People with pale skin may be unable to spend enough time in the sun to make enough vitamin D the body needs.
For those of you with fair skin (like me!), it seems like you can never go out into the sun without either a hat or protective clothing or enough sunscreen to cover a small army. Because people with pale skin are so prone to sunburn, they have another factor to worry about besides just keeping their skin protected: their vitamin D levels. According to new research published in Cancer Causes and Control, people with very pale skin may be unable to spend enough time in the sun without sunburning to make the amount of vitamin D the body needs.
Researchers took the vitamin D levels of about 1,200 people and found that around 730 people had a sub-optimal level. Those with fair-skin had significantly lower levels than those with darker skin. While there is no universally agreed optimal level of vitamin D, the study used a rate of at least 60nmol/L. To get to this level, many with fair skin and with melanoma would need to take vitamin D supplements.
During the vitamin D study, researchers also found that sunlight and supplements are not the only factors that can determine the level of vitamin D in a person's body. It seems that there are some inherited differences in the way people's bodies process vitamin D into the active form that also have an effect on people's vitamin D levels.
Do you take vitamin D supplements? If you're fair skinned, will you now? Tell us about it in the comments below!
Jennipher Walters is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites FitBottomedGirls.com and FitBottomedMamas.com. A certified personal trainer, lifestyle and weight management coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and regularly writes about all things fitness and wellness for various online publications.