Calcified Tissue International

, Volume 92, Issue 2, pp 163–176 | Cite as

Contributions of Sunlight and Diet to Vitamin D Status

  • Helen M. MacdonaldEmail author
Original Research


Vitamin D is made in the skin using ultraviolet radiation of specific low wavelength, 290–315 nm (UVB). For many parts of the world there is a period when there is insufficient intensity of UVB to make vitamin D, which is reflected by a clear seasonal variation in vitamin D status. Sun avoidance practices, melanin in pigmented skin, and sun protection creams (sunscreen), if used properly, can dramatically reduce vitamin D synthesis. Few foods naturally contain vitamin D, although some countries fortify foods with vitamin D. Regulatory mechanisms in the skin mean there is no danger of vitamin D toxicity through sunlight synthesis. Although oral vitamin D is potentially toxic with high-dose supplements, there is a wide safety margin. Long-term safety data covering a range of potential adverse outcomes are limited.


Steroid hormones Vitamin D Age Aging Rickets Osteomalacia 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Musculoskeletal Research, Health Sciences Building, University of AberdeenForesterhill, AberdeenUK

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