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Vitamin D deficiency as a risk factor for childhood allergic disease and asthma

Litonjua, Augusto A.

Current Opinion in Allergy & Clinical Immunology: April 2012 - Volume 12 - Issue 2 - p 179–185
doi: 10.1097/ACI.0b013e3283507927
PEDIATRIC ASTHMA AND DEVELOPMENT OF ATOPY: Edited by Carlos E. Baena-Cagnani and Leonard B. Bacharier

Purpose of review: Over the past 2 years, the number of studies relating vitamin D deficiency and asthma and allergies has increased significantly. The purpose of this review is to update the last review in this journal and examine the evidence of the relationship between vitamin D deficiency and childhood asthma and allergies.

Recent findings: In the past 2 years since the last review, there have been many studies, both cross-sectional and prospective, that have investigated the effects of vitamin D on the inception and severity of asthma and allergies. Most, but not all, studies have shown that low vitamin D levels increase the risk for asthma and allergies, but a few suggest an increased risk with high levels. Results from small trials of short duration suggest that vitamin D supplementation decreases severity of eczema and decreases the risk for asthma exacerbations.

Summary: Data that vitamin D deficiency results in increased risks for asthma and allergies continues to accumulate. However, the optimal level of vitamin D that decreases both the risk for development and severity of these disorders remains elusive. Results of ongoing clinical trials of vitamin D supplementation will be needed before recommendations can be firmly established.

Channing Laboratory and Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusettes, USA

Correspondence to Augusto A. Litonjua, MD, MPH, 181 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA. Tel: +1 617 525 0997; fax: +1 617 525 0958; e-mail: augusto.litonjua@channing.harvard.edu

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