Can Vitamin D Deficiency Contribute to Myopia?
April 5, 2011
Epidemiology studies have shown an association between time outside in the sun, and prevention of myopia (nearsightedness). Could it be because of the vitamin D that the body produces as a result of being outside?
When vitamin D enters the body, it carries out its effects by binding with the vitamin D receptor in the nucleus. The efficiency of this receptor is key in bringing about vitamin D’s benefits. Certain genetic factors can compromise the efficiency of the vitamin D receptor. One of those factors is the presence of SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms), point mutations which make up some of the natural variability in the human population and can often be associated with increased risk of various health issues.
New research recently uncovered an association between a certain SNP in the vitamin D receptor and moderate myopia in white adults. Those with low levels of myopia were associated with three different SNPs for the vitamin D receptor. This means that people with myopia may be unable to use vitamin D very efficiently, which would mimic the situation of someone who did not get enough vitamin D because they spent little time outside.
The exact connection between being able to use vitamin D efficiently, or getting more vitamin from the sun, and having better eyesight is not understood. But this new research provides evidence that such a connection does exist.
For the study abstract click here.
Risa Schulman, PhD
Expert, Healthy Food and Dietary Supplement Science, Marketing and Regulatory
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