Monday, May 31, 2010

Sunscreen and vitamin D deficiency

I'm not one to lay out in the sun and I only tend to wear sunscreen on my face, which seems to be a good thing.

Studies have shown that people who always wear sunscreen often suffer from vitamin D deficiency.  Vitamin D is needed for absorption and utilization of calcium and phosphorus in the body -- both also essential to the health of the skeleton.

I was surprised to find that many black people suffer from vitamin D deficiency, but it turns out that black skin produces less vitamin D than light skin.  I'm not sure that it is needed for us to wear head to toe sunscreen all of the time. In this day and age it seems that people are especially concerned with protecting the skin of their children.  If they do not burn easily and will not be out in direct sunlight for prolonged periods of time, it may do them some good to let the go outside with out it, at least from time to time.

I have not heard that sunscreen is harmful, but when I read the ingredients I am pretty weary of covering myself with it, even though I will continue to use it on my face when I go in the sun for long periods of time.

Dark skin: Dark skin produces less vitamin D than light skin. The risk of vitamin D deficiency is especially high in dark-skinned people who live far from the equator. In the U.S., 42% of African American women between 15 and 49 years of age were vitamin D deficient compared to 4% of white women. The problem is more severe in persons of African origin who live in Canada
Vitamin D deficiency can be serious if untreated, because it can lead to a variety of conditions, diseases and disorders. These include rickets, osteomalacia (adult rickets) and osteoporosis. Complications of vitamin D deficiency include bone fractures and disability. Current research suggests that vitamin D deficiency may also be linked to the development of hypertension, depression, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and an increased risk of cancer.