Do you eat foods rich in vitamin B9? If so, you may be helping to prevent your allergies at the same time. Vitamin B9, which is also known as folic acid or folate, has long been recognized for its ability to help maintain healthy red blood cells and to prevent spinal birth defects. Now new research also finds that the substance has anti-inflammatory properties as well that can help head off your worst allergy symptoms.

The Vitamin B9-Allergy Link

Researchers from Johns Hopkins Children's Center recently looked at patient's folate levels and their allergy and asthma symptoms to see what connections exist. The findings, which were included in the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology1, are the first to make a link between these two factors, thereby opening up a new arena of possibilities when it comes to  allergy prevention and treatment.

The Findings

Some of the key findings from the Hopkins research include the following:

  • Participants who had more folate in their bloodstream also seemed to have fewer allergies.
  • People with lower folate levels, on the other hand, had more allergy symptoms and were more prone to asthma as well.
  • In addition, people with lower folate levels also seemed to experience wheezing regularly, further reinforcing the link between this vitamin and allergy and asthma likelihood.

Experts say that the possible explanation for these facts is that the anti-inflammatory properties of folic acid may help regulate the immune system's reaction to triggers and head off the response.

More Research is Needed

While the results of the study seem extremely promising, particularly for people who struggle with allergy symptoms all year round, the experts recommend that you hold off on stocking up on Vitamin B supplements right now. More research is needed to better understand the connections between this vitamin and the various health effects. In addition, safe dosing amounts need to be established.2

Recommended Amounts

So while it is too soon to treat your allergy and asthma symptoms with folic acid or vitamin B, you can still get some important health benefits by taking the recommended amount of this supplement.  Women and men are advised to take 400 micrograms of this vitamin daily for best results. (Note that if you are pregnant, you should ask your doctor before taking this or any other dietary supplements.)

You can buy vitamin B supplements, or you can look for cereal that is fortified with this substance. In addition, you can eat foods that are naturally high in this vitamin, including  beans, nuts and green leafy vegetables.

The experts plan to continue exploring the uses of this supplement in treating allergies and further findings should be released over the next few years.