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African-American Women Have Lower Levels of Vitamin D

by Savitha C Muppala on October 5, 2010 at 11:29 AM
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 African-American Women Have Lower Levels of Vitamin D

A recent insight has revealed that African-American women had lower vitamin D levels compared to white women, and vitamin D deficiency increases the risk for aggressive breast cancer.

"We know that darker skin pigmentation acts somewhat as a block to producing vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, which is the primary source of vitamin D in most people," said Susan Steck, Ph.D., M.P.H., associate professor of epidemiology at the University of South Carolina.

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Steck and colleagues observed 107 women who were all diagnosed with breast cancer in the previous five years. Sixty of these women were African-American, while the remaining 47 were white.

All women donated a blood sample, and vitamin D status was determined using circulating 25 hydroxyvitamin D levels as a marker. The mean serum concentration of vitamin D was 29.8 ng/ml in white women and 19.3 ng/ml in African-American women.
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Researchers defined vitamin D deficiency as a serum concentration less than 20 ng/ml, and found this to be the case in 60 percent of African-American women compared with 15 percent of white women. Serum levels were lowest among patients with triple-negative breast cancer, and aggressive disease was eight times more likely among patients with vitamin D deficiency.

Steck said the findings of this study provide a foundation for a possible prevention strategy, but further research would be required.



Source: Eurekalert
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