Maintaining optimal levels of vitamin D is essential for building and keeping strong bones, helping to keep your immune system strong, potentially reducing your chances of developing diseases like heart disease and cancer, and potentially helping to stave of depression.

It may even play a role in food sensitivities and environmental and seasonal allergies in kids. With our rising fears of the sun and increasing dependence on sunscreen, maintaining optimal levels of this hormone can be challenging. This is especially true for individuals who live at latitudes above 37 degrees north or below 37 degrees south of the equator, where the sun isn’t strong enough to enable the skin to produce vitamin D other than during the summer months.

This study found that lower plasma levels of 25(OH) D were associated with sensitivities to food and environmental and seasonal allergies in children and adolescents. The study found fewer associations in adults. Researchers also noted that individuals born in the fall or winter, when vitamin D levels are lowest, had a higher risk of developing food-related acute allergic symptoms.

Vitamin D levels and food and environmental allergies in the United States: Results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2006. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology Volume 127, Issue 5, May 2011, pp. 1195-1202. doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2011.01.017