Sunlight spurs the production of one form of vitamin D, an essential nutrient. An alternative to getting out in the sun is to use a grow light, but only one type of grow light stimulates vitamin D production. A lamp with a bright white light will put you at risk of ultraviolet (UV) light exposure, which can cause cataracts and skin damage. Other lamps are simply ineffective for your needs. However, light therapy using blue-light LED (light-emitting diode), part of the full visible, coloured light spectrum, is safer to use and FDA-approved for the treatment of vitamin D deficiency and the depression it can cause.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- 5,000-lux LED light lamp
- UV safety goggles
Use a blue-light LED to stimulate vitamin D. According to bodyblues.com, a 5,000-lux phototherapy device using LEDs is as effective as a 10,000-lux device using bright light. However, a bright light of 10,000 lux poses risks associated with UV-exposure. Blue-light produces vitamin D at a dimmer light intensity and at a lower wavelength in the spectrum, minimising the risks associated with UV exposure. "For the most benefits, the light source either has to be very bright, 5,000 lux or more, or it has to be a very specific wavelength," according to thebodyblues.com. Blue light in the 405- to 425-nanometer wavelength range is optimum for triggering vitamin D production and FDA-approved.
Schedule light therapy in the morning. Studies suggest that you should avoid light therapy in the evening to protect the quality of your sleep. Each device varies in its directions for use. However, the general recommendation is to expose your face, neck, arms and chest area to the light for 10 to 30 minutes.
Take safety precautions. Use only a UV-shielded device or one emitting light in the 405- to 425-nanometer range. Manufacturers of grow lights that emit UV rays outside of this range advise you to wear UV glasses and apply sunscreen before exposure. Read product directions thoroughly.
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Tips and warnings
- As with many therapies, a little can be medicinal but a lot can be poison. Don't expose yourself to UV light for more than half an hour at a time. "When UV light interacts with your skin, it triggers the formation of vitamin D," according to thebodyblues.com. "Within 30 minutes of bright-light exposure, you will feel more energetic and lighthearted."
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