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Tanning For Vitamin D

22 posts in this topic

Has anyone tried this?

I decided to - I bought a 90-day membership to a tanning company.

I am going to get 10 minute tans, three times a week. I had a 7 minute tan yesterday, and had a good day today. This may be a placebo effect.

Allegedly, many types of skin produce 10,000 I.U. of vitamin D in 10 minutes of tanning. Vitamin D is supposedly good for you. People on this forum often post about their low vitamin D levels. I wonder if anyone has tried treating their low vitamin D by visiting a tanning salon, or tried tanning in the hopes that it would improve their overall well-being, and thereby alleviate some of the symptoms of the dysautonomia.

My personal motivation for trying this is: I always seem to feel better when I spend many hours a day outside in the sun. I seem to be more alert and less tired. I want to know if this is because of sunlight contacting the skin or sunlight contacting the eyes. The eyes are blocked during tanning.

Once I tried blue-light therapy and it didn't really help. It just seemed to make me nervous. So I have some reason to think that the benefit of sunlight is not due to sunlight contacting the eyes. But blue-light is not sunlight, so not convinced.

I decided that the risk of skin cancer is small, since I will not be tanning for very long, and the marginal increased risk of skin cancer should be offset by a reduced risk for other kinds of cancer, since higher levels of vitamin D are thought to prevent cancer.

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I've been spending as much time sitting in the sun as I can (several days this week). I'm in Canada and it's just starting to get warm enough to be out without lots of layers on. It may be coincidental as well, but this week is the first time in 5 months that I actually am entertaining thoughts that recovery might be possible (after a really looong rehab period). My brain fog is much better and my energy level is improving. I've been able to go from 2 - 4 minutes/day on the recumbant bike a few weeks ago to 3 mins@ 5 times/day...baby steps... The sun exposure is definitely a good mood enhancer if nothing else.

I'm with you on your view of minimal skin cancer risk (when weighed against feeling better) especially for a 10 min span of time.

I haven't had my vit D levels checked. The docs here say that they don't even bother checking it because they assume everyone is low.

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gonna start myself since I'm ghostly white :D

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Let me preface my following statement by saying that I used to tan...so I'm not totally against it....but, I just want to make sure you are all aware that the UVA and UVB light that you are exposed to in a tanning bed is much stronger than that of the same amount of time in the sun and it does increase your risk of skin cancer significantly bcaue it is not an equivalent exposure. There are Vit D supplements that are effective in increasing your Vit D so that you don't have to take that risk and they are not expensive. All of that being said, I feel awful if I don't get some sunshine.

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It is possible to suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder or non-clinical forms without being deficient in Vitamin D. These disorders an the non-clinical forms affect mood and fatigue/energy. Docs often treat patients with light boxes, but they don't work for everyone--- I have family members that aren't vitamin D deficient, but suffer from SAD. One in particular is under doctors' orders to tan in short increments often. I live at high elevation in a state where it is almost always sunny and definitely DO NOT have vitamin D deficiency (I get my rays for Vitamin D production just from taking my dogs to potty!) but experience a similar boost. Here in CO I often go to the local hot springs to get sun without freezing during our long,cold winter. The strength of the rays matter to me, when I lived somewhere lower in elevation I felt an increasing need to strip down and get some sun even though it was freezing!

However, I would warn you about going somewhere reputable-- I know some places don't change their lamps enough to keep them producing the type of rays needed to produce vitamin D-- some are just baking you and causing damage. Also, as POTS patients you probably don't want to visit the standing beds, but horizontal beds need to be cleaned really well to avoid spreading infections and I know some of us struggle with immune issues.

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Elfie - thanks for your warning about the importance of changing the lamps - Unfortunately, I already bought my membership and I have no idea how reputable the salon is. Actually, I regard the entire bussiness as inherrently suspect - it seems like the kind of bussiness you can start overnight, at least here in Missouri where no liscense is needed (not that I think you should be required to get a liscense.)

You said "Here in CO I often go to the local hot springs to get sun without freezing during our long,cold winter."

So you go swim in the hot springs? Or do you just hang out in their vicinity? Either way, that sounds really awesome and I wish we had something like that in Missouri. One of my life goals is to move to Colorado, and yet I was unaware of the significance of the hot springs.

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I just took 2,000 I.U.'s a day of vitamin D for two months and my levels improved from moderately severe back to normal. I would consult with your doctor about this. The tanning bed thing might be ok if you are not getting any other sunlight otherwise because its spring I find getting sun to be much easier.

