Anaphylaxis and Drug Allergy (P Lieberman and S Spector, Section Editors)

Current Allergy and Asthma Reports

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 64-71

Latitude, Sunlight, Vitamin D, and Childhood Food Allergy/Anaphylaxis

  • Raymond James MullinsAffiliated withMedical School, Australian National UniversityClinical Immunology, Faculty of Health, University of CanberraClinical Immunology and Allergy, John James Medical Centre Email author 
  • , Carlos A. CamargoAffiliated withDepartment of Emergency Medicine and Division of Rheumatology, Allergy, and Immunology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical SchoolDepartment of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School

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Vitamin D is widely known for its role in bone metabolism, but this sterol hormone also has important immunomodulatory properties. Vitamin D is produced by the conversion of D3 in the skin following UVB exposure, or after ingestion of D2 or D3. At the extremes of latitude, there is insufficient UVB intensity in the autumn and winter months for adequate synthesis of vitamin D to occur. Growing evidence implicates vitamin D deficiency in early life in the pathogenesis of nonskeletal disorders (e. g., type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis) and, more recently, atopic disorders. Several studies have reported higher rates of food allergy/anaphylaxis or proxy measures at higher absolute latitudes. Although causality remains to be determined, these studies suggest a possible role for sunlight and/or vitamin D in the pathogenesis of food allergy/anaphylaxis.


Food allergy Anaphylaxis Children Sunlight Vitamin D Pathogenesis Latitude