Vitamin D may play a role in anaphylaxis, especially food-induced anaphylaxis

Vitamin D is a steroid hormone and a component of a complex endocrine pathway sometimes called 'vitamin D endocrine system' (Medscape, 2012). In a previous study by the same authors, latitude was positively associated with EpiPen prescription rates. This study sought to determine whether a similar geographic difference exists for emergency department (ED) visits for acute allergic reactions (including anaphylaxis).

The researchers combined National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey data for ED visits to noninstitutional hospitals from 1993 to 2005. Acute allergic reactions were identified by International Classification of Diseases - ICD codes.

Between 1993 and 2005, acute allergic reactions represented 1.3% of all ED visits. Per 1000 population, the Northeast had 5.5 visits and the South had 4.9 visits. The Northeast had a higher odds ratio (OR) than the South (1.13; P = .04). The association was stronger when restricting the analysis to visits for food-related allergic reactions (OR, 1.33; P lower than .001).

The ED visit rates for acute allergic reactions are higher in northeastern vs southern regions. These observational data are consistent with the hypothesis that vitamin D may play an etiologic role in anaphylaxis, especially food-induced anaphylaxis.


North-south differences in US emergency department visits for acute allergic reactions. Rudders SA, Espinola JA, Camargo CA Jr. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2010 May;104(5):413-6.
Bacterial components plus vitamin D: The ultimate solution to the asthma (autoimmune disease) epidemic? JACI, 2011 (PDF).
A vitamin D3 dosage of 800 IU/d increased serum 25-(OH)D levels to greater than 50 nmol/L in 97.5% of women 

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