Sunlight could help prevent food allergies

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 10th February 2012

A study published this week by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, based in Parkville Victoria, has found a potential link between sunlight exposure and allergies. Children in southern parts of Australia with less exposure to sunlight were found to be more likely to develop food allergies and eczema than those who lived in the sunnier north of Australia.

The study, which has just been published by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in the February 2012 Journal issue of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, was based on data from over 7,600 Australian children and how rates of food allergy, eczema and asthma varied from the north, (the state of Queensland),central (the state of New South Wales) and south ( the states of Victoria and Tasmania) of Australia.

Lead researcher and Associate Professor Dr Katie Allen said the study added weight to the hypothesis that sunlight might play a role in the increasing prevalence of food allergies.

Dr Allen added that “this study has further highlighted the possible link between food allergies, eczema and where you live.  The results of our study provide further motivation for research into possible casual links into UV radiation and vitamin D levels in this disease group”.

The study found in the four to five year old age group, that children residing in the southern parts of Australia (with less exposure to sunlight) were more likely to have both food allergy and eczema.

In the eight to nine year old age group, the odds of having a peanut allergy were six times greater and the odds of having eczema were twice as great in the southernmost children, compared with those living in the north.