Author: Ashley Johnson, Allergychoices
Vitamin D is essential for the management of overall health, but also may assist with successful allergy treatment. When Dr. Mary Morris, Allergychoices Medical Advisor, was asked about the role of vitamin D in immunotherapy, she stated, “The role it plays is complex, but in general, its aids in the proper functioning of the immune system, and fighting disease.” She also added that, “Studies in immunotherapy have shown positive correlation of quicker immunological response when Vitamin D is given adjuvant to immunotherapy.”
At her clinical practice, Allergy Associates of La Crosse, Dr. Morris says that when they treat allergy patients with sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT), “We conduct a vitamin D blood test to be sure that patients are in the middle of an acceptable range.“ She adds, “Children need approximately 1000 IUs/day, and adults are recommended to have approximately 2000 IUs/day.” According to a study published by the International Journal of Health Sciences, vitamin D deficiencies have reached epidemic levels, despite rapid advancement in medicine throughout the past century. There are a few ways to increase vitamin D levels which include absorption from sunlight, food, and supplements.
Nearly 50 to 90 percent of vitamin D absorption occurs when spending time in the sunlight. Due to concerns of skin cancer, people are spending less time in the sun, or are using more sunblock which blocks vitamin D absorption. On average, one should spend 15 to 20 minutes in the sunlight with 40% of their body exposed daily. However, skin needs direct exposure to the sun making it difficult for those who live in a northern climate to receive adequate amounts of sun exposure during the winter. It is also difficult for those who have darker skin, which absorbs less sunlight due to a higher concentration of melanin in the skin.
Vitamin D can also be absorbed through the mouth, but many people struggle to get enough vitamin D through food alone. Particularly in American diets, foods high in vitamin D such as oily fish are less common. Some examples of foods with vitamin D that can be added to your diet include: Wild caught salmon and mackerel, mushrooms, fortified milk and yogurt, and egg yolks. Due to limited amounts of food with vitamin D, a supplement may be necessary to obtain recommended levels with patients who have low vitamin D levels. Supplements can come in a variety of forms including liquid, gummy, chewable, gel cap, and tablet.
Vitamin D is critical for managing overall health — it prevents soft bones, known as rickets in children, and fragile bones, known as osteomalacia in adults. Current research indicates vitamin D deficiencies contribute to obesity, osteoporosis, neuro-degenerative diseases which includes Alzheimer’s, autoimmune diseases, and several varieties of cancer.
A healthy level of vitamin D has been correlated with stronger immunological responses in allergy treatment. Talk to your doctor regarding your current levels of vitamin D, and if you need a daily supplement to prevent the long list of possible negative effects correlated to a deficiency.