Vitamin D is essential for health, keeping your bones strong and even reducing the growth of cancer cells.
Today, many people suffer from vitamin D deficiency due to spending less time outside than their ancestors did.
Aside from sun exposure and vitamin D supplements, is there any way to boost our vitamin D to maintain healthier lives?
While red light therapy won’t increase vitamin D levels, red light therapy and vitamin D have very similar effects on the body.
Read on to learn more about the relationship between red light therapy and vitamin D and how treatment may be able to provide surprisingly effective results.
Does Red Light Therapy Help Generate Vitamin D?
In short, no. Red light therapy does not stimulate vitamin D production.
However, you're about to learn how the benefits of red light therapy and vitamin D overlap.
It provides a number of health benefits that are also found in individuals who have strong levels of vitamin D.
While both natural sun exposure and vitamin D levels are linked to a lower risk of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, it might not be vitamin D alone that is lowering these risks.
Our bodies produce active vitamin D after exposure to the sun's ultraviolet B (UVB) rays interact with a protein called 7-DHC in the skin, converting it into vitamin D3, the active form of vitamin D.
Research shows that vitamin D supplements don’t appear to have any major health benefits.
This isn’t to say that vitamin D isn’t important, just that supplementation may not be a satisfactory substitute for nature.
There are remarkable benefits of red light therapy for cardiac aging, chronic inflammation, and diabetic foot ulcers. In many cases, it can help treat not only the symptoms of disease but help reduce the risk of developing them.
The Restorative Qualities of Red Light Therapy
Red light therapy’s effectiveness in improving health begins at the cellular level.
Among the numerous benefits of red light therapy, it can help repair sun damage and may protect the skin from sunburns.
RLT treatment supports cellular energy production, providing cells with energy needed to replicate, repair, and protect themselves. Healthy cells are better able to repair themselves from UV exposure damage.
Red light reduces chronic inflammation, which helps treat chronic inflammatory skin disorders.
This is a similar effect to vitamin D, although neither sunlight nor supplements are required. RLT also has an analgesic effect, which can help reduce the pain and discomfort of sunburn.
Red light therapy also stimulates the fibroblasts, which are the cells responsible for collagen production, resulting in intradermal collagen density increase. This is a fancy way of saying that regular use can help with skin quality and youthfulness.
The best-known benefit of vitamin D is maintaining bone health. Here, too, red light therapy can help. The treatment improves bone density. It also boosts the production of stem cells in bone marrow, which are an important part of the immune system.
While red and infrared light won’t produce vitamin D in the body, this all-natural light treatment has some of the same effects as vitamin D. It’s a valuable tool for your overall health.
In my clinical experience, I have found that patients who frequently experience UV sun damage and have low Vitamin D levels benefit from a reduction in systemic inflammation. PlatinumLEDs therapy lights are best known for their ability to reduce inflammation, especially when used daily.
Functional Medicine Doctor of Physical Therapy, Dr. Alayna Newton, PT, DPT, FAFS
The Benefits of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is best known for its ability to help prevent osteoporosis and to strengthen the bones.
Unfortunately, loss of bone density is a common condition. This is a leading cause of bone fractures and disability in the aging population.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps the body absorb and retain both calcium and phosphorus, two minerals that are essential for bone health.
Many organs and tissues in the body have receptors specifically for vitamin D, which has many roles in the body beyond the prevention of osteoporosis.
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to depression and anxiety, although it's possible that it's simply bright light that helps ease depression symptoms and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Vitamin D may also be a factor in helping you lose weight.
Research also supports the claim of vitamin D’s ability to slow the growth of cancer cells, which suggests healthy vitamin D levels are important for fighting cancer.
However, some researchers claim that “other molecules and pathways induced by sun exposure” deserve just as much credit for these benefits to health. Included in these is exposure to specific wavelengths of red or infrared light.
How to Get Enough Vitamin D
Vitamin D is unique in that it is both a nutrient available from food and supplements, as well as its production by the body in response to sunlight.
The best way to get vitamin D is through natural sun exposure, although this should be done carefully to avoid skin damage from UV light.
