(NaturalNews) Vitamin D has been hailed for its unique ability to dramatically lower the risk of many forms of cancer, and has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and dementia. As these chronic diseases combine to be the leading causes of death for the vast majority of adults, it likely comes as no surprise that the sunshine vitamin can extend lifespan by ameliorating the detrimental effects of many common and often fatal illnesses.
Researchers from the University Medical Center in the Netherlands have published the result of their study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal detailing how suboptimal levels of vitamin D may be associated with decreased longevity, according to a study involving middle-aged children of people in their 90s. The authors noted "We found that familial longevity was associated with lower levels of vitamin D and a lower frequency of allelic variation in the CYP2R1 gene, which was associated with higher levels of vitamin D."
Vitamin D works at the genetic level to lower the incidence of mutations and improve cellular replication. To determine the association between vitamin D levels and longevity, scientists reviewed data from 380 white families with at least two siblings over the age of 90 (89 years or older for men and 91 year or older for women) in the long running Dutch Longevity Study. The study examined siblings and their offspring for a total of 1,038 offspring and 461 controls.
Vitamin D metabolism is genetically controlled, but can be influenced by healthy lifestyle
Researchers tested vitamin D saturation levels using the standard 25(OH)D blood test and categorized the participants by time of month and blood measurement (noting that blood levels vary widely between Summer and Winter months). The researchers controlled for age, gender, BMI, time of year, vitamin supplementation and kidney function, all factors that can influence vitamin D levels. They also looked at the influence of genetic variation in three genes associated with vitamin D levels.
The study authors determined that the active mechanism that converts ultraviolet rays from the sun into vitamin D3 through the skin is likely a genetic function that runs in families. The authors concluded "We found that the offspring of nonagenarians who had at least 1 nonagenarian sibling had lower levels of vitamin D than controls... we also found that the offspring had a lower frequency of common genetic variants in the CYP2R1 gene; a common genetic variant of this gene predisposes people to high vitamin D levels."
Naturally, we cannot control our inherited genetic structure, but we can influence genetic expression through dietary and lifestyle interventions, including supplementing with vitamin D3 and checking vitamin D blood levels biannually (maintaining 50 to 70 ng/mL blood saturation levels) to lower risk of early mortality.
About the author: John Phillip is a Certified Nutritional Consultant and Health Researcher and Author who writes regularly on the cutting edge use of diet, lifestyle modifications and targeted supplementation to enhance and improve the quality and length of life. John is the author of 'Your Healthy Weight Loss Plan', a comprehensive EBook explaining how to use Diet, Exercise, Mind and Targeted Supplementation to achieve your weight loss goal. Visit My Optimal Health Resource to continue reading the latest health news updates, and to download your copy of 'Your Healthy Weight Loss Plan'.