by Michelle

4 Myths About Vitamin D

November 5, 2015

The tanning industry has helped perpetuate beliefs that both outdoor and indoor UV exposure and tanning are safe sources for vitamin D. Below are truths behind these 4 myths.

1. Sunbathing is the best way to obtain vitamin D, and it’s free.
Yes, the body manufactures vitamin D when the skin interacts with the sun’s UVB rays, but it only takes as little as 5 minutes a day. Sun exposure longer than that – certainly if you sunbathe long enough to tan – your store of vitamin D starts to deplete, while the amount of damage to your skin’s DNA keeps rising.

2. Tanning beds are a safer way than sun exposure to get vitamin D.
Since it is UVB rays that stimulate the body to produce vitamin D, and since tanning beds today mainly produce UVA, this argument for tanning beds doesn’t hold true. Study after study has linked tanning beds to all three major skin cancers – basal cell, squamous cell, and melanomas.

3. Vitamin D has many important health benefits that outweigh any potential harm to the skin by ultraviolet radiation.
According to a 2010 Institute of Medicine study, the need for vitamin D supplementation is scientifically supported only for bone health and muscle and bone diseases.

4. Americans are dangerously deficient in vitamin D, and UV exposure is the only way to get enough, thus sunscreen is contributing to vitamin D deficiency.
Since vitamin D is known to be essential for bone health, individuals at high risk for deficiency should be screened, and those who prove deficient should up their intake through diet and vitamin supplementation rather than UV exposure.

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