Efficacy of a dose range of simulated sunlight exposures in raising vitamin D status in South Asian adults: implications for targeted guidance on sun exposure.Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 Jun; 97(6):1210-6.AJ
Vitamin D is essential for bone health, and cutaneous synthesis is an important source. South Asians cannot attain adequate amounts of vitamin D by following general recommendations on summer sunlight exposure at northerly latitudes, and increased exposure may be appropriate for improving their vitamin D status.
We examined the efficacy of a dose range of simulated summer sunlight exposures in raising vitamin D status in UK adults of South Asian ethnicity.
In a dose-response study, healthy adults of South Asian ethnicity (n = 60; 20-60 y old) received 1 of 6 ultraviolet exposures ranging from 0.65 to 3.9 standard erythema doses (SEDs), which were equivalent to 15-90 min unshaded noontime summer sunlight at 53.5°N (Manchester, United Kingdom), 3 times/wk for 6 wk, while wearing casual clothes that revealed a 35% skin area. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] was measured weekly, and dietary vitamin D was estimated.
At baseline, all completing participants (n = 51) were vitamin D insufficient [25(OH)D concentrations <20 ng/mL], and a high proportion of participants were deficient [35% of subjects had 25(OH)D concentrations <5 ng/mL, and 90% of subjects had 25(OH)D concentrations <10 ng/mL, which are concentrations at which osteomalacia and rickets occur). The 25(OH)D concentration rose significantly in all dose groups. Postcourse, all participants achieved 25(OH)D concentrations ≥5 ng/mL, whereas only 6 subjects attained 25(OH)D concentrations ≥20 ng/mL. Participants who received exposures ≥1.95 SEDs (equivalent to 45 min unshaded sunlight; n = 33) attained a mean (±SD) 25(OH)D concentration of 15.7 ± 5 ng/mL (mean rise: 8.7 ± 5.7 ng/mL; 95% CI: 6.8, 10.6 ng/mL; P < 0.001), and 94% of subjects achieved concentrations >10 ng/mL.
Targeted guidance on sunlight exposure could usefully enhance vitamin D status to avoid deficiency [25(OH)D concentration >10 ng/mL] in South Asians living at latitudes distant from the equator. This trial was registered at the ISRCTN Register (www.isrctn.org) as 07565297.