The relationship between vitamin D deficiency and the development of allergies is particularly evident in Australia. One of the reasons is that milk is fortified in the U.S. The US, the United Kingdom and Europe with vitamin D, and vitamin D drops are recommended for European children at an early age to supplement their comparatively lower exposure to sunlight. When you try to find a solution to the global increase in food allergies, you go to the heart of the problem.
The world's most livable city also has the highest reported rate of food allergies in the world. Associate Professor Kirsten Perrett is a pediatric allergist at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne and principal investigator at the Food Allergy Research Center of the Murdoch Children's Research Institute, where she leads the VITALITY study, which investigates the administration of vitamin D supplements for the prevention of food allergy in infants. The gut's immune system recognizes these foods as normal food groups and is less likely to cause an allergic response. Even after a successful diagnosis of food allergies, it's difficult to avoid trigger foods, and accidental exposures are common.
Experts from around the world gathered in the city on Monday to attend the International Congress on Immunology, when Australian researchers are leading a global campaign to pass on advice to first-time parents on how best to protect high-risk babies from developing food allergies. Professor Allen said that the findings are consistent with the so-called vitamin D hypothesis, according to which children with low levels of vitamin D were more susceptible to food allergies, and that the colder climate in Melbourne meant that children spent less time in the sun than in most other Australian cities. The gut microbiome has been altered by rapid changes in food manufacturing, food production and high-sugar diets over the past 50 years.
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