Are sunbeds a source of Vitamin D?


Are sunbeds a source of Vitamin D?

 | By Steve Walker | @SteveWalkerWeb

Most people are aware than the sun causes our body to produce the Vitamin D, but is it possible to use artificial UV light to have the same effect?

Vitamin D has many benefits. It helps the body absorb calcium and phosphate for healthy bones, teeth and muscles. Evidence now suggests Vitamin D can even heal a damaged heart. Some additional benefits are more cellular. Specifically breast, colon, and prostate cancer, organ health (alleviating symptoms such as high blood pressure, hypertension, and heart disease), mental health, auto-immune diseases, skin disorders and can even help with obesity.

Being deficient in Vitamin D can cause soft bones, which can result in deformities. Rickets is a condition in children that can result from a lack of Vitamin D. In adults, it can lead to a condition called osteomalacia, which causes bone tenderness and soreness.

So now we know how important it is, can it really be obtained artificially?

Can sunbeds give you the RDA of Vitamin D?

In short, yes it is possible to produce your recommended daily allowance (RDA) of Vitamin D with rays absorbed under a tanning lamp. However NHS UK state that sunbeds are not a recommended way of making vitamin D.1

Of the two types of UV rays emitted from the sun and tanning lamps, only ultraviolet B (UVB) rays cause your body to produce Vitamin D. Sunbeds produce the same amount of UV light as the midday sun, so can be difficult to judge when you are damaging your skin due to its high concentration.

As a result, the NHS in the United Kingdom do not recommend that tanning beds are used for the purpose of supplementing Vitamin D.1

My suggestion is to use over the counter pills to supplement your intake of Vitamin D. For countries where there is no sunlight for half of the year, this is a much safer alternative to sunbeds. When the sun is out, around 15 minutes to half an hour of exposure on arms with sleeves rolled up and bare legs is sufficient.