Manara - Qatar Research Repository
2 files

Tipping the Balance: Vitamin D Inadequacy in Children Impacts the Major Gut Bacterial Phyla

journal contribution
submitted on 2024-04-23, 09:22 and posted on 2024-04-23, 09:22 authored by Parul Singh, Arun Rawat, Marwa Saadaoui, Duaa Elhag, Sara Tomei, Mohammed Elanbari, Anthony K. Akobeng, Amira Mustafa, Ibtihal Abdelgadir, Sharda Udassi, Mohammed A. Hendaus, Souhaila Al Khodor

Vitamin D inadequacy appears to be on the rise globally, and it has been linked to an increased risk of osteoporosis, as well as metabolic, cardiovascular, and autoimmune diseases. Vitamin D concentrations are partially determined by genetic factors. Specific single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in genes involved in vitamin D transport, metabolism, or binding have been found to be associated with its serum concentration, and these SNPs differ among ethnicities. Vitamin D has also been suggested to be a regulator of the gut microbiota and vitamin D deficiency as the possible cause of gut microbial dysbiosis and inflammation. This pilot study aims to fill the gap in our understanding of the prevalence, cause, and implications of vitamin D inadequacy in a pediatric population residing in Qatar. Blood and fecal samples were collected from healthy subjects aged 4–14 years. Blood was used to measure serum metabolite of vitamin D, 25-hydroxycholecalciferol 25(OH)D. To evaluate the composition of the gut microbiota, fecal samples were subjected to 16S rRNA gene sequencing. High levels of vitamin D deficiency/insufficiency were observed in our cohort with 97% of the subjects falling into the inadequate category (with serum 25(OH)D < 75 nmol/L). The CT genotype in rs12512631, an SNP in the GC gene, was associated with low serum levels of vitamin D (ANOVA, p = 0.0356) and was abundant in deficient compared to non-deficient subjects. Overall gut microbial community structure was significantly different between the deficient (D) and non-deficient (ND) groups (Bray Curtis dissimilarity p = 0.049), with deficient subjects also displaying reduced gut microbial diversity. Significant differences were observed among the two major gut phyla, Firmicutes (F) and Bacteroidetes (B), where deficient subjects displayed a higher B/F ratio (p = 0.0097) compared to ND. Vitamin D deficient children also demonstrated gut enterotypes dominated by the genus Prevotella as opposed to Bacteroides. Our findings suggest that pediatric vitamin D inadequacy significantly impacts the gut microbiota. We also highlight the importance of considering host genetics and baseline gut microbiome composition in interpreting the clinical outcomes related to vitamin D deficiency as well as designing better personalized strategies for therapeutic interventions.

Other Information

Published in: Biomedicines
See article on publisher's website:



  • English



Publication Year

  • 2022

License statement

This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Institution affiliated with

  • Sidra Medicine
  • Hamad Bin Khalifa University
  • College of Health and Life Sciences - HBKU

Usage metrics

    College of Health and Life Sciences - HBKU



    Ref. manager