Skip to comments.One size doesn't fit all for vitamin D and men
Posted on 09/20/2011 12:23:08 PM PDT by decimon
African-American men in northern regions especially need high doses of supplements
CHICAGO --- African-American men living in areas with low sunlight are up to 3 ½ times more likely to have Vitamin D deficiency than Caucasian men and should take high levels of Vitamin D supplements, according to a new study from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
"This study shows that the current one-size fits all recommendations for 600 International Units (IU) of Vitamin D don't work," said Adam Murphy, M.D., a clinical instructor in urology at Northwestern's Feinberg School. "Skin color and sunlight exposure need to be considered for recommended daily allowances of Vitamin D."
Vitamin D deficiency causes brittle bones and has been linked to such diseases as prostate cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
African-American men have lower levels of Vitamin D because the increased melanin in darker skin blocks the ultraviolet rays necessary for the body to produce the vitamin, Murphy said. Thus, African-American men require up to six times more sun exposure than Caucasian men to make adequate Vitamin D levels.
"It takes a dark-skinned male like myself 90 minutes three times a week to absorb enough sunlight to produce the recommended amount of Vitamin D compared to just 15 minutes three times a week for a Caucasian male," said the Chicago-based Murphy, who also is a physician at Jesse Brown VA Medical Center.
African-American men living in Chicago would need to take nearly 2,500 IU's of Vitamin D to reach normal, healthy levels, Murphy said.
Murphy, who presented the research at the American Association of Cancer Researchers Health Disparities Conference in Washington, D.C., collaborated on the study with Rick Kittles, associate professor of medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation department of urology.
The Institute of Medicine recommends adults and children take 600 International IUs of Vitamin D daily, but Murphy says that's way too low.
All men living in the northern third of the country "from Northern California all the way to Virginia" need to increase their Vitamin D supplementation, Murphy said. But the amount likely varies by region because Chicago residents, for example, aren't outdoors as much as those who live in Washington or California.
For the study, blood samples were collected from 492 men ages 40 to 79 from three Chicago urology clinics along with demographic and medical information such as body mass index, skin melanin content, sunlight exposure and Vitamin D intake. In the study, 63 percent of African-American men were Vitamin D deficient compared to 18 percent of Caucasian men using the Institute of Medicine minimum recommendation of 20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) of Vitamin D. African-American heritage, a high body mass index and lack of Vitamin D supplementation all were associated with Vitamin D deficiency.
Using the commonly used 30 ng/ml deficiency cutoff, 93 percent of African-American men were deficient in Vitamin D compared to 69.7 percent of Caucasian men.
Researchers found African-American men had an average of 17.2 ng/ml of Vitamin D in their blood serum, which is below the Institute of Medicine minimum recommendation. "When Vitamin D levels in the bloodstream are less than 20 ng/ml the bone starts to become brittle in adults and in kids it causes rickets," Murphy said.
Caucasian men had an average level of 24.2 units of Vitamin D in their blood.
A future study will look at Vitamin D levels in Hispanic and Asian men.
The study was funded by the United States Department of Defense and the National Cancer Institute.
I guess I’d better get the older kids tanked up on vitamin D. All day in school and all afternoon playing video games doesn’t leave them much time for a sunlight-based D infusion.
That might explain why MS and RA (and possibly the other diseases mentioned) is more common in northerly latitutdes.
I think that's right idea. The more I've thought about the opportunities to make natural vitamin D, the more I've thought that most of us don't.
My dad has MS so I’ve been doing a lot of reading on it. Some research indicates it occurs in clusters, while other research refutes this. Raw data isn’t available to make my own determination as versed as I would prefer. However, I lean toward the cluster argument. This would indicate environmental factors more specific than just latitude; however, it could be a localized issue in combination with latitude. Definitely something to consider.
Likely so. But I don't think that people in the southern states should be sanguine. Variables include time of day, time of year, cloud cover...all kinds of stuff.
I wonder if there isn’t a need for a bit more definition around the term” Caucasian” in this specific context. I am a very light skinned redhead of Scottish and Irish descent. My good friend is a very dark skinned man of Sicilian descent. We are both considered caucasian. Growing up we would spend the summers outside and I would easily burn while he never did. I am certain I can out-produce almost anyone in terms of turning sunlight into vitamin D. I would wager that I can come close to overdosing on vitamin D with normal sun exposure.
So it turns out that the Sun is racist.
Dr in Alaska recomended 5000 units a day up here. So its not really a race based thing as the article leans towards.
I think everyone should be taking 2000 to 4000 vitamin D daily, this study is a bit behind the curve, those blood levels are low for blacks and whites.
I recently discovered I had a deteriorated hip. Long term back problems over 30 years but I never linked the two. A bone scan determined no osteoarthritis but a slight bone lose due to no activity for over 18 months. Anterior hip replacement 3 weeks ago and extreme vitamin D and calcium enriched foods along with vitamin regiment and I have beautiful healed bones. A text book case on digital X-rays. Either there has been a miracle or my regiment worked. Also, I’m up and walking without a cane. I strongly recommend Vitamin D and Calcium no matter how you get it!
Regarding the Miracle, maybe I received both. Not to mention an extraordinarily talented Orthopedic Surgeon!
Darn, lose = loss
Please read my post below. Phsst!
Great story and I’m glad you’re doing well.
Yup. My ancestry is Italian, German (PA Dutch mostly), Irish, Scottish, and other things in that order. I have a slightly olive-ish skin tone and I tan pretty dark, but nobody would mistake me for anything but a white guy. That said, I’ve met blacks (usually mixed), Asians, and Native Americans lighter skinned than me, so race isn’t the best descriptor for this study, probably just “skin tone” overall would be more useful.
My DIL decided there was too much sickness last year and asked about Vitamin D. They were told it was something to look into and she is finally getting around to it after last winters numerous bouts with colds.
I sent her about 6 Free Republic threads and a link or two so she can see the broad picture.
The question arose however, what about kids? She says young kids need chewy stuff and don’t do well with gel caps. She says her 5 yo is probably ok because his daily supplement has some. I doubt the jellies he takes actually has enough. Being the vector for bringing home everything at school, he is the most important one to be protected.
Thoughts, experiences? How much and what kind?
I agree that there are various hues deemed Caucasian so it will come down to individuals. That's true as well for other groups.
Please see my post 16 below yours. Regarding kids, what is the dosage and how do the kids take it?
I wouldn’t make recommendations. People who do account for the lesser body size of children.
I’d say to do a web search. There’s the government recommendation and the recommendations of the vitamin D advocates.
Some recent research I have been doing has opened my eyes to how supplements should be taken. For example, if you just take a B complex vitamin and maybe a multi-vitamin, you'll notice your pee comes out neon yellow...meaning, you're just peeing out all the B vitamins. But if you take those vitamins along with a whole protocol of others, ie, calcium/magnesium in 2:1 ratio, Omegas, tons of C and D, and some E... you'll notice that you're not getting the weird yellow pee because your body is retaining more of the supplements. You have to take them in the correct combinations or your body can't use them and it's just a waste of money.