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.
 
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