American Academy of Dermatology Issues Position Statement on Vitamin D

Friday, December 5, 2008 General News
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SCHAUMBURG, Ill., Dec. 4 The American Academy ofDermatology (Academy) recently issued a position statement on vitamin D,drawing on the scientific literature to support its recommendation for safelyobtaining an adequate amount of this vitamin. The Academy recommends that thepublic obtain vitamin D from nutritional sources and dietary supplements, andnot from unprotected exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun orindoor tanning devices, as UV radiation is a known risk factor for thedevelopment of skin cancer.

"Vitamin D is essential for optimal health, and the medical literaturesupports safe ways to get it -- a healthy diet which incorporates foodsnaturally rich in vitamin D, vitamin D-fortified foods and beverages, andvitamin D supplements," stated dermatologist C. William Hanke, MD, MPH, FAAD,president of the American Academy of Dermatology. "And, according to themedical literature, unprotected exposure to UV radiation from sunlight(natural) or indoor tanning devices (artificial) is not safe. Individuals whointentionally expose themselves to UV radiation for vitamin D are puttingtheir health at risk for developing skin cancer."

The Academy further recommends that individuals who are concerned abouttheir vitamin D levels seek a physician's guidance about safe options toobtain vitamin D. The Academy recommends physicians use the National Academyof Sciences Institute of Medicine guidelines for vitamin D as a standardreference for advising patients on proper minimum intake levels, as noclinical trials to date have unequivocally established the amount of vitamin Dneeded to decrease the risk of certain cancers or other chronic conditions.Yet the Academy advises that a higher dose of supplementation for individualswith known risk factors for vitamin D deficiency should be considered.

The Academy recommends that when you are enjoying yourself outdoors, besmart by taking steps to protect yourself from UV exposure -- seek shadewhenever possible, wear sunscreen and cover up with a wide-brimmed hat, longsleeves, pants and sunglasses. Also, avoid tanning beds.

For more information about skin cancer, please visit the SkinCancerNetsection on, a Web site developed bydermatologists that provides the public with up-to-date information on thetreatment and management of disorders of the skin, hair and nails.

Headquartered in Schaumburg, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology(Academy), founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and mostrepresentative of all dermatologic associations. With a membership of morethan 15,000 physicians worldwide, the Academy is committed to: advancing thediagnosis and medical, surgical and cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair andnails; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education, and researchin dermatology; and supporting and enhancing patient care for a lifetime ofhealthier skin, hair and nails. For more information, contact the Academy at1-888-462-DERM (3376) or

Editor's Notes:

-- The position statement may be viewed on the Academy Web site under theFeatured Items section:

-- The amount of vitamin D an individual needs is an active area ofresearch. The currently recommended adequate intake levels established by theInstitute of Medicine may be revised upward due to evolving research on theincreasing clinical benefit of vitamin D.

-- The position statement reflects the best available data at the time thereport was prepared.

SOURCE American Academy of Dermatology

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