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What are vitamin D levels in sunny southern California?

Posted on: February 2, 2013   by  John Cannell, MD


What are vitamin D levels in sunny southern California? Los Angeles, at 34 degrees latitude, is surely a haven for vitamin D sufficiency. Or is it?

Dr Elaine Kaptein and colleagues of the University of Southern California Medical Center recently studied 3,276 inner city patients from LA.

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6 Responses to What are vitamin D levels in sunny southern California?

  1. Rita and Misty

    Thanks, Dr. Cannell, for an excellent post…it serves as a reminder regarding the fallacy many individuals have regarding southern locations and vitamin d sufficiency.

    This just is not true!

    We in the Vitamin D community know that because of our indoor lifestyles, Vitamin D deficiency is at epidemic proportions in the United States…actually worldwide.

    And, of course, it is worse among those with darker skin pigmentation, as melanin factors greatly into Vitamin D production.

    The sunlight needs for people with darker skin pigmentation, living at higher latitudes, are immense and are not being met. A lighter pigmented person standing in full sun can produce a day’s bodily requirement of Vitamin D in about 15 minutes. In stark contrast, a person with darker skin pigmentation, standing in the same spot, will need approximately 6 times more sun exposure to produce the same amount of vitamin D.

    According to reports by the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention, African American suffer greatly from chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, fibromyalgia, lupus, and obesity which can be effectively controlled or prevented with adequate vitamin D supplementation.

    Unfortunately, many African Americans do not know about the health enhancing properties of vitamin D so their health continues to deteriorate.

    Despite the alarming health situation for Blacks, conventional medical practitioners do not seem to be informing Black people that they may need to take at least 5,000 IU of vitamin D3, in supplement form, every day; and that Black children should also be given adequate amounts of vitamin D3 on a daily basis, because food and drinks do not supply adequate amounts of vitamin D. Instead, all of us continue to be overloaded with prescription medications that treat the symptoms of illnesses while the causative factors are left unaddressed.

    This is an issue of great concern to me, and I would be willing to further discuss it with members of our Vitamin D community. Feel free to reach out to me at : [email protected].

    To Sunny Days,


  2. Rebecca Oshiro

    4 years ago while living in Escondido, CA my husband, father, mother and I all had our vitamin D level tested. Our results were 17, 16, 27, and 22 respectively. So much for living in sunny So Cal!

  3. Brant Cebulla

    We’re in San Luis Obispo, CA, which some lump into Southern California. At 35 degrees North, there are very few minutes in which our shadows are shorter than us during the winter days. So even beach goers have a hard time adequately getting their vitamin D from the sun in the winter.

    And like most Americans, even during the summer, we’re in the office at high-noon, not out in the sun. Sounds hypocritical, but it’s the nature of the 21st century. No matter where you live, you have to be in tune with your vitamin D nutrition.

  4. Rita and Misty

    Certainly agreed, Brant…no matter where you live, it’s difficult to rely solely on sun exposure to adequately meet your Vitamin D requirements….

    It’s a fallacy…plain and simple….

    Now, let’s stop and think about how much more difficult it is for those with darker skin pigmentation….

    Relying solely on the sun for Vitamin D is simply a mistake…for everyone…and especially for those with darker skin levels….

  5. clubtan

    Sun beds offer a great alternative for those who find themselves indoors when the Sun is high in the sky. The benefits of sun exposure reach farther than just vitamin D, especially in winter.

  6. [email protected]

    Light skinned people in sunny climates wear hats and clothing as well as susnscreen with CPF 15 or higher. The concern for skin cancer and premature aging of the skin with UV exposure is high. Also the indoor life style of the majority of the working people as well as those with chronic illnesses is a major factor. So, Southern California, like most sunny climates, most likely has a large proportion of their population with vitamin D deficiency which should be diagnosed and corrected.

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