Case of Vitamin D 'Overdose' from Tanning Bed Use

Bottom Line: Tanning Beds Are Bad for Your Health

Let's be perfectly clear:

  • The American Academy of Dermatology Association opposes indoor tanning and supports a ban on the production and sale of indoor tanning equipment for non- medical purposes.
  • Studies have demonstrated that exposure to UV radiation during indoor tanning damages the DNA in the skin cells, and can lead to premature skin aging, immune suppression, and even eye damage, including cataracts and ocular melanoma.
  • The American Academy of Dermatology does not recommend getting vitamin D from sun exposure or indoor tanning because ultraviolet rays from the sun and tanning beds can cause skin cancer.

While you may read that vitamin D is the cure-all for everything from cancer to inflammation, the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine has concluded that the evidence for associating vitamin D status with health benefits other than bone health is inconsistent, inconclusive as to causality, and insufficient to inform nutritional requirements.

What is conclusive? That unprotected UV exposure from the sun or indoor tanning devices is a known risk factor for development of skin cancer, including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

Therefore, there is no justification to expose someone to UV radiation, a known carcinogen, for the purpose of increasing their vitamin D levels. End of discussion.

It is unclear to me what benefit the medical and lay communities are to gain from the case report. It could even undermine public health measures designed to prevent unnecessary exposure to a World Health Organization-designated cancer- causing agent: UV radiation from tanning beds.

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