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J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2018 Jan;175:44-48. doi: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2016.09.004. Epub 2016 Sep 16.

Sunlight exposure: Do health benefits outweigh harm?

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Department of Applied Oral Sciences, Forsyth Institute, Cambridge, MA, USA; Department of Pathology, Saba University School of Medicine, Saba, Dutch Caribbean, Netherlands; Department of Oral Health Policy & Epidemiology, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Boston, MA, USA; Department of Preventive & Community Dentistry, Rwanda University School of Dentistry, Kigali, Rwanda. Electronic address:


Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin whose levels within the body are elevated following sunlight exposure. Numerous studies have shown that sunlight exposure can provide protection to a wide variety of diseases, ranging from different types of tumors to hypertension to type 1 diabetes to multiple sclerosis. Moreover, studies have shown that avoiding sunlight may influence the initiation and progression of some of these diseases. Avoidance of sunlight, coupled with the inclination towards consuming supplements, is becoming the primary choice to obtain vitamin D. The purpose of this article is to present evidences from published literature, to show that the expected benefits of vitamin D supplements are minimized by the potential risk of cardiovascular events and beyond. Since hypovitaminosis D status usually reflects reduced sunlight exposure, the obvious primary replacement should be safe sunlight exposure, and not exogenous supplements.


Bone; Calcification; Sunlight; Supplements; Toxicity; Vitamin D

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