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Over the past couple decades fears over the dangers of sun exposure have grown. Evidence linking UV radiation to an increased risk of skin cancer mounted, and people began using more sun screen. This may protect the health of the skin, but experts say it may also contribute to the rising number of people who receive blood tests indicating they have low vitamin D levels.
Vitamin D is produced naturally in the skin following exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays. However, Dr. Richard Granstein, chairman of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical Center/New York-Presbyterian Hospital, told the New York Times that sunscreen can block this radiation and prevent the skin from producing the important nutrient.
He told the news source that nutritional supplements can be an important way for people who try to stay out of the sun to maintain adequate vitamin D levels. This is particularly important for those who live at northern latitudes where the sun's rays are weakest. Ultimately though, he said people should try to boost their levels through a healthy diet.
The Office of Dietary Supplements recommends that most adults consume 600 international units of vitamin D every day to maintain adequate levels.
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