Increase in serum 25-hydroxyvitamin-D(3) in humans after solar exposure under natural conditions compared to artificial UVB exposure of hands and face

Pameli Datta, Morten Karsten Bentzen Bogh, Peter Olsen, Pia Eriksen, Anne Vibeke Schmedes, Mette Marie-Louise Grage, Peter Alshede Philipsen, Hans Christian Wulf

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Vitamin D studies are often performed under controlled laboratory conditions and the findings may be difficult to translate to natural conditions. We aimed to determine and compare the doses of natural solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR) with doses of artificial UVB radiation of hands and face needed to increase serum 25-hydroxyvitamin-D(3) (25(OH)D). Furthermore, we aimed to investigate the natural course of 25(OH)D due to solar exposure from April to September. 46 Caucasian volunteers were included. 17 volunteers received solar UVR (Group 1) in their natural Danish environment. Individual daily solar UVR doses in standard erythema doses (SEDs) were determined with personal wristwatch UV-dosimeters. 29 volunteers (Group 2) received artificial UVB doses of 6 SEDs (N = 14) and 3 SEDs (N = 15) on hands and face during late-winter/early-spring when outdoor UVB is negligible. 25(OH)D-levels were determined around every second week during study periods. Solar-UVR doses and sun-exposure diaries with information of sun-exposed areas were available from 8 volunteers and used for comparison with artificial UVB doses. However no significant solar-induced Δ25(OH)D was observed when sun-exposed areas were limited to hands and face. Instead the earliest period (week 17-19) with significant Δ25(OH)D, occurring after a mean of 2 days of sun-exposing more than hands and face, was used to estimate an approximate UVR dose required to increase 25(OH)D. This estimate resulted in a dose of 4.1 solar SEDs required to increase 25(OH)D by 1 nmol l(-1). The artificial dose of 6 SEDs of only hands and face significantly increased 25(OH)D and resulted in a dose of 0.52 SEDs required to increase 25(OH)D significantly by 1 nmol l(-1). Artificial UVB was thus at least 8 times more efficient in increasing 25(OH)D than solar UVR at a UV-exposed area consisting of approximately hands and face. Solar UVR exposure of larger areas may lead to enhanced efficacy but was not relevant for this comparison. Significant solar-induced Δ25(OH)D was present earliest at April 8, maximal by early August and decreased by late August.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhotochemical & Photobiological Sciences
Pages (from-to)1817-1824
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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