Vitamin D: In the evolution of human skin colour

A. W.C. Yuen, Nina G. Jablonski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

68 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The natural selection hypothesis suggests that lighter skin colour evolved to optimise vitamin D production. Some authors question if vitamin D deficiency leads to sufficient health problems to act as a selection pressure. This paper reviews the numerous effects of vitamin D deficiency on human health and argues that vitamin D deficiency is sufficient to pose as a potent selection pressure for lighter skin colour. Vitamin D deficiency manifesting as rickets and osteomalacia are sufficient to impair reproductive success, but additionally, animal studies and some clinical observations suggest that vitamin D may have more direct impact on human fertility. Vitamin D deficiency may lead to a whole host of clinical conditions which impair health and increase mortality rates: increase susceptibility to bacterial and viral infections; rickets, osteomalacia and osteoporosis, with increased risk of falls and fractures; increased risk of cancers; hypertension and cardiovascular disease; maturity onset diabetes; autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and Type 1 diabetes; and gum disease. We submit that at higher latitudes, lighter skin colour evolved to facilitate vitamin D production under conditions of low ultra-violet B radiation in order to avoid a plethora of ill health, reproductive difficulties and early mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-44
Number of pages6
JournalMedical Hypotheses
Volume74
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

Fingerprint

Skin Pigmentation
Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D
Osteomalacia
Rickets
Health
Pressure
Mortality
Genetic Selection
Reproductive Health
Gingiva
Virus Diseases
Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus
Bacterial Infections
Crohn Disease
Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
Autoimmune Diseases
Osteoporosis
Multiple Sclerosis
Fertility

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

@article{80373f57372b4a52b21d6de59a04a165,
title = "Vitamin D: In the evolution of human skin colour",
abstract = "The natural selection hypothesis suggests that lighter skin colour evolved to optimise vitamin D production. Some authors question if vitamin D deficiency leads to sufficient health problems to act as a selection pressure. This paper reviews the numerous effects of vitamin D deficiency on human health and argues that vitamin D deficiency is sufficient to pose as a potent selection pressure for lighter skin colour. Vitamin D deficiency manifesting as rickets and osteomalacia are sufficient to impair reproductive success, but additionally, animal studies and some clinical observations suggest that vitamin D may have more direct impact on human fertility. Vitamin D deficiency may lead to a whole host of clinical conditions which impair health and increase mortality rates: increase susceptibility to bacterial and viral infections; rickets, osteomalacia and osteoporosis, with increased risk of falls and fractures; increased risk of cancers; hypertension and cardiovascular disease; maturity onset diabetes; autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and Type 1 diabetes; and gum disease. We submit that at higher latitudes, lighter skin colour evolved to facilitate vitamin D production under conditions of low ultra-violet B radiation in order to avoid a plethora of ill health, reproductive difficulties and early mortality.",
author = "Yuen, {A. W.C.} and Jablonski, {Nina G.}",
year = "2010",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1016/j.mehy.2009.08.007",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "74",
pages = "39--44",
journal = "Medical Hypotheses",
issn = "0306-9877",
publisher = "Churchill Livingstone",
number = "1",

}

Vitamin D : In the evolution of human skin colour. / Yuen, A. W.C.; Jablonski, Nina G.

In: Medical Hypotheses, Vol. 74, No. 1, 01.01.2010, p. 39-44.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Vitamin D

T2 - In the evolution of human skin colour

AU - Yuen, A. W.C.

AU - Jablonski, Nina G.

PY - 2010/1/1

Y1 - 2010/1/1

N2 - The natural selection hypothesis suggests that lighter skin colour evolved to optimise vitamin D production. Some authors question if vitamin D deficiency leads to sufficient health problems to act as a selection pressure. This paper reviews the numerous effects of vitamin D deficiency on human health and argues that vitamin D deficiency is sufficient to pose as a potent selection pressure for lighter skin colour. Vitamin D deficiency manifesting as rickets and osteomalacia are sufficient to impair reproductive success, but additionally, animal studies and some clinical observations suggest that vitamin D may have more direct impact on human fertility. Vitamin D deficiency may lead to a whole host of clinical conditions which impair health and increase mortality rates: increase susceptibility to bacterial and viral infections; rickets, osteomalacia and osteoporosis, with increased risk of falls and fractures; increased risk of cancers; hypertension and cardiovascular disease; maturity onset diabetes; autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and Type 1 diabetes; and gum disease. We submit that at higher latitudes, lighter skin colour evolved to facilitate vitamin D production under conditions of low ultra-violet B radiation in order to avoid a plethora of ill health, reproductive difficulties and early mortality.

AB - The natural selection hypothesis suggests that lighter skin colour evolved to optimise vitamin D production. Some authors question if vitamin D deficiency leads to sufficient health problems to act as a selection pressure. This paper reviews the numerous effects of vitamin D deficiency on human health and argues that vitamin D deficiency is sufficient to pose as a potent selection pressure for lighter skin colour. Vitamin D deficiency manifesting as rickets and osteomalacia are sufficient to impair reproductive success, but additionally, animal studies and some clinical observations suggest that vitamin D may have more direct impact on human fertility. Vitamin D deficiency may lead to a whole host of clinical conditions which impair health and increase mortality rates: increase susceptibility to bacterial and viral infections; rickets, osteomalacia and osteoporosis, with increased risk of falls and fractures; increased risk of cancers; hypertension and cardiovascular disease; maturity onset diabetes; autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and Type 1 diabetes; and gum disease. We submit that at higher latitudes, lighter skin colour evolved to facilitate vitamin D production under conditions of low ultra-violet B radiation in order to avoid a plethora of ill health, reproductive difficulties and early mortality.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=70450239565&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=70450239565&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.mehy.2009.08.007

DO - 10.1016/j.mehy.2009.08.007

M3 - Article

C2 - 19717244

AN - SCOPUS:70450239565

VL - 74

SP - 39

EP - 44

JO - Medical Hypotheses

JF - Medical Hypotheses

SN - 0306-9877

IS - 1

ER -