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Concept: Vitamins


Observational studies have demonstrated an association between decreased vitamin D level and risk of multiple sclerosis (MS); however, it remains unclear whether this relationship is causal. We undertook a Mendelian randomization (MR) study to evaluate whether genetically lowered vitamin D level influences the risk of MS.

Concepts: Vitamin D, Genetics, Observational study, Multiple sclerosis, Vitamins


Obesity is associated with vitamin D deficiency, and both are areas of active public health concern. We explored the causality and direction of the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] using genetic markers as instrumental variables (IVs) in bi-directional Mendelian randomization (MR) analysis.

Concepts: Vitamin D, Public health, Genetics, Causality, Nutrition, Body mass index, Vitamins


Considering that epidemiological studies show that suicide rates in many countries are highest in the spring when vitamin D status is lowest, and that low vitamin D status can affect brain function, we sought to evaluate if a low level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] could be a predisposing factor for suicide.

Concepts: Vitamin D, Epidemiology, Sociology, Vitamins, Case-control study, The Spring, Forth


Over the past few decades, food fortification and infant formula supplementation with high levels of vitamins have led to a sharp increase in vitamin intake among infants, children and adults. This is followed by a sharp increase in the prevalence of obesity and related diseases, with significant disparities among countries and different groups within a country. It has long been known that B vitamins at doses below their toxicity threshold strongly promote body fat gain. Studies have demonstrated that formulas, which have very high levels of vitamins, significantly promote infant weight gain, especially fat mass gain, a known risk factor for children developing obesity. Furthermore, ecological studies have shown that increased B vitamin consumption is strongly correlated with the prevalence of obesity and diabetes. We therefore hypothesize that excess vitamins may play a causal role in the increased prevalence of obesity. This review will discuss: (1) the causes of increased vitamin intake; (2) the non-monotonic effect of excess vitamin intake on weight and fat gain; and (3) the role of vitamin fortification in obesity disparities among countries and different groups within a country.

Concepts: Nutrition, Fat, Vitamin, Dietary supplement, Vitamins, Folic acid, B vitamins, Thiamine


There is intense interest in identifying modifiable risk factors associated with autism-spectrum disorders (ASD). Autism-related traits, which can be assessed in a continuous fashion, share risk factors with ASD, and thus can serve as informative phenotypes in population-based cohort studies. Based on the growing body of research linking gestational vitamin D deficiency with altered brain development, this common exposure is a candidate modifiable risk factor for ASD and autism-related traits. The association between gestational vitamin D deficiency and a continuous measure of autism-related traits at ~6 years (Social Responsiveness Scale; SRS) was determined in a large population-based cohort of mothers and their children (n=4229). 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) was assessed from maternal mid-gestation sera and from neonatal sera (collected from cord blood). Vitamin D deficiency was defined as 25OHD concentrations less than 25 nmol l(-1). Compared with the 25OHD sufficient group (25OHD>50 nmol l(-1)), those who were 25OHD deficient had significantly higher (more abnormal) SRS scores (mid-gestation n=2866, β=0.06, P<0.001; cord blood n=1712, β=0.03, P=0.01). The findings persisted (a) when we restricted the models to offspring with European ancestry, (b) when we adjusted for sample structure using genetic data, (c) when 25OHD was entered as a continuous measure in the models and (d) when we corrected for the effect of season of blood sampling. Gestational vitamin D deficiency was associated with autism-related traits in a large population-based sample. Because gestational vitamin D deficiency is readily preventable with safe, cheap and accessible supplements, this candidate risk factor warrants closer scrutiny.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 29 November 2016; doi:10.1038/mp.2016.213.

Concepts: Vitamin D, Gene, Epidemiology, Risk, Vitamins, Calcifediol


Vitamin D deficiency is prevalent worldwide, but some groups are at greater risk. We aim to evaluate vitamin D levels in different occupations and identify groups vulnerable to vitamin D deficiency.

Concepts: Vitamin D, Vitamin, Vitamins


Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of osteoporosis. Vitamin D deficiency has reached high levels in the Saudi population, but there is conflicting evidence both in the Saudi population, and worldwide, regarding the existence of a correlation between these low vitamin D levels and reduced BMD (bone mineral density), or osteoporosis.

Concepts: Osteoporosis, Bone, Vitamin D, Calcitonin, Bone density, Calcium, Vitamins, ARIA Charts


Vitamin D deficiency has been identified as a common metabolic/endocrine abnormality. Despite known dietary sources of vitamin D and the role of sunlight in its production, much of the US population may have inadequate levels of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Deficiency of vitamin D can be caused by a variety of health conditions, but studies on the effects of vitamin D supplements have had mixed results. This evidence-based clinical review discusses what is currently known about vitamin D and what areas need further research to clarify its role in health and disease.

Concepts: Vitamin D, Medicine, Epidemiology, Death, Vitamins


Orkney, north of mainland Scotland, has the world’s highest prevalence of multiple sclerosis (MS); vitamin D deficiency, a marker of low UV exposure, is also common in Scotland. Strong associations have been identified between vitamin D deficiency and MS, and between UV exposure and MS independent of vitamin D, although causal relationships remain to be confirmed. We aimed to compare plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in Orkney and mainland Scotland, and establish the determinants of vitamin D status in Orkney. We compared mean vitamin D and prevalence of deficiency in cross-sectional study data from participants in the Orkney Complex Disease Study (ORCADES) and controls in the Scottish Colorectal Cancer Study (SOCCS). We used multivariable regression to identify factors associated with vitamin D levels in Orkney. Mean (standard deviation) vitamin D was significantly higher among ORCADES than SOCCS participants (35.3 (18.0) and 31.7 (21.2), respectively). Prevalence of severe vitamin D deficiency was lower in ORCADES than SOCCS participants (6.6% to 16.2% p = 1.1 x 10-15). Older age, farming occupations and foreign holidays were significantly associated with higher vitamin D in Orkney. Although mean vitamin D levels are higher in Orkney than mainland Scotland, this masks variation within the Orkney population which may influence MS risk.

Concepts: Vitamin D, Cancer, Ultraviolet, Multiple sclerosis, Vitamins, Standard deviation, Scotland, Orkney


Vitamin D has multiple roles, including the regulation of bone and calcium homeostasis. Deficiency of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, the major circulating form of vitamin D, is associated with an increased risk of age-related chronic diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, cognitive impairment, and cancer. In this study, we utilized Caenorhabditis elegans to examine the mechanism by which vitamin D influences aging. We found that vitamin-D3-induced lifespan extension requires the stress response pathway genes skn-1, ire-1, and xbp-1. Vitamin D3 (D3) induced expression of SKN-1 target genes but not canonical targets of XBP-1. D3 suppressed an important molecular pathology of aging, that of widespread protein insolubility, and prevented toxicity caused by human β-amyloid. Our observation that D3 improves protein homeostasis and slows aging highlights the importance of maintaining appropriate vitamin D serum levels and may explain why such a wide variety of human age-related diseases are associated with vitamin D deficiency.

Concepts: Osteoporosis, Vitamin D, Cancer, Senescence, RNA, Calcium, Vitamins, Aging-associated diseases