Genetic Variant and Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Macular Degeneration

scientific researchWomen with specific genes may be more likely to develop age-related macular degeneration (AMD) if they are deficient in Vitamin D, according to new research in JAMA Ophthalmology.

The genetic variant (Y402H) studied is the complement factor H gene, called CFH for short. The genes in question are related to the immune system. The development of macular degeneration is believed to involve inflammation. In AMD, drusen, lipids (fats) and proteins build up in the eye. The body perceives the drusen to be an invader and attacks it. The genes appear to cause a stronger immune response.

The study looked at the incidence of AMD in women with the gene variant and low vitamin D levels, compared to women without the gene variant and with normal vitamin D levels. They found the women in the first group were 6.7 times more likely to have AMD.
These research results do not prove causation, only association. They do not imply that overcompensating with large doses of vitamin D supplementation will prevent macular denegation. What the research could mean is that people with the gene variant should make sure they have adequate levels of vitamin D. This vitamin is manufactured by the body with a daily exposure to sunlight for a quarter of an hour to a half hour per day (with 10% of the skin exposed). However, in northern climates of the US, this is insufficient due to the angle of the sun. Nutritional sources of vitamin D include typical milk, which is fortified, and fatty fish. Vitamin D levels can be tested in the blood. If a deficiency is detected, supplementation can be prescribed.

Next: Nutritional support, diet, & lifestyle tips for macular degeneration.

Study:  Association Between Vitamin D Status and Age-Related Macular Degeneration by Genetic Risk by Amy E. Millen et. al. JAMA Ophthalmol. Published online August 27, 2015. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2015.2715

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Genetics and Vitamin D Linked to Macular Degeneration
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Women with specific genes may be more likely to develop age-related macular degeneration (AMD) if they are deficient in Vitamin D, according to new research in JAMA Ophthalmology.
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This entry was posted in Genetics research, Macular Degeneration, Research, Vitamin D on by .

About Marc_Grossman

Marc Grossman, Doctor of Optometry and New York State Licensed Acupuncturist, is a holistic eye doctor and co-author of a number of books on natural vision care. Since 1980 Dr. Grossman has been helped many people maintain healthy vision and even improve eyesight. He is dedicated to providing information to those with conditions ranging from myopia and dry eyes to potentially vision threatening diseases such as macular degeneration and glaucoma. His combined multi-disciplinary approach using nutrition, eye exercises, lifestyle changes and Chinese Medicine provides him with a wide array of tools and approaches with which to tackle difficult eye problems.