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Vitamin D and Allergy

Nicole Davis, FNP – BreatheAmerica El Paso Living in the ‘Sun City’, you wouldn’t think anyone would be deficient of the ‘Sun Vitamin’ otherwise known as Vitamin D, but think again. When the temperatures rise and the sun is at its strongest, most of us head indoors or layer on the sunscreen. While sunscreen is vital to protecting us from the harmful effects of the sun, it also blocks out the UVB rays needed for Vitamin D production. It has been reported that sunscreen with an SPF of 8 decreases Vitamin D production by 92% and SPF 15 will decrease Vitamin D production by 99%.

Most people associate Vitamin D with calcium. While Vitamin D is important in calcium absorption and bone health, it is becoming more and more evident that it also plays an important role in the immune system and allergies. There has also been increasing evidence that Vitamin D plays a role in asthma control, atopic dermatitis, urticaria/hives, and may even play a role in the development of food allergies in children.

So how do we get enough Vitamin D? Our body needs about 15 minutes a day of sunshine 3 days a week for sufficient Vitamin D production. Cloudy days, shade, sunshine through a window, and dark colored skin will significantly cut down on your body’s production of Vitamin D. Dietary sources of Vitamin D include mushrooms, fatty fish (salmon, tuna, and mackerel), beef liver, egg yolk, and fortified milk.

The best way to know if your Vitamin D levels are sufficient is to talk to your healthcare provider who can check blood levels and make recommendations for supplementation if necessary. If you are having increased symptoms of allergy, asthma, sinusitis, or atopic dermatitis, make an appointment at BreatheAmerica to evaluate your symptoms, check vitamin D levels if necessary, and regain control.