Vitamin supplementation up to age of 5 may reduce allergic disease later in childhood

Use of multivitamin supplements in relation to allergic disease in 8-y-old children.
Marmsjö K, Rosenlund H, Kull I, Håkansson N, Wickman M, Pershagen G, Bergström A. Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.

Multivitamins are frequently consumed by children, but it is unclear whether this affects the risk of allergic disease.

We sought to study the association between multivitamin supplementation and allergic disease in 8-y-old children.

Data were obtained from a Swedish birth cohort study. Information on lifestyle factors, including use of vitamin supplements, environmental exposures, and symptoms and diagnoses of allergic diseases, was obtained by parental questionnaires. In addition, allergen-specific IgE concentrations of food and airborne allergens were measured in blood samples collected at age 8 y. A total of 2423 children were included in the study. The association between use of vitamin supplements and the selected health outcomes was analyzed with logistic regression.

Overall, no strong and consistent associations were observed between current multivitamin use and asthma, allergic rhinitis, eczema, or atopic sensitization at age 8 y. However, children who reported that they started taking multivitamins before or at age 4 y had a decreased risk of sensitization to food allergens (odds ratio: 0.61; 95% CI: 0.39, 0.97) and tendencies toward inverse associations with allergic rhinitis. In contrast, there was no consistent association among children who started to use multivitamins at or after age 5 years.

Our results show no association between current use of multivitamins and risk of allergic disease but suggest that supplementation with multivitamins during the first years of life may reduce the risk of allergic disease at school age.

Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Dec;90(6):1693-8. Epub 2009 Oct 28.

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First Published in December 2009

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