Int J Dermatol. 2019 Oct;58(10):1148-1152. doi: 10.1111/ijd.14611
- Africa category listing has
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2 million Albinos in Nigeria (population of Nigeria = 191 million)
Enechukwu N1, Cockburn M2, Ogun G3, Ezejiofor OI1, George A4, Ogunbiyi A4.
1 Department of Internal Medicine, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, Anambra State, Nigeria.
2 Department of Epidemiology, University of Colorado School of Public Health, Aurora, CO, USA.
3 Department of Pathology, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria.
4 Department of Medicine, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria.
Several studies have suggested that the lower vitamin D levels in blacks is attributable to the effect of increased pigmentation in blocking cutaneous ultraviolet (UV)-mediated production of vitamin D. Albinos are devoid of melanin and should invariably have higher vitamin D levels when compared with their pigmented counterparts. However, strict photoprotection required in their medical management has been shown to reduce UV-dependent vitamin D production. Associations between low vitamin D and several diseases suggest that the pattern of vitamin D in the black African albino be investigated.
To compare the vitamin D levels between albinos and normal pigmented controls in Anambra State, Nigeria, and thus highlight the impact of skin pigmentation and sun protection practices on vitamin D levels.
This was a cross-sectional study of a consecutive series of albinos from the Albino Foundation, Anambra State. The vitamin D levels of 61 albinos and 58 matched pigmented controls were analyzed. The sun exposures of the participants were calculated using validated sun exposure questionnaires.
The albinos had significantly higher vitamin D levels (median 95.9 [50.1-177.4] ng/ml) than the controls (78.2 [12.1-250] ng/ml). None of the albinos had low vitamin D levels. None of the sun protection practices had significant effects on vitamin D levels.
This study contests the claim that black Africans including albinos have low vitamin D levels. Albinos living in South East Nigeria have significantly higher vitamin D levels than their pigmented counterparts.