Does Vitamin D Deficiency Pose a Special Risk for Black People?


Vitamin D is important to the health of every system in the body, and yet many people do not get the recommended amount.

“Many, many Americans — almost half — are vitamin D deficient,” says David O. Meltzer, MD, PhD, the chief of hospital medicine at University of Chicago Medicine. “But we know that in excess of three-quarters of people with darker skin, including African Americans and Hispanics, are vitamin D deficient.”

That gap can have some serious health consequences: Researchers are increasingly looking at the link between vitamin D deficiency and a number of diseases, with some research indicating that Black people with vitamin D deficiency have higher incidences of other health problems. There are also some continuing misconceptions and myths about vitamin D and people with darker skin, given the skin’s important role in helping the body generate much of the vitamin D it needs through sunlight.

Read on to learn about vitamin D deficiency, how Black people in the United States are at highest risk, what that means for their health, and how to get enough of the vital nutrient.


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