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Of possible interest - but if so, check this out with your Doctor.
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Did you know there are two types of vitamin D, and they are NOT interchangeable?

In fact, taking the wrong one could do you more harm than good...

Drisdol is a synthetic form of vitamin D2—made by irradiating fungus and plant matter—and is the form of vitamin D typically prescribed by doctors.

This is not the type produced by your body in response to sun or safe tanning bed exposure