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Thanks to fears over skin cancer risk, many people take steps to reduce their exposure to the sun. However, for individuals with lighter skin, vitamin D testing may be important to overall health. New research shows that Caucasians who shun the sun are at a much higher risk of deficiencies.
For the study, researchers from Stanford University analyzed the blood levels of vitamin D in nearly 6,000 individuals. Participants were also asked about what kind of steps they take to avoid the sun.
The results showed that Caucasians who were more averse to sun exposure had a higher risk of being vitamin D deficient.
The researchers said their findings highlight the dual consideration that individuals need to make when it comes to sun exposure. On the one hand, too much can contribute to skin cancer, while on the other, too little can lead to vitamin D deficiency. They advised that medical professionals' recommendations be tailored to each patient's specific risk factors.
"It's not as simple as telling everyone to wear sunscreen," said researcher Eleni Linos. "We may instead need to begin tailoring our recommendations to the skin tones and lifestyles of individual patients. It's clearly a very complex issue."
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