Today's Date: August 8, 2022
Greenwood and Travis Hunter Sign NIL Deal and Partner to Launch the “Choose Black” Campaign   •   Who's Next? Black Women's Health Imperative Urges Voters to Affirm Abortion Rights in Wake of Kansas Abortion-Referendum   •   GovX Raises Over $11,000 for FOLDS OF HONOR Veteran Nonprofit for Month of July   •   Mogul Launches Nationwide Campaign Called “Build Better Boards” to Champion More Diverse Boards   •   AARP Pennsylvania Thanks Senator Casey For Historic Vote Toward Real Relief on Prescription Drug Pricing   •   Test Release special characters in the headline © ® ™ é ñ ü ç î ò   •   Test Release special characters in the headline © ® ™ é ñ ü ç î ò   •   Greenberg Traurig Vice Chair Lori G. Cohen Named to Benchmark Litigation's 2022 Top 10 Women in Litigation List   •   Greenwood and Travis Hunter Sign NIL Deal and Partner to Launch the “Choose Black” Campaign   •   Government of Canada honours national historic significance of Second World War code breakers   •   Celebrating the one-year anniversary of the signing of the Canada-Quebec Asymmetrical Agreement on the Canada-Wide Early Learnin   •   Poll: Over Half of Voters of Color Oppose Government Negotiation of Drug Prices Once They Learn About Consequences for Patients   •   LIBERTY Dental Plan of New York Awards 12 Scholarships in Partnership with PENCIL   •   Los Angeles City Council Votes NO on SB 930 - the 4 a.m. Bar Bill, Sends Strong Message to Sacramento and Senator Wiener that Pu   •   AARP Illinois Thanks Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin and Senator Tammy Duckworth For Historic Vote Toward Real Relief on Prescr   •   BYRON ALLEN'S ALLEN MEDIA GROUP SIGNS VETERAN NEWS & POLITICAL TELEVISION HOST MARC LAMONT HILL TO THE GRIO   •   LIBERTY Dental Plan of New York Awards 12 Scholarships in Partnership with PENCIL   •   “What I Want to Know with Kevin P. Chavous” Podcast Launches Third Season in Search of Answers to Education’s   •   The Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, will be traveling to the North through August 8 to 19, 2022   •   Mogul Launches Nationwide Campaign Called “Build Better Boards” to Champion More Diverse Boards

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Black Is Beautiful, But Is It Unhealthy?

WASHINGTON--Melanin protects darker skin from premature aging and UV rays, but its protection increases the risk of other diseases, according to research presented this month. The body naturally produces vitamin D - a nutrient known for keeping bones strong - when skin is directly exposed to UV rays from the sun.

Black News, African American News, Minority News, Civil Rights News, Discrimination, Racism, Racial Equality, Bias, Equality, Afro American News

However, since melanin blocks those UV rays, it also inhibits vitamin D production in the body, says Dr. Valerie D. Callender, Associate Professor of Dermatology, Howard University.

This may explain why several studies report that anywhere from 36 to 97 percent of African-Americans have low levels of vitamin D. Poor dietary intake of vitamin D from dairy, given the prevalence of lactose-intolerance in the black community, also plays a role.

But, the importance of vitamin D does not end at brittle bones, rickets and osteoporosis.

New research reveals a link between the more common type of breast cancer in African-American women, triple-negative breast cancer, and low vitamin D levels.

Last month, a small study of 89 New York Giants players showed that players with lower Vitamin D levels were more likely to be injured. Over 90 percent of the African-American players were vitamin D deficient, with levels lower than white players who were also deficient.

A 2008 study tied low vitamin D levels to an overall increased chance of early death.

"Vitamin D levels in the blood are associated with prostate, colon and breast cancer," says Dr. Rick Kittles, Director of the Institute of Human Genetics at the University of Illinois at Chicago. "But, we don't know the mechanism."

Understanding its importance, Kittles now performs research on the connection between vitamin D and prostate cancer. He and his team are recruiting both white and black men with plans to collect data on their diets, skin color, sunlight exposure and specific genetics.

The body also uses vitamin D for specific daily functions. According to the NIH, the immune system needs the nutrient to appropriately fight off bacteria and viruses. Nerves also need it to effectively carry messages between the brain and the rest of the body. Without it, the body cannot absorb calcium.

Latrice Landry, researcher at Tufts University's Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, says UV absorption can greatly differ based on skin color.

"Though someone with pale skin can get adequate vitamin D by exposing their arms and legs to the sun for 10 to 15 minutes twice a week in the summer, someone with the darkest skin might need two hours of exposure each time," she adds.

Dr. Wendy Roberts, a dermatologist who specializes in ethnic skin of color and geriatric dermatology, has had similar observations.

"Many African-Americans live and work in the sunbelt, and while [they are] not outdoor tanning, they experience the same UV exposure that whites do while doing their daily activities," she points out.

Yet, there is still a disparity in who develops vitamin D deficiency.

While sunscreen blocks some UV rays, skipping sunscreen to boost vitamin D production is not advised given the well-proven risk of skin cancer.

"For optimal health, I would recommend a vitamin D supplement, especially for anyone, not just African Americans, living in cold climates," says Landry. "Other suggestions are to eat foods fortified with vitamin D."

The daily amount of vitamin D each person needs differs by age, ranging between 400 and 800 IU. Multivitamins typically only have 400 IU, so additional supplements are often needed.

Fatty fish like salmon and tuna are the best dietary forms of vitamin D. The U.S. milk supply is fortified with vitamin D, however, products made from milk, like cheese and ice cream, are not. Other foods have vitamin D artificially added like certain cereals and orange juice. 


STORY TAGS: Black News, African American News, Minority News, Civil Rights News, Discrimination, Racism, Racial Equality, Bias, Equality, Afro American News

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