Early Vitamin Use Linked to Allergy, Asthma

8 replies [Last post]
By Corvallis Mom on Sat, 07-07-07, 04:21

As published in Pediatrics, July 2007.

[url="http://www.webmd.com/asthma/news/20040706/early-vitamin-use-linked-to-allergy-asthma"]http://www.webmd.com/asthma/news/20040706/early-vitamin-use-linked-to-allergy-asthma[/url]

By Salynn Boyles
WebMD Medical NewsJuly 6, 2004 -- New research suggests that formula-fed infants that take a multivitamin are more likely to develop food allergies and asthma. While the findings need to be confirmed, researchers say they could help explain a steep rise in childhood allergies and asthma in the U.S.

More than 8,000 breastfed and formula-fed infants were followed from birth to age 3 to assess the impact of early vitamin supplementation. Laboratory and animal studies suggest that certain vitamins play a role in the development of allergies and asthma.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends vitamin supplementation for breastfed infants to ensure that they get adequate amounts of vitamin D, but there are no such recommendations for formula-fed infants and children. Even so, lead researcher Joshua Milner, MD, says more than half of the young children in the U.S. take multivitamins.

"We found that a large number of formula-fed babies were also given multivitamin supplements when there was no recommendation to do so," Milner tells WebMD. "The thinking is probably that it won't hurt and might help. This study does not prove that it does hurt, but we certainly need to study this further."

Race Plays a Role

The investigation, reported in the July issue of the journal Pediatrics, involved data from a government study that followed a group of mothers and infants from 1998 until 1991. Researchers controlled for factors known to be associated with asthma and food allergy risk.

Roughly 10% of the participants developed signs of asthma and 5% had been diagnosed with food allergies by age 3. A history of vitamin use within the first six months of life was associated with a 27% increase in asthma risk among African-American children but not white children. Among children who were never breastfed, early vitamin use was associated with a 63% increase in food allergy risk regardless of race.

Vitamin use at age 3 was also linked to an increased risk for food allergies, but not asthma, in all children, regardless of whether they were breast- or bottle-fed as infants.

Although it is just a theory, Milner says the fact that African-American children are more prone to vitamin D deficiencies may help explain the racial difference seen in the study. People with lighter skin more easily produce vitamin D from sun exposure, and some studies indicate that the vitamin plays a key role in immune system function. Allergies, and asthma that stems from allergies, are due to an overreaction of the immune system to an allergy trigger.

Ask Your Child's Pediatrician

Pediatric allergist Dennis Ownby, MD, calls the new research "intriguing" but says the findings are far from conclusive, especially with regard to the asthma findings because asthma is often not diagnosed until after age 3. Ownby is a professor of pediatrics and medicine at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta.

Early wheezing is often caused by viral infection, and more than half of children who wheeze before the age of 3 do not go on to develop asthma, he says.

But he adds that the study does raise interesting questions about the safety of supplementing normal infant diets with multivitamins.

"I am afraid that the message that has been conveyed to parents is that their child will be healthier if they take multivitamins, and that if one vitamin is good, two might be better," he tells WebMD. "Parents need to ask their child's physician about vitamin use and give only the recommended dosage. A standard supplement is probably adequate for most breastfed babies, and formula-fed babies probably don't need additional vitamins."

SOURCES: Milner, J. Pediatrics, July, 2004; vol 114: pp 27-32. Joshua D. Milner, MD, National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md. Dennis Ownby, MD, professor of pediatrics and medicine, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta.

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By LaurensMom on Sat, 07-07-07, 05:34

Quote:Originally posted by Corvallis Mom:
[b]
"We found that a large number of formula-fed babies were also given multivitamin supplements when there was no recommendation to do so," Milner tells WebMD. "The thinking is probably that it won't hurt and might help. This study does not prove that it does hurt, but we certainly need to study this further."

[/b]
[b]
"I am afraid that the message that has been conveyed to parents is that their child will be healthier if they take multivitamins, and that if one vitamin is good, two might be better," he tells WebMD. "Parents need to ask their child's physician about vitamin use and give only the recommended dosage. A standard supplement is probably adequate for most breastfed babies, and formula-fed babies probably don't need additional vitamins."

