Research has shown that a healthy inflammatory response is an essential part of the body’s healing process. Yet ongoing inflammation can actually contribute to a wide range of common conditions. Genetic research has now identified low vitamin D levels with high levels of inflammation. This means that low vitamin D could become a key biomarker to help measure the risk of and the severity of chronic pathologies with an inflammatory component.
Previous investigation has suggested that nutritional factors could influence many aspects of inflammation. Vitamin D is a pro-hormone and essential micronutrient, and various types of immune cells express both the vitamin D receptor and metabolizing enzymes. This suggests that hormonal vitamin D might also play a role in modulating inflammatory responses in the body.
A bidirectional Mendelian randomization study of the genetic data of close to 295,000 unrelated participants showed the link between the serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) and levels of the current standard biomarker for inflammation, C-reactive protein (CRP).
In the non-linear MR analysis, genetically predicted serum 25(OH)D levels had an L-shaped connection with CRP, where CRP levels decreased sharply with increasing 25(OH)D for people within the deficiency range. Further analyses using several complementary methods provided consistent results, confirming the bidirectional relationship between vitamin D and CRP in the deficiency range.
An International Journal of Epidemiology study suggests that vitamin D deficiency and CRP are directly related and the correction of low vitamin D correction could help in supporting the body’s inflammatory response.