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The Eurasian lactase persistence variant LCT-13910 C/T is associated with vitamin D levels in individuals living at high latitude, more so than exposure to sunlight

  • Amir Moghaddam (a1)

Abstract

Rapid selection of a genetic variant that confers continuous life-long lactase production in Europeans (LCT-13910 C/T) has been attributed to the advantages of acquiring nutrients from consuming milk without the disadvantages of lactose malabsorption. Individuals with this genetic lactase persistence (LP) variant generally consume more milk and have been shown to have higher levels of serum vitamin D. Vitamin D is the principal regulator of Ca absorption and its synthesis in skin is dependent on UVB exposure. The primary aim of the present study was to compare serum vitamin D concentrations with LP variant and to control for UVB exposure. Data from over 100 000 individuals living in Norway, a country with low UVB exposure, was retrospectively retrieved for comparison of genetic LP variant, serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentration and the time of year when serum samples were taken. For comparison, a similar analysis was performed with a natural dairy micronutrient, namely vitamin B12. It was found that individuals with the genetic LP variant had considerably higher levels of serum 25(OH)D (P < 2 × 10−16, Cohen's d = 0·73) but lower levels of vitamin B12 (P < 2 × 10−16, Cohen's d = 0·11), compared with genetic lactase non-persistent individuals, even when controlled for seasonality, age and sex. The difference in serum 25(OH)D levels did not diminish in summer months, showing the role of vitamin D in LP variant selection in areas of low UVB irradiation. LP variant selection advantage through acquiring another dairy micronutrient, vitamin B12, was not observed.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the same Creative Commons licence is included and the original work is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use.

Corresponding author

Corresponding author: Amir Moghaddam, fax +47 22909606, email amoghaddam@furst.no

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Keywords

The Eurasian lactase persistence variant LCT-13910 C/T is associated with vitamin D levels in individuals living at high latitude, more so than exposure to sunlight

  • Amir Moghaddam (a1)

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