Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine vitamin” because our bodies can make it when our skin is exposed to ultraviolet rays from sunlight. Vitamin D deficiency is common worldwide, particularly in places where there is less exposure to sunlight. If you have asthma, seasonal allergies, eczema, a food allergy and/or a condition called eosinophilic esophagitis, your allergist may ask whether you have had your vitamin D level checked. This may come as a surprise but studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency and allergy are linked.
The Importance of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is not only is it important for our lung development, cell growth, and bone health, but it has an important role in proper functioning of our immune systems and in decreasing inflammation.
Some studies show that vitamin D deficiency in early life can lead to more severe allergic disease in later life. People who have eczema and low vitamin D tend to have more skin infections. Those who have asthma and low vitamin D tend to have more viral illnesses that can trigger asthma attacks. When vitamin D levels are boosted in these patients, the number of infections goes down. Some of our food allergy patients on oral immunotherapy may also be supplemented with vitamin D if their levels are low. The thought is that it can make treatment more effective by helping the body develop tolerance to an allergic food.
Certainly there are many factors that play a role in our allergies, but making sure we are getting enough vitamin D can help decrease how severe our allergic disease may be. Get outdoors and soak in a little sunshine! Natural sources of vitamin D include egg yolk, cod liver oil, liver, fatty fishes (such as salmon, tuna, mackerel), milk, cheese, yogurt and some types of mushrooms. Keep in mind that while too little vitamin D is not good, neither is too much. Extremely high levels can cause toxicity. Talk to your doctor before taking vitamin D supplements.
As allergists, we look at all aspects contributing to your allergic condition so you can feel better. Contact the allergy and asthma specialists at Advanced Specialty Care. We treat a variety of allergies including nasal and eye allergies, food and skin allergies as well as insect stings and medication allergies. We have offices in the Fairfield County, CT towns of Danbury, New Milford, Norwalk and Ridgefield.
- Neetu Godhwani, MD, MP