushrooms.

However, to ensure proper serum levels, it is important to supplement with it appropriately.

In addition, vitamin D also promotes calcium absorption in the gut and allows for normal mineralization of bone. It is necessary for bone growth and bone remodeling.

It has also been indicated in modulating normal cell growth, assisting in neuromuscular and immune function and reduction of global inflammation throughout the body.

As one can see, it is an all too important supplement for the growing body and should not be overlooked.

Markus Thiel is a doctor of chiropractic.

askdrthiel@shaw.ca

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