The Effects of Air Pollution on Vitamin D Status in Healthy Women: A Cross Sectional Study

Farhad Hosseinpanah; Sima Hashemi pour; Motahare Heibatollahi; Nilufar Moghbel; Saeed Asefzade; Fereidoun Azizi


BMC Public Health. 2010;10(519) 

In This Article


Skin synthesis of vitamin D, under the influence of UVB, includes about 90% of all the body's requisites. Meanwhile, dietary sources of vitamin D (e.g., fish liver oils, egg yolks, and vitamin D fortified foods) are only responsible for a small portion of body requirements. Hence, inadequate radiation or insufficient cutaneous absorption of UVB is one of the cardinal causes of vitamin D deficiency. Severe vitamin D deficiency is common amongst sunlight-deprived individuals.[1] The efficacy of cutaneous synthesis of vitamin D is determined mainly by age, degree of skin pigmentation, and most importantly, by the extent of body attainable UVB[2–4] which depends largely on the percentage of UVB that reaches the earth surface and also by clothing styles i.e. determining the amount of unprotected skin exposure to available UVB.[5] The main factors influence the earth surface magnitude of UVB, are geographic latitude, season, time of day i.e. peak UV period 10:00–15:00 am, and the levels of atmospheric pollution.[2,6–8]

Air pollution is one of the chief actors in determining the percentage of the ground level of UVB. The level of air pollution is inversely related to the extent of solar UVB that reaches earth surface, consequently, more pollutant areas, less UVB passage and as a result, lowers vitamin D cutaneous synthesis. Nevertheless, not enough studies have evaluated the probable relation between cutaneous vitamin D synthesis and the ground level of UVB, as a function of air pollution. one study in India has found that high atmospheric pollution decreases the percentage of UVB which reaches the earth surface and children in more pollutant areas are at higher risk of vitamin D deficiency.[9] Another study in Belgian postmenopausal women also confirmed the positive correlation between air pollution and hypovitaminosis D.[10]

In this study, we conducted a cross-sectional survey of healthy and relatively young women, (aged 20–55 years) recruited from general population, in two areas with different ground level of UVB, to determine the independent role of air pollution on vitamin D status.


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