What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a group of fat-soluble secosteroids that are responsible for increasing intestinal absorption of calcium, magnesium and phosphate. The most important compound in this group is Vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 is vital for the body as it regulates the calcium and phosphorus levels in your blood which are required to have healthy bones and a strong immune system. It has also been proven through clinical trials that strong levels of Vitamin D can also boost weight loss. In one study, subjects taking Vitamin D supplements were able to lose more weight than other subjects taking a placebo. The scientist behind this study claimed that the extra calcium and Vitamin D suppressed appetite.
How does your body absorb Vitamin D?
The Human Body is able to absorb Vitamin D through the small intestine, which is the most common route of absorption for most minerals. Vitamin D is then transported to the liver via the bloodstream and is converted to 25(OH)D, otherwise known as Calcidiol, the primary form of circulating vitamin D. Few foods contain Vitamin D naturally, therefore food manufacturers have created fortified foods which contain enhanced levels of the Vitamin, an example of these foods are cereals and dairy products.
Foods that contain naturally higher levels of Vitamin D include salmon, egg yolk, prawns and sardines.
Your body is also able to create Vitamin D to help regulate the body and it is considered as a hormone. Vitamin D falls under the category of a steroid hormone and is produced in the liver and kidneys and it originates from the skin.
When the skin is exposed to the sun, UVB, an ultraviolet wave that is emitted from the sun, triggers a biochemical reaction that initiates the production of Vitamin D. Cholesterol is the precursor in this process and is found in the skin, it is transformed into 7-Dehydro-cholesterol and when exposed UVB radiation it is transformed to Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3). At this stage, it follows the same process as the food source and is metabolised in the liver and kidneys.
Does this mean my body can produce Vitamin from sunbeds?
Studies have been completed to determine if this is the case, these studies have shown that it is possible to enhance the production of Vitamin D in the body being on a sunbed. This is due to that they emit UVB radiation which is the specific type of radiation that triggers the biochemical reaction as explained above. However, as a method just to enhance Vitamin D intake, the medical professionals advise against it due to the other risk factors associated with Sunbeds. UVA radiation creates the tanning effect on the skin, consequently, it is known to both cause DNA damage and to be carcinogenic. Therefore as cancers and DNA damage is a high risk to human health, medical professionals will always recommend avoiding sunbeds to increase Vitamin D and will advise other options to take.
The bottom line is that yes, your body can develop Vitamin D from being on a sunbed as the UV radiation emitted from a sunbed can start the process of Vitamin D production. However Medical professionals advise the consequences of sun bedding are more severe than not having as much Vitamin D and recommend to go outside to get natural sunlight or enhance your levels by taking supplements