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Do Redheads Need Less Vitamin D?

Story at-a-glance -

  • Just 1 to 2 percent of the global population has red hair, which is caused by a mutation of the melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R), a gene located on chromosome 16
  • Due to their naturally fair skin and lighter complexion, redheads are able to produce vitamin D more effectively than most people
  • Redheads are at a greater risk for skin cancer even without sun exposure, and are also likely to be more sensitive to temperature changes, pain and painkillers
  • Regardless of whether you possess the MC1R gene, your body needs a certain amount of vitamin D for optimal health, so be sure to check your level, particularly if you live in a northern climate and are experiencing the “winter blues”

By Dr. Mercola

Between 1 to 2 percent, or just 76 to 152 million people, of the global population has red hair. This unique hair color is caused by a mutation of the melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R), a gene located on chromosome 16. MC1R is a protein involved in regulating your hair and skin color, as well as eye hue. As a recessive trait, the mutated gene must be inherited from both parents to produce a child with red hair.  


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