Studies Show Vitamin D Improves Seasonal Allergy Symptoms

vitamin d shown to help with seasonal allergy symptomsLast year, researchers at the Children’s National Medical Center found that children who suffered from asthma and seasonal allergies were 20 times more likely to be vitamin D deficient than children who didn’t suffer. Likewise, recent study results demonstrated that vitamin D supplementation can alleviate seasonal allergy symptoms as well as treat chronic hives.

According to a study presented at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology 2012 Annual Meeting, researchers found that oral vitamin D taken in combination with intranasal corticosteroids can improve symptoms associated with allergies when compared to corticosteroids alone.

In the double blind, placebo-controlled trial patients ages 18-45 with seasonal allergic rhinitis received fluticasone propionate, a common corticosteroid for the treatment of allergies. Half of the patients were then randomly assigned to either a placebo group or a vitamin D group for two weeks.

At baseline, vitamin D levels were similar in both groups. After supplementation, levels in the vitamin D group increased with no rise in the placebo group.

Participants in both groups reported a decrease in sneezing, nasal congestion, and drip. However, subjects in the vitamin D group reported an average symptom score drop of 6.9 points from baseline, compared to just 3.7 in the placebo group.
The lead author of the study stated,

“Just giving vitamin D on top created a significant drop in symptom score — almost a 50% drop. The magnitude is impressive, actually. If that is duplicated in a big trial, it would be pretty spectacular.”

In February of this year, a study by researchers at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) shows vitamin D as an add-on therapy could provide some relief for chronic hives, a condition with no cure and few treatment options.

An allergic skin condition, chronic hives create red, itchy welts on the skin and sometimes swelling. The cause of hives is not generally known, but allergy and autoimmune reactions often play a role. They can occur daily and last longer than six weeks, even years.

Jill Poole, M.D., associate professor in the UNMC Department of Internal Medicine, was principal investigator of the study presented in the Feb. 7 edition of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. The two-year study looked at the role of over-the-counter vitamin D3 as a supplemental treatment for chronic hives.

Over 12 weeks, 38 study participants daily took a triple-drug combination of allergy medications (one prescription and two over-the-counter drugs) and one vitamin D3, an over-the-counter supplement. Half of the patient’s took 600 IUs of vitamin D3 and the other half took 4000 IUs.

Researchers found after just one week, the severity of patients’ symptoms decreased by 33 percent for both groups. But at the end of three months, the group taking 4000 IUs of vitamin D3 had a further 40 percent decrease in severity of their hives. The low vitamin D3 treatment group had no further improvement after the first week. Dr. Poole concluded:

“We consider the results in patients a significant improvement. This higher dosing of readily available vitamin D3 shows promise without adverse effects. Vitamin D3 could be considered a safe and potentially beneficial therapy.”