Lack of sunlight linked to food-induced anaphylaxis
VITAMIN D deficiency is an emerging risk factor for food-induced anaphylaxis, researchers suggest.
In a review of the epidemiology of anaphylaxis, University of Melbourne researchers said Australian and US studies showed regions with less year-round sunlight had higher prevalence of food-induced anaphylaxis.
EpiPen prescriptions for children under five years were six times higher in southern compared to northern Australia.
Paediatric allergist Associate Professor Mimi Tang, from the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, said low vitamin D levels seemed to predispose individuals to all allergy problems, not just those related to food.
“It’s been known for a while that UV exposure is linked to protection against allergy, or that low UV exposure has been associated with an increased risk of allergy, so the correlation with low vitamin D makes sense,” she said.
However, there was “zero evidence” that vitamin D supplements could treat allergy, she added.
Dr Michael Gold, head of allergy and immunology at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Adelaide, said the findings from ecological studies were interesting, but the role of vitamin D was yet to be confirmed.
The study found food-induced anaphylaxis rose by 350% in 11 years to around six per 100,000 population in 2005.
Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol 2011, online 18 July