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Vitamin D Supplements May Actually Be Harmful To Blacks

March 15, 2010: 04:15 AM EST
Doctors normally prescribe vitamin D supplementation for patients at risk for osteoporosis (weak bones) or for diabetics at risk for atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). But a new U.S. study of 340 black men and women with diabetes has found that low levels of vitamin D in black people are fairly normal and do not necessarily signify a deficiency. Supplementation, in fact, may actually worsen atherosclerosis. The study found that calcified plaque in the large arteries of black patients correlated positively with high levels of vitamin D circulating in the blood. Vitamin D levels are normally lower in blacks for two main reasons: darker skin pigmentation and consumption of fewer dairy products (and less dietary calcium). But despite that, blacks generally experience less osteoporosis and atherosclerosis.
Lynne E. Wagenknecht, Dr.P.H., Kristen G. Hairston, M.D., et al., "Vitamin D, Adiposity, and Calcified Atherosclerotic Plaque in African-Americans ", Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, March 15, 2010, © The Endocrine Society
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