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New Research Confirms That Regular Indoor Tanning is the Best Source of Vitamin D

A recently published report confirms that a commercial indoor tanning bed is a better source of vitamin D than vitamin D pills.

The study included 105 students, 18-30 years old, mainly female, from the Netherlands. They were divided into three groups (A,B,C).
The Megasun 7900 Alfa
The participants in Group A had 3 non-burning sessions (going from 6 to 12 minutes each) every week during 8 weeks in a standard commercial tanning bed (Megasun 7900α) Group B took daily 1000 IU (25 μg) of vitamin D3 orally in gel capsules (Solgar VitaminsSolgar Vitamin D3 1000IU_ Group C, the control group,  just “went about their usual business”. Tested before and after the 8-weeks research period, the average result of Vitamin D looked like this:

Vitamin D Study_Sunbeds_best source of vitamin D

*Here is a useful online calculator for conversions between nmol/l and ng/ml Now, it should be noted that the lamps in the commercial tanning bed had only 0.8% UVB according to the European scale (with UVB defined as 280-315 nm wavelength). Furthermore it had high-pressure face-tanning lamps even further skewing the wavelength-spectrum towards more UVA. Here is how the actual plot of spectral irradiances from the Megasun 7900α mid canopy (solid lines) and facial tanner (dashed lines) looked like …

Vitamin D Study_Sunbeds_best source of vitamin D_ wavelength-spectra

Taking into account that the action spectrum for vitamin D drops drastically after 310 nm and ends at 315 nm, it is quite a surprise that the resulting increase in vitamin D anyhow was that good. This just confirm that the recommendations of how to use commercial indoor tanning beds for vitamin D, as given in my previous post are correct (as if I did not know that before haha). Two other observations were made after the study:
  1. The participants in Group A did get a tan (not very surprisingly given the high UVA, but it is worth to notice that you do not have to get burned in order to get a tan)
  2. There was no significant difference in the number of people in each group that got a cold during the test period.
It should also be noted that 1000 IU is below the daily vitamin D dose as recommended by most real vitamin D experts but higher than the recommendation from The Institute of Medicine (IOM) in the USA (who recommends 600 IU). Here is the conclusion as in the report …
Overall, our study showed sub-sunburn sunbed treatment to be effective in tanning and in increasing the 25(OH)D serum level, more so than oral vitamin D supplementation by 1000 IU per day. Despite earlier results suggesting a possible beneficial effect on colds, this 8-week mid-winter course of sunbed exposures had, however, no appreciable effect on colds.
You can buy the report at PubMed here Having seen this proof, we can only hope that more and more tanning salon owners see the potential in providing “vitamin D tanning” for their existing (and a lot of new) customers. For that, they need to focus more on education of their staff, information to customers and also have at least one tanning bed that gives as high UVB as the regulations allow for. Will you fill up your vitamin D level with moderate and regular indoor tanning this winter? Give your answer in the poll below and tell your friends to come here and vote too!


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