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Genetic factors influence vitamin D status during winter months

Category: Vitamin D Deficiency-Diagnosis and Treatment

Individuals who have family members that have shown signs of nutrient deficiencies may want to consider vitamin D testing. Recent research has shown that genetic factors play an important role in the body's levels of the nutrient during the winter months.

In recent years, study after study has found new benefits from high levels of vitamin D. However, due to the fact that it is produced in the skin following exposure to the sun, levels generally drop during the winter. According to the new study, this is particularly true for individuals of a certain genotype.

After examining the vitamin D status of twins living in separate cities, the investigators found that exposure to sunlight during the winter months play only a small role in individuals' levels. Instead, they found that pairs of twins tended to have roughly the same levels, indicating a genetic component to vitamin D status.

"Over the past couple decades, nutrition scientists have discovered that maintaining optimal vitamin D status is important for much more than keeping our bones strong," said Shelly McGuire, spokesperson for the American Society of Nutrition. "This study suggests that, whereas genetic differences impact winter vitamin D status, lifestyle choices and sun exposure predominant in the summer months."

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