Vitamin D - research update - CNSLab

Vitamin D - research update

You don’t have to look too far to see a new report or additional research on the benefits of having optimal levels of vitamin D. To help you keep up to date with the research a few of the most recent papers are reviewed below.

Researchers at the University of Buffalo looked at the interaction between vitamin D status and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Age related macular degeneration has been shown to be strongly associated with genetic risk. Two genes in particular CFH and CFI increase the risk of developing this disease. Millen et al (2015) found that those who carried both alleles were six times more likely to develop AMD when deficient in vitamin D. This affect reduced with improved vitamin D status. The study suggests that vitamin D can overcome a genetic predisposition for AMD by improving the ability of the immune system to suppress a localised inflammatory response.

A growing number of studies have shown a link between vitamin D and autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). In January 2015 Swedish researchers showed that siblings who had been diagnosed with ASD had significantly lower levels of vitamin D at birth compared to their siblings who had not been diagnosed with ASD. The most recent study by Schmidt et al (2015) shows that certain common functional polymorphisms in vitamin D pathways are also associated with ASD.

As the research linking vitamin D to a variety of different diseases continues to rise, it highlights a need for individuals to know if they are deficient. There is also a growing argument to include this simple test as part of a yearly health check. The consequences of not knowing are too detrimental to an individual’s health to ignore. Yet, not withstanding the growing interest in vitamin D, around 10 million people are known to be deficient in the UK, a figure that desperately needs to be reduced.



Millen AE, Meyers KJ, Liu Z, Engelman CD, Wallace RB, LeBlanc ES, Tinker LF, Iyengar SK, Robinson JG, Sarto GE, Mares JA. (2015). Association between vitamin D status and age-related macular degeneration by genetic risk. JAMA Ophthalmology. 133(10):1171-9

Fernell E, Bejerot S, Westerlund J, Miniscalco C, Simila H, Eyles D, Gillberg C, Humble MB. (2015). Autism spectrum disorder and low vitamin D at birth: a sibling control study. Molecular Autism. 6:3

Schmidt RJ, Hansen RL, Hartiala J, Allayee H, Sconberg JL, Schmidt LC, Volk HE, Tassone F. (2015) Selected vitamin D metabolic gene variants and risk for autism spectrum disorder in the CHARGE Study. Early Human Development. Aug;91(8):483-9.