Vitamin D deficiency epidemic among Black people
YACINE SIMPORÉ Special to the AmNews | 2/21/2012, 11:56 a.m.
In November 2010, the Journal of the American Medical Association stated, "Addressing the vitamin D needs of African-Americans may be the single most important public health measure that can be undertaken due to the widespread vitamin D deficiency in the Black population." The study highlighted the worldwide, chronic and silent epidemic of vitamin D deficiency among Black people that triggers many health complications.
Well-known doctor Emily Allison-Francis has made this issue her main focus in her research, which has led to her new book, "Correcting the Vitamin D Deficiency Epidemic: Strategies to Fight Diseases and Prolong Life for Black People."
"Vitamin D deficiency is a very important issue, especially to Black people," said Allison-Francis. "During my study, I found the connection between this deficiency and the most frequent diseases for people of color."
At a recent book reading organized by the Rev. Dr. Herbert Daughtry at the House of the Lord Church in Brooklyn, Allison-Francis explained the important role vitamin D plays and how its deficiency badly affects the Black population.
Explaining how the high concentration of melanin in Black people's skin blocks sunlight in order to protect skin against burning, she said, "Black people have natural sun protection."
However, this natural sun protection prevents Blacks from producing the vitamin D that bodies need. As a result, Black people take much more time and have more difficultly in producing this vitamin, which leads to a dangerous deficiency.
"A white person will make enough vitamin D by getting exposed to the sun for only 10 minutes. It can take more than two hours for a Black person to get the same quantity of vitamin D," stressed Allison-Francis.
Due to this deficiency, Black people are consequently more exposed to serious diseases such as cancer, high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, mental illness...and the list is sadly even longer.
Allison-Francis also deplores the fact that physicians do not educate people enough about this problem. "Nobody tells us that sun is good for us," she said.
"If this problem concerned mostly white people, this would have been promoted everywhere," said Daughtry. "I was overwhelmed when I finished the book. It blew my mind and I could hardly put it down. I organized this book reading because I want people to realize the importance of this issue."
To correct the deficiency, Allison-Francis advises people take vitamin D supplements along with having a healthy diet composed of wholesome food, organic fruits and vegetables and organic meat, in addition to many other food tips she delivers in her book.
Dr. Carol McIntosh, who attended to the event, advised everyone to "get educated with a specialist before taking any vitamin in order to know what the body really needs because each organism is different and we don't have the same needs when we talk about vitamins."