Vitamin D effective ultraviolet wavelengths due to scattering in shade

D. J. Turnbull*, A. V. Parisi, M. G. Kimlin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Solar UVB radiation (280-320 nm) is an initiator of Vitamin D3 production in the human skin. While numerous studies have been conducted in relation to the biological impact of UV exposure in full sun, less research has investigated the irradiances in shade. The purpose of this study was to determine the levels of UV radiation in relation to Vitamin D3 induction with six commonly encountered shade environments for the larger solar zenith angles observed during autumn and winter. Spectral UV irradiance measurements were made under relatively clear sky conditions at a sub-tropical Southern Hemisphere site for six specific shade environments and solar zenith angle between 35°and 60°to investigate the biologically effective UV irradiances for pre-Vitamin D3 production. Data from this research indicates that pre-Vitamin D3 effective UV wavelengths in the shade were most significant for tree shade and a shade umbrella. Compared to that in full sun, pre-Vitamin D3 effective UV wavelengths were at levels of approximately 52 and 55%, respectively, beneath the shade umbrella and in tree shade. UVB irradiance levels in the shade of a northern facing covered veranda and in a car with windows closed were significantly less than those beneath the shade umbrella, with levels of approximately 11 and 0%, respectively, of those in full sun. Shade is important as a UV minimisation strategy; however, it may also play an important role in providing the human body with adequate levels of UVB radiation for pre-Vitamin D3 production without experiencing the relatively higher levels of UVA irradiances present in full sun.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-436
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2005
Externally publishedYes


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