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Can sunbeds be used to make vitamin D and would you use a sunbed to make vitamin D?

Those are two of six questions about sunlight and sunbeds put by GrassrootsHealth to four leading experts on vitamin D.

Vitamin D Experts about Sunlight and Sunbeds
Vitamin D Experts about Sunlight and Sunbeds
Here are some of the answers to those two questions. (Scroll down for the full video)

Q: “Can Sunbeds be used to make vitamin D, especially in the winter for North Americans?”

Robert P. Heany, MD, Professor of Medicine, Creighton University:
“Sunbeds can be used as an alternative to going outdoors, particularly in the winter when you wouldn’t want to expose much skin anyway. And they do make vitamin D in your skin and they can do it perfectly well.”
Reinhold Veith, PhD, Professor, University of Toronto:
“Sunbeds, of course, can be used to make vitamin D. One of the ways we measured the amounts of vitamin D, the skin has the capacity to make, answering the question: ‘How much vitamin D does the sun give you?’, nobody has actually gone out and laid in the sun. What those experiments covered was the suntan parlours’ data. So what we claim about sunshine and how much it makes [of vitamin D], it is actually sun parlour results. So of course they do it.”

Q: “Would you use a sunbed to make vitamin d?”

Robert P. Heany, MD, Professor of Medicine, Creighton University:
“As a physician, I would recommend sunbedsto my patients who have malabsorption syndromes. That is, their intestines are not working correctly and cannot absorb vitamin D very efficiently from food or supplements if taken by mouth”.
Michael F. Holick, PhD, MD, Professor of Medicine, Boston University Medical Ctr.:
“Tanners, actually have robust levels of 25-hydroxy vitamin D when measured their vitamin D status. We did a study here in Boston, just out of curiosity. When we looked at blood levels of 25-hydroxy vitamin D among tanners who used a tanning bed at least once a week during the winter, their level in average was 48 ng/ml, which is really robust. We matched with both sex and age, men and women, who did not use a tanning bed and their blood level was 18 ng/ml. They were all vitamin D deficient. So, yeah, tanning beds can make vitamin D in the skin. Just make sure that it puts out UVB-light and, like I said, if you want to make your vitamin D from a suntanning bed, use sun-protection on your face, half the time as recommended for tanning. This minimize the potential for getting a sunburn and minimize skin-damage and yet get the advantage of making vitamin D.”
Note the recommendation by Dr. Holick about face-protection and exposure time which corresponds perfectly to my, more detailed, recommendation in this post about indoor tanning for vitamin D. The other questions are…
  • “What is the natural way to make vitamin D?”
  • “How do I know I’m making vitamin D when outdoors?”
  • “Australia is now promoting a D-Break at lunch hour in the winter. Do you agree with this and is this the right time to make vitamin D?”
  • “Which way do you prefer to make your vitamin D – UVB light (sunshine) or supplements?”
and, the very important question of …

“Do you believe there are more benefits to sunlight, than just making vitamin D?”

Dr. Heany expanded on this question towards the end of the video:
“I’ve surprised and a little bit puzzled to see the emphases that have been placed on skin-protection, which can be accomplished by covering up the skin or by using sunscreen. Now it is virtually impossible for mothers to take their babies out and get some sunshine if they are not completely swabbled from head to foot or covered with sunscreen. I think that’s a mistake. Sunscreens have been used by the human race for probably no more than 30 years and earlier than that period, not very much and they were not very strong. Our grandmothers, our mothers, at least in my case, hung their clothes out on the cloth-line in the back yard and got sunlight when they did that and our fathers walked to the bus-stop several blocks in order to get on public transportation to go to work, and then several blocks from the streetcar to wherever they went. We were outdoors a great deal more than what is the case today. And yet we didn’t die of skin-cancer or melanoma or any of the other horrible things that people are being scared with. I think it is important to understand that although sunscreen can be a very helpful thing for us, sunscreen manufacturers have a vested interest in scaring us to death so that we will use more of their products. And that, I think, needs to be resisted, I think that’s a mistake. If you have a chance to be outdoors, I think you ought to be outdoors when you can.”
Experts Speak Out on Sunlight – Full Version – YouTube

8 thoughts on “Vitamin D Experts Speak Out on Sunlight and Sunbeds”

  1. Thank you for letting me know you can get Vitamin D from sunbed and not sunlight only. Thanks for that vital information.

  2. It’s great to see this. Thanks so much for posting this information, it’s very helpful.

  3. Vitamin D play an important role to maintenance of Sexual Health and as well as improve the sperm parameters.

  4. Thanks for a really good read. I agree, we evolved outside and severely underclothed for most of the time. Sunlight is good for all things. We have much more to fear from our groceries than from the sun.

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  6. Good to know. I really appreciated to you on this quality work. You are doing a great job . Keep it up – Email Support Services Christchurch, Chat Support Services Christchurch

  7. Didn’t know I could get vitamin D from sunbed too. Great to know, thanks for this.

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