RESEARCH SUPPORT, U.S. GOV'T, P.H.S.
Increased skin pigment reduces the capacity of skin to synthesise vitamin D3.
To determine the effect of increased skin pigment on the cutaneous production of vitamin D3, circulating vitamin D concentrations were determined in two lightly pigmented Caucasian and three heavily pigmented Negro volunteers after exposure to a single standard dose of ultraviolet radiation (UVR). Exposure of Caucasian subjects to 1 minimal erythemal dose of UVR greatly increased serum vitamin-D concentrations by up to 60-fold 24-48 h after exposure, whereas this dose did not significantly change serum vitamin-D concentrations in Negro subjects. Re-exposure of one Negro subject to a dose of UVR six times larger than the standard dose increased circulating vitamin D to concentrations similar to those recorded in Caucasian subjects after exposure to the lower dose. These results indicate that increased skin pigment can greatly reduce the UVR-mediated synthesis of vitamin D.
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