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African People Aren't Vitamin D Deficient

lvysaur

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This post is intended to debunk the common claim that people of African descent are severely low in vitamin D.

This is because vitamin D, like most hormones, has a binding globulin that attenuates its absorption. Estro/Androgens have SHBG. Vitamin D has vitamin D binding protein (VDBP). More VDBP makes Vitamin D less available.

Levels of VDBP are half as high in blacks as in whites (168 vs. 337 ug/mL)
79.4% of the variation in VDBP levels is due to 2 mutations, even discounting for race entirely.
Both of these mutations are nearly fixed (90%+) for pure Africans, but are less common (50-70%) in Indo-Caucasoids.

rs4588 - SNPedia
rs7041 - SNPedia
Vitamin D–Binding Protein and Vitamin D Status of Black Americans and White Americans
The Myth of chronic Black Vitamin D deficiency

Therefore, an African person with a vitamin D level that is 50% that of a white person, is nowhere nearly as bad as clinicians think--he might even be sufficient. However, a minority of Africans, a minority which gets larger among black Americans due to admixture, has the "Asian" phenotype of high VDBP, and would need higher D levels.

Also, low VDBP among Africans may pose challenges for winter vitamin D levels, as VDBP may act as a form of vitamin D "storage". Vitamin D usually can't be made in winter, regardless of skin color.

Dark-skinned NON-African people still have the Eurasian risk. For example, Southern Indian people have genotype frequencies that are similar to Arabs/Europeans, despite dark skin--meaning that these people have high VDBP and thus need higher D levels (just like Europeans) to compensate.
 
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lvysaur

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I should also add that West Eurasians still have a 50% and 70% incidence each of the low VDBP genes. So a huge amount of white people are also going to have the "African" phenotype, with low VDBP, "low" vitamin D levels, but actually sufficient vitamin D. It's hard to say exactly what portion of white people because I'm not totally sure about the heterozygotic effects, but it's at least 10% and at max 40% of whites.
 
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Great post, i’ve always wondered if they actually were deficient. That theory never fully made sense to me. Also 360 elephants just died in africa :/
 

lvysaur

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Great post, i’ve always wondered if they actually were deficient. That theory never fully made sense to me.

Right, and in addition around half of Europeans (and other non-Africans) have the same phenotype, and are actually vitamin D sufficient at levels that are considered deficient.

This might explain some of the issues people get when supplementing vitamin D. Unless you've checked yourself for these SNPs with a gene test, you have no idea what you are.
 
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Right, and in addition around half of Europeans (and other non-Africans) have the same phenotype, and are actually vitamin D sufficient at levels that are considered deficient.

This might explain some of the issues people get when supplementing vitamin D. Unless you've checked yourself for these SNPs with a gene test, you have no idea what you are.
I’ve never had my vitamin D measured
 

lvysaur

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I'm going to update this by quoting the paper directly:

The A allele at rs4588 was associated with higher vitamin D– binding protein levels in both blacks and whites after we accounted for the allele at rs7041. The polymorphisms at rs7041 and rs4588 had additive effects on vitamin D–binding protein concentrations (Table 2).

Genetic variants independently appeared to explain 79.4% of the variation in vitamin D–binding protein levels after we accounted for other factors. After genetic variants were taken into account, race appeared to explain less than 0.1% of the variation in vitamin D– binding protein levels.

Among all 1025 homozygous participants, calculated levels of bioavailable 25-hydroxyvitamin D were similar in blacks and whites (2.9±0.1 ng per milliliter and 3.1±0.1 ng per milliliter, respectively; P = 0.71)

Mean levels of vitamin D–binding protein were lower in blacks than in whites (vitamin D–binding protein, 168±3 μg per milliliter vs. 337±5 μg per milliliter

In other words, these two mutations will cause half as much D-binding-protein, and thus much more free D. These mutations are very common in Blacks, but also highly common in other pops, check out the SNPedia link in OP for more info.

If you have these mutations, a vitamin D level of 20 ng/mL is more than sufficient.
 
