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African American DoctorA recent study has confirmed a link between vitamin D deficiency and multiple sclerosis (MS) in African-Americans. This study was engineered to confirm the link between low vitamin D levels in black subjects and the prevalence and severity of MS, controlling for other factors such as climate. U.S. News & World Report states:

Black people with multiple sclerosis are more likely to have vitamin D deficiencies than blacks who don’t have the disease, a new study shows. […]

The study involved 339 people with MS and 342 people who did not have the disease. Researchers analyzed the blood vitamin D levels and the severity of the disease in each participant.

Since skin pigment acts as a filter of ultraviolet light, hence limiting the amount of vitamin D that can be produced by the body in response to sunlight, researchers also looked at the amount of UV exposure participants likely received based on where they lived, and the proportion of European genetic ancestry of each participant. […]

The researchers said the findings should open a dialogue between patients and their doctors about how much UV exposure they need, blood testing for vitamin D levels, and whether supplements would be a good choice.

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Our higher pigment levels prevent black skin from making sufficient levels of vitamin D compared to people of lighter hues. Because of this, vitamin D deficiency is alarmingly worse for blacks, and linked to a wide range of health problems. A leading vitamin D researcher told USA Today that this deficiency is “why African Americans develop more prostate cancer, breast cancer and colon cancer and get more aggressive forms of those cancers.” This is serious.

The only solutions to combating vitamin D deficiency include:

1. Taking a vitamin D supplement daily — up to 2,000 mgs a day for those over 12.
2. Spending considerably more time in the sun — at least two hours, twice a week for black people; or,
3. Eating more foods that contain vitamin D, like dairy products and fatty fish.

Most experts agree that Americans do not eat enough vitamin D-rich foods to get the recommended daily amount, which depends on your age. As blacks will not suddenly opt for mass tanning, now is the time to consider adding a vitamin D supplement to your regimen. Making vitamin D a part of your life in supplement form is worth the protective benefits.

This new study is just one more piece of evidence demonstrating how much blacks need to increase their daily intake of vitamin D. Are you going to follow up on this recommendation for health?

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