Jill Poole, M.D., assistant professor in the UNMC Department of Internal Medicine, was the principal investigator on the study recently published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
“Chronic hives can be quite frustrating for patients as treatment options are limited. They can make you feel miserable,” said Dr. Poole, an allergist. “Vitamin D may be one part of the answer to this troublesome disease. Given the health benefits, there’s no harm in taking vitamin D if you don’t overdo it. It’s easy, inexpensive and can be taken daily at 1,000 to 2,000 international units (IUs).”
Chronic hives typically occur at least three times a week and last longer than six weeks. They appear as red, itchy welts and can lead to difficulty in breathing.
In the small study, researchers compared 25 patients with chronic hives to 25 patients with nasal allergies. Researchers found patients with hives had significantly reduced levels of vitamin D, with nearly half of them considered to be vitamin D deficient.
Dr. Poole said more studies are warranted to determine if vitamin D supplementation could improve health outcomes in patients with mild to severe hives.
Vitamin D deficiencies also are associated with osteoporosis, autoimmune diseases, cancer, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and even death. In a type of eczema, vitamin D has been found to help relieve symptoms.
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Vicky Cerino, UNMC Public Relations, (402) 559-5190