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For most people, the main source of vitamin D is what their skin produces when it is exposed to the sun rays. Yet, many people live in areas that get little sunlight. This may lead to low blood tests for vitamin D.
To combat this problem, some people consider using tanning bed to supplement their vitamin D levels. However, experts say that this may be an unsafe practice that does not even stimulate vitamin D production.
Dr. Annette Fonteneau, a Rhode Island-based dermatology nurses associate, recently wrote in Advance for Physician Assistants that vitamin D production in the skin is stimulated specifically by UVB exposure. However, tanning beds only emit UVA radiation. These rays have been linked to an increased risk of skin cancer, but they do not stimulate the production of vitamin D.
This means that people who use tanning beds get all of the risk associated with sun exposure but none of the benefit. Therefore, using tanning beds may not represent a safe or effective method of improving blood test results for vitamin D.
The Office of Dietary Supplements recommends that most adults take in about 600 international units of vitamin D per day. They may be able to accomplish this by increasing their consumption of certain foods or taking nutritional supplements.
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