UV-based therapy and vitamin D


Henry W. Lim, MD, Department of Dermatology, Henry Ford Medical Center, New Center One, 3031 West Grand Boulevard, Suite 800, Detroit, MI 48202, or email: hlim1@hfhs.org.


The ultraviolet (UV) light spectrum has long been known to induce biologic effect on the skin. For a large number of cutaneous disorders, phototherapy and photochemotherapy are effective therapeutic options with excellent safety profiles and well-documented side effects. Despite their ease of administration and benefits, phototherapeutic treatment modalities require appropriate space for the equipment, trained staff, and patient education prior to initiating treatment. However, when the initial barriers to treatment can be overcome, UV therapy can offer patients significant relief from their cutaneous disease. Furthermore, UVB-based phototherapy can produce significant alteration to vitamin D levels. With the recent research implicating association of low vitamin D levels with a variety of health conditions, whether patients receiving phototherapy or, more specifically, those getting vitamin D supplement may be protected from these diseases remains to be established.