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I do go swim/soak in the hot springs or sit nearby. There are tons of natural hot springs that are undeveloped (but those tend to require a bit of a hike and can be very hot) and then we have some that have been turned into resorts. I like to go to the resorts because they have the temperature posted and keep pools at different temperatures by monitoring how quickly the water cools and adding more natural spring water as needed to maintain the temperature. It seems counter-intuitive to go sit in a pool of hot water with POTS, but there are plenty of pools that are on the cooler side (more like a swimming pool temp, or a warm but not hot bath) Also, I find I can tolerate the hotter stuff for a short while because 1/2 of my body is still experiencing the 34 degree winter air. The pools also tend to heat up the rocks and air around them a bit, which means I can sit on lay down on the side or nearby and stand to have skin exposed to the sun rather than being bundled up. I always bring a friend just in case I would get dizzy or feel faint, but the staff is pretty experienced with people overdoing it and the signs/people fainting (this is the only place where you are normal if you act POTSY) and there is always a cold shower or cold pools or at some places the river nearby to quickly vaso-constrict if you need to.

I also know a lot of people have muscle or joint pain relief and relief from dry winter skin or skin conditions because of the mineral water and heat.

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Elfie, I used to live in CO very close to the hot springs one was the resort in Pagosa and the other in Durango. We were probably neighbors and didn't know it.

Dr. Mercola, is keen into tanning in beds - but, he recommends certain types of lights for tanning. You can go on his site and see what he recommends. He believes the benefits far outweigh the risk and that is the best way to get Vitamin D - according to him. He has some really good info on his site. He tells how long to tan and what not to do after tanning. Interesting info.

Issie

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This is a very interesting topic to me. I felt from the beginning that I ONLY had episodes of "dizziness" as I called them brainfog/lightheaded/trouble concentrating/decrease in working memory when NOT in the direct sunlight. I was diagnosed with Temporal Lobe Epilepsy and Seasonal Energy Syndrome many years ago and the doctor who made the diagnosis cured me for 20 years till I had these spells. I have thought the cure may have been the beta-blockers given for tremor, that was an antiepileptic side effect.

Anyways, the direct light does not get rid of my spells off Propranolol, and not sure now as recent stress. ( Pheo - seperate topic )

I have done a lot of research on sunlight. One think is the number of skin cancers is NOT correlated to amount of tan, it is correlated to # of sunburns. So I do not worry about being in sun. Another is one of the original authors of the (SAD 1984 Rosenthal et all. article) published on red light being effective in the fall/winter to increase energy and blue or green in the spring to calm the person. Most of the authors and literature shows decrease SAD closer to the equater. Different authors have published on this being due to longer time zone of day, earlier sun rise, color of light, or total amount of light in the day.

Color of light made absolutely no difference. Morning light helped but it may have actually been the morning walk every day was helping.

Getting lots of light helped for a short period, but did not "cure" me. Artificial lighting does not work for me ( like bright bulbs ) but for a long long time I had no symptoms while in the direct sunlight. All of this changed after I was tapered off B-blocker.

Despite all of the sun I have gotten, my vitamin D level was 37 last month, so retested 30, so had another doc run it last week and it was 18. My multivitamin tablet is also supposed to give me a little. I do not know why this would be low. ( normal is over 30 )

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The intrinsically photosensitive Receptor Ganglion Cells (ipRGC) in the eye were recently discovered, and connect to the Superchiasmatic Nucleus (SN) ( a spot in the ) of the Hypothalmus. They send a message telling the SN whether it is day or night to set the body's master clock, which is the SN.

This master clock ( Superchiastmatic Nucleus ) sets the clock for every cell in the body. Every cell has its own genetic clocks to function syncronized by this master clock to control endocrine function, liver, pancreas etc... cycles.

I do not know what this has to do with POTS but in my case I believe sunlight does.

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Here's a video from Dr. Mercola - telling why sometimes sunlight isn't converted into Vit. D.

http://articles.merc...n-d-levels.aspx

He has since changed his mind on supplementing with the pill form of Vitamin D - later he came out and said it would be okay for people - but, not as good as direct sunlight. You can do a search on his site and pull up all kinds of information. I just had remembered seeing this years ago.

Issie

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I have been really interested in increasing vitamin D levels - mine are low and since moving to the UK from the States my health has just gotten worse and worse (I'm in northwest England - the sun, when it's out, is not very strong).

I did a bit of online digging to see about the benefits of tanning beds a while ago - here's from the notes I took:

"UVA and UVB light rays are both emitted by the sun and tanning beds but UVB rays are responsible for vit. D synthesis. Tanning beds are calibrated to provide UVA rays to maximize tanning effects (UVB rays cause sunburn more than UVA rays)."

I didn't write down the source, but I recall some supporting sites that said that you won't get vitamin D in any significant amount from tanning beds, but I wasn't sure why until I found the information above.

