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    Researchers reject vitamin D role in macular degeneration

    Vitamin D does not appear to play a role age-related macular degeneration (AMD), researchers say.

    Analyzing data from the European Eye Study, Gareth J. McKay, PhD, of Queen’s University in Belfast, United Kingdom, and colleagues in 7 countries in Europe found no meaningful association between serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D (25(OH)D) and AMD. They published the finding in Ophthalmology.

    Though they identified an association between vitamin D deficiency and neovascular AMD, the researchers discounted it because of the possibility of confounding factors.

    Vitamin D plays a vital role in multiple systems, including calcium homeostasis, immune response and insulin metabolism. 

    Human skin produces the vitamin after exposure to ultraviolet B light, and it is found in a few foods, most notably oily fish. 

    However, many Europeans do not spend a significant amount of time in sunlight or eat significant amounts of fish, and about 13% are deficient in 25(OH)D, the researchers wrote.

    Genetic factors, can also influence serum vitamin D levels; previous research has identified single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in several genes related to uptake and metabolism of the nutrient.

    Researchers have speculated that vitamin D supplements might reduce the risk of many diseases. While the evidence has been mixed, some studies, including meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials, have suggested it can reduce all-cause mortality.

    It is thought that vitamin D could affect AMD because it has anti-inflammatory effects and AMD results from inflammation. Also, vitamin D may reduce the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, both of which increase the risk of AMD.

    Mixed research

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