Mendelian randomization (MR) analyses from the West provide evidence that obesity causes lower 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D]. As Asian populations are prone to metabolic disorders at a lower body mass index (BMI), whether the association remains in Asian is unclear. We studied whether obesity causes vitamin D deficiency using MR analysis in Chinese.
We used data from the Guangzhou Biobank Cohort Study. A genetic score including seven BMI-related single-nucleotide polymorphisms (n = 15,249) was used as the instrumental variable (IV) for BMI. Two-stage least square regression and conventional multivariable linear regression in 2,036 participants with vitamin D data were used to analyze association of BMI with vitamin D.
Proportion of variation explained by the genetic score was 0.7% and the first stage F-statistic for MR analysis was 103. MR analyses showed that each 1 kg/m2 higher BMI was associated with lower 25(OH)D by −2.35 (95% confidence interval (CI) −4.68 to −0.02) nmol/L. In conventional multivariable linear regression, higher BMI was also associated with lower 25(OH)D (β = −0.26 nmol/L per 1 kg/m2 increase in BMI, 95% CI −0.46 to −0.06). Sensitivity analyses using two-sample IV analysis and leave-one-out method showed similar results.
We have first shown by MR and conventional multivariable linear regression that higher BMI causes vitamin D deficiency in Chinese. Our findings highlight the importance of weight control and suggest that vitamin D supplementation may be needed in individuals with overweight or obesity.
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Data that support findings are restricted to researchers who have permission from the Guangzhou Biobank Cohort Study, and so are not publicly available.
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The Guangzhou Biobank Cohort Study investigators include: Guangzhou Twelfth People’s Hospital: WSZ, M Cao, T Zhu, B Liu, CQJ (Co-PI); The University of Hong Kong: CM Schooling, SM McGhee, GM Leung, R Fielding, THL (Co-PI); The University of Birmingham: P Adab, GN Thomas, KKC (Co-PI).
This work was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81941019), the National Key R&D Program of China (2017YFC0907100), Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong (2018A030313140), the Guangzhou Science and Technology Bureau (201704030132), the Major Infectious Disease Prevention and Control of the National Science and Technique Major Project (2018ZX10715004) and the University of Birmingham, UK.
The authors declare no competing interests.
The Guangzhou Medical Ethics Committee of the Chinese Medical Association approved the study, including the use of genetic data.
Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
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Huang, Y.Y., Zhang, W.S., Jiang, C.Q. et al. Mendelian randomization on the association of obesity with vitamin D: Guangzhou Biobank Cohort Study. Eur J Clin Nutr (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41430-022-01234-y