[Vitamin D forming effectiveness of ultraviolet radiation from sunlight in different months in Budapest, Hungary]

Orv Hetil. 2007 Feb 18;148(7):319-25. doi: 10.1556/OH.2007.27840.
[Article in Hungarian]


Introduction: The vitamin D3 formation in skin is the most important natural source of vitamin D demands of humans. The key step of the phototransformation of provitamin D into previtamin D from which the vitamin D3 is formed by thermal conversion. According to studies run at the latitudes of Hungary the UV-B radiation in winter time is not satisfactory to ensure the need of the vitamin D, which can result in vitamin D 3 deficiency and increases risk of osteoporosis.

Aims: The aim of this study was to verify whether in the Hungarian population the UV radiation from the Sun ensures the daily synthesis of 1000 IU vitamin D3, or Vitamin D deficiency could occur in the winter and spring months which are less favourable in terms of UV exposure.

Methods: The data of UV-B radiation reaching the Earth's surface were used for the evaluation. These data based on regular measurements in Budapest. According to the average of UV-B radiation of each months the "best case scenario" of vitamin D3 production was estimated by using the most optimal conditions of vitamin D synthesis.

Results: It was calculated, that the effective UV irradiance reaching the Earth's surface at noon in Budapest is the highest in July, while the lowest is in December. The difference between these two months is more than 35-fold for July. In the period between November and March more than 200 minutes have to be spent outdoor to ensure the production of satisfactory amount of vitamin D in skin. On one hand, it is irrealistically long time because it exceeds the duration of maximum irradiation around noon which was the basis of our calculation. On the other hand, if only the face and hands are uncovered then the required radiant exposure exceeds the 1 minimal erythemal dose, i.e. the skin would be burnt.

Conclusions: Based on our calculations it was found, that in Budapest more than 95% of yearly effective UV-B radiation is measurable in the period between March and October. Therefore it can be assumed that the UV-B radiation would not be sufficient in the period between November and February, even if its efficacy would not be limited by clothing and less time spent outdoor which are anyway characteristic and necessary in that part of the year.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Clothing
  • Humans
  • Hungary
  • Seasons*
  • Sunburn
  • Sunlight*
  • Sunscreening Agents / administration & dosage
  • Time Factors
  • Ultraviolet Rays*
  • Vitamin D / biosynthesis*
  • Vitamin D / radiation effects*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / etiology
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / prevention & control*


  • Sunscreening Agents
  • Vitamin D