Funding sources This work was supported by grants C20668/A6808 and C20668/A10007 from Cancer Research U.K.
Lifestyle factors including less cutaneous sun exposure contribute to starkly lower vitamin D levels in U.K. South Asians compared with the white population
Article first published online: 2 DEC 2013
© 2013 British Association of Dermatologists
British Journal of Dermatology
Volume 169, Issue 6, pages 1272–1278, December 2013
How to Cite
Kift, R., Berry, J.L., Vail, A., Durkin, M.T., Rhodes, L.E. and Webb, A.R. (2013), Lifestyle factors including less cutaneous sun exposure contribute to starkly lower vitamin D levels in U.K. South Asians compared with the white population. British Journal of Dermatology, 169: 1272–1278. doi: 10.1111/bjd.12518
Conflicts of interest None declared.
- Issue published online: 2 DEC 2013
- Article first published online: 2 DEC 2013
- Accepted manuscript online: 16 JUL 2013 03:05AM EST
- Manuscript Accepted: 3 JUL 2013
- Cancer Research U.K.. Grant Numbers: C20668/A6808, C20668/A10007
Long-standing concerns over the vitamin D status of South Asian adults in the U.K. require studies using statistically valid sample sizes to measure annual variation and contributory lifestyle factors.
To measure annual variation in the vitamin D status of U.K. South Asians, to determine the associated lifestyle influences, and to compare these with a similar study of white adults.
A single-centre, prospective cohort study measuring circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D], sunlight exposure levels and lifestyle factors for 1 year in 125 ambulant South Asian adults with sun-reactive skin type V, aged 20–60 years, in Greater Manchester, U.K. (53·5°N).
The 25(OH)D levels of South Asians were alarmingly low. In summer, their median 25(OH)D level was 9·0 ng mL−1, [interquartile range (IQR) 6·7–13·1], falling to 5·8 ng mL−1 (IQR 4·0–8·1) in winter. This compared with values in the white population of 26·2 ng mL−1 (IQR 19·9–31·5) in summer and 18·9 ng mL−1 IQR (11·6–23·7) in winter. Median daily dietary vitamin D was lower in South Asians (1·32 μg vs. 3·26 μg for white subjects) and was compounded by low supplement use. Despite similar times spent outdoors, ultraviolet (UV) dosimeters recorded lower personal UV exposure among South Asians, indicating sun avoidance when outside, while sun exposure diaries recorded lower amounts of skin surface exposure.
The majority of South Asians never reached sufficiency in vitamin D status. Lifestyle differences, with lower oral intake, sun exposure and rates of cutaneous production due to darker skin, indicate that standard advice on obtaining sufficient vitamin D needs modification for the South Asian community in the U.K.