Washington, Nov 27 (UNI) Vitamin D can lower the risk of asthma in children, according to a new report.
Lack of vitamin D can cause an increase in asthma and allergies.
The increase in the two conditions has come at the same time as a decline in exposure to the sun, the main source of vitamin D, researchers said.
Spending more time indoors and travelling in cars rather than walking have resulted in less exposure to sunlight.
''Coupled with inadequate intake from foods and supplements, it leads to vitamin D deficiency, particularly in pregnant women, resulting in asthma and allergy in their offspring,'' Daily Mail quoted Harvard University researchers as saying.
Studies show that higher vitamin D intake by pregnant mothers reduces asthma risk by as much as 40 per cent in children aged three to five.
The researchers said the theory explains the geographic pattern for cases of asthma and allergies, with a higher prevalence in Western nations, and in areas further away from the equator.
''Providing adequate vitamin D supplement in pregnancy may lead to significant decreases in asthma incidents in young children,'' the report said.
More than five million people in the UK are being treated for asthma and 15 million suffer with an allergy of some kind.
Vitamin D, being essential for the processing of calcium and unlike other vitamins, can be made in our bodies as a result of exposure to sunlight.
Low levels of vitamin D have also been associated with osteoporosis, hypertension, diabetes and cancer, the report added.