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South Med J. 2001 Jan;94(1):58-64.

Vitamin D: balancing cutaneous and systemic considerations.

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Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in Medicine and the Department of Internal Medicine, University of Kansas School of Medicine, Kansas City 66160-7121, USA.



Vitamin D insufficiency may lead to various health problems. By encouraging sun protection to prevent skin cancer, physicians may be limiting a major source of vitamin D for many individuals.


We did a literature review on issues related to vitamin D inadequacy, particularly those relevant to various racial/ethnic groups.


Vitamin D is an important hormone with many physiologic roles beyond those related to bones, including blood pressure regulation and acting as a tumor suppressant. The recommended amount of vitamin D has recently increased for adults over age 50. Moreover, some researchers are urging higher doses for the entire population to prevent osteoporotic fractures.


Previous studies that have found serum levels of vitamin D in their sun-protected subjects to be in the normal range may need to be reevaluated. In concert with counseling sun protection, physicians should consider discussing vitamin D intake, typically in the form of supplements.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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