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Caucasians who avoid sun exposure more likely to be vitamin D deficient, Stanford study suggests
Date:11/3/2011

urvey collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2003 to 2006. The survey included questions about sun-protective behavior, inquiring whether respondents frequently wore long sleeves, hats and sunscreen, and whether they sought out shade on sunny days. It also included each respondent's race, as well as their blood levels of a form of vitamin D called 25-hydroxyvitamin D.

The researchers found that Caucasians who avoided the sun with clothing or stayed in the shade had blood levels of vitamin D that were about 3.5 and 2.2 nanograms per milliliter lower than those who did not report such behavior. In contrast, the association between sun avoidance and reductions in vitamin D levels in Hispanic or African-American survey-takers was not statistically significant. "This may be explained by the inherent pigmentation in darker skin, which acts as natural sun protection," said Linos. (The researchers did not analyze Asians as a separate group.)

The researchers considered any respondent with blood levels of 20 nanograms per milliliter or below to be vitamin D deficient because lower levels have been associated with adverse health outcomes. They found that although about 40 percent of all survey participants were vitamin D deficient, the prevalence increased to 53 and 56 percent among those who wore long sleeves and stayed in the shade. Whites who wore long sleeves and stayed in the shade were twice as likely to be deficient in the vitamin as those who did not (odds ratios of 2.16 and 2.11, respectively).

Race affects vitamin D production because of differences in skin pigmentation. Highly pigmented skin protects against ultraviolet rays, but also leads to lower overall baseline levels of vitamin D in the blood and frequent vitamin D deficiency. In the current study, African-Americans who rarely took sun-protective measures had an average vitamin D blood level of about 14.5 nanograms per milliliter. Hispanics who didn't avoid
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Contact: Krista Conger
kristac@stanford.edu
650-725-5371
Stanford University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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