VITALITY (Primary prevention of infant food allergy: a randomised controlled trial of postnatal vitamin D supplementation) is a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial assessing the role of postnatal vitamin D supplementation for the prevention of infant food allergy. Recruitment began in December 2014, and is planning on recruiting 3055 healthy, term, breastfed 6-8 week old infants from council-run immunisation sessions across Melbourne, Australia. Vitamin D is likely to play a role in early infant immune health, with emerging evidence that early life vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of developing childhood diseases such as food allergy, lower respiratory infections (LRIs) and eczema. VITALITY aims to determine if vitamin D supplementation leads to a reduction in challenge-proven food allergy, LRIs, food sensitisation, doctor diagnosed eczema, and vitamin D deficiency in the first year of life; with the ultimate goal being to develop improved public health guidelines for vitamin D supplementation of infants.  An economic evaluation of the impact of the intervention from a societal perspective will also be used to model the potential cost-effectiveness of routine infant vitamin D supplementation compared to no supplementation.

Study Summary
Study name Primary prevention of infant food allergy: a randomised controlled trial of postnatal vitamin D supplementation
Study abbreviation VITALITY
Current principal investigator/s Dr Kirsten Perrett
Prof Mimi Tang
Prof Anne-Louise Ponsonby
Prof Shyamali Dharmage
Dr Kim Dalziel
A/Prof Lyle Gurrin
Dr Jennifer Koplin
Current project manager Michael Field
Primary Institution Murdoch Children’s Research Institute
Collaborating Institution/s The Royal Children’s Hospital
The University of Melbourne
Major funding sources National Health and Medical Research Council
Murdoch Children’s Research Institute
Philanthropic funding
Study website
Key reference for study (published study protocol) Allen, K.J., Panjari, M., Koplin, J.J., Ponsonby, A.-L., Vuillermin, P., Gurrin, L.C., Greaves, R., Carvalho, N., Dalziel, K., Tang, M.L., Lee, K.J., Wake, M., Curtis, N. and Dharmage, S.C. (2015). VITALITY trial: protocol for a randomised controlled trial to establish the role of postnatal vitamin D supplementation in infant immune health. BMJ Open, 5(12): p. e009377.  doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2015-009377
Are data available to others outside study team? No
Study focus (e.g. social development) Prevention of infant food allergy
Sampling frame Randomly-selected council-run immunisation sessions, maternal and child health nurse sessions, and online across Melbourne, Australia
Study type (e.g. randomised control trial, cohort, case-control) Double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial
Study design Participants receive either vitamin D (400 IU vitamin D3-Cholecalciferol) or placebo (vegetable oil) orally until the age of 12 months. An oral food challenge-proven food allergy is assessed at 12 months of age. Secondary outcomes are food sensitisation, number of lower respiratory infections, moderately-severe and persistent eczema and vitamin D deficiency at age 12 months. Parents are asked to complete an online questionnaire every 3 months until their child is 12 months old.
Year commenced 2014
Ongoing recruitment? Yes
Current sample (N) 2612 (intervention and placebo) as of September 2021
Target sample (N) 2739 (as of September 2021)
Annual recruitment rate (N) 200
Intergenerational (e.g. offspring)? No
Imaging (e.g. fMRI, ultrasound, retinal photograph)? No
Linkage (e.g. BioGrid, VPDC, NAPLAN, Medicare)? Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS)
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)
Australian Childhood Immunisation Register (ACIR)
Medical records
Biosamples (e.g. buccal, blood, hair)? Venous blood
Newborn screening (Guthrie) card
Buccal (planned)
Saliva (planned)
Faeces (planned)
Skin swab (planned)
Breast milk (planned)
Ethics approvals or requirements (e.g. specific, extended, unspecified, other)? This project only (Specific consent)
Future research related to this project (Extended consent)
Year Time point Age (mean, range) Eligible sample (not deceased, not withdrawn)
2014 – ongoing Baseline 7.2 weeks (6.0 – 12.1 weeks) 305 (intervention and placebo) as of September 2016 (recruitment ongoing)
2014 – ongoing Follow-up (6 months old) 6 months
2014 – ongoing Clinic visit (6 months old) 6 months Optional
2014 – ongoing Follow-up (9 months old) 9 months
2015 – ongoing Follow-up (12 months old) 12 months
2015 – ongoing Clinical assessment 1.14 years (1.01 – 1.4 years) 95 (intervention and placebo) as of September 2016 (assessments ongoing)

Principal Investigator

Dr Kirsten Perrett

Project Manager

Angela Young

Study Contact

Ph: +613 9936 6027

Postal Address

Gastro & Food Allergy Group
Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
The Royal Children’s Hospital
50 Flemington Road
VIC 3052