Prevention and treatment of vitamin D deficiency in Dutch psychogeriatric nursing home residents by weekly half-body UVB exposure after showering: a pilot study

V.G.M. Chel, M.E. Ooms, S. Pavel, F. de Gruijl, A. Brand, P.T.A.M. Lips

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Background: in older people, induction of cutaneous vitamin D production by ultraviolet B (UVB) exposure may be preferable to oral supplementation: it cannot cause toxic levels, it helps to prevent polypharmacy and, moreover, there are indications that UVB exposure has beneficial effects on health and well being by mechanisms other than the vitamin D pathway alone. Objective: the aim of this pilot study is to investigate whether weekly, half-body, UVB irradiation after showering can increase serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) to sufficient levels, in a Dutch psychogeriatric nursing home population. Method: subjects were eight psychogeriatric nursing home patients, mean age: 79 ± 8. Exclusion criteria were going outdoors into the sun more than once a week, the presence of actinic or cancer skin lesions and known resistance to body contact. The intervention consisted of weekly half-body UVB irradiation, after showering, over 8 weeks, with 0.5 minimal erythemal dose (MED). Main outcome measures were change in fasting serum levels of 25(OH)D and parathyroid hormone (PTH) at 0, 2, 4 and 8 weeks. Results: at baseline, mean serum 25(OH)D was 28.5 nmol/l. Mean serum 25(OH)D levels increased to 46.5 nmol/l. Median serum PTH levels decreased by 20% after 8 weeks of treatment. Conclusion: an 8 week course of weekly, frontal half-body irradiation with UVB, at 0.5 MED, leads to an significant increase in 25(OH)D serum levels, but this period is too short to reach vitamin D sufficiency. © The Author 2010. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Geriatrics Society. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-214
JournalAge and ageing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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