Fair-skinned people `may need extra vitamin D`

Washington: Pale-skinned people who are prone to sunburn may need to take vitamin D supplements, according to a new research.

The researchers at the Leeds University say that those with very pale skin may be unable to spend enough time in the sun to make the amount of vitamin D the body needs while also avoiding sunburn.

Their study suggests patients with the skin cancer melanoma may in particular need vitamin D supplements.

The researchers, however, cautioned that sunlight and supplements are not the only factors that can determine the level of vitamin D in a person’s body.

The study defined the optimal amount of vitamin D required by the body as at least 60nmol/L.

However, at present there is no universally agreed standard definition of an optimal level of vitamin D.

“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,” Professor Julia Newton-Bishop, lead author of the study based in the Cancer Research UK Centre at the University of Leeds, said.

“This should be considered for fair-skinned people living in a mild climate like the UK and melanoma patients in particular,” she said.

Researchers took the vitamin D levels of around 1,200 people and found that around 730 people had a sub-optimal level.

They found that those with fair-skin had significantly lower levels.

The study is published in Cancer Causes and Control.


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