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Study Examines Geographical Information On Vitamin D Levels, Sunlight

First Posted: Feb 09, 2015 09:44 PM EST
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New research published in the journal Environment International studies data on sunlight and vitamin D levels via geographical information. Researchers at the University of Exeter Medical School found that those who live closer to the coast in England get higher levels of vitamin D--a crucial component oftentimes found in sunlight and certain foods but also linked to strong bones. 

Researchers examined records from over 7,000 participants, grouping individuals according to their distance from the coast. Furthermore, they compiled information from satellites and ground-based measurements, as part of the British 1958 Birth Cohort Study.

Then, researchers compared information to participants' blood levels of the prohormone 25(OH)D, otherwise known as the major circulating form of vitamin D in the body. Researchers also adjusted for findings that can affect vitamin D levels, including outdoor activity, diet and sunscreen.

"Recent research has shown that populations living close to the coast tend to have improved health and wellbeing. Whilst coastal environments can promote physical activity and reduce stress, our study suggests that direct physiological factors could also be important, with higher vitamin D levels potentially explaining some of the effects seen," researcher Mark Cherrie, said in a news release.  

Lead study author Dr. Nick Osborne concluded the following, courtesy of the release, "This study provides further evidence that your health is influenced by where you live, and that the link between vitamin D and health is complex. Whilst exposure to ultraviolet radiation in sunlight is an important factor for the production of vitamin D, it can also have negative health consequences. Prolonged exposure to the sun can increase the risks from conditions such as skin cancer and care must be taken to ensure sun protection and outdoor activities are managed safely."

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