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Vitamin D Influences DNA, Disease Risk

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A recent study by the University of Oxford shows that vitamin D deficiency increases the risk certain cancers, dementia and autoimmune conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS), rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes. This study also found 2,776 binding sites for the vitamin D receptor along the length of the human genome – the human DNA system.

Vitamin D Influences DNA, Disease Risk

September 1, 2010

OXFORD, England—A new gene study from the University of Oxford suggests vitamin D deficiency increases the risk certain cancers, dementia and autoimmune conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS), rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes, as well as certain cancers and even dementia.

Researchers mapped the points at which vitamin D interacts with a person’s DNA and identified more than 200 genes directly influenced by vitamin D. Researchers used new DNA sequencing technology to create a map of vitamin D receptor binding across the genome and identified more than 200 genes directly influenced by vitamin D. The vitamin D receptor is a protein activated by vitamin D, which attaches itself to DNA and influences what proteins are made from an individual’s genetic code.

According to the study that was published in the journal Genome Research, the researchers found 2,776 binding sites for the vitamin D receptor along the length of the genome. These were unusually concentrated near a number of genes associated with susceptibility to autoimmune conditions such as MS, Crohn’s disease, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, and to cancers such as chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and colorectal cancer. They also showed vitamin D had a significant effect on the activity of 229 genes including IRF8, previously associated with MS, and PTPN2, associated with Crohn’s disease and type 1 diabetes.

“Our study shows quite dramatically the wide-ranging influence that vitamin D exerts over our health,” said Dr. Andreas Heger from the MRC Functional Genomics Unit at Oxford University, one of the lead authors of the study.

Sources: University of Oxford: Gene study supports link between vitamin D deficiency and disease

Source: http://www.foodproductdesign.com/news/2010/09/vitamin-d-influences-dna-disease-risk.aspx

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