[/b]

Our pediatrician [i]prescribed[/i] liquid vitamins for DD #1. They were so horrible we only gave them to her a couple of times. Never tried with non-PA-children #2 and #3 however, they all take multivitamins now.

Interesting as this is one of many articles I've seen about vitamins (specifically vitamin D). Can't say I'm not annoyed with the way this is worded...[i]...is that their child will be healthier if they take multivitamins, and that if one vitamin is good, two might be better[/i].

I would NEVER give my kids more than what was recommended or prescribed.

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By April in KC on Sat, 07-07-07, 16:29

We breastfed, no vitamins, so it doesn't describe us. Not saying it can't describe others...but I don't have much confidence this is THE reason allergies have increased.

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By Corvallis Mom on Sat, 07-07-07, 18:20

I think it would be pretty interesting to add into this a cohort of children who were matched for other risk factors but [i]breastfed[/i] instead of formula-fed.

Do I think this is 'the' answer? Well, no, probably not. But it is pretty interesting, since it is something that nicely parallels the dramatic rise in atopic conditions.... [i]in developed countries.[/i] And probably correlates with many lifestyle factors which have heretofore been attributed to the 'hygeine' hypothesis.

In other words, this seems as likely as anything else as far as a 'triggering' mechanism in certain genetically susceptible populations.

I mean, it clearly isn't formula itself, or the rise would have been seen thirty years sooner. So my question is.... when did infant, toddler, and prenatal vitamin supplements become [i]universally PROSCRIBED?[/i] Hmm...
Makes [i]me[/i] wonder. (We actually argued [i]against[/i] supplementation for either ME or for DD. Unsuccessfully, in my case. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/tongue.gif[/img]

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By cathlina on Sat, 07-07-07, 19:21

Both of my children took vitamins as infants in the 80's. At that time, they were recommended by the doctor and I breastfed.

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By LisaM on Sat, 07-07-07, 21:24

On the vitamin D issue---I recall reading on Dr. Weisnagel's website about a survey conducted in the US which indicated that babies born in certain months are far more likely to develop allergies. . . . as I recall, the months were in the fall/winter. I definitely think someone should investigate the relp b/n sun exposure and allergies . . . I imagine that babies born in colder, darker months get less vitamin D at a crucial time when the immune system is developing making them more susceptible to developing allergies.

(This having been said, I'm sure there are other factors. *Everyone* in my family has allergies, and some of us were born in spring/summer months and breastfed. I think we're doomed by virtue of our genes!)

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By MommaBear on Mon, 07-09-07, 00:49

My father breastfed past age 6 (1917 on a Greek Island and more like till age 7 when his mother cut him off [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img] <> ), didn't receive any immunizations as a child (exposed in utero to smallpox), and was atopic as all get out.

No advice, but I could barely tolerate a flinstones chewable every third day when I was pregnant with my first two and have never used liquid vitamins with either. All got 3-9 months of breast milk, all had formula at some point, and I've never been a big believer in hypervitamintation. (my own term). Rather, I'm a good cook. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img] My daughter just gobbled down some homemade soup with the boys. She was "MMMMM----MMMMM--MMMMMMMM'ing" the whole time. Fresh bread, real butter, rice krispie treats, fresh fruit salad and some homemade yogurt blobbed on the side with giant sugar crystals on top. They even love v-8 as a bedtime snack. (oooo, so would I but each pregnancy, I get worse reflux...)

__________________

"Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity."

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By krinow08 on Mon, 09-28-09, 17:23

My son is 18 months and still nursing like crazy! He was exclusively breastf ed for 7 months, thats when we introduced solids. Never took vitamins, NEVER would even think about using formula. He has egg and peanut allergy so this does not describe us either. No family history of food allergies either. Im starting to wonder if it had something to do with vaccines??

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By TRexFamily on Mon, 09-28-09, 19:13

I nursed DD until she turned 3 and never gave her vitamins.

We have a strong family history of asthma, eczema and allergies. I don't blame anything but genes.

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