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UV light in the wintertime

Posted on: November 18, 2013   by  John Cannell, MD


Winter is here in the northern hemisphere. Until the winter solstice (December 21st), every day will have less sunlight and more darkness than the day before.

In the winter, at many latitudes, all the UV that is present is UVA wavelength, not UVB. Remember, UVB are the rays responsible for your body making vitamin D. So in the winter, it’s impossible to make much vitamin D if you’re living north of about 35 degrees latitude (and still not much between 30 and 35).

Despite this shortcoming in wintertime sun exposure, evidence has been presented that UV light does more than just make vitamin D. For example, it was UV light in general, and not 25(OH)D levels, that improved quality of life indicators in a recent study.

Phototherapy improves quality of life, says new study. Posted on August 19, 2013 by John Cannell, MD.

Last year Brant Cebulla wrote a good blog summing up what good UV light does outside of vitamin D production.

Sun exposure: Benefits beyond D production. Posted on August 1, 2012 by Brant Cebulla.

So I still seek sun exposure in the wintertime, even without the UVB. While I continue to get UVA in the winter from sunshine, I keep a UVB light in my office for the winter as I think both moderate amounts of UVA and UVB light are important for health.

One option is to go to sun tanning parlors and ask for old-fashioned low-pressure UV sunbed. They approximate the wavelengths in sunlight.

However, if readers want a device for their own home and want to buy a UV light with UVB for home use (one that allows you to make vitamin D), you have several choices.

One choice is Dr. Mercola’s D-Lite UVB sun lamps:

D-Lite stand up system

Another much less expensive system is Sperti’s FDA approved vitamin D lamp:

Vitamin D Lamp, model D/UV-F

The Vitamin D Council approves both manufacturers. However, UVB lights can burn the skin so be careful to follow the manufacturers’ recommendations.

5 Responses to UV light in the wintertime

  1. hlahore@gmail.com

    There are many low-cost sources of UV light.
    There range in price from $15 to $180

  2. hlahore@gmail.com

    There are many virtually free ways of concentrating the sun during the off season to
    get vitamin D. Just yesterday (Nov 19) I used reflectors to sunbathe. Ended up sweating near Seattle. http://www.vitamindwiki.com/tiki-index.php?page_id=1051

  3. hlahore@gmail.com

    Many studies have show that UVA without UVB actually decrease the levels of vitamin D in the body – so be careful as to which type of UV you get

  4. Rita and Misty

    I’ve read enough to know that UVB confers more benefits than simply vitamin D. I’m finally going to give in and get either a lamp or a membership to a tanning salon. Being a frugal girl, I worry about the cost of things like replacement bulbs….but that is me, and certainly, most people are not me…. 🙂

  5. Goran

    Maybe it could be worth to mention that sunbeds in tanning salons also can be very good sources of UVB for vitamin D. But, not any sunbed will be good for giving you vitamin D.
    How to select the right kind of sunbed and the right way to use it?
    Easy, just go here:

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