Boosting vitamin D in individuals with deficiencies likely to reduce chronic inflammation

Inflammation is an essential part of the body’s healing process. But if it persists, it can contribute to a wide variety of complex diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and autoimmune disorders.

Image credit: University of South Australia

Now worldwide first genetic research from the University of South Australia shows a direct link between low levels of vitamin D and high levels of inflammation, which is an important biomarker to identify people at higher risk or severity of chronic diseases with inflammatory component.

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The study examined the genetic data of 294,970 participants in the UK Biobank, using Mendelian randomization to demonstrate the link between vitamin D and C-reactive protein levels, an indicator of inflammation.

Lead researcher, Dr Ang Zhou of UniSA, says the findings suggest that boosting vitamin D in deficient people can reduce chronic inflammation.

Inflammation is your body’s way of protecting your tissues when you’re injured or have an infection. High levels of C-reactive protein are generated by the liver in response to inflammation, so when your body experiences chronic inflammation, it also exhibits higher levels of C-reactive protein.”

Dr Ang Zhou, Principal Investigator, University of South Australia

“This study examined vitamin D and C-reactive proteins and found a one-way relationship between low levels of vitamin D and high levels of C-reactive proteins, expressed as inflammation.

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“Boosting vitamin D in deficient people can reduce chronic inflammation, helping them prevent a number of related diseases.”

Supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council and published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, the study also raises the possibility that having adequate levels of vitamin D may reduce complications from obesity and the risk or severity of chronic disease. with an inflammatory component, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and autoimmune diseases.

Senior researcher and director of UniSA’s Australian Center for Precision Health, Professor Elina Hyppönen, says these results are important and explain some of the controversies in reported associations with vitamin D.

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“We have seen repeated evidence for health benefits for increasing vitamin D levels in individuals with very low levels, while there appears to be little to no benefit for others.” Prof Hyppönen says.

“These findings highlight the importance of avoiding clinical vitamin D deficiencies and provide further evidence for the broad effects of hormonal vitamin D.”


University of South Australia

Reference magazine:

Zhou, A. & Hyppönen, E. (2022) Vitamin D deficiency and C-reactive protein: a bidirectional Mendelian randomization study. International Journal of Epidemiology.

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