Genetically determined vitamin D levels do not have a major influence on the risk of type 1 diabetes in Europeans. This is according to a study published on February 25, 2021 in the open access journal PLOS Medicine by Despoina Manousaki of the CHU Sainte Justine and the University of Montreal. Canada and colleagues.
Type 1 diabetes is a relatively common autoimmune disease that causes significant lifelong illness and economic burden. The incidence is increasing worldwide and there are no known interventions that can prevent the disease. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to type 1 diabetes in observational studies, but there is no evidence of a causal effect from randomized controlled trials. In the new study, researchers used a Mendelian randomization design to test whether genetically decreased vitamin D levels increase the risk of type 1 diabetes. Mendelian randomization is a method of using the measured variation in disease-related genes to investigate the causal effect of exposure on a disease. Mendel’s two-sample randomization study included a genome-wide vitamin D association study (GWAS) with 443,734 Europeans and a type 1 diabetes GWAS with 9,358 cases and 15,705 controls.
The results do not support a major influence of vitamin D levels on the risk of type 1 diabetes (odds ratio: 1.09, 95% confidence interval: 0.86-1.40, p = 0.48). However, there may be lesser effects and the results may not be applicable to non-European populations. The results suggest that the earlier epidemiological links between vitamin D and type 1 diabetes could be due to confounding factors such as latitude and exposure to sunlight. Dr. Manousaki: “Our results do not support a major effect of vitamin D levels on type 1 diabetes, but there may be minor effects that we have not been able to demonstrate. Until further evidence from large RCTs, we cannot suggest the use of vitamin D supplements as a strategy for preventing type 1 diabetes in people at risk, such as siblings or offspring of people with type 1 diabetes. “
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