2013 Volume 59 Issue 4 Pages 257-263
Although the importance of solar radiation for vitamin D3 synthesis in the human body is well known, the solar exposure time required to prevent vitamin D deficiency has not been determined in Japan. This study attempted to identify the time of solar exposure required for vitamin D3 synthesis in the body by season, time of day, and geographic location (Sapporo, Tsukuba, and Naha) using both numerical simulations and observations. According to the numerical simulation for Tsukuba at noon in July under a cloudless sky, 3.5 min of solar exposure are required to produce 5.5 μg vitamin D3 per 600 cm2 skin corresponding to the area of a face and the back of a pair of hands without ingestion from foods. In contrast, it took 76.4 min to produce the same quantity of vitamin D3 at Sapporo in December, at noon under a cloudless sky. The necessary exposure time varied considerably with the time of the day. For Tsukuba at noon in December, 22.4 min were required, but 106.0 min were required at 09:00 and 271.3 min were required at 15:00 for the same meteorological conditions. Naha receives high levels of ultraviolet radiation allowing vitamin D3 synthesis almost throughout the year.