Oct. 4, 2011 at 1:01 PM ET
Nicole Kidman-types, listen up: Your pasty self needs vitamin D supplements, say researchers at the University of Leeds in the UK (who, we suppose, would know such things).
Our sallow-skinned friends, obviously, can't spend much time in the sun without getting sunburned -- and that means they're not getting enough sunlight to make an adequate amount of vitamin D. Out of 1,200 people studied, 730 had too-low levels of vitamin D. They found that optimal levels of vitamin D occurred when participants reported six hours a day of sun exposure. The optimal amount is 60nmol/L, which, yes, reads like gobbledygook, but, basically -- levels lower than that mean you're more likely to get heart disease, and less likely to survive breast cancer if you get it.
Julia Newton-Bishop, the lead author of the study that was funded by Cancer Research UK, points out that fair-skinned folks living in climates like the UK (and Seattle, where I happen to live) are especially at risk of too-low vitamin D levels. But if you live in the UK or Seattle, you already knew that.
Do you take vitamin D supplements?