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RealNeat

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I'm going to update this by quoting the paper directly:







In other words, these two mutations will cause half as much D-binding-protein, and thus much more free D. These mutations are very common in Blacks, but also highly common in other pops, check out the SNPedia link in OP for more info.

If you have these mutations, a vitamin D level of 20 ng/mL is more than sufficient.
So can we assume then that Africans don't need to store because they have/ had plentiful access to sun, where as whiter folks need/ needed to store because of their winters. Hence the myriad of different readings in measuring the storage form instead of active but with varying consistency in what those readings actually mean in different people of different genetic polymorphisms?

Im trying to make some broader sense of it.

African women do present with more BV in the US one common theme that sticks out as a risk factor is lack of vitamin D.

would these people then have sufficient D a part of the year and insufficient the other part?
 

lvysaur

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So can we assume then that Africans don't need to store because they have/ had plentiful access to sun
No, counterintuitively. Indians have exactly the same genotype frequency as Europeans.
Additionally, Chinese have a frequency that is intermediate between Africans and Caucasoids.
would these people then have sufficient D a part of the year and insufficient the other part?

I was thinking about this, and it remains a possibility. But there are still other genes that simply increase vitamin D status regardless of sun intake.

rs7940244 for example, which was rapidly deselected in Europeans during agriculture twice--once during neolithic and once again after the Aryan invasions (late neolithic/bronze age Yamnaya). It bestows higher vitamin D levels (I'm not sure of the mechanism)
https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-l1YmSXd7yQA/VhlDdgADsfI/AAAAAAAAAx0/081XEAvT0PQ/s1600/pigmentation+Mathieson.jpg

This particular allele is highest in Africans/Indians, lowest in Europeans, intermediate in Chinese/Arabs, so this one is a classic skin color pattern. Of course there's an enigma here--why did these agricultural, presumably animal-starved populations develop a gene which causes LOWER vitamin D? Anyone's guess is as good as mine.
 
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You are overthinking this. VD supplementation is proven effective in all races and all genotypes for a lot of described conditions. It is not helpful to get in the weeds like this, with all these minutae and such imo. The headline is misleading uninformed people way too much.
 

Wen

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This kind of goes against the whole reason our skin colours are different in the first place. People are white because they need to get vitamin D from low light, people are black because they have an abundance of light all year round, thus easily gain vitamin D and need protection from the sun.
Additionally, Chinese have a frequency that is intermediate between Africans and Caucasoids.
Ok and what about Asians besides Chinese?
 

lvysaur

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People are white because they need to get vitamin D from low light
true
people are black because they have an abundance of light all year round, thus easily gain vitamin D and need protection from the sun.
false. People are black because sunlight depletes folate.
I guess maybe you might have meant that, but it was unclear from your words.
You are overthinking this. VD supplementation is proven effective in all races and all genotypes for a lot of described conditions. It is not helpful to get in the weeds like this, with all these minutae and such imo. The headline is misleading uninformed people way too much.
Has it been proven effective in Africans though? Other races don't matter, Eurasians are all similar. Dark skinned Indians, Latinos etc still need white levels of D, I don't dispute this.

my headline is still FAR less misleading than the standard "black people don't have enough D because of their skin". I think blacks could benefit from some vitamin D supplementation in the wintertime (just like everybody else), but overall having 1/2 as much D as whites works out fine for them.
 

Wen

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false. People are black because sunlight depletes folate.
I guess maybe you might have meant that, but it was unclear from your words.
That's the mechanism behind being black, but the real reason nature makes people black is the same as the reason people are white..it's about sun protection and vitamin D absorption. It's the same reason a white person turns dark in the sun, it's because they are getting enough vitamin D and need to start protecting themselves from the sun.

You are overthinking this. VD supplementation is proven effective in all races and all genotypes for a lot of described conditions. It is not helpful to get in the weeds like this, with all these minutae and such imo. The headline is misleading uninformed people way too much.
True. Black people may not be as low in vitamin D as we think but it stands to reason they would be lower in vitamin D living like somewhere like Scotland for instance rather than Africa. If they could get the same amount of vitamin D by being black in Scotland then Scottish people wouldn't need to be white in Scotland...
 
