LED Lighting and Vitamin D

The Benefits of LED Systems and Vitamin D

Lighting and Vitamin D is a crucial factor to consider with all indoor environments. According to research by the British Nutrition Foundation, as many as 1 in 5 people in the UK suffer from a vitamin D deficiency. This can lead to serious mental and physical health conditions including rickets, osteoporosis, osteomalacia, and clinical depression. And people with a vitamin D deficiency can affect your company’s productivity and efficiency.

In this article, we examine:

  • What vitamin D is and why it’s so important
  • How to increase your and your staff’s exposure to vitamin D
  • How the lighting in your office affects vitamin D production
  • LED lighting at your place of work and vitamin D

What is Vitamin D and Why is it Important?

Vitamin D is created by the body when the skin is exposed to sunlight. The UVB rays from the sun react with cholesterol in the skin cells, allowing for vitamin D synthesis to happen.

The role of vitamin D in our health and wellbeing is very important; low levels of vitamin D are often linked to serious health implications such as cancer, osteoporosis, depression and muscle weakness.

The main job of vitamin D is to assist in the building of strong bones and teeth – via the building blocks of calcium. However, it also plays a crucial role in the development of a healthy immune and neuromuscular system, alongside prolonging the life of healthy human cells.

A lack of vitamin D can result in cancers such as breast cancer, colon cancer and prostate cancer. It also is likely to result in weight gain and low mood.

If you are worried about the levels of vitamin D in your body, your local GP is able to arrange a simple blood test in order to screen the amount you currently produce. It has been noted that people with darker skin are less able to produce a healthy amount, therefore requiring additional methods of formulation or acquisition.

The Best Way to Increase Exposure

The best way of maintaining the recommended levels of vitamin D is by spending a sensible amount of time in the sun, which causes the body to naturally produce D3, an essential vitamin that is proven to be beneficial to our everyday health and wellbeing.

Nutritionists and medical professionals recommend spending at least fifteen minutes in the sun each day. However, this isn’t always practical, especially in wintertime, or if you live in a location with a climate like the UK, where the sun making an appearance can feel like a cause for national celebration.

If you’re not able to get enough sunshine each day, however, a practical and proven alternative to natural sunlight is exposure to light-emitting diodes, or LEDs as they’re commonly referred to.

LEDs are able to reproduce the benefits associated with natural sunlight by replicating the wavelengths created by the sun, and can be used in both an indoor or outdoor environment.

Exposure to natural sunlight has also been linked to increased productivity in the workplace, making LEDs an ideal solution for office spaces, retail premises and warehouses where workers may not be able to experience much sunlight during working hours.

What’s more, LEDs stimulate the production of vitamin D at a lower intensity than natural sunlight, minimising the risks associated with UV exposure such as skin cancer and cataracts.

How Does Lighting Affect Production?

The best method of vitamin D is through natural sunlight at around midday. Studies have shown that only 13 minutes of midday sun exposure 3 times per week is enough to maintain sound levels in the average adult; the recommended daily dose is 600 IU (15mcg).

Midday is the best time to get vitamin D as you don’t need to spend much time outside to reap the benefits. However, it is important to remember that UV rays are at their strongest at this point so this may subsequently increase your risk of skin cancers.

If you use sunscreen, skin is less able to absorb vitamin D. Sunscreen reflects, scatters or absorbs sunlight meaning skin will not produce vitamin D. This can be problematic, as sunscreen of factor 30 or above has been proven to reduce vitamin D production by up to 98%. It has been suggested to apply sunscreen after 10 minutes of unprotected sun exposure to gain the benefits whilst defending your skin.

Those who are unable to spend enough time in the sun have the option of absorbing vitamin D through other means, for example through supplements or eating more vitamin D rich food. Also, if you live particularly far away from the equator, it may be challenging to be exposed to enough sun-light rich hours.

LED lighting has been proven to offer safer, more effective production of vitamin D. Avoiding sunburn, sunstroke and eliminating the need to seek out the sun at midday, correct installation of LED lighting in your home of place of business can provide you with all the benefits of vitamin D without the hazards. Research at Boston University School of Medicine found that skin samples exposed to UV LED lights for 0.52 minutes produced more than twice as much vitamin D as those exposed to 32.5 minutes of sunlight.

LEDs and Vitamin D

An LED – or light emitting diode – is a type of light produced when an electrical current passes through a special type of microchip. Because the heat from an LED is absorbed in a heat sink – a small metal device used to disperse excess heat – LEDs are up to 90% more efficient than traditional incandescent light bulbs.

As well as being more energy efficient than fluorescent and incandescent light fittings, LEDs offer superior light distribution and a longer lifespan than other forms of lighting leading to lower overall running costs.

It has been proven that the type of light humans are exposed to has an impact on their health and wellbeing. By choosing LED lighting, which is fairly new compared to other sources of electrical lighting, you can be safe in the knowledge that they have a lower human toxicity potential and do not emit UV rays.

LED lighting in your home or workplace is intrinsically linked to our health and wellbeing. This is primarily due to hormones – lead signalling molecules which have an overriding affect on our day-to-day life. Certain hormones are released after sunlight or LED exposure which increases feelings of wellbeing, positivity and productivity.

By using LED lighting solutions, you can decrease stress and anxiety. Humans need positive atmospheres to work in, and by providing them with lighting which stimulates and benefits them, you maximise their output.

Find out more about Vitamin D and LED lighting

To find out further information about how LED lighting can benefit your business or home, simply contact us on 01202 554 200 or send us an email at info@airius.co.uk. We’d appreciate the opportunity to speak with you about the advantages of updating your lighting system and the variety of ways in which we can help you do this.