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Vitamin D from low-cost UVB lamps

Two suppliers of UVB lamps on this page

Must wear glasses when looking at UVB - it can damage your eyes, perhaps within minutes.

Plastic contact lenses will pass UVB unless you have paid for UV blocking feature
Without UV blocking contacts you must wear glasses/ski goggles/whatever if you might look at the bulb
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Light years2

Claims that their UVB lamps puts out very little UVA (i.e. not good for tanning, should be great for production of Vitamin D)
Made in US ( in business for over a decade), ships internationally (your choice: 110V vs 220V)
Suggests starting with just 2 minutes per use (day?), and building up to 5 minutes per use
Optional extras include : timer, glasses to stop UVB (recall that virtually all glass, both window and eye, block UVB)
Image 2 bulb lamp, wall mount, 21" long, 10" wide $194

Image 1 bulb lamp, wall mount 21" long, 1" wide $134 normal ballast

Comment by VitaminDWiki

This appears to be the lowest cost source of indoor UVB
- 1 or 2 bulb models vs more expensive Sperti 4 bulb model, which includes timer, glasses, etc
Suspect that can have more than a single session per day - but each might be shorter
Spectra of G15T8E (added July 2014)
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Update Oct 19, 2012: received the UVB lamp

$180 including shipping
3 pages of instructions include the following

  • UV Skin light is 100X more powerful than sunlight
    (Wonder: at noon, at equator, in summer?)
  • keep at least 2 feet away
  • initially: once per week, work up to 3 times per week
    (Suspect this is not necessary if you already have an adequate amount of vitamin D)
  • Never use with reflector or foil
    (wonder why? Perhaps because it increases the intensity even more?)
  • Always use with a time (not provided)
  • A session might consist of 30 seconds per side: front, right, back, left
  • keep away from temporary color dies of wall paper, paint, fabric and carpet which could bleach
    (similar to bleaching of dies in sunlight - but apparently much faster)
  • they recommend that bulb will slowly dim at 300 hours and should be replaced.

There is a very very slight ozone smell when it is on.
Subset of the Table of session duration and frequency for single UVB bulb

Skin typeWeek 1 Week 3
1: always burn, never tan1 minute 1/week1 minute 3/week
3: sometimes burn, always tan2 minutes 2/week4 minutes 5/week
5: heavily pigmented
  Mediterranean or Native American
6 minutes 3/week6 minutes 5/week

Update Oct 26, 2012

Tried to measure how much UVB it has - without success.
All methods failed. It appears that they all measured/ or were calibrated on UVA from the sun and assumed that UVB would be proportional
This bulb does not have the natural UVA/UVB ratio, so the measurements do not apply

  1. Purchased the UV meter by Hawk (returned after discover that Hawk appears to measure UVA and UVB)
  2. Tried UV card which temporarily changes color when it senses UV - again, far less total UV (UVA + UVB) than normal

update Nov 11, 2012

Have ordered for an additional UVB bulb - compact fluorescent
Have ordered for a Vitamin D Meter: model 6.4 - which measures just UVB and converts it into IU per minute.
$185 including shipping
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Will use the meter to test all 4 sources of UVB which I have purchased.
Mounted UVB fixture to the right of the bathroom cabinet
I find myself brushing & flossing teeth as well as shaving more often than in the past (getting vitamin D while doing it)
No tan expected, as the lamp has very little UVA
Investigating reflector to increase the intensity of UVB which I get.
Note: Cannot use a mirror to increase intensity as the glass in the mirror absorbs UVB

update Nov 11, 2012

Used a piece of furnace duct as a reflector - which increased the intensity about 3X.
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Paths of light with reflector

Guess that light intensity increased 3X with reflector
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Measured UVB and IU

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1000 IU @ 2 feet 5 minutes using Solar Meter converter
Parameter 3 Skin type 2
Parameter 4 Skin exposed 50%
Parameter 5 SPF 0%
Parameter 6 Facultative tan 0%
Parameter 7 Age: 66
   Their Excel converter Spreadsheet is attached at the bottom of this page

The 1000 IU is a best guess based on current research

More research is needed to see if any of the following might change the estimate

  1. Does the lack of UVA increase the vitamin D generated? Perhaps 8,000 IU instead of 1,000 IU
    UVB lamp produced 8X as much vitamin D as same intensity from the sun – July 2012
  2. Does the vitamin D generated vary with the % of skin illuminated? +-30%?
  3. Does warmer skin generate more vitamin D? -30%?
  4. Does shorter people generate less vitamin D? That is, is the vitamin D generated a function of skin area?

Zero UVB to eyes without and with standard glasses



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Paths of light if had an ideal reflector

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I have no intention of making this kind of reflector.

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Sperti

The Sperti Vitamin D appliance is the ONLY medical device (OTC) recognized by the FDA and has been used in clinical research.

http://www.vitaminduv.com $425 factory direct,   also Amazon

Apparently no prescription needed

From Sperti website Aug 2012

This UV lamp was designed for either home or facility use, and it's size and power is just right for 5 minute sessions {3 times per week}. Easy to use, so whether its just for your home, or for supervised facility use - the 1 to 5 minute timed dial with auto turn-off makes it easy to use, + a good safety feature. Increase your vitamin d levels naturally with UV light. Protective UV eyewear is included free with all orders at Sperti.com
1000 hour bulb life average for these Vitamin D bulbs, & easily replaced when the time comes.
Replacement bulbs are only $79 for a full set, and are easy to install.
{amortized cost of bulbs: 8 cents per hours} CLICK HERE for details

Their claim that the lamp would generate Vitamin D was recognized by the AMA and the organization that proceeded FDA around 1941.