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lvysaur

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That's the mechanism behind being black, but the real reason nature makes people black is the same as the reason people are white..it's about sun protection and vitamin D absorption. It's the same reason a white person turns dark in the sun, it's because they are getting enough vitamin D and need to start protecting themselves from the sun.
It's more about Folate conservation. The other two are secondary.

If they could get the same amount of vitamin D by being black in Scotland then Scottish people wouldn't need to be white in Scotland...
This assumes that African ethnic groups and Scottish aren't separated by 50,000+ years of unique selection and unique migratory events.
 

Wen

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This assumes that African ethnic groups and Scottish aren't separated by 50,000+ years of unique selection and unique migratory events.
Lol I'm not suggesting Black people would turn white the minute they got to Scotland. What are you saying, over a long period of time, Scottish people turned white just to look like ghosts? Nothing to do with sun protection of vitamin D absorption... You already admitted white people are white because they don't need so much protection from the sun and need to absorb more vitamin D....but black people aren't black for the opposite reason....???

That's exactly the reason black people don't get enough vitamin D living in places like Scotland because they don't have countless years adapting their skin colour to compensate. Think about it, if black didn't need to be white to get enough vitamin D in Scotland.....then Scottish people wouldn't need to be white...

You're also yet to explain this ridiculous statement "Chinese have a frequency that is intermediate between Africans and Caucasoids." It's Chinese, African and American, or Mongoloid/Asian/Yellow, Negroid/Black and Caucasoid/White.... Learn the difference between nationality and race.
 
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Missenger

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Race is skull shape and facial features, skin color can contribute I guess but it's secondary.
 

Wen

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Race is skull shape and facial features, skin color can contribute I guess but it's secondary.
So you think this is a fair separation of 'races': 'Chinese, Africans and Caucasoids' ?

Not sure who you're talking to anyway since nobody here said it was merely skin colour. I stated it should be this "Mongoloid/Asian/Yellow, Negroid/Black and Caucasoid/White".
 

Missenger

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So you think this is a fair separation of 'races': 'Chinese, Africans and Caucasoids' ?

Not sure who you're talking to anyway since nobody here said it was merely skin colour. I stated it should be this "Mongoloid/Asian/Yellow, Negroid/Black and Caucasoid/White".
Tell me why there are lighter mexicans then, Indians, etc. Are they all caucasoid too? Admixtures? I'm sure you're quite aware of albino comparisons with Africans, the discussion just isn't that terribly interesting.
 
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Wen

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Tell me why there are lighter mexicans then, Indians, etc. Are they all caucasoid too? Admixtures?
If they're caucasoid then they're all caucasoid. Not sure what you even want to say, or to whom?
I'm sure you're quite aware of albino comparisons with Africans, the discussion just isn't that terribly interesting.
Yes there are many caucasoid Africans, like Charlize Theron. Really NO idea what you want to say here. I already stated nobody said race was only about skin colour.

So far we have this:

Nobody:....
You: Race is not only about skin colour.

Then I asked you a direct question which you've as yet to answer.
 

Perry Staltic

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Not sure I understand or agree with the conclusion being made. Just because vitD is bound to VDBP transport proteins doesn't mean that it's never bioavailable. As I understand it, free serum vitD is maintained at a very tight level (< 1%) with any surplus stored in VDBP (~85%) and albumin (~15%), and vitD is released from VDBP in the kidneys when needed. I'm not sure how vitD is released from albumin, but maybe the same because VDBP is an albumin.

A vitD test measures free and albumin-bound vitD, but not VDBP-bound vitD, so I don't understand how blacks testing insufficient/deficient for vitD and having 0.5 as much VDBP means they have sufficient vitD.
 
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Giraffe

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This is because vitamin D, like most hormones, has a binding globulin that attenuates its absorption. Estro/Androgens have SHBG. Vitamin D has vitamin D binding protein (VDBP). More VDBP makes Vitamin D less available.

Vitamin D is hydrophobic as are thyroid hormones. You may want to look at this thread:

 
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