Just "D" Facts about Vitamin D

Benefits of Moderate UV Sunshine Exposure

Reptiles are Smarter than Humans.

Posted by D3forU on July 9, 2010

Physiol Biochem Zool. 2009 May-Jun;82(3):218-25.

Panther chameleons, Furcifer pardalis, behaviorally regulate optimal exposure to UV depending on dietary vitamin D3 status.

Karsten KB, Ferguson GW, Chen TC, Holick MF.

Department of Biology, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas 76129, USA. k.karsten@tcu.edu


Reptiles may bask for reasons other than thermoregulation. One alternative is to regulate homeostasis of vitamin D(3), a hormone essential to the health of many reptiles.

Maintenance of vitamin D(3) homeostasis requires either regulation of exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV) or ingested vitamin D(3). However, the prey items of most vertebrates tend to be low in vitamin D(3). Thus, basking may be the primary opportunity for vitamin D(3) regulation.

We tested the hypothesis that panther chameleons (Furcifer pardalis) behaviorally regulate exposure to UV in natural sunlight with high precision, accuracy, and effectiveness.

Panther chameleons with low dietary vitamin D(3) intake significantly increased exposure to UV in natural sunlight compared to those with high dietary vitamin D(3) intake.

All lizards fed low dietary vitamin D(3) regulated within optimal UV levels with extreme effectiveness (ability to regulate within optimal UV levels relative to available UV).

Chameleons of both dietary treatments regulated UV exposure with great precision, exhibiting little variation among individuals within treatments.

Our results add to a growing body of literature that empirically demonstrates the importance of basking for nonthermoregulatory purposes and, more specifically, as an integral mechanism for the regulation of a vital hormone, vitamin D(3).

PMID: 19335229 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]


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