Rights: The University of Waikato Published 29 July 2008 Download

Dr Richard McKenzie, Senior Research Scientist at NIWA, Lauder, talks about the relationship between exposure to UV radiation and the body’s production of vitamin D.


UV radiation is absolutely necessary for human health, too. UV radiation makes vitamin D in the body. We have recently started to do a research programme, in collaboration with the University of Auckland and University of Otago, looking at the relationship between UV radiation and vitamin D, to find out what parts of New Zealand in which seasons UV intensities are insufficient to maintain adequate levels of vitamin D in the body. The wavelengths that make vitamin D are approximately the same wavelengths that cause sunburn, and so it’s a dilemma. You think, well, vitamin D, we could get it from some other source perhaps, but it turns out that very few foods contain anything like the concentrations of vitamin D that are needed for us. The very few foods that do are cod liver oil, for example. You can buy pills of vitamin D nowadays, and that's probably quite a sensible option to look at.

Henry Cavillones
Emperor Aquatics & UV Comparisons
Joris Melchior
Sage Ross