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Vitamin D supplements for ‘fair-skinned patients’

People with pale skin may need vitamin D supplements because they keep out of the sun, say UK researchers.

The study in 1,200 people found those with freckles, blue eyes or a tendency to get sunburnt had significantly lower levels of vitamin D.

The trial – set up originally to look at vitamin D levels in melanoma patients – found levels were generally low, but worse in those sensitive to the sun with vitamin D levels 2.61nmol/L lower than those who were non-sensitive.

Lead author Professor Julia Newton-Bishop, professor of dermatology at the University of Leeds, said: ‘Fair-skinned individuals who burn easily are not able to make enough vitamin D from sunlight and so may need to take supplements.

‘This should be considered for fair-skinned people living in a mild climate like the UK and melanoma patients in particular.’

Cancer Causes and Control 2011: 22; 10, 1471-82