You’ve probably heard that getting enough sunlight is important in order to get your daily dose of vitamin D. But the reality is, we’re not outside 24/7. So how else are we supposed to enjoy the health benefits of vitamin D? The answer is pretty simple: vitamin D light therapy. This may sound fancy, but it’s actually not a complicated solution.
If you’re not familiar with what vitamin D light therapy is, don’t worry! In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about vitamin D and light therapy so you can get the full benefits without needing to be outdoors.
What is Vitamin D?Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that we get from our diet. But if we consume all the other essential vitamins through food as well, what makes this organic nutrient so special?
Well, vitamin D is unique among the vitamins because we’re able to create it ourselves too — that is, if we get enough exposure to sunlight or UV lamps. In general, it’s recommended that we get about 600 IU of vitamin D every day, but the amount varies with age.
What is the Difference Between Vitamin D and Vitamin D3?
Here’s a small table to quickly summarize the main differences between vitamin D vs. D3:
Cannot be manufactured by the body (obtained through diet or supplements)
Can be manufactured by the body with sunlight exposure
Found in plant sources (e.g. wild mushrooms) and fortified foods (e.g. milk and cereal products)
Found in animal sources (e.g. fatty fish, fish oil, egg yolks, liver)
Does Vitamin D Help Hair Growth?
Yes! One of the importances of vitamin D is that it helps stimulate growth in new and old hair follicles. So if you’ve ever wondered what the correlation between vitamin D and hair loss is, it’s that a deficiency in the vitamin can lead to less hair growth.
Is Vitamin D Good for Your Skin?
Just like how vitamin D is good for hair growth, vitamin D is also good for your skin. It plays an essential role in the growth and repair of skin cells and the protection against free radicals that cause premature aging.
Vitamin D Side Effects
You’ve probably heard the saying that “moderation is key.” With vitamin D, this is especially true since there are health consequences of getting too much or too little of it. Let’s take a quick look at some of the common side effects of having both extremes.
Side Effects of Too Much Vitamin D
- Frequent urination
- Bone pain
- Kidney problems (such as calcium stones)
Side Effects of Low Vitamin D (aka Vitamin D Deficiency)
- Frequent illnesses
- Bone loss
- Muscle aches / twitching
- Hair loss
- Slow recovery of wounds
What is Light Therapy?
Light therapy, or phototherapy, is a treatment that exposes you to an artificial light source (like our Full Spectrum LED light therapy lamps). This type of therapy is usually used to treat certain conditions such as depression (especially seasonal) and sleep disorders.
Does Light Therapy Provide Vitamin D?
Not all forms of light therapy provide vitamin D; it depends on the type of light you use. For example, red and blue therapy lights aren’t effective since they use different wavelengths that aren’t suitable for stimulating vitamin D production. Ideally, ultraviolet B (UVB) lights should be used for vitamin D light therapy because their wavelengths have the optimal range of 280-320 nanometers (nm).
If you’ve ever wondered if it’s safe to get vitamin D from tanning beds, the answer is no. While tanning beds use UV lights (mostly in the UVA range) that can increase vitamin D levels, they still have damaging effects on your skin. To be more specific, intense and prolonged exposure to UVA rays can lead to premature aging and skin cancer.
What Are the Benefits of Light Therapy?
When done properly, vitamin D light therapy can provide a range of health advantages. Here’s a list of some benefits that you can enjoy from using a vitamin D lamp:
- Reduced signs of aging (age spots and wrinkles)
- Soothed inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, and rosacea
- Alleviated acne and dull skin
- Decreased scarring
- Wound healing
- Eased symptoms of depression (especially seasonal)
- Improved mood and sleep
- Reduced risk of cancers
- Increased energy levels
Vitamin D Light Therapy: Common Questions
If you’re thinking about trying vitamin D light therapy on your own, you may have lingering questions about this type of treatment. Below are a few common questions you might find useful before getting started.
Does Light Therapy Work?
While vitamin D light therapy probably won’t completely cure health problems, evidence has shown that using a vitamin D lamp helps to improve and ease symptoms of certain conditions such as seasonal and nonseasonal depression.
It’s also important to note that light therapy works differently for everyone and results may vary. For example, the effects of treatment can take place within a few days for some but two or more weeks for others. In addition, different light intensities as well as time and duration of use are factors that could change how effective vitamin D lamps are.To get the most out of vitamin D light therapy, find the right light source and establish a daily routine that works best for you!
Can You Get Vitamin D Through a Window?
Unfortunately, no. Even if you’re sitting directly in sunlight in front of a window, UVB rays that are necessary for vitamin D production can’t get through the glass.
What’s the Best Time of Day to Take Vitamin D?
There’s currently limited research on the best time of day to take vitamin D. With that said, you should experiment with different times to see what works best for your schedule. And most importantly, don’t forget to be consistent!
Vitamin D light therapy is a good way to get exposure to light if you’re constantly indoors (especially in the winter). While this form of treatment works differently for everyone, the important thing to remember is to create a schedule that is tailored to your needs so you can maximize the health benefits!
Contributing Writer: Rebecca Lee