People Lack Sufficient Sun Exposure And Vitamin
A new study indicates that a lack of
sunshine is not responsible for the lower vitamin D levels
observed in older, heavier, adults. Dr. Susan S. Harris of
Tufts University in Boston, one of the study's authors, told
Reuters Health that it appears to be more likely that the
excess fat itself prevents the nutrient from reaching the
While fatter people are known to have
less of the vitamin in their blood, the reasons why have not
been clear, Harris and her Tufts colleague Dr. Bess
Dawson-Hughes note in their report in The Journal of
Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. One possible
explanation has been that heavier people spend less time in
the sun or cover themselves up more.
"The idea is that somehow vitamin D is
getting trapped in fat tissue, so it's not available to the
blood for circulation," Harris explained, and this would
occur if vitamin D is consumed through diet and supplements,
as well as vitamin D made in the skin during sun exposure.
"In general, it seems that heavier people may need more
vitamin D, whether it's from more sun exposure or getting
more in the diet, because a given intake is not going to
lead to the same blood level."
The researchers analyzed information
on 381 men and women age 65 or older participating in a
study of calcium and vitamin D supplementation to prevent
bone loss. When people were divided into four groups based
on their body fat percentage, the researchers found no
difference among the groups in time spent outdoors, percent
of skin exposed to the sun, or sunscreen use. But they did
find that the people with the highest percentage of body fat
had 20-percent lower blood levels of vitamin D than those
with the least body fat.
Dr. Harris stated that low vitamin D
levels are common in the U.S., and are known to increase the
risk of osteoporosis. And an increasing number of chronic
conditions are being linked to deficiency in the
from The Journal of Clinical
Endocrinology & Metabolism as reported in Reuters Health
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