Summary of VDR

The VDR gene provides instructions for making a protein called vitamin D receptor (VDR), which allows the body to respond appropriately to vitamin D. This vitamin can be acquired from foods in the diet or made in the body with help from sunlight. Vitamin D is involved in maintaining the proper balance of several minerals in the body, including calcium and phosphate, which are essential for the normal formation of bones and teeth. One of vitamin D's major roles is to control the absorption of calcium and phosphate from the intestines into the bloodstream. Vitamin D is also involved in several process unrelated to bone formation.

VDR attaches (binds) to the active form of vitamin D, known as calcitriol. This interaction allows VDR to partner with another protein called retinoid X receptor (RXR). The resulting complex of proteins then binds to particular regions of DNA, known as vitamin D response elements, and regulates the activity of vitamin D-responsive genes. By turning these genes on or off, VDR helps control calcium and phosphate absorption and other processes. Although the mechanism is not completely understood, VDR is also involved in hair growth. Studies suggest that this process does not require calcitriol binding.

Read: The Surprising Truth About Supplemental Vitamin D3

The Benefits of The Vitamin D Receptor

In order to get the benefits of vitamin D3, it needs to work by eventually activating the VDR. Vitamin D has a potent anti-inflammatory role.  It is particularly good for Th1 and Th17 dominant people.  At the same time, it boosts the immune system in some ways. Vitamin D and a proper functioning VDR helps protects against:

  • Osteoporosis (R)
  • Cancer (R)
  • Diabetes (R) “ Type 1 and 2 (R)
  • Heart disease (R)
  • Neurological diseases (R)
  • Psoriasis (R)
  • Infections (R)
  • Multiple sclerosis (R)
  • Asthma (R)
  • Sun damage (R)
  • Kidney inflammation and kidney disease death. (It should lower your creatinine levels.)  (R)
  • High Blood Pressure (Decreases Renin/angiotensin system). (R)
  • Lupus/SLE (R)
  • Arthritis (R)
  • Scleroderma (R)
  • Sarcoidosis (R)
  • Sjogren's (R)
  • Autoimmune thyroid disease (Hashimotos, Graves) (R)
  • Ankylosing spondylitis (R)
  • Reiter's syndrome (R)
  • Uveitis (R)

The most popular benefits for vitamin D3 involve its role in bone health. Low blood levels of vitamin D3 are associated with lower bone density (R).

Clinical trials have shown that Calcitriol is helpful for people with lower bone density (R). VDR activation induces the expression of liver and intestinal phase I detox enzymes (e.g., CYP2C9 and 3A4) that play major roles in metabolizing drugs and toxins (R).

The Vitamin D Receptor is important for hair growth and loss of VDR is associated with hair loss in experimental animals (R). The VDR regulates the intestinal transport of calcium, Iron and other minerals (R).

Calcitriol/VDR increases dopamine by increasing the enzyme that limits the rate of step for dopamine production (tyrosine hydroxylase) (R). Calcitriol increases glial-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) (in vitro), which protects dopamine neurons.  

Researchers hypothesize that inadequate levels of circulating vitamin D could lead to parkinsonian disorders (R). Active D has beneficial effects in cancer, especially breast, prostate and lung cancers (R).

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Protein names

Recommended name:

Vitamin D3 receptor

Short name:


Alternative name(s):

1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 receptor
Nuclear receptor subfamily 1 group I member 1

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Top Gene-Substance Interactions

VDR Interacts with These Diseases


Substances That Increase VDR

Substances That Decrease VDR

Advanced Summary

Conditions with Increased Gene Activity

Conditions with Decreased Gene Activity