While previous research suggested that individuals with dark skin are especially in need of vitamin D supplements due to the fact that skin pigment can hinder the body’s ability to synthesize the nutrient, a new study suggests that pale people have a similar deficiency issue.
Authors of the study, which was conducted at the University of Leeds in the U.K., theorized that this is because individuals with a light complexion tend to stay out of the sun because they burn easily.
The researchers defined a deficiency has having blood levels of the vitamin that were less than 60 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L). Previous studies determined that a measurement of 25 nmol/L may put an individual at significant risk of bone loss.
After examining the vitamin D levels of 1,200 volunteers, the scientists found that about 730 individuals had sub-optimal measurements of the nutrient. Additionally, these people tended to have light complexions.
“Fair-skinned individuals who burn easily are not able to make enough vitamin D from sunlight and so may need to take vitamin D supplements,” said lead author Julia Newton-Bishop.