Eating more foods containing vitamin D — but not supplemental vitamin D — during pregnancy, was related to a lower risk of development of allergies in children, a study led by Mount Sinai researchers found. The full study is published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology

Foods containing vitamin D include fish, eggs, dairy products, mushrooms, and cereals. Vitamin D is known to affect the immune system, with its role in asthma and allergic disorders garnering particular interest. 

RELATED: Vit D Supplementation May Cut Missed School Days for Asthmatics

Study authors conducted a prospective study that included 1,248 U.S. mothers and their children from the first trimester of pregnancy until the children reached about age 7. Previous studies have evaluated vitamin D and allergy outcomes at single time points but this new study looked at multiple time points (during pregnancy, at birth, and at school age). This study also used different methods, including food frequency questionnaire, and tests of serum 25(OH)D levels in both mothers and school-age children. 

The data showed that a higher intake of food-based vitamin D (equivalent to the amount of vitamin D in an 8oz serving of milk per day) during pregnancy was associated with 20% less hay fever in offspring at school age. Reduction in risk associated with vitamin D intake via supplement was not observed. 

Supinda Bunyavanich, MD, MPH, concluded that study findings “may influence nutritional counseling and recommendations to expectant mothers to include vitamin D-rich foods in their diets.”

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