Are You Getting the Right Type of Vitamin D?
If you haven’t heard, the health benefits of Vitamin D are HUGE!
Vitamin D is important not only in bone metabolism and calcium homeostasis, but also now has shown to be supportive for cellular health, cardiovascular health, endothelial function, and blood sugar management (1). Vitamin D even functions as the control of up to 1000 genes involved in cellular growth, immune function, and protein synthesis (2).
While proper vitamin D intake is important for everyone, it may be even more crucial for those who are overweight and looking to lose body fat. This is because obese individuals generally have lower levels of vitamin D and following an energy-restricted diet could further reduce levels (3).
One of the most common questions about proper vitamin D supplementation is what type to use, the D2 or D3 form. Compared with the other known vitamins essential to health, vitamin D is unique in its role because of the diverse sources available. Vitamin D2 is found primarily in fungi and in some other plants (4). Vitamin D3 is synthesized via sunlight from UVB rays (4;5).
Generally, most of us receive a combination of vitamin D2 and D3 as part of a typical lifestyle—from UV exposure (vitamin D3), dietary intakes of vitamin D3–rich foods (egg yolks and oily fish), fortified foods (margarine and breakfast cereals, which generally have vitamin D2 fortification), and vitamin supplements that include either D2 or D3 (5).
Vitamin D deficiency is currently a major health concern. There is strong support for the notion that current dietary recommendations are too low and need to be adjusted as higher vitamin D status is associated with multiple positive health outcomes (4). There’s no doubt of the vital role vitamin D plays in maintaining bone and overall health and the widespread deficiency (6). It’s essential to get the very best and most effective source of vitamin D.
A recent study looked at a range of different dosages and administration methods of vitamin D and found that regardless of the dose, frequency, or administration, vitamin D3 produced a significantly greater increase from baseline serum vitamin D levels compared with vitamin D2 (7). According to the Vitamin D Council, D3 is more potent and more effective, and it’s also the “natural” form because it’s what the body produces.
A convenient way to receive a robust amount of vitamin D3 is a good daily supplement such as Essentials for Men or Women or as part of Complete Essentials™ with Isagenesis for Men and Women, that can help with maintaining optimal levels no matter what your health goal is.
- Manson JE, Bassuk SS, Lee IM et al. The Vitamin D and Omega-3 TriaL (VITAL): Rationale and design of a large randomized controlled trial of vitamin D and marine omega-3 fatty acid supplements for the primary prevention of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Contemporary clinical trials 2012;33:159-71.
- Cannell JJ, Hollis BW, Sorenson MB, Taft TN, Anderson JJ. Athletic performance and vitamin D. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2009;41:1102-10.
- Wortsman J, Matsuoka LY, Chen TC, Lu Z, Holick MF. Decreased bioavailability of vitamin D in obesity. The American journal of clinical nutrition 2000;72:690-3.
- Calman K. Nutrition and bone health with particular reference to calcium and vitamin D: Report of the Subgroup on Bone Health (Working Group on the Nutritional Status of the Population) of the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food and Nutrition Policy. London, United Kingdom: The Stationary Office 1998.
- Vieth R. Vitamin D supplementation, 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations, and safety. The American journal of clinical nutrition 1999;69:842-56.
- Chapuy MC, Preziosi P, Maamer M et al. Prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency in an adult normal population. Osteoporosis International 1997;7:439-43.
- Tripkovic L, Lambert H, Hart K et al. Comparison of vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 supplementation in raising serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D status: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The American journal of clinical nutrition 2012;95:1357-64.