This lamp was designed with the help of Dr. Holick, who published A paper on it Dec 2012

Highlights of paper

  • 0.75 minimal erythemal dose of UV radiation over ?9% of body surface area three times a week for 4 weeks.
  • Raised blood levels from 18 ng up to 27 ng (average of 4 men)

Notes by VitaminDWiki before reading the paper - which is attached at the bottom of the page as of Aug 2014

  • 4 weeks was not long enough for the measurements to have become stable - the levels were most likely still rising
  • The chart at Overview How Much vitamin D indicates 9 ng raise from 1,000 IU daily
    The study happened to show a 9 ng rise, so it was approximately like getting an extra 1,000 IU daily
    still do not know the duration (# of minutes) of a session. (from paper: 15 minutes)

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1 minute video no audio needed


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UVB content of light

  • Sperti: stated 80% of UV is UVB (appears to be 40%)
  • Sun: 1% of UV is UVB

The ratio of vitamin D / tanning is much higher for Sperti than the sun
That is, Sperti is much better than a full spectrum light source or even a tanning bed for producing vitamin D

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UV transmission by standard window glass

No UVB (Vitamin D) gets thru, but most UVA (Tan) gets thru

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Philips also makes narrowband UV bulbs

which are used for Psorasis - both have plenty of UVB needed for production of vitamin D in the skin


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UVB is not the same as vitamin D spectra

From UVGuide in the UK 2007 Excellent, with lots of detailed information.

  • UVB bulbs were measured at a distance where they where they had an intensity of 100 µW/cm² of total UVB
  • Then from the same distance their UV Index was measured – which just looks at the Vitamin D portion of the UVB.
  • Notice that there was a 6X difference in the amount of vitamin D spectrum
  • Be aware, also, that there are hints that when there is less UVA (than from the sun) that more vitamin D may be created
    Thus, some of these bulbs may produce > 10X more vitamin D than would be indicated by their UVB Index
UVB SourceUVB Index
Vitamin D spectra
Arcadia 5% UVB D3 Reptile linear tube 2.2
Arcadia 7% UVB D3 Compact Reptile Lamp 2.2
Namiba Terra 8% UVB Replux UV-Plus D3 compact 2.2
ZooMed Reptisun 5.0 linear tube 2.3
Lucky Reptile Compact UV Sun 2.5
ZooMed Reptisun 10.0 linear tube 3.1
ExoTerra ReptiGlo 8.0 linear tube 4.1
ZooMed Reptisun 5.0 compact 8.9
ZooMed Reptisun 10.0 compact 10.0
Big Apple Herp. Mystic compact 10.9
Big Apple Herp. Mystic tube 11.9
R-Zilla Desert Series 50 T5 Low Profile Single Bulb Fixture 13.4
R-Zilla Desert Series 50 T8 tube 14.2

Russian kids 1977

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UVB for WWII submariners in the UK

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Babies with low vitamin D can get UVB if they need an immunity boost

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See also VitaminDWiki

Notes by VitaminDWiki

  1. The light years lamp may generate 5000 IU/5 minutes because it has little UVA which destroys vitamin D)
  2. When UV light was originally used to create vitamin D, people happened to notice that the UV light also caused a tan.
    This caused the creation of the sunbed industry.
    The sunbed industry then changed the spectrum so as to maximize the tan. This change resulted in minimizing the vitamin D produced.


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Page last modified on 06 August, 2014


List of attached files
ID Name desc uploaded Size Downloads Actions
4145 jpg G15T8E.jpg 15 July, 2014 by admin 45.48 Kb 4180 View Download  
3681 jpg no glasses.jpg 08 Mar., 2014 by admin 19.19 Kb 6851 View Download  
3680 jpg glasses-1.jpg 08 Mar., 2014 by admin 22.56 Kb 6831 View Download  
3394 jpg Russia 1977.jpg 14 Dec, 2013 by admin 147.63 Kb 9946 View Download  
1725 xls solarmeter.xls 19 Nov., 2012 by admin 50.50 Kb 438 View Download  
1724 jpg Measured reflector.jpg 19 Nov., 2012 by admin 40.55 Kb 14205 View Download  
1723 jpg Actual reflector.jpg 19 Nov., 2012 by admin 19.35 Kb 13617 View Download  
1722 jpg Ideal reflector.jpg 19 Nov., 2012 by admin 25.66 Kb 13572 View Download  
1721 jpg UV-mirror2.jpg 19 Nov., 2012 by admin 25.37 Kb 14663 View Download  
1640 jpg B2R.jpg 08 Oct., 2012 by admin 22.48 Kb 15612 View Download  
1639 jpg S21.jpg 06 Oct., 2012 by admin 3.74 Kb 14015 View Download  
1566 jpg Philips TL-12.jpg 20 Aug., 2012 by admin 16.27 Kb 14333 View Download  
1565 jpg Philips TL 01.jpg 20 Aug., 2012 by admin 13.35 Kb 14298 View Download  
1564 jpg Sperti lamp.jpg 20 Aug., 2012 by admin 7.39 Kb 14274 View Download  
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Health Problems and D

  # of studies as of 9/30/14