Vitamin D may be best known for the role it plays in helping to build and maintain healthy bones, but since the coronavirus pandemic began, many of us have been wondering which nutrients can support the immune system — and vitamin D happens to be one such nutrient. While the current evidence doesn’t support claims that any particular vitamin can help prevent, treat, or cure Coronavirus, vitamin D plays an important role in how your immune system functions.
In addition, studies suggest that vitamin D may play an important role in the prevention of various allergic diseases (1). According to Allergy UK, seasonal allergic rhinitis (known as hay fever) affects 1 in 5 people in the UK and can flare up at certain times of the year depending on which pollen(s) the person is allergic to (2). Most people with hay fever are allergic to grass pollen, and peak times are May to July.
Allergies of nearly all types, including eczema, asthma, food allergies have become a lot more common over the past few years, which could partially be explained by the hygiene hypothesis, but many experts believe it is related to a Vitamin D deficiency (3).
Asthma, eczema, and atopy have been linked with low Vitamin D levels, particularly for those who have mutations in their Vitamin D receptor genes. Also, studies show that Vitamin D given to pregnant women reduced the occurrence of asthma and other allergies in young children (4). Vitamin D likely reduces the chance of developing allergies because of its effect on the immune system, which has been demonstrated in many ways. The vitamin has been shown to quickly rid the body of allergy symptoms and is critical to the proper functioning of T-cells, which are a crucial part of the immune system.
A study carried out in Orlando, Florida, showed a positive correlation between Vitamin D and hayfever. The 35 participants (each with seasonal allergic rhinitis), received either vitamin D (4000 IU daily) or placebo for two weeks. The group getting vitamin D experienced fewer daytime problems with sneezing, nasal congestion, and runny noses (5).
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1) Mirzakhani H, Al-Garawi A, Weiss ST, Litonjua AA. Vitamin D and the development of allergic disease: how important is it?. Clin Exp Allergy. 2015;45(1):114–125. doi:10.1111/cea.12430
(3) Isolauri E, Huurre A, Salminen S, Impivaara O. The allergy epidemic extends beyond the past few decades. Clin Exp Allergy. 2004;34(7):1007–1010. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2222.2004.01999.x
(4) Searing DA, Leung DY. Vitamin D in atopic dermatitis, asthma and allergic diseases. Immunol Allergy Clin North Am. 2010;30(3):397–409. doi:10.1016/j.iac.2010.05.005
*Claims for food supplements mentioned in this article are not meant for general public, but are purely for information of food supplement industry professionals. Please note that the claims are not authorised by European Food Safety Authority for use on labels or marketing materials.