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Factors Influencing Vitamin D Status – May 2011

Acta Dermato-Venereologica
William Tsiaras, Martin A. Weinstock

The steroid hormone vitamin D is required for normal calcium and phosphorus metabolism and is thus an important contributor to musculoskeletal health. Recent data have linked low vitamin D levels to a wide range of diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disease and infection. Adequate levels of vitamin D are maintained through its cutaneous photosynthesis and oral ingestion. By some estimates, one billion people worldwide have vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency.

A number of factors influence the photosynthesis and bioavailability of vitamin D and contribute to risk of impaired vitamin D status. These factors include

  • variation in sun exposure due to
    • latitude,
    • season,
    • time of day,
    • atmospheric components,
    • clothing,
    • sunscreen use and
    • skin pigmentation, as well as
  • age,
  • obesity and the
  • incidence of several chronic illnesses.

This review will focus on factors that influence vitamin D status and contribute to the prevalence of low vitamin D levels.
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PDF is attached at the bottom of this page

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