Home / Vitamin D Deficiency and Poor Health Outcomes in African Americans

Yet another research study has confirmed that decreased vitamin D levels are related to poor health outcomes in African Americans. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley in their recent article wrote: "African Americans have a higher incidence of, and mortality from, many health-related problems than European Americans. They also have a 15 to 20-fold higher prevalence of severe vitamin D deficiency."

This graph shows that over 95 percent of African Americans have insufficient, or worse, vitamin D levels. Only 4 percent had a "sufficient" amount of vitamin D in their system.  The authors stress in their February 2021 article published in Nutrients that "regardless of skin color, low vitamin D levels are associated with higher incidence or poorer outcomes for many diseases. Evidence is particularly strong for several complications of pregnancy, multiple sclerosis, dementia, type 2 diabetes, colorectal cancer, total cancer mortality, and acute respiratory tract infections."

In their conclusion, the researchers stressed that supplements were the answer.  "Few foods, mainly fish and fish liver, have substantial amounts of vitamin D, which is primarily synthesized in the skin. Therefore, low 25(OH)D levels are largely determined by melanin levels and contemporary lifestyles (including getting little sun exposure by staying indoors, covering the body, and using sunscreen extensively) and excess body fat.'  With African Americans living in northern climates and urban settings, the sun exposure is simply not enough to produce adequate vitamin D. 

The authors stressed that "no reason exists to delay addressing vitamin D deficiency among populations with high prevalence of deficiency such as African Americans."

We agree . . . there is no reason.