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Vitamin D deficiency can increase the risk of opioid addiction and UV addiction.

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Vitamin D deficiency can strongly exaggerate opioid cravings and opioid effects, increasing the risk of addiction and addiction, according to a new study led by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). The results of these surveys are Science AdvancesAddressing the common problem of vitamin D deficiency with cheap supplements suggests that it may play a role in combating the ongoing tragedy of opioid addiction.

Previous work by Dr. David E. Fischer, director of the Massachusetts Cancer Center’s Melanoma Program and director of the MGH Center for Dermatological Biology (CBRC), laid the foundation for current research. In 2007, Fisher and his team discovered something unexpected. When exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light (specifically, a form called UVB), the skin produces endorphins, a hormone chemically associated with morphine, heroin, and other opioids. All activate the same receptors in the brain. Subsequent studies by Fisher found that UV exposure increased endorphin levels in mice. Opioid Addiction.

Endorphins are sometimes called “feeling good” hormones because they provide a mild sense of well-being. Studies show that some people are urged to go to a sunbed or tanning salon that reflects the behavior of opioid addicts. Fisher and his colleagues speculated that people were looking for UVB because they were unknowingly anxious for endorphin rush. But that suggests a major contradiction. “Why do we evolve to behave behaviorally attracted to the most common carcinogens that exist?” Fisher asked. After all, sunburn is the leading cause of skin cancer, not to mention wrinkles and other skin damage.

Fisher says that the only explanation for why humans and other animals want the sun is that exposure to UV light is necessary for the production of vitamin D, which our bodies cannot form on their own. Vitamin D promotes the uptake of calcium, which is essential for bone formation. Due to the prehistoric movement of human tribes to the north, evolutionary changes may have been needed to get out of the cave and shine on very cold days. Otherwise, young children can die of long-term vitamin D deficiency (the cause of rickets), and weak bones can break and remain fragile when people escape from predators.

According to this theory, Fisher et al. Aimed to increase the synthesis of hormones for survival, sunbathing is caused by vitamin D deficiency, which also makes the body more sensitive to the effects of opioids. , Hypothesized that it could potentially contribute. To addiction. “Our goal in this study was to understand the relationship between vitamin D signaling in the body and UV and opioid-seeking behavior,” said Lajos V., lead author and postdoctoral fellow in dermatology. Kemény, postdoctoral fellow of medicine, said. At MGH.

In Science Advances Interdisciplinary teams from treatises, Fisher, Kemeny, and several institutions addressed the issue from a dual perspective. In one group of studies, they lacked normal laboratory mice and vitamin D. Mice were compared (by special reproduction or by removing vitamin D from the diet). “We have found that adjusting vitamin D levels alters multiple addictive behaviors for both UV and opioids,” says Kemény. Importantly, when mice were conditioned with moderate amounts of morphine, people deficient in vitamin D continued to look for drugs and behaved less commonly in normal mice. Morphine was discontinued. If so, mice with low vitamin D levels were much more likely to develop withdrawal symptoms.

The study also found that morphine functioned more effectively as an analgesic in vitamin D-deficient mice, that is, opioids showed an exaggerated response in these mice. Consider a surgical patient receiving morphine for control. Fisher says that if the patient is deficient in vitamin D, the euphoric effect of morphine can be exaggerated. “The person is more likely to become addicted.”

Laboratory data suggesting that vitamin D deficiency increases habitual behavior was supported by several accompanying analyzes of human health records. One is that patients with moderately low vitamin D levels are 50% more likely to use opioids than others with normal levels, and those with severe vitamin D deficiency are 90% more likely. Shown. Another analysis found that patients diagnosed with opioid use disorder (OUD) were more likely to be deficient in vitamin D than other patients.

Returning to the lab, Fisher says that one of the other important discoveries in this study could be significant. “Correcting vitamin D levels in deficient mice reversed the opioid response and returned to normal,” he says. Vitamin D deficiency is widespread in humans and can be safely and easily treated with low-cost dietary supplements. Further research is needed, but he thinks: vitamin D deficiency may offer new ways to reduce the risk of OUD and enhance existing treatments for the disorder. “Our results suggest that there may be opportunities to influence opioid epidemics in the field of public health,” says Fisher.


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For more information:
LV Kemény el al., “Vitamin D deficiency exacerbates UV / endorphin and opioid addiction”, Science Advances (2021). Advances.sciencemag.org/lookup… .1126 / sciadv.abe4577

Quote: Vitamin D deficiency may increase the risk of opioid and UV poisoning (11 June 2021) https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-06-vitamin-d-deficiency-addiction-opioids Obtained from .html on June 11, 2021

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Vitamin D deficiency can increase the risk of opioid addiction and UV addiction.

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