Does light therapy increase Vitamin D?

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Last Updated on 3 years by Francis


Does light therapy increase Vitamin D?

vitamin D from sun

There are two types of light boxes, one which is designed for treating skin related issues and the other one which aims to treat Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD) or sleep disorders.

The light boxes which are designed to treat skin related issues emit (UV) rays and hence they are harmful for people who do not have skin related issues.

Similarly, the light boxes which deal with sleep disorders and depression filter the (UV) rays through them and are able to increase Vitamin D in the human body.

light therapy box for SAD and depression

The light boxes which are created for treating sleep disorder or SAD, that emit 10,000 lux of light are a good source of Vitamin D. The light boxes not only help you with your sleep disorders but also help increasing the Vitamin D levels.

Do people who suffer with SAD have low Vitamin D levels?

Sun is the chief source of Vitamin D, people who reside in areas where there is less bright light exposure and have more clouds, they tend to have Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD) because they don’t have enough Vitamin D in their body which causes them depression.

light box for vitamin D

So, one of the reasons behind SAD is the low Vitamin D level. In long summer days, there is bright light, when people are exposed to it, they get the Vitamin D required in their body.

However, when it comes to dark and dull days of fall, the people don’t get exposed to enough Vitamin D which leads to a decline in the Vitamin D levels causing them back pain, muscle pain, fatigue, lethargy and depression. Low levels of Vitamin D cause people to suffer from seasonal affected disorder.

In case of no bright light, phototherapy is a better alternate. Instead of taking pills, you can get 20-30 minutes of therapy each day, while improving your sleep cycle, getting improved levels of Vitamin D and also getting rid of depression.

What is the difference between a light box equipment and a light bulb?

The light boxes and light bulb have the same purpose as they both emit light but the difference is of the intensity of the light that each of these emit. The bulb emits light just to get rid of the darkness while the light box emits light to treat sleep disorders, to help with depression and it also increases the Vitamin D levels. The light box is a stronger equipment which produces light of up to 10,000 lux, mimicking the results as that of the sun. However, the light bulbs have a very low intensity and cannot achieve any of the results that the light box achieves. The light bulb has the intensity of 500 lux which is too low to provide any benefits to the human body.

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How to prepare for light box therapy in order to maintain Vitamin D levels?

If you are inhabited in an area where there is less sunlight throughout the year, then you need to have the light box therapy sessions more often because the lack of daylight throughout the year will definitely lower the Vitamin D levels in your body. You must consult your doctor to find out right timing, the duration and intensity of the light box therapy.

If you are inhabited in a place where the summers do have sunlight but winters are dull and cold, then when you first feel the approaching, you must start taking your therapy sessions. This will not only prevent you from losing the already present Vitamin D but it will also keep the levels maintained. However, you cannot just start the light box therapy sessions on your own. You need to consult your doctor to figure out the right time and the right schedule depending upon your need. Not only will you feel better with the maintained Vitamin D levels but you will also prevent Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD).

Mostly, the doctors suggest morning time for light box therapy session, where you can spend 20-30 minutes just for yourself, you can read a book, enjoy a cup of coffee or get the tasks done for your office.

What to expect while using light box therapy for increasing Vitamin D?

Light box therapy is wonderful for you in so many ways, as it helps you cope with depression, it helps you maintain a healthy sleep cycle and it also maintains the Vitamin D levels in your blood saving you from getting muscle pain and fatigue. No matter how wonderful does it sound, it can be slightly difficult to get used to the routine of light box therapy in the morning (if you have been suggested with morning time).

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Sometimes, you may wake up and don’t feel like doing a therapy session, which is completely normal but the issue is that if you are not consistent with it then you will not be able to gain any of its benefits. So, the first thing that you need to do is to make sure that you are consistent with following the schedule designed by your doctor for you.

Secondly, it is possible that you might feel severe headaches the first few times you take the therapy session which is a normal side effect, you can discuss it with your doctor and he might alter the timing, duration or intensity of the therapy session. The alteration in the schedule will help you gain the benefits and it will help you get rid of the headaches.

Thirdly, if you are suffering from (SAD), you might still feel depressed or anxious even after the sessions or you might still get the muscle aches due to the lack of Vitamin D. This also means that the therapy is not quite yet working for you. Having a discussion with your physician will help you out with this.

Is it possible to get Vitamin D from tanning machines?

Tanning machines do emit light but they are designed for some other purpose. Their sole purpose is to provide skin tanning and not Vitamin D, so they will not be able to maintain the Vitamin D levels in your body. However, the light box machines are designed to produce 10,000 lux of light which has the ability to maintain the levels of Vitamin D. In case of a lack of bright light, you can opt for light boxes to attain it.

Can Vitamin D supplements be taken along with light box therapy?

Light box therapy is efficient in maintaining the Vitamin D levels in the body. People in areas which are dull and cold, have used light boxes to maintain the Vitamin D levels and to also prevent SAD. However, if someone has an extreme deficiency of Vitamin D, then they should consult with their doctor about whether they should take supplements, whether they should continue therapy or not. These decisions cannot be taken without consulting the doctor as only the doctor is aware of the prior medical history and the current medical situation of the patient.

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Taking supplements or alternating it with supplement pills is recommended by the doctor so the doctor’s suggestion should be followed for this purpose because if the Vitamin d deficiency gets worse, it can cause pain and discomfort.

Light box, a source of Vitamin D for people with limited mobility

Even in summers or warmer days, people who have limited mobility are unable to go out in the sun and staying inside most of the time can cause a decline in the Vitamin D. Same goes for the elderly, with age, people start losing their strength and are unable to remain active and energetic as they were in their youth, due to this they also remain unexposed to sunlight most of the times. This lack of sunlight can lead to lower levels of Vitamin D which can eventually become a reason for muscle ache and fatigue.

To regain the Vitamin D, the people with limited mobility and the elderly, with consultation with their doctor can have a 20-30-minute light box therapy session every day. With this, these people will have a better sleep because the light box also helps in sleeping disorders, they will also be in a good mood and they will have maintained level of Vitamin D.

Considering the side effects, the elderly might have headaches due to the bright light limited by the light box, they can nausea too in some cases. However, it will get better with time, as they will incorporate these therapy sessions in to their daily lives. No relying on pills for sleeping disorders, depression and even Vitamin D. People with older age and limited mobility can have various other therapies along with light box therapy without any concern or worries. However, people who have skin related issues or have had skin cancer in the past should avoid this therapy.

In conclusion, light boxes are a healthy, cost-effective and a safe alternate to getting Vitamin D from the sun. Not only gaining Vitamin D, but people will be able to achieve other health benefits too.

Here is an inexpensive light box from Amazon which can help you relieve your problems.


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