A new study highlights the importance of avoiding vitamin D deficiency to counteract low-grade chronic inflammation and its health consequences. Published on the peer-reviewed International Journal of Epidemiology, the results stem from the work of Ang Zhou and Elina Hyppönen at the Australian Center for Precision Health of the University of South Australia Cancer Research Institute (Adelaide).
The authors analyzed data from almost 300,000 individuals from the UK Biobank, including serum 25(OH)D (the form of vitamin D usually evaluated in vitamin D dosage) and C-Reactive Protein (CRP, a well-known marker of chronic inflammation) concentration. Their analysis revealed a direct link between low vitamin D levels and high CRP (thus, inflammation) levels.
As commented by Zhou, these findings suggest that boosting vitamin D in individuals with a deficiency may counteract chronic inflammation.
A one-way relationship
Inflammation is the natural body’s weapon against external and internal harms. However, it should resolve after the health danger is cleared. In fact, chronic inflammation can contribute to a wide range of health issues, including cardiovascular problems, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, and cancer.
Vitamin D plays a pivotal role in immune response. Being both sensed and metabolized by immune cells, it is supposed to be involved in modulating inflammation. Several studies already showed an inverse association between serum 25(OH)D and CRP levels. However, doubt persisted on the causal nature of this link.
By using a genetics approach, Zhou and Hyppönen demonstrated a one-way relationship in which low levels of vitamin D determines high levels of CRP, thus demonstrating the role for vitamin D deficiency in inflammation development. In particular, vitamin D can inhibit the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin-12 (IL-12) promoting, at the same time, the production of the anti-inflammatory cytokines IL-10.
How much vitamin D is too low?
Nowadays, 25(OH)D concentration is considered sufficient when it reaches at least 30 ng/mL. Levels between 20 and 29 ng/mL are considered markers of a condition of insufficiency, whereas lower concentrations configure a condition of deficiency. «Fortunately, 25(OH)D concentration can be easily assessed in a blood sample», Giuseppe Mucci, CEO of Bioscience Institute, explains. «Being aware of a vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency status enables counteracting it by dietary supplement intake, avoiding unnecessary supplementation, which could even be risky.»
IMMUNEBALANCE is Bioscience Institute test specifically designed to unveil immune system imbalances, including a low vitamin D status. Given the association between vitamin D insufficiency/deficiency and inflammation, when low 25(OH)D levels are detected by IMMUNEBALANCE, it is recommended to undergo also the CYTOBALANCE test to evaluate inflammatory cytokine levels. Vice versa, low-grade chronic inflammation detected by CYTOBALANCE should prompt people to undergo the IMMUNEBALANCE test to unveil the causes of increased cytokines.
For more information on IMMUNEBALANCE and CYTOBALANCE, please visit Bioscience Institute website or feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our biologists will answer your questions with no commitment on your part.
- Zhou A and Hyppönen E. Vitamin D deficiency and C-reactive protein: a bidirectional Mendelian randomization study. Int J Epidemiol. 2022 May 17;dyac087. doi: 10.1093/ije/dyac087
- University of South Australia. Down on Vitamin D? It could be the cause of chronic inflammation. Last viewed Sept 29th, 2022.
- Lennon A. Vitamin D supplements may help reduce chronic inflammation, study finds. MedicalNewsToday Aug 15th, 2022. Last viewed Sept 29th, 2022.