Vitamin D Crucial Linked to More than 200 Genes

Vitamin D's interaction with our DNA was mapped by researchers at the University of Oxford, which demonstrated its influence over 200 genes.

Vitamin D’s interaction with our DNA was mapped by researchers at the University of Oxford, which demonstrated its influence over 200 genes.

Insufficient sun exposure and poor diet have been thought to contribute to the growing numbers of vitamin D deficiency sufferers and now the research proves the condition can increase susceptibility to autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, and multiple sclerosis.

A recent study published in the journal Genome Research demonstrates just how vitamin D interacts with DNA. The team used DNA sequencing technology to create a map of vitamin D receptor binding across the genome. The receptor is activated by vitamin D, attaches itself to DNA, and then influences what proteins are made from our genetic code.

There were 2,776 binding sites found along the length of the genome, according to the press release. These sites were also concentrated near a number of genes associated with susceptibility to autoimmune conditions such as MS, Crohn’s disease, systemic lupus erthematosus, and rheumatoid arthritis as well as cancers such as chronic lymphocytic leukemia and colorectal cancer.