During the fall and winter, people don’t go outside as often as they do in the warmer months, causing a deficiency in vitamin D. When we don’t get enough of this vitamin, it can cause depression, bone pain, and even bone loss. Many people turn to infrared light to bring their vitamin D levels back to normal.
You can increase your vitamin D levels by using an infrared sauna since they use full-spectrum lights that are designed to mimic the sun’s natural light. In addition to vitamin D, infrared saunas can also be helpful in diminishing the signs of aging, decreasing symptoms of depression, reducing inflammation, improving bone health, and more.
Keep reading to find out more infrared light, vitamin D, and the additional benefits of using an infrared sauna.
Does infrared light give you vitamin D?
Infrared light is used in many medical fields, including dentistry, veterinary medicine, and is recommended by physicians for its health benefits because infrared light mimics the near-infrared light that the sun produces. A recent study found a positive correlation between the use of infrared lights increasing vitamin D absorption in people with cystic fibrosis.
Infrared saunas increase both production and absorption of vitamin D. When using infrared saunas with the purpose of increasing vitamin D, you need to ensure that the sauna is not so hot that your body temperature rises above 100°F. If this does occur, it may actually decrease the benefits of the infrared sauna.
There has been some evidence that both infrared and red light therapy thickens the dermis layer of the skin, allowing for more production of vitamin D. It’s essential to note that while early studies have shown positive results, more research needs to be done.
Some types of ultraviolet lights, such as infrared light therapy, have shown the potential to produce more vitamin D3 in a safer, more effective way than we get from the sun. This is especially true for areas that receive the least sunlight, such as your stomach and upper arms.
A surprising potential benefit of light therapy is it may help prevent UV light damage caused by the sun as it did when the effects on mice were studied. Basically, using an infrared sauna before going out in the sun, even without sunblock, may lower the chance of getting a sunburn. The researchers believe this worked because the skin was already exposed to the heat from the infrared light.
There has also been some evidence to suggest that light therapy can reverse the harmful effects of sun damage. It also helps to prevent premature signs of aging that are associated with being out in the sun too much because vitamin D helps to regulate the endocrine system.
Can an infrared sauna increase your vitamin D?
As we’ve seen, infrared light can be great for your health, but what happens when you can’t get it from the sun? Can an infrared sauna help increase your vitamin D levels?
An infrared sauna can increase your vitamin D levels because of the full spectrum of light it uses.
Sunlight emits wavelengths between 290-315 nm, which is the amount of infrared light that the body needs to absorb vitamin D. Vitamin D3 is then produced and absorbed into the skin.
People started experimenting with different types of lights in the 1940s to see if they could reach that wavelength without the harmful rays from the sun. Because of the advancement of technology, they have been able to manufacture lights that are able to do this.
Infrared saunas use full-spectrum lights. This means that you’re being exposed to near-infrared to far-infrared lighting. Far infrared is the wavelength that the sun produces, and this is why when using the sauna, not only do you get the benefits of near-infrared, you also get the same benefits as you do from the sun.
This is the way that the light mimics the sun’s natural light. Infrared light is the closest wavelength to visible light and is what we feel when we absorb heat into our bodies. While you think it would work, the opposite far-infrared light gives off shorter wavelengths than near-infrared waves.
Other potential benefits of infrared light and sauna
Not only does infrared light with the production of vitamin D, but it also offers numerous other benefits. It can help your body fight off infections. Due to its wide range of benefits and how safe it has become, infrared light therapy is commonly recommended by doctors.
Benefits of infrared light and infrared sauna include:
- Diminished signs of aging
- Decreased the symptoms of depression
- Reduced inflammation
- Improved bone health
- Could alleviate some symptoms associated with traumatic brain injury
Some individuals compare near and far-infrared lights, stating one has more benefits than the other. This is not the case. Both of them have excellent benefits, some of which overlap. The good news is that when you use an infrared sauna, you get both of these wavelengths at once.
Diminishes signs of aging
A study from 2014 found that red and near-infrared lights had a positive impact on signs of aging.
Red light therapy may cause healthier skin due to increased collagen production. This happens because your outer layer of skin absorbs the light, which in turn stimulates the growth of collagen.
Decreases symptoms of depression
Multiple studies have been done on the effects of using infrared light therapy on individuals with depression and anxiety. These studies discovered that two weeks after treatment, people diagnosed with depression had a significant reduction in symptoms. Another study showed that patients with seasonal depression affective disorder improved after one hour of treatment.
Using infrared light has been shown to have reduced inflammation due to its anti-inflammatory properties. This is believed to be caused by increasing oxygen in the inflamed area, which increases blood flow. Not only does it improve arthritis, but it also helps with wound healing, pain caused by inflammation, and autoimmune diseases.
Could alleviate symptoms associated with traumatic brain injuries
Traumatic brain injury has become frequent in both military and civilians. In a study consisting of 25 patients, each showed signs of clinical improvement after ten treatments. Not only was the improvement in cognitive impairment but issues related to anxiety, irritability, and anxiety.
Improves bone health
Light therapy helps improve bone health because light stimulates energy production in the bone cells by improving the blood flow, therefore increasing circulation.