Genetic variation may modify associations between low vitamin D levels and adverse health outcomes

November 13, 2012, JAMA and Archives Journals

Findings from a study suggest that certain variations in vitamin D metabolism genes may modify the association of low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations with health outcomes such as hip fracture, heart attack, cancer, and death, according to a study appearing in the November 14 issue of JAMA.

status is defined by the circulating concentration of 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Lower serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations are associated with greater risks of many , prompting ongoing clinical trials to test whether vitamin D supplementation can reduce the risk of disease development. Certain complex suggest that interindividual variability in vitamin D metabolism may alter the clinical consequences of measured serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D, according to background information in the article.

Gregory P. Levin, Ph.D., of the University of Washington, Seattle, and colleagues conducted a study to investigate whether known relationships between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and certain diseases would differ according to common variation in 25-hydroxyvitamin D metabolism genes. The study consisted of an examination of 141 single- (SNPs) in a group of 1,514 white participants from the community-based Cardiovascular Health Study. Participants had serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D measurements in 1992-1993 and were followed up for a median (midpoint) of 11 years (through 2006). Replication meta-analyses were conducted across the independent, community-based U.S. Health, Aging, and (n = 922; follow-up: 1998-1999 through 2005), Italian Invecchiare in Chianti (n = 835; follow-up: 1998-2000 through 2006), and Swedish Uppsala Longitudinal Study of (n = 970; follow-up: 1991-1995 through 2008) cohort studies.

The researchers found a SNP within the vitamin D receptor (VDR) gene that significantly modified associations of low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration with major of , heart attack, cancer, and death over long-term follow-up. "Findings were observed within a large community-based study of older adults in the United States and were consistent in magnitude and direction across individual disease outcomes, and replicated in a meta-analysis of 3 large independent cohorts. An additional vitamin D receptor SNP significantly modified the low 25-hydroxyvitamin D-disease association in a meta-analysis that included results from the discovery and replication cohorts. The discovered , which are common in European populations, identified subsets of individuals for whom associations between low 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration and disease outcomes were either strongly positive vs. null. These results suggest that individuals with specific 25-hydroxyvitamin D metabolism genotypes maybe particularly susceptible to, or protected from, the potential adverse health effects of low vitamin D."

The authors add that "these findings represent a first step toward identifying what may be clinically relevant effects of 25-hydroxyvitamin D metabolism genes and may contribute to a better understanding of the biological impact of genetic variation within the vitamin D receptor. Further studies are needed to confirm these observed associations and to enhance knowledge of how variation in vitamin D metabolism genes may stratify individuals as to their susceptibility to vitamin D deficiency. Evaluating the identified interactions in randomized clinical trials of vitamin D supplementation, when available, would help to assess the validity of our results and pave the way toward identifying individual patients who may benefit most from vitamin D interventions."

Explore further: Vitamin D levels associated with age-related macular degeneration

More information: JAMA. 2012;308(18):1898-1905

Related Stories

Vitamin D levels associated with age-related macular degeneration

April 11, 2011
Women under the age of 75 with high vitamin D status were less likely to have early age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of irreversible vision loss in adults, a University at Buffalo study has shown. ...

Low vitamin D levels may be associated with recurrent inflammatory spinal cord disease

November 14, 2011
Vitamin D levels are significantly lower in patients with recurrent inflammatory spinal cord disease, according to a study published Online First by Archives of Neurology.

Recommended for you

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

Can muesli help against arthritis?

January 15, 2018
It is well known that healthy eating increases a general sense of wellbeing. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered that a fibre-rich diet can have a positive influence ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.