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Dermatoendocrinol. 2009 Jan;1(1):37-42.

Solar ultraviolet-B irradiance and vitamin D may reduce the risk of septicemia.

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  • 1Sunlight, Nutrition and Health Research Center (SUNARC); San Francisco, California USA.


The primary features of the epidemiology of septicemia in the United States include highest rates in winter and the Northeast, lowest in fall and in the West; higher rates among African Americans than white Americans; a rapid increase in incidence with age; comorbidity with several chronic and infectious diseases; and a rapid increase in incidence rate starting in the early 1980s. This article reviews the literature on the epidemiology of septicemia in the United States, along with the roles of solar ultraviolet-B (UVB) and vitamin D3 related to the more important features. Solar UVB doses in summer are highest in the Southwest and lowest in the Northeast. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] levels are highest in summer, lowest in winter. African Americans have much lower 25(OH)D levels than those of white Americans. Serum 25(OH)D levels decline rapidly with advancing age. The risk of diseases comorbid with septicemia are generally inversely correlated with serum 25(OH)D levels. Sun-avoidance messages may have led to lower population levels of 25(OH)D, although prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria may have increased. Previous reports have shown that 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D upregulates human cathelicidin, LL-37, which has antimicrobial as well as antiendotoxin activity. The general agreement between the epidemiology of septicemia in the United States and the variations of solar UVB and the effects of vitamin D supports the hypothesis that both play important roles in reducing the risk of septicemia. Further study is warranted to evaluate this hypothesis.


African-American; LL-37; cancer; cathelicidin; diversity; septicemia; ultraviolet-B; vitamin D

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