Endocrine Abstracts (2011) 26 P539

Vitamin D and dark skin

I Kostoglou-Athanassiou, A Michou, E Xanthakou, A Chronaiou, S Tagara, V Loi, K Tzioras & A Karfi


Department of Endocrinology, Red Cross Hospital, Athens, Greece.


Vitamin D is synthesized in the skin. Low vitamin D levels have been observed in African Americans. However, the relationship between vitamin D and skin color has not been completely evaluated.

The aim was to study the relationship between dark skin color and vitamin D levels in healthy individuals.

Vitamin D (25(OH)D3) levels were measured in 15 dark skinned individuals. All subjects were immigrants, having migrated to Greece for financial reasons. They had migrated to Greece at least a year before the study, thus residing in Greece for at least a year before vitamin D measurement. Immigrants were from Egypt and the Middle East. However, they were not wearing the traditional clothes covering the whole body, having already adapted to the clothing of the western civilization.

Vitamin D, 25(OH)D3 levels were measured by RIA.

All individuals had low vitamin D3 levels, mean 25(OH)D3 levels being 13.6 ng/ml, range 11–17 ng/ml, S.D. 1.4.

Vitamin D was found to be low in all dark skinned individuals studied. Vitamin D deficiency observed in the immigrant population studied may be related either to dark skin color or to nutritional deficiency. Dark skin may protect the skin from the photon energy thus protecting it from carcinogenesis, preventing however vitamin D synthesis.

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