Getting enough vitamin D may take more effort and intentionality for those who live in cities that are typically overcast and where it rains a lot. People living further from the equator, where seasonal changes and lack of sunlight, are also at risk of having insufficient vitamin D.
Melanin acts as the body’s natural sunscreen, reducing vitamin D production, whereas it also acts as a protector that diminishes the harmful effects of sunlight to some degree.
Getting enough sun exposure without sun protection can elevate your risk of skin damage and skin cancer. Fortunately, even though sunscreen blocks UVB light, using sunscreen does not prevent vitamin D synthesis in the skin.
However, clothing that blocks UVB light may prevent vitamin D synthesis from happening.
The second preferred way to increase vitamin D levels is through diet and supplementation. These could include some of the following:
- Fish products including fish liver oil and/or fatty fish.
- Salmon, sardines, and tuna.
- Egg yolks.
- Some dairy products.
- Orange juice.
In the following section, we provide a few more details about how to get plenty of sun without overdoing your vitamin D exposure. Please keep in mind that this varies depending on the individual.
Those who get sunburns easily should be particularly cautious when attempting to get extended sun exposure.
(H3) Avoiding Excessive UV Exposure
The body is pretty good at minimizing sun damage by producing melanin. Tans essentially work like the body’s ‘built-in’ sunscreen.
However, anyone planning to spend a long time in the sun or who has a particular susceptibility to getting sunburnt should certainly use sunblock. This helps protect from overexposure to UV rays that are really more dangerous over the long term. It also considerably reduces the risk of painful and unpleasant sunburns.
We’d also recommend just going inside if you feel yourself starting to overheat. Usually, there is a delay for the symptoms of sunburns to occur, so you may not realize that you’re burnt until it’s too late. If you’re planning on having too much fun outside to remember, it might even make sense to set an alarm on your phone.
Additionally, the temperature outside is not always a reliable indicator of how strong the UV rays are. Some high-elevation areas that may be cold still have very high UV levels, so that is something to watch out for.
- When UVB light reaches an RNA molecule, it causes changes in the structure of the RNA, which is enough to spark the inflammatory response of sunburn.
- When UVB light reaches a DNA molecule, it causes mutations in the DNA. It also breaks up proteins. Together, this causes skin cancer.
Over the long term, UVA radiation causes wrinkles, sagging skin, and sun spots. UVA damage happens in the lower layers of the skin, where collagen is produced. Specifically, UVA radiation activates receptors that break down collagen and prevents vitamin A receptors.
Be cautious about your sun exposure and remember to wear sunblock when you plan to spend a lot of time outside!
Red Light Therapy and UV Exposure
With red light therapy, you get the benefits of wavelengths that stimulate and support the body but do not cause harm.
You can also benefit from the well-known anti-aging and skin rejuvenation benefits of red light therapy, without experiencing damage from UV light.
In a way, red light therapy gives you the benefits of direct sunlight without exposing you to harmful UV rays.
While red light therapy won't treat vitamin D deficiency, it has similar benefits. These include treating and even preventing a number of chronic diseases.
The BIOMAX Series RLT Panels
The BIOMAX series red light therapy panels feature the highest light energy output of any light therapy devices in their class, providing six distinct wavelengths of light. These include the following.
The two wavelengths of red light treat the layers of the skin, reducing inflammation, boosting circulation, elevating collagen levels, and stimulating cellular energy production.
The three near-infrared wavelengths absorb into tissues deep in the body, stimulating the mitochondria and cell production.
The traces of blue light treat the outermost layer of your skin. At 480 nm, blue light wavelengths treat the surface of your skin, which is a powerful treatment for acne and skin blemishes.
With the BIOMAX panels, you also get the convenience of a light therapy panel that can treat a huge variety of conditions linked to a vitamin D deficiency. These include low bone density and osteoporosis, inflammatory joint disorders, inflammatory skin disorders, cardiovascular disease, weight loss, and healthy immune function.
Check out the most powerful red light therapy panels on the market for easy, affordable, and optimized at-home treatment.