Apart from its classical function in bone and calcium metabolism, vitamin D is also involved in immune regulation and has been linked to various cancers, immune disorders and allergic diseases. Within the innate and adaptive immune systems, the vitamin D receptor and enzymes in monocytes, dendritic cells, epithelial cells, T lymphocytes and B lymphocytes mediate the immune modulatory actions of vitamin D. Vitamin D insufficiency/deficiency early in life has been identified as one of the risk factors for food allergy. Several studies have observed an association between increasing latitude and food allergy prevalence, plausibly linked to lower ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure and vitamin D synthesis in the skin. Along with mounting epidemiological evidence of a link between vitamin D status and food allergy, mice and human studies have shed light on the modulatory properties of vitamin D on the innate and adaptive immune systems. This review will summarize the literature on the metabolism and immune modulatory properties of vitamin D, with particular reference to food allergy.
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