Vitamin D-Rich Foods During Pregnancy May Reduce Allergy Risk in Children
Higher intake of foods containing vitamin D during pregnancy – but not supplemental vitamin D intake – was associated with reduced risk of development of allergies in children, according to a study led by an investigator from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and published today in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
The research team conducted a prospective study of 1,248 mothers and their children in the United States over time, from the first trimester of pregnancy until the children reached about 7 years old. They found that higher intake of food-based vitamin D (equivalent to the amount of vitamin D in an 8-ounce serving of milk per day) during pregnancy was associated with 20 percent less hay fever at school age. There was no risk reduction linked to vitamin D intake by supplement.
“Expectant mothers have questions about what they should eat during pregnancy, and our study shows that it’s important to consider the source of nutrients in a mother’s diet,” said Supinda Bunyavanich, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences and The Mindich Child Health and Development Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Foods that contain vitamin D include fish, eggs, dairy products, mushrooms and cereals.
Vitamin D modulates the immune system, and its potential role in asthma and allergy has been of interest. Many prior studies have examined vitamin D and allergy outcomes at single points in time, but this study comprehensively assessed vitamin D levels at multiple points (during pregnancy, at birth and at school age) and by different methods (food frequency questionnaire and tests of serum 25(OH)D levels in both the mothers and school-age children).
“This study may influence nutritional counseling and recommendations to expectant moms to include vitamin D-rich foods in their diets,” said Bunyavanich.
The National Institutes of Health supported this research. Collaborating institutions included Harvard Medical School, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and University of Virginia Health System.
Video of Dr. Bunyavanich discussing her research can be found at this link:
About the Mount Sinai Health System
The Mount Sinai Health System is New York City's largest integrated delivery system, encompassing eight hospitals, a leading medical school, and a vast network of ambulatory practices throughout the greater New York region. Mount Sinai's vision is to produce the safest care, the highest quality, the highest satisfaction, the best access and the best value of any health system in the nation. The Health System includes approximately 7,480 primary and specialty care physicians; 11 joint-venture ambulatory surgery centers; more than 410 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and 31 affiliated community health centers. The Icahn School of Medicine is one of three medical schools that have earned distinction by multiple indicators: ranked in the top 20 by U.S. News & World Report's "Best Medical Schools", aligned with a U.S. News & World Report's "Honor Roll" Hospital, No. 12 in the nation for National Institutes of Health funding, and among the top 10 most innovative research institutions as ranked by the journal Nature in its Nature Innovation Index. This reflects a special level of excellence in education, clinical practice, and research. The Mount Sinai Hospital is ranked No. 14 on U.S. News & World Report's "Honor Roll" of top U.S. hospitals; it is one of the nation's top 20 hospitals in Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Diabetes/Endocrinology, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Geriatrics, Gynecology, Nephrology, Neurology/Neurosurgery, and Orthopedics in the 2019-2020 "Best Hospitals" issue. Mount Sinai's Kravis Children's Hospital also is ranked nationally in five out of ten pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report. The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked 12th nationally for Ophthalmology, Mount Sinai St. Lukes and Mount Sinai West are ranked 23rd nationally for Nephrology and 25th for Diabetes/Endocrinology, and Mount Sinai South Nassau is ranked 35th nationally for Urology. Mount Sinai Beth Israel, Mount Sinai St. Luke's, Mount Sinai West, and Mount Sinai South Nassau are ranked regionally.