Young rats on a diet low in phosphorus can be protected from rickets by irradiations with sunlight for about 15 minutes daily. In the winter months, however, this degree of light was found insufficient. The effective rays of the sun, in the intensities studied, did not penetrate window glass. They manifested some protective value after reflection from a smooth white surface.
Irradiation of a few minutes with the rays of the mercury vapor lamp suffices to protect rats against rickets. This is true likewise of the rays from the carbon arc lamp. A standard protective dose of radiation can be formulated for rats on a standard diet.
Light is able to prevent the occurrence of rickets in rats fed a rickets-producing diet characterized either by a low phosphorus and high calcium content, or a high phosphorus and low calcium content.
Moderate variations in temperature do not alter the effective action of light rays. Pigmentation of the skin markedly lessens their effect, as demonstrated by the failure of a standard dose to protect black rats.