n South African Medical Journal - Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency in Africa and the Middle East, despite year-round sunny days : guest editorial - CME review
|Article Title||Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency in Africa and the Middle East, despite year-round sunny days : guest editorial - CME review|
|© Publisher:||Health and Medical Publishing Group (HMPG)|
|Journal||South African Medical Journal|
|Affiliations||1 University of Pretoria, 2 Ain Shams University, Egypt, 3 Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, United Arab Emirates, 4 Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, United Arab Emirates, 5 Cleveland Clinic, USA, 6 University of Ibadan, Nigeria, 7 National Nutrition Institute, Egypt, 8 Balamand University, Lebanon, 9 King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia, 10 Cairo University, Egypt and 11 Medical Affairs and R and D Wyeth Nutrition, United Arab Emirates|
|Publication Date||Jul 2015|
|Pages||603 - 605|
Exposure to sunlight, specifically ultraviolet B (UVB), is essential for cutaneous vitamin D synthesis. Despite significant daily sunlight availability in Africa and the Middle East, persons living in these regions are frequently vitamin D insufficient or deficient. Vitamin D insufficiency (25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) between 15 and 20 ng/mL (37.5 - 50 nmol/L)) has been described in various population groups, ranging from 5% to 80%. Risk factors include traditional dress and avoidance of sunlight exposure, and multiple dietary factors as a result of specific cultural beliefs. Vitamin D resistance due to calcium deficiency mechanisms has been described in similar population groups, which may lead to hypovitaminosis D.
Should the new diseases related to hypovitaminosis D prove to be truly associated, Africa and the Middle East will become an epicentre for many of these conditions. Urgent attention will need to be paid to cultural dress and dietary behaviours if hypovitaminosis D is to be taken seriously. Should such factors not be correctable, new strategies for supplementation or food fortification will have to be devised.
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