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Despite the fact that significant evidence has emerged in the last few years about the health benefits offered by the vitamin, many doctors who conduct vitamin D testing are reporting that the number of patients who have a deficiency continues to rise.
In an effort to help identify the causes of this situation, investigators from the Agricultural Research Service recently set out to find if environmental factors play a role in the deficiency.
They had study participants wear a photosensitive device that measured the amount of ultraviolet rays they were exposed to in an average day. The skin is thought to produce vitamin D when it is exposed to sunlight.
Researchers found that those who were exposed to little sunlight during their days were more likely to be vitamin D deficient.
Additionally, the team determined that individuals with fairer skin and those living in higher latitudes were at an increased risk of the condition.
Charles Stephensen, who headed the research, said that individuals who spend much of their time indoors may need to take vitamin supplements to make up for the lack of natural vitamin D synthesis.
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