A new study by a New Zealand doctor is the first to show that vitamin D supplements may prevent allergies and asthma development in babies and young children.
The study, composed by Associate Professor Cameron Grant, notes that there is a vitamin D deficiency in 57 per cent of New Zealand newborns - a statistic which may spawn from "a sun-avoidance public health policy".
Dr. Grant says the high level of prevalence of both asthma and allergies in children could also be sourced to our diets which feature low amounts of the vitamin and supplements containing it aren't often used.
"It's the first study to show that correcting poor vitamin D status during pregnancy and infancy might prevent childhood asthma," he said.
"In our clinical trial of vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy and infancy, we showed that when these supplements were started in the mum at 27 weeks’ gestation and then continued in her child until the child was six months old, they prevented sensitization of the child to house dust mites."
The Associate Professor from the University of Auckland says the implications of the findings could be life-changing.
"Early life events, including those before birth, can influence a baby's later sensitivity to allergens."
"In theory maintaining normal vitamin D status when that sensitivity is developing late in pregnancy and early in infancy, could prevent later allergy sensitivity in the child."