A study of more than 8,000 infants found a possible link between the use of multivitamin supplements and the risk of asthma and food allergies, researchers said on Tuesday.
A study of more than 8,000 infants found a possible link between the use of multivitamin supplements and the risk of asthma and food allergies, researchers said on Tuesday.The report from Children’s National Medical Center in Washington and other research centers said the reason for the apparent link was not clear. It suggested more study is required to find if the link is a factor in an increase in asthmatic and allergic disease in recent years.The research was based on data from a government study that began following mothers and infants in 1991.It found “an association between early infant multivitamin intake and asthma among black infants and an association between early infant multivitamin intake and food allergies in formula-fed infants.”It also found an increased risk of food allergies among all children given multivitamins at age 3.The researchers said more than half of all toddlers in the United States are taking multivitamins, which are also often added to infant formula. The report said animal tests have found certain vitamins may cause cell changes that can increase the odds of an allergic response when certain antigens are encountered.If the line of research bears out, “recommendations for vitamin supplementation and the actual multivitamin formulation may need to be changed to reduce the risks of allergy and asthma,” the study said.There could be a number of reasons why black children had the higher asthma risk, including “physician-parent communication issues,” the authors said in urging further research into the issue.The study appeared in the July issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.(Source: Reuters Health, July 2004)