Vitamin D: can the sun stop the atopic epidemic?
Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2020 Apr ;20(2):181-187. PMID: 31895129
Catherine M Hawrylowicz
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To review recent evidence on the capacity of vitamin D to prevent atopic disease, focussing on food allergy and asthma, and potential underlying mechanisms.
RECENT FINDINGS: The incidence of allergic disease continues to increase worldwide. Vitamin D status is influenced by sun exposure and dietary intake. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to an increased incidence of allergic disease and asthma. These associations are generally strongest in early life. The capacity of vitamin D to enhance antimicrobial pathways, promote peripheral immunological tolerance and maintain mucosal barrier integrity may underlie these associations. Interventional studies have addressed the capacity of vitamin D supplementation in utero and early life to reduce the incidence of disease. Ancillary studies have provided insights into potential biological mechanisms linked to these effects.
SUMMARY: Observational studies show an inverse association between vitamin D levels and development of food allergy and asthma. Secondary analyses of two recent interventional studies suggest that achieving vitamin D sufficiency throughout pregnancy reduces the incidence of asthma/recurrent wheeze at 3 years. Longitudinal studies of vitamin D requirements in utero and postnatally, better understanding of factors that influence bioavailability of vitamin D and mechanistic insights into vitamin D effects on neonatal-specific immune pathways are awaited.