GeneticsVitamin D

Is there a genetic predisposition to vitamin D deficiency?

The SUNLIGHT (Study of Underlying Genetic Determinants of Vitamin D and Highly Related Traits) Consortium reports its results.

The abstract in The Lancet is poor, but here’s a summary of the details from Medical News Today.

First, the details.

  • SUNLIGHT involved a research team from the US, UK, Canada, Netherlands, Sweden, and Finland.
  • Genetic data came from pooling 15 epidemiologic studies of almost 32,000 white individuals of European descent.

And, the results.

  • Statistically significant associations were found for 4 common genes–all involved with the synthesis, breakdown, or transport of vitamin D.
  • The risk of a vitamin D deficiency was independent of the effects of geography or other environmental factors.
  • Inheriting more of these genetic variants was associated with a greater risk of vitamin D deficiency.

The bottom line?

The results show that genetic factors affect the risk of a person having vitamin D insufficiency.

“It’s possible,” say the authors, “that these results could explain why some people respond well to vitamin D supplements and others don’t, but that needs to be studied further.”

The people studied here were all of Caucasian Europeans. It would be interesting to see if other groups share the same genetic associations.

6/12/10 22:20 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.