Sunscreen blamed for vitamin D deficiency
Slathering on sunscreen may be a factor behind people becoming vitamin D deficient, a study suggests.
Nearly one billion people worldwide may have deficient or insufficient levels of vitamin D due to chronic disease and lack of sun exposure related to sunscreen use, says research published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.
Study contributor Kim Pfotenhauer said: "People are spending less time outside and when they do go out they're typically wearing sunscreen, which essentially nullifies the body's ability to produce vitamin D.
"While we want people to protect themselves against skin cancer, there are healthy, moderate levels of unprotected sun exposure that can be very helpful in boosting vitamin D."
Vitamin D deficiency can lead to muscle weakness and bone fractures. Chronic illnesses such as Crohn's or coeliac disease may lead to the malabsorption of the vitamin, while poor diet can also cause deficiency.
Spending five to 30 minutes in the midday sun twice a week could help to increase and maintain healthy vitamin D levels.