Many Black Women Don't Get Enough Vitamin D
It's essential for bone health and pregnant women
THURSDAY, June 20, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- Vitamin D deficiency is 10 times more common in black women than white women, says a study in the July issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
From 1988 to 1994, researchers examined 1,546 black women and 1,426 white women aged 15 to 49 years. None of them was pregnant.
The researchers found that living in cities increased skin melanin with low rates of casual sunlight exposure, and not eating enough fortified milk or cereal all contributed to the low vitamin D levels in black women.
They also found that 10 percent to 30 percent of black women in the study who got adequate amounts of vitamin C from supplements had a vitamin D deficiency. The researchers say that may indicate the standard "200-400 IU/day of vitamin D in most vitamin supplements may not be sufficient for these women."
Vitamin D is essential for skeletal health. Low vitamin D levels in pregnancy may cause the fetus to receive inadequate amounts of vitamin D from the mother.
An accompanying editorial in the journal says adequate levels of vitamin D may lessen the risk of some cancers, Type I diabetes and possibly multiple sclerosis. The editorial suggests that people who don't get enough sunlight should take supplements that provide 800 to 1,000 IU/day of vitamin D.
To learn more about vitamin D, visit the National Institutes of Health.