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Most people in the U.S. have low levels of vitamin D, but the problem is worse among individuals with darker skin colors. These individuals may benefit from blood testing to measure the amount of the nutrient in their systems, as this may enable them to take steps to boost their vitamin D levels if necessary.
A recent article published in the Journal of Nutrition pointed out that numerous studies have indicated that African Americans have much lower levels of vitamin D than Caucasians. This can increase their risk of musculoskeletal conditions, heart health problems and even certain cancers.
It is believed that vitamin D deficiency is prevalent among African Americans and other groups with dark skin because their skin pigment blocks the sun's rays. When the skin is exposed to the sun's UV rays, it produces vitamin D, but less of the nutrient is produced if fewer rays get through.
The researchers said that healthcare providers should encourage individuals with darker skin colors to seek blood testing for vitamin D and take steps to increase their levels of the nutrient if necessary.
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