A new study conducted at Novato’s Buck Institute for Research on Aging found that vitamin D extends the lifespan of roundworms by up to 40%.
Caenorhabditis elegans roundworms (c. elegans) are one of the smallest, simplest organisms containing a central nervous system. These worms contain approximately 284 vitamin D receptors with the same structure as the vitamin D receptors present in humans.
Due to these innate qualities, C. elegans are widely used as a model system for developmental biology and aging. Recently, Karla Mark, a postdoctoral researcher working at Gordon Lithgow’s lab at Novato’s Buck Institute for Research on Aging, has been studying the effects of vitamin D supplementation in C. elegans roundworms.
She found that vitamin D3 extends the median lifespan in the roundworms by 30 to 40 percent. Mark’s team successfully replicated these findings in three separate experiments in the lab.
Currently, she is writing an article to report their findings, which will be submitted to scientific journals.
“If you feed the worms vitamin D, they can metabolize this to the bioactive form (1,25OH2D). They don’t have to get sunlight… The bioactive form of vitamin D binds to receptors in every cell in the body.”
In the future, Mark hopes to identify the exact location of where the vitamin D binds to its receptors.