Just "D" Facts about Vitamin D

Benefits of Moderate UV Sunshine Exposure

Take a Pill, A Little Sun’s OK, but Tanning Beds Will Kill You?

Posted by D3forU on July 8, 2010

“DO NOT try to get a tan by visiting a tanning studio. The rays from their UV lamps are extremely harmful and the tan produced does not have the protective effect of a sunlight-induced tan.” This is a false and deceptive statement.

Tanning beds typically have an output range of 3-5% UVB vs UVA, the same ratio as outdoor sunlight. They provide the same photo-protective tan as outdoor exposure can. This can be measured by the amount of 25(OH)3 (Vitamin D3) circulating in the body, just as you would expect from moderate outdoor exposure.

A recent study showed that indoor tanners had vitamin D levels 90% higher than non-tanners, their PTH levels were 17% lower, and bone density was significantly higher.

Tanning is associated with optimal vitamin D status (serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration) and higher bone mineral density. Tangpricha V, Turner A, Spina C, Decastro S, Chen TC, Holick MF. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Dec;80(6):1645-9.PMID: 15585781

Here are 9 other recent peer-reviewed papers on the topic of artificial ultraviolet sources (tanning beds) and their benefits.

In defense of the sun: An estimate of changes in mortality rates in the United States if mean serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels were raised to 45 ng/mL by solar ultraviolet-B irradiance. Grant WB. Dermatoendocrinol. 2009 Jul;1(4):207-14.PMID: 20592792

Sunbeds as vitamin D sources. Moan J, Lagunova Z, Cicarma E, Aksnes L, Dahlback A, Grant WB, Porojnicu AC. Photochem Photobiol. 2009 Nov-Dec;85(6):1474-9.PMID: 19788534

Variability of pre-vitamin D(3) effectiveness of UV appliances for skin tanning. Sayre RM, Dowdy JC, Shepherd JG. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2010 Apr 14. 25-Hydroxyvitamin D, cholesterol, and ultraviolet irradiation. Carbone LD, Rosenberg EW, Tolley EA, Holick MF, Hughes TA, Watsky MA, Barrow KD, Chen TC, Wilkin NK, Bhattacharya SK, Dowdy JC, Sayre RM, Weber KT. Metabolism. 2008 Jun;57(6):741-8.PMID: 18502255

25-Hydroxyvitamin D, cholesterol, and ultraviolet irradiation. Carbone LD, Rosenberg EW, Tolley EA, Holick MF, Hughes TA, Watsky MA, Barrow KD, Chen TC, Wilkin NK, Bhattacharya SK, Dowdy JC, Sayre RM, Weber KT. Metabolism. 2008 Jun;57(6):741-8.PMID: 18502255

Ultraviolet irradiation corrects vitamin D deficiency and suppresses secondary hyperparathyroidism in the elderly. Chel VG, Ooms ME, Popp-Snijders C, Pavel S, Schothorst AA, Meulemans CC, Lips P. J Bone Miner Res. 1998 Aug;13(8):1238-42.PMID: 9718191

Tanning can be an alternative source of vitamin d in high risk populations. Chandra P, Agarwal M, Sharma SG, Basra S. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2008 Feb;54(1):105. No abstract available. PMID: 18388416

Addressing the health benefits and risks, involving vitamin D or skin cancer, of increased sun exposure. Moan J, Porojnicu AC, Dahlback A, Setlow RB. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Jan 15;105(2):668-73. Epub 2008 Jan 7.PMID: 18180454

Treatment of vitamin D deficiency with UV light in patients with malabsorption syndromes: a case series. Chandra P, Wolfenden LL, Ziegler TR, Tian J, Luo M, Stecenko AA, Chen TC, Holick MF, Tangpricha V. Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed. 2007 Oct;23(5):179-85.PMID: 17803596

Reintroduction of a classic vitamin D ultraviolet source. Sayre RM, Dowdy JC, Shepherd JG. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2007 Mar;103(3-5):686-8. Epub 2007 Feb 12.PMID: 17293107

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