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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2004 Dec;114(6):1398-402.

Serum nutrient markers and skin prick testing using data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

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  • 1National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseaases, NIH, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.



Diet nutrients and allergic sensitization both affect the development and severity of asthma, but the interrelationship between oral intake and allergic sensitization is not well characterized, although previous work suggests that a higher vitamin E intake may be protective against allergic sensitization.


To determine whether serum levels of dietary antioxidants, lipids, and other nutrients are associated with the presence of allergen skin sensitization.


Cross-sectional logistic regression analysis of 30 serum nutrient levels in relation to 10 skin test allergens in adults and children in the Third National Health and Nutrition Survey.


In adults, allergic skin sensitization was less common in participants with higher serum levels of vitamin E: the adjusted odds ratio (OR) per SD difference in vitamin E level was 0.93 (95% CI, 0.87-0.99). Two of the carotenoids, beta-cryptoxanthin and alpha-carotene, were also inversely associated with allergic skin sensitization (OR, 0.89; 95% CI, 0.83-0.95; and OR, 0.95; 95% CI, 0.91-0.99, respectively). Among adults, serum lycopene had a positive association with allergen sensitization. In youths, however, vitamin A was associated with an increased risk, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol was associated with a decreased risk of allergic sensitization. The use of vitamin or mineral supplements had little effect on the magnitude of all reported associations.


Overall, there were no strong or consistent associations between serum levels of potentially antiallergic nutrients, and the occurrence of allergic skin sensitization in these data. However limited, findings suggest that increases in vitamin E, carotenoids, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol may reduce the risk of allergic skin sensitization.

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