Posted on Oct 28, 2011, 6 a.m.
New research suggests that people with very pale skin may need to take supplementary vitamin D in order to produce adequate amounts of the nutrient.
New research suggests that people with very pale skin are unable to produce adequate amounts of vitamin D without getting sunburnt. Professor Julia Newton-Bishop, lead author of the study based in the Cancer Research UK Centre at the University of Leeds, and colleagues established the vitamin D levels of around 1,200 people. The researchers defined the optimal amount of vitamin D required by the body as at least 60nmol/L, partly because there is evidence that levels lower than this may be linked to greater risk of heart disease and poorer survival from breast cancer. Results showed that 730 people had a sub-optimal level, and that those with fair-skin had significantly lower levels of the vitamin. Professor Newton-Bishop concluded: "Fair-skinned individuals who burn easily are not able to make enough vitamin D from sunlight and so may need to take vitamin D supplements.”
JR Davies, YM Chang, H Snowden, M chan, S Leake, B Karpavicius, et al. The determinants of serum vitamin D levels in participants in a melanoma case–control study living in a temperate climate. Cancer Causes and control. 2001;22:1471-1482.