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One size doesn't fit all for vitamin D and men
Date:9/20/2011

CHICAGO --- African-American men living in areas with low sunlight are up to 3 times more likely to have Vitamin D deficiency than Caucasian men and should take high levels of Vitamin D supplements, according to a new study from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

"This study shows that the current one-size fits all recommendations for 600 International Units (IU) of Vitamin D don't work," said Adam Murphy, M.D., a clinical instructor in urology at Northwestern's Feinberg School. "Skin color and sunlight exposure need to be considered for recommended daily allowances of Vitamin D."

Vitamin D deficiency causes brittle bones and has been linked to such diseases as prostate cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

African-American men have lower levels of Vitamin D because the increased melanin in darker skin blocks the ultraviolet rays necessary for the body to produce the vitamin, Murphy said. Thus, African-American men require up to six times more sun exposure than Caucasian men to make adequate Vitamin D levels.

"It takes a dark-skinned male like myself 90 minutes three times a week to absorb enough sunlight to produce the recommended amount of Vitamin D compared to just 15 minutes three times a week for a Caucasian male," said the Chicago-based Murphy, who also is a physician at Jesse Brown VA Medical Center.

African-American men living in Chicago would need to take nearly 2,500 IU's of Vitamin D to reach normal, healthy levels, Murphy said.

Murphy, who presented the research at the American Association of Cancer Researchers Health Disparities Conference in Washington, D.C., collaborated on the study with Rick Kittles, associate professor of medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation department of urology.

The Institute of Medicine recommends adults and children take 600 International IUs of Vitamin D d
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Contact: Marla Paul
marla-Paul@northwestern.edu
312-503-8928
Northwestern University
Source:Eurekalert

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