Background: Early vitamin supplementation is given routinely to infants in many countries, but it is unclear whether this affects the risk of allergic diseases.
Objectives: We sought to study the association between early-life supplementation of vitamins A and D in water-soluble form or in peanut oil and allergic diseases up to 4 years of age.
Methods: A prospective birth cohort of 4089 newborn infants was followed for 4 years using parental questionnaires repeatedly to collect information on exposure and health. At 4 years, the response rate was 90%, and allergen-specific IgE levels to food and airborne allergens were measured in 2614 of the participating children.
Results: Vitamins A and D were given to 98% of the children in infancy, and vitamins based in peanut oil dominated (90%). Children supplemented with vitamins A and D in water-soluble form during the first year of life had an almost 2-fold increased risk of asthma (adjusted odds ratio [OD], 2.18; 95% CI, 1.45-3.28), food hypersensitivity (adjusted OR, 1.89; 95% CI, 1.33-2.65), and sensitization to common food and airborne allergens (adjusted OR, 1.88; 95% CI, 1.34-2.64) at age 4 years compared with those receiving vitamins in peanut oil. No increased risk of IgE antibodies to peanut was seen in children receiving vitamins in peanut oil.
Conclusion: Supplementation of vitamins A and D in water-soluble form seems to increase the risk of allergic disease up to the age of 4 years compared with supplementation with the same vitamins given in peanut oil.
Clinical implications: Vitamins A and D in oil does not seem to increase the risk of allergic disease during childhood.