Vitamin D-rich marine Inuit diet and markers of inflammation – a population-based survey in Greenland

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L K Schæbel, E C Bonefeld-Jørgensen, P Laurberg, H Vestergaard, S Andersen

The traditional Inuit diet in Greenland consists mainly of fish and marine mammals, rich in vitamin D. Vitamin D has anti-inflammatory capacity but markers of inflammation have been found to be high in Inuit living on a marine diet. Yet, the effect of vitamin D on inflammation in Inuit remains unsettled. This led us to investigate the association between vitamin D and markers of inflammation in a population with a high intake of a marine diet. We studied 535 Inuit and non-Inuit living in West and East Greenland. Information concerning dietary habits was obtained by interview-based FFQ. Blood samples were drawn for analysis of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) and chitinase-3-like protein 1(YKL-40). Participants were divided into three groups based on degree of intake of the traditional Inuit diet. The diet groups (Inuit diet/mixed diet/imported foods) were associated with vitamin D levels in serum (74·2, 69·8 and 52·9 nm; P < 0·001), hsCRP (1·6, 1·4 and 1·3 mg/l; P = 0·002) and YKL-40 (130, 95 and 61 ng/ml; P < 0·001), respectively. YKL-40 level decreased with rising vitamin D level in Inuit (Inuit diet P = 0·002; mixed diet P = 0·011). YKL-40 was lower in groups with higher vitamin D levels after adjusting for other factors known to influence inflammation (P < 0·001). This was not seen for hsCRP. In conclusion, vitamin D and markers of inflammation vary in parallel with the intake of the marine Inuit diet. Vitamin D levels were inversely associated with YKL-40 levels, but no association with hsCRP was found. The hypothesised anti-inflammatory effect of vitamin D was not supported. Other factors in the marine diet may be speculated to influence inflammation.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere40
JournalJournal of Nutritional Science
Volume4
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
ISSN2048-6790
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015

ID: 152995173