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Lack of sun can lead to asthma in children

‘Sun’s out, bubs out’, is the new message from WA’s Telethon Kids Institute, after finding that vitamin D deficiency in infancy can lead to childhood asthma.

The researchers tracked the vitamin D levels of Perth kids who were susceptible to asthma. They found that, along with asthma, those with repeated bouts of vitamin D deficiency during infancy and early childhood faced an increased risk of allergy and eczema at age 10.

Study leader Dr Elysia Hollams explained the link between a lack of vitamin D and asthma: “We know vitamin D plays an important role in regulating the immune system and promoting healthy lung development,” she said.

But don’t go endlessly basking baby skin in sizzling sun rays – the best natural source of the vitamin – just yet. As cautioned by Telethon institute academics, skin cancer precautions still apply.

Professor Katie Allen, gastro and food allergy theme director at Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, has a proposed vitamin D sourcing solution for when the sun’s too hot: pepper kids’ diets with it.

“Australia is one of the few developed countries that does not fortify its food supply with vitamin D, therefore it may not be a coincidence that we have the highest rates of allergic disease, including food allergies, in the developed world,” she surmised. “We believe vitamin D supplementation trials in infancy are essential to answer this important public health question.”

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