Globally Estimated UVB Exposure Times Required to Maintain Sufficiency in Vitamin D Levels

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

A paucity of vitamin D is a common deficiency globally, with implications for many aspects of health besides the well-known impact on musculoskeletal health. The two sources of vitamin D are through oral intake, or through endogenous synthesis in the skin when exposed to ultraviolet radiation in sunlight. Assessing nutritional needs, whether by food, food fortification or supplementation, is aided by an understanding of local potential for cutaneous synthesis of the vitamin, dependent on latitude and climate, personal skin type and local culture. To aid these discussions we provide indicative exposure times for the maintenance of vitamin D status as a function of latitude, month and skin type, for the clear-sky case and all-sky conditions, for an ambulatory person wearing modest skirt/shorts and T-shirt. At latitudes greater than ±40 degrees, lack of available sunlight limits vitamin D synthesis in some months for all, while at the equator exposure times range from 3 to 15 min at noontime, for white and black skin, respectively. Rather than a sun exposure prescription, the data are intended to show where nutritional vitamin D intake is necessary, advisable, or can be mitigated by sun exposure, and allows for such advice to be personalized to account for different sub-groups in a multicultural population.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNutrients
Volume16
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2024

Keywords

  • Humans
  • Vitamin D/administration & dosage
  • Vitamin D Deficiency
  • Sunlight
  • Ultraviolet Rays
  • Nutritional Status
  • Skin/metabolism
  • Time Factors
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Seasons

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