Pregnant women should eat vitamin D-rich foods to reduce child’s allergy risk
Expectant mothers who eat food rich in vitamin D could reduce the chance of their children contracting asthma or other allergies by up to 20 per cent.
The compound, known as the “sunshine vitamin” due to humans being able to absorb it if they’re exposed to the sun, can be found in foods such a fish, eggs, mushrooms, dairy products and cereal.
A study was conducted by a team of scientists at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, who looked at 1,248 mothers and their offspring in America. The participants were followed from the very first trimester of their pregnancy through to when their children reach the age of seven. While previous studies have looked at single points in time, this is the first to examine the effects of ingesting vitamin D at multiple times in life.
Those who ate food rich in vitamin D, drinking or eating the equivalent of an eight ounce serving of milk daily, were found to be less likely to have children that developed allergies when they reached school age.
Interestingly, those who increased their intake of vitamin D by taking a supplement did not have the same benefits as those who ate vitamin D rich foods.
“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,” lead study author Dr Supinda Bunyavanich said.
“This study may influence nutritional counselling and recommendations to expectant mothers to include vitamin D-rich foods in their diets.”
Scientists compiled the study results by using food frequency questionnaires and testing the levels of the serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D in the mother and children as they reached school age.
The study was published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.