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Photochem Photobiol. 2005 Nov-Dec;81(6):1287-90.

Daily duration of vitamin D synthesis in human skin with relation to latitude, total ozone, altitude, ground cover, aerosols and cloud thickness.

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Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU), Tromsø, Norway.


Vitamin D production in human skin occurs only when incident UV radiation exceeds a certain threshold. From simulations of UV irradiances worldwide and throughout the year, we have studied the dependency of the extent and duration of cutaneous vitamin D production in terms of latitude, time, total ozone, clouds, aerosols, surface reflectivity and altitude. For clear atmospheric conditions, no cutaneous vitamin D production occurs at 51 degrees latitude and higher during some periods of the year. At 70 degrees latitude, vitamin D synthesis can be absent for 5 months. Clouds, aerosols and thick ozone events reduce the duration of vitamin D synthesis considerably, and can suppress vitamin D synthesis completely even at the equator. A web page allowing the computation of the duration of cutaneous vitamin D production worldwide throughout the year, for various atmospheric and surface conditions, is available on the Internet at and The computational methodology is outlined here.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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