The results of a clinical review recently printed in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association show that nearly a billion people across the world may have insufficient or deficient levels of vitamin D. It is believed that the lack of vitamin D is the result of minimal exposure to the sun caused by over-use of sunscreen. The study also determined that a whopping 95% of African American adults might have vitamin D insufficiency/deficiency. The variations of vitamin D across races are due to unique levels of skin pigmentation. According to the Endocrine Society, vitamin D deficiency is a level below 20ng/ml. Insufficiency is a level between 21 and 30 ng/ml.

The Problem With Sunscreen

Though it is true that people are spending less time outdoors, they are wearing copious amounts of sunscreen when out and about. Sunscreen mitigates the body’s ability to generate vitamin D. This is why sunscreen should be used in a strategic manner. Some unprotected exposure to the sun is necessary to catalyze the body’s production of vitamin D. However, only a moderate level of exposure to the sun is healthy.

Additional Ways Vitamin D Production is Inhibited

Chronic diseases related to malabsorption such as celiac disease, Chron’s disease, kidney disease and Type 2 Diabetes drastically reduce the body’s ability to create vitamin D from food. This vitamin is considered a hormone. It is generated when the skin is subjected to sunlight. Just about every cell in the body has vitamin D receptors. This is precisely why vitamin D plays a vital role in the body’s functions ranging from immune system functionality to the minimization of inflammation, cell growth modulation and beyond.