While tanning beds can be an amazing option for an authentic golden tan, they can also be incredibly helpful in raising vitamin D levels. For many, especially those in the northern hemisphere and overcast areas, vitamin D levels can plummet during the cooler months. One wonderful benefit to using tanning beds is that many tanning beds can naturally help raise vitamin D levels.
What is Vitamin D ?
Vitamin D is an important fat-soluble vitamin that your body needs for building and maintaining healthy bones and also for many other cellular functions in the body. Vitamin D isn’t naturally found in many foods, but many foods have been fortified with it to help us maintain more optimal levels of vitamin D. Some of the foods fortified with vitamin D are fortified milk, cereal, eggs, and fatty fish such as mackerel, salmon and sardines. Your body is also capable of making vitamin D from direct sunlight. Direct sunlights help to convert a chemical in your skin into an active form of vitamin D (calciferol) that your body can utilize.
Why is Vitamin D Important?
Your body is only capable of absorbing calcium, which is the primary component of bone, when vitamin D is present so it’s incredibly important to maintain vitamin D levels for optimal bone health. Vitamin D is also an important nutrient as it’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and has neuroprotective properties to support muscle function, immune health and brain cell activity. According to the Mayo clinic, vitamin D also aids in maintaining normal blood levels of phosphorus and calcium. It has also been used to help prevent rickets in children and osteomalacia and osteoporosis in adults.
The amount of Vitamin D that your skin produces due to direct sunlight can depend on many factors, such as the time of day, location (latitude) and your skin pigmentation. For those in the more northern latitudes, it’s common for vitamin D levels to decrease and be absent during the winter months due to less sunlight availability.
Tanning Beds and Vitamin D
While the use of tanning beds in indoor tanning gives you beautiful bronzed skin, it can also be helpful to increase your vitamin D levels. Indoor tanning beds use fluorescent bulbs that emit UVA and UVB rays to tan skin. Tanning beds essentially imitate natural sunlight by emitting safer and controlled amounts of UVB rays. UVB light stimulates cells in the skin to produce vitamin D. When the UVB rays emitted from tanning beds hit the skin directly, vitamin D (also known as cholecalcefierol), is created and transported to the liver. Being in direct sun or a tanning bed until your skin begins to turn pink can create between 10,000 and 50,000 IUs of vitamin D, according to VitaminDCouncil.org.
How To Raise Your Vitamin D Levels
If you’re looking for ways to improve your vitamin D levels, you have several options. One of the easiest ways to do so is to spend time in sunlight, whether it’s being outside or through the use of a tanning bed. Scheduling at least one or two sessions per week of tanning can be a useful way to prevent vitamin D deficiency. Make sure to use a high quality salon tanning lotion to help moisturize your skin so that the UV rays can penetrate deep enough to help produce vitamin D. You can also raise your vitamin D levels by increasing vitamin D fortified foods in your diet. Another option for increasing vitamin D levels is taking a supplement to help fulfill gaps in your diet.
If you’re concerned about vitamin D deficiencies, using tanning beds to naturally increase your levels may be a great option.
*This information is not meant to be taken as medical advice. Always consult with your doctor or a health professional regarding your health and medical decisions.