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Most occupations carry risk of vitamin D deficiency

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Reprinted with the kind permission of Life Extension.

June 23 2017. The journal BMC Public Health reported a significant risk of vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency among workers in a variety of occupations. The findings were published on June 22, 2017.

By reviewing 71 articles that included a total of 53,425 subjects, Sebastian Straube and colleagues determined that the highest risk of deficiency occurred among shift workers, whose incidence of vitamin D deficiency was 80%. Indoor workers had the second highest incidence at 77%.

Ironically, healthcare students experienced the third highest risk. Sixty-five percent of medical residents, 46% of practicing physicians, 43% of nurses and 43% of other healthcare professionals were deficient in vitamin D.

In addition to deficiency, vitamin D insufficiency was also common.  Ninety-one percent of indoor workers and 75% of outdoor workers had insufficient levels of the vitamin. Although vitamin D is formed in the skin in response to ultraviolet light exposure, 48% of outdoor workers were still vitamin D deficient. “Vitamin D production by the body is reliant on sunshine and UV exposure so any activity that reduces exposure tends to reduce vitamin D levels,” Dr Straube observed. “Sunlight deprivation in young medical professionals, who may have particularly long working hours, and other indoor workers, puts them at higher risk of both vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency.”

“Our results suggest that occupation is a major factor that may contribute to suboptimal vitamin D levels,” Dr Straube concluded. “Regular screening of vitamin D levels in at-risk groups should be considered for future clinical practice guidelines and public health initiatives. Workplace wellness programs could include education about the importance of adequate vitamin D levels. This could help prevent adverse health outcomes linked to vitamin D deficiency, such as metabolic disorders, psychiatric and cardiovascular disorders, and cancer.”

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