An acknowledged benefit of exposure to ultraviolet radiation is synthesis of vitamin D in human skin. Here we have defined a standard vitamin D dose based upon recommended requirements for vitamin D, and present a web-based tool that enables the user to calculate associated exposure times for any time and place ( http://nadir.nilu.no/~olaeng/fastrt/VitD_quartMEDandMED.html). The recommended UV exposure times depends on latitude, time, total ozone, clouds, aerosols, surface reflectivity and altitude all of which can be specified by the user. A simpler version for non-experts is available at http://nadir.nilu.no/~olaeng/fastrt/VitD-ez_quartMEDandMED.html
Author: Ola Engelsen
Norwegian Institute for Air Research
Copyright © 2008 Ola Engelsen
Last modified February 17th 2010.
The current model has undergone internal checking and validation. If you have any questions or comments on this service and how it could be improved for your needs, please contact the author. If you use this model for your work I would be interested to know about it.
If you use this program and publish the results, I would appreciate a lot if you cite it:
Webb, A.R. and O. Engelsen (2006) Calculated Ultraviolet Exposure Levels for a Healthy Vitamin D Status. Photochemistry and Photobiology. 82(6), 1697-1703.
A reprint is freely available on the internet from this link
Note! After the above manuscript was published, we have now updated the vitamin D effective action spectrum to that of the CIE 174 report from 2006. The new SDDs for the Fitzpatrick skin types I-VI are 87.6, 109.4, 131.3, 197.0, 262.8, and 437.8 J m-2, respectively. These Standard Vitamin D doses (SDDs) are published in
Terushkin, V, A. Bender, E. L. Psaty, O. Engelsen, S. Q. Wang, A. C. Halpern (2010) Estimated equivalency of vitamin D production from natural sun exposure versus oral vitamin D supplementation across seasons at 2 U.S. latitudes, Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. In print.
The underlying simulations are done using the following model:
Engelsen O. and Kylling A., Fast simulation tool for ultraviolet radiation at the Earth's surface. Optical Engineering, 44 (4), 041012 (2005).
A user interface and more information about this model is available at http://nadir.nilu.no/~olaeng/fastrt/fastrt.html. This model interface has mostly the same input options as this web tool.
The recommended blood serum level is under debate [Dawson-Hughes et al., 2005], but 30 ng(mL is widely recommended e.g., by [Hollis, 2005]. Clinical studies found 500-1,000 IU of vitamin D/day maintains blood serum levels of 30 ng/mL (75 nmol/L) [Tangpricha et al, 2003], [Heaney et al., 2003], [Meier et al., 2004]. We allow the user to change the recommended level. The user is also allowed to specify variable body exposure, because clothing changes with season.
In order to assess the fraction of the body that is exposed to the sun, the Lund and Browder Chart for skin burns provides an indication: Face 3.5%, neck 2%, trunk 26%, hands 6%, arms 14%, legs 14%, thighs 18%.
Dawson-Hughes, B, R. P. Heaney, M. Holick, P. Lips, P. J. Meunier, R. Vieth (2005), Estimates of optimal vitamin D status, Osteoporos. Int., 16: 713-716.
Heaney R. P., K. M. Davies, T. C. Chen, et al. (2003) Human serum 25-hydroxycholecalciferol response to extended oral dosing with cholecalciferol. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 77:204-210. Erratum in: Am. J. Clin. Nutr 2003;78:1047.
Holick, M. F. (2004a) The Vitamin D Advantage, iBooks.
Holick M. F. (2004c) Vitamin D: importance in the prevention of cancers, type 1 diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 79: 362-7
Hollis B. W. (2005) Circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels indicative of vitamin D sufficiency: implications for establishing a new effective dietary intake recommendation for vitamin D., J. Nutr. 135:317-322.
MacKinley, A. F. and B. L. Diffey, (Eds.)(1987) A reference action spectrum for ultraviolet induced erythema in human skin, CIE J., 6(1), 17-22.
MacLaughlin, J. A., R. R. Anderson and M. F. Holick (1982) Spectral character of sunlight modulates photosynthesis of previtamin D3 and its photoisomers in human skin. Science. 216, 1001-1003.
Meier C., H. W. Woitge, K. Witte, et al. (2004) Supplementation with oral vitamin D3 and calcium during winter prevents seasonal bone loss: a randomized controlled open-label prospective trial. J. Bone. Miner Res. 19:1221-1230.
Tangpricha V., P. Koutkia, S. M. Rieke, et al. (2003) Fortification of orange juice with vitamin D: novel approach for enhancing vitamin D nutritional health. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 77:1478-1483.
Webb, A. R. , L. Kline and M. F. Holick (1988) Influence of season and latitude on the cutaneous synthesis of vitamin D3: exposure to winter sunlight in Boston and Edmonton will not promote vitamin D3 synthesis in human skin. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 67, 373-378.