Do sunscreens prevent Vitamin D production?

The creams that protect us from the sun prevent sunburn and erythema but can they prevent the synthesis of vitamin D by our body?

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The creams that protect us from the sun prevent sunburn and erythema but can they prevent the synthesis of vitamin D by our body?

Protecting the skin from the sun is important for fighting free radical damage and preventing the development of skin cancers.

Every year, experts recommend not exposing yourself to the sun during the hottest hours, spending as little time as possible in direct sunlight and protect yourself adequately with clothes and sunscreen.

All these precautions must be respected to avoid exposing yourself to the risk of serious skin diseases, but many wonder if doing so does not lead to vitamin D deficiencies, an essential element for our body.

Do the creams that protect the skin from the sun prevent the body from synthesizing vitamin D?

Vitamin D: what it is and what it is used for

La vitamin D plays a fundamental role in the regulation of calcium and phosphorus metabolism: a vitamin D deficiency in childhood causes rickets, a disease characterized by inadequate calcification of bones and cartilages, while in adults the shortage of this vitamin causes weakening of the bones, a pathological condition known as osteomalacia.

Most of the alimony has a low content of vitamin D: sources of this vitamin are in fact mainly cod liver oil or, alternatively, fortified foods including milk.

Fortunately Vitamin D can also be produced by our body through exposure of the skin to the sun.

The mechanism involves the initial conversion of 7-dehydrocholesterol - or provitamin D3 - present in cell membranes of our skin.

Pro-vitamin D3 is then broken down by ultraviolet radiation into previtamin D3 which spontaneously transforms - isomerizes - into vitamin D3, converted into calcitriol in the liver and kidneys.

Il calcitriolo represents the active form of vitamin D, hormone involved in the regulation of calcium and phosphorus.

A insufficient sun exposure it does not allow the breakdown of the 7-dehydrocholesterol present in the skin and therefore involves vitamin D deficiency.

Sun creams and vitamin D production

Since for the vitamin D synthesis exposure to sunlight is essential, it is legitimate to ask ourselves if the creams that protect us from the sun hinder this process.

The answer comes from the available studies, according to which applying sunscreen does not affect vitamin D synthesis on the part of our body, since the mechanisms of sunburn and the production of vitamin D are different.

Recent research monitored blood levels of vitamin D and the incidence of sunburn during a week of UV exposure by applying it correctly creme con SPF 15.
The creams offered adequate protection against sunburn and no decrease in vitamin D synthesis was found.

Although there is no confirmation that the same applies to high SPF sunscreens, according to one review there is insufficient scientific evidence showing a lower synthesis of vitamin D following the application of sunscreen creams and indeed, according to the results of a review of the literature sunscreens would not compromise synthesized vitamin D levels in healthy people.

La vitamin D synthesis would therefore not be affected by the application of sun creams, which instead offer a effective protection from sunburn and erythema and the risk of developing skin cancers.

Read also:

  • Sun creams: do the high factor ones really cause vitamin D deficiency?
  • Sun creams: filters contain dangerous substances. The three worst and best products
  • Sun creams: 12 false beliefs and myths to dispel
  • Sun creams: 10 things you (maybe) don't know about tanning products

About vitamin D you might be interested in:

  • Magnesium and vitamin D: why you should take them at the same time
  • Vitamin D: is its deficiency just an invention? The provocation of an English doctor
  • Vitamin D supplements don't improve bone health, the study
  • Vitamin D: How Much Should We Take?
  • Vitamin D: all the consequences of a deficiency

Tatiana Maselli

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