Vitamin D: balancing cutaneous and systemic considerations

South Med J. 2001 Jan;94(1):58-64.


Background: Vitamin D insufficiency may lead to various health problems. By encouraging sun protection to prevent skin cancer, physicians may be limiting a major source of vitamin D for many individuals.

Methods: We did a literature review on issues related to vitamin D inadequacy, particularly those relevant to various racial/ethnic groups.

Results: Vitamin D is an important hormone with many physiologic roles beyond those related to bones, including blood pressure regulation and acting as a tumor suppressant. The recommended amount of vitamin D has recently increased for adults over age 50. Moreover, some researchers are urging higher doses for the entire population to prevent osteoporotic fractures.

Conclusions: Previous studies that have found serum levels of vitamin D in their sun-protected subjects to be in the normal range may need to be reevaluated. In concert with counseling sun protection, physicians should consider discussing vitamin D intake, typically in the form of supplements.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Diet
  • Dietary Supplements / analysis
  • Food Analysis
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritional Requirements
  • Osteoporosis / etiology
  • Osteoporosis / prevention & control
  • Public Health Practice
  • Risk Factors
  • Vitamin D / analysis
  • Vitamin D / metabolism
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / epidemiology
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / etiology*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / prevention & control*


  • Vitamin D