American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Annual Meeting

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Annual Meeting

March 05, 2017
2 min read

Lower maternal vitamin E level increases risk of pediatric wheeze

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ATLANTA — Children born to mothers with lower vitamin E levels were more susceptible to wheezing, according to findings presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

Researchers analyzed data from 652 children with a median age of 50 days old participating in the INSPIRE study. This earlier study defined host phenotypic responses to respiratory syncytial virus infection in infancy and the risk for recurrent wheeze and asthma, ascertained the contribution of specific respiratory syncytial virus strains to early childhood wheezing and asthma development, and determined the immune response and lung injury patterns of respiratory syncytial virus infection that are associated with the development of early childhood wheezing illness and asthma.

Cosby A. Stone

The researchers in the current study wrote that the children were a median age of 50 days old when their mother’s plasma vitamin E isoforms were taken, and 2 years old when follow-up interviews were done to see how many of the children had wheezed in the past 12 months, were suspected of wheezing, or had diagnosed asthma. According to researchers, 169 of the children studied met one of these three criteria and their mothers had significantly lower concentrations of plasma alpha-tocopherol. Further, in multivariable regression analysis for interaction, the relationship of alpha-tocopherol with wheezing was modified by gamma-tocopherol concentration in tertiles, and at the highest tertile of gamma tocopherol, the protective association of alpha tocopherol on child wheezing was modified.

Cosby A. Stone, MD, research fellow, division of allergy, pulmonary, and critical care medicine division, Vanderbilt University, explained some of the sources of vitamin E, but also said that more work must be done to determine the best source of the nutrient as it pertains in situations such as asthma.

“These different kinds of vitamin E do different things in the body. We also know that these kinds of vitamin E come from different foods in our diet; for instance, sunflower oil, safflower oil are high in alpha-tocopherlol vs. corn oil and soy oil, which are high in gamma-tocopherol. We need to do more active research on which kind is the optimum kind for respiratory health,” he said at a press conference. – by Janel Miller


Larkin EK, BMC Pulm Med. 2015:doi: 10.1186/s12890-015-0040-0.

Stone, CA et al. Abstract 263. Presented at: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Annual Meeting; March 3-6, 2017; Atlanta.

Disclosure: Stone reports no relevant disclosures. Healio Family Medicine was unable to confirm the other researchers’ disclosures prior to publication.