Imprimir Republish


High rates of vitamin D insufficiency

Sunbathing is essential for good bone and muscle health

Léo Ramos Chaves / Pesquisa FAPESP

Even people who sunbathe regularly may have lower than recommended blood vitamin D levels. A concentration of below 30 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) is classified as insufficiency, while below 20 ng/mL of the hormone characterizes deficiency. Synthesized by the body primarily through exposure to the sun, vitamin D is essential for growth, immunity, muscles, the heart, and the central nervous system. Between December 2020 and March 2021, a group from the Federal University of Paraná collected blood samples from 1,004 residents of the Brazilian cities of Salvador, São Paulo, and Curitiba who had not taken vitamin D supplements in the previous month. Of the total participants, 15% had deficient (ranging from 12% in Salvador to 20% in São Paulo) and 50% insufficient (47% in Salvador and 52% in São Paulo) blood levels of the vitamin, even in summer. In another study, researchers from the Federal University of Espírito Santo and the Federal University of Amazonas evaluated annual variations in vitamin D levels among 559 children and adolescents (aged 6 to 18) in Serra, Espírito Santo State, between July 2018 and December 2020. Half (53.3%) of the participants had vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency (Journal of the Endocrinology Society, November 17; Revista Paulista de Pediatria, March 3).