Media Releases

Indoor tanners benefit from exposure to vitamin D

Friday, January 25, 2013
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KELOWNA, BC — Canadian indoor tanners will soon know more about the positive effects they’re receiving from the vitamin D generated while they’re tanning. According to a recent Globe and Mail report, U.S. researchers will announce in June the first direct link between cancer prevention and the sunshine vitamin. The Globe and Mail reported that a four-year clinical trial involving 1,200 women found those taking the vitamin had about a 60-per-cent reduction in cancer incidence, compared with those who didn’t take it, a drop so large that it’s twice the impact on cancer attributed to smoking. The main way for humans to receive vitamin D is through exposure to UVB light generated naturally by the sun or through specially designed electronic lighting. One of the researchers who made the discovery, professor of medicine Robert Heaney of Creighton University in Nebraska, says vitamin D deficiency is showing up in so many illnesses besides cancer that nearly all disease figures in Canada and the U.S. will need to be re-evaluated. “We don’t really know what the status of chronic disease is in the North American population,” he said, “until we normalize vitamin D status,” the newspaper stated.

This news has the Canadian tanning industry abuzz because once again it verifies the health benefits of exposure to UVB light. “Although this is now becoming news, we have known for quite some time that moderate exposure to UVB light whether from sunshine or a tanning bed has significant impact on optimizing vitamin D levels said Joint Canadian Tanning Association (JCTA) Executive Director Steve Gilroy. “We realize that our industry can play a significant role as part of a healthy solution to the vitamin D deficiency experienced by many Canadians. Over 90% of tanning beds in Canada produce UVB levels that can optimize vitamin D production, Gilroy said. – more – – 2 – Canadians are among the people most at risk of not having enough vitamin D. This is due to a quirk of geography, to modern lifestyles and to the country’s health authorities, who have unwittingly, if with the best of intentions, played a role in creating the vitamin deficiency. As a result of an agreement reached prior to a hearing last year with the Canadian Competition Bureau, Fabutan Sun Tan Studios, Canada’s largest indoor tanning company is permitted to market tanning beds as a source of vitamin D production. Fabutan President Doug McNabb said he is excited to see this information finally reach Canadians. We have known for a long time that Canadians could use tanning beds to increase their vitamin D levels, especially from October thru March when we are not exposed to sufficient UVB outdoors due to our geography. Dr. Reinhold Vieth, of Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital, is one of the leading vitamin D experts in the world. He provided sworn evidence on Fabutan’s behalf last year that “sunbeds and summer sunshine are effective means by which to increase our serum 25(OH)D levels. The advantage of a tanning bed is that exposure to UV light can be controlled more precisely than casual sun exposure and thus can be safer than advising the public to guess at their own sun exposure from sunlight,” Dr. Vieth said in his statement. A 2004 study published in the American Society for Clinical Nutrition’s journal found that indoor tanners had vitamin D levels that were 90% higher than non-tanners. Gilroy said that after 27 years of advocating responsible, smart tanning and answering questions about potential skin damage from tanning beds, it looks like the indoor tanning industry may be part of the solution to an even larger issue – making sure Canadians are getting their vitamin D. “The JCTA and its members believe moderate UV exposure in a non-burning fashion is the smartest way to maximize the benefits and minimize the risks associated with either too much or too little UV exposure — the solution we have been teaching for more than two decades.” * * * For more information please contact: Steve Gilroy, Executive Director Joint Canadian Tanning Association 1-800-915-0367 or