The study revealed for the first time that improvement in the vitamin D status of healthy adults significantly impacts genes involved with a number of biologic pathways associated with cancer, cardiovascular disease (CVD), infectious diseases and autoimmune diseases.
While previous studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increased risk for the aforementioned diseases, these results go a step further and provide direct evidence that improvement in vitamin D status plays a large role in improving immunity and lowering the risk for many diseases.
Vitamin D is unique in that it can be both ingested and synthesized by the body with sun exposure.
It is then converted by both the liver and kidneys to a form that the body can use.
An individual's level of vitamin D, or their vitamin D status, is determined by measuring the level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in the blood.
Vitamin D deficiency, which is defined as a status of less than 20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, can cause a number of health issues, including rickets and other musculoskeletal diseases.
Recently, however, data suggests that vitamin D deficiency (greater than 20 ng/mL) and vitamin D insufficiency (between 21-29 ng/mL) is linked to cancer, autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
The study is published online in PLOS ONE.