Skin color and Vitamin D

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by francois, Jan 31, 2007.

  1. francois Schwat? Registered Senior Member

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    Today, looking in the mirror, I realized that I'm not nearly as white as I should be, or that I remember being. I'm normally white as a ghost. "Why should this be?" I wondered. Why do I look darker than typical?

    Lately, for the past few months, I've gotten in the habit of taking vitamin supplements. Daily, I take a multivitamin and a few soft gels of fish oil. Could this have anything to do with it?

    Here's what I'm thinking. Black people have dark skin because the pigment protects the skin from the harmful effects of the sun. Blacks, like all humans, require vitamin D to survive; however, in the geography in which they evolved, the sun is very powerful and is strong enough to penetrate their skin so they can produce the needed vitamin D. The dark skin protects from skin damage as well as preventing their bodies from overproducing vitamin D.

    Whites and Orientals, however, evolved in a geography where solar radiation is less intense. The weaker sun doesn't provide enough power to promote vitamin D production for people with dark skin, so naturally, the skin color lightened. People with dark skin, regardless of geography, will be more resistant to sun damaged skin/skin cancer. However, it's a trade-off between protection from cancer and the ability to produce vitamin D. Obviously, vitamin D is important enough, because white people exist.

    But what about those whom the trade-off doesn't apply to? What about the people who get vitamin D from their food, such as the Inuits and Yupik? Those people live in very light-deprived places, and yet their skin colors are dark. Their dark skin protects them from the sun, and they don't need light skin to help with vitamin D production because they already get it from the food they eat.

    Now, here's what I'm getting at. We know that for humans, being exposed to the sun for a duration will have the effect of darkening the skin, regardless of the ethnicity. Yes, even black people can get tans. Whites, Orientals, Hispanics, blacks--all people get darker skin when exposed to the sun for a duration. But does it go the other way as well? Can you get a tan, not due to exposure of sunlight, but due to a diet with increased quantities of vitamin D? Works on the same idea, really. People get tans due to increased exposure to sun because they do not need as much sun as they're getting to produce the requisite vitamin D and it also protects the skin. If you increased your dietary intake of vitamin D, your skin might darken for the same reason. Your body doesn't need as much vitamin D, and the dark skin will still protect the skin from dangerous rays--even if the body is exposed to only a little light.

    I've heard of tans you can get by ingesting a pill. Maybe that works on a similar principle.

    Thoughts?
     
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  3. Xerxes asdfghjkl Valued Senior Member

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    Actually, thanks to snow and ice, those places are extremely bright. It's also very sunny up north, as the whole place is essentially a cold desert.

    During the few months when it is dark, Inuit can draw on saved up Vitamin D from their above average fat stores.

    As for your darker complexion, it probably has more to do with better circulation. If you're taking supplements, then theres a chance you're eating better/exercising too.
     
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  5. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    I don't think eating more vitamin D should make you darker, melanin production is affected by UV radiation not vitamin D status levels, otherwise you'd have children with rickets in African countries turning white.

    But if you eat a lot of beta carotene, your skin turns orange. Are you having carrot juice or some other beta carotene containing foods?
     
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  7. IceAgeCivilizations Banned Banned

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    So drink lots of carrot juice before Halloween, booooooooo.
     
  8. John Connellan Valued Senior Member

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    If only it was that simple for us pasty people

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    Well, I am Irish

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  9. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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  10. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

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    Well, there's your problem right there! Ireland gets, what, ten days of sunshine per year? ....on good years?

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    Don't y'all have tanning beds and tanning salons in Ireland? Hell, even here in Texas, where the sun shines all day, every day, people use the tanning beds and tanning salons to get suntans. Is Ireland that far behind? Are y'all still livin' in thatch-roofed cottages? Using horse-drawn plows and such?

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    Baron Max
     
  11. francois Schwat? Registered Senior Member

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    Not as white as I usually am, or at least I remember being. Wait--didn't I already say that? Oh well.
     
  12. Bells Staff Member

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    Why?

    Why do people need to tan at all? It is not really something to be proud of Baron. What will probably result in a few years is an increase in skin cancer in Texas. Is the tan really worth it?

    Most probably yes.

    Check the components of the multivitamin.
     
  13. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

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    Apparently the answer to that is 'yes'. Or has that obvious fact escaped your bear-trap, know-it-all mind?

    Baron Max
     
  14. John Connellan Valued Senior Member

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    Yeah, but the problem is that most of us cannot make that link between UV radiation absorption and melanin production. In fact, I would probably burn after one 15 minute session!

    However if the vitamin D tablet only worked........
     
  15. DNG Registered Member

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    I'm getting Vitamin D since 1 month, now my skin is getting reddish darker than before. I guess it's due to taking vit D. Is taking vitamin D can convert skin color to dark?
     
  16. DNG Registered Member

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    I'm getting Vitamin D since 1 month, now my skin is getting reddish darker than before. I guess it's due to taking vit D. Is taking vitamin D can convert skin color to dark?
     
  17. Bells Staff Member

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    Ermm you should consult your doctor. Vitamin D should not alter your skin colour.
     
  18. John Connellan Valued Senior Member

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    I highly doubt it. You'd want to get that looked at!
     
  19. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Inuit and other northern peoples did not have above average fat stores historically - the early medical accounts of first encounter populations mention their lack of body fat. They got a lot of exercise in cold weather, and were often short of food - hard-bodied, muscular physiques, were the norm.

    They obtained it from their diet, high in seafood and organ meats.

    The unusual de-melanized skin of central European people seems to have accompanied - and allowed - their colonization of inland habitats (along with the developed exploitation of mammal milk and other odd food sources).
     

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