The relationship between ultraviolet radiation exposure and vitamin D status

Nutrients. 2010 May;2(5):482-95. doi: 10.3390/nu2050482. Epub 2010 May 4.


This paper reviews the main factors influencing the synthesis of vitamin D, with particular focus on ultraviolet radiation exposure. On the global level, the main source of vitamin D is the sun. The effect of solar radiation on vitamin D synthesis depends to some extent on the initial vitamin D levels. At moderate to high latitudes, diet becomes an increasingly important source of vitamin D due to decreased solar intensity and cold temperatures, which discourage skin exposure. During the mid-winter season, these factors result in decreased solar radiation exposure, hindering extensively the synthesis of vitamin D in these populations.

Keywords: UV; sun; ultraviolet; vitamin D.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diet
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Humans
  • Seasons
  • Skin / radiation effects*
  • Sunlight*
  • Ultraviolet Rays*
  • Vitamin D / biosynthesis*


  • Vitamin D