I'd be interested to see if others have found conflicting info...

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Here is a university link that might be helpful:

http://healthpsych.p...TanningBeds.htm

Among other info on this page:

"...study was conducted in Sweden which tested to see if indoor tanners were at increased risk of developing melanoma. The results indicated that there was a positive association between tanning beds and melanoma. In fact, there was a 55% increase in risk of melanoma after adjustment for sun sensitivity and measures of sun exposure. Other studies show that there are many other adverse effects of tanning bed use such as acute sunburn, skin fragility and blistering, suppression of cutaneous DNA repair and immune functioning, and ocular disorders (Levine)".

"Research shows that the standard UVB dose given during an average indoor tanning session greatly exceeds the recommended 25% of 1 minimal erythema dose (MED). The MED is different for people of different skin types. The recommended amount of UVB rays for people with type II skin is 12.6 minutes and people with type III skin is 17.7 minutes in a standard tanning bed... the exposure time of UVB radiation in tanning beds is 4.5 to 7 times the amount needed for optimal Vitamin D production (Levine)...as of now, it is suggested that regular sunlight is used as a source of Vitamin D. Doctors advise that the exposure of only hands, arms, face, and legs to sunlight 15-20 minutes a day, three times a week is adequate exposure."

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targs66 - I appreciate your research, but it is possible that the beds both produce mostly UVA, and yet still give off more UVB than one would ordinarily receive from sunlight.

I am now unsure whether the tanning bed is doing anything, or how seriously it increases my risk of cancer.

I had thought that there was a correlation between sunburns and cancer, but it seems that the sunburn is not the mediator of cancer - that is, sunburns are not what causes cancer but total exposure to UVA and UVB causes cancer. Apparently, some kinds of UV are more carcinogenic than others, but only UVB causes vitamin D production.

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MommyGiuliana: I looked up the Levine that your source is quoting.

It is not well written IMHO. Not the best research article. This is clearly not your fault or the internet source's fault. I suppose it might not even be the author's fault - it might just be that I am not trained in dermatology and so not the intended audience. however, it's not clear how 1 MED relates to vitamin D. My understanding is that 1 MED is the amount of time it takes to "turn the skin red." Not only is the concept itself vague, but there is no neccesary connection between red skin and vitamin D production. The article seems to assume that 25 % MED correlates with adequate vitamin D levels. But this is troublesome because I don't want 'adequate' levels, I want higher than normal levels - I want to be at the maximum healthy range.

But the article does say

"Not only is extended tanning unnecessary for

adequate vitamin D production, but it is seemingly

counterproductive because at approximately 1 MED

of UV radiation, vitamin D production and destruction

reach equilibrium. "

So, this quasi-helpfully, seems to say that if you're indoor tanning long enough to get a tan, you are tanning too long for increased vitamin D.

They also discuss the links between indoor tanning and cancer - but all the studies seem to be on people who are indoor tanning for the purpose of being tan. They are averaging 20 minutes 3 times a week. That is twice what I was aiming for.

If anyone wants the article. I will send it to you (thank god for college alumn library priveleges!) - private message me.

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Thanks for this info - like everything else medical, it's more complex than it originally seemed!

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I still wonder about the dizziness/brainfog - basically my symptoms for over the first year of POTS, occurring only when no direct sunlight. ( Not as much at night either. )

And does this have to do with my vitamin D level of 18 a week ago? ( low ) It seemed like the sunlight effect on me is due to light to the eye. I suppose these things seem as crazy as initially descriing my POTS symptoms to the doctors, but now that I have the tilt table test with a clear cut result, does not make me any less sure that on sunny day in the direct light my symptoms were going away.

If I were crazy it would not explain my tilt table test, nor elevated HR off B-blocker.

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So I've been doing the tanning - I skipped a day last week because I spent a good amount of time outside in the garden. I think I am feeling better. I only did 17 minutes total last week (plus a couple hours of outdoor time), and I've logged 6 minutes tanning so far this week.

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craving is the right word rama, thanks! I crave sunlight, I feel much better but I think it's an emotional thing. I'm home alone lots of times and sunshine makes me want to go out and enjoy life. However I do feel a need to go outside when the sun shines as much as I feel the need to lay down when I'm in orthostatic trouble. I never thought of tanning in a studio though.

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anyone else crave sunlight??

Definitely!...After a long winter, we had a few weeks of sunshine so I was sitting outside all the time. It coincided with my best two weeks since last October. I was also able to do consistent, although minimal exercise as well, so I'm not sure which one, or both contributed to my feeling a little better. Sunshine definitely has healing qualities for me.

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