To the Editor.—
In the article by Matsuoka et al1 in the April 1991 issue of the Archives, the conclusion is made that racial epidermal pigmentation has overall negligible effects on vitamin D nutritional status.This study involved measuring vitamin D production after a single dose of suberythema UV-B was given to the skin over the whole body of 31 young adults of different races.With all due respect to these authors, I would suggest that this conclusion, based just on this little study, is quite an extrapolation.Regarding this subject, I would recommend looking to nature itself for the result of an "extremely thorough study," namely one that may have taken a few thousand years to become manifest.2The reality is that in the most recent Ice Age in northern Eurasia light skin did evolve simply because it was needed to increase vitamin D production in the
Cohn BA. The Effect of the Ice Age on Skin Color. Arch Dermatol. 1991;127(10):1586–1587. doi:10.1001/archderm.1991.01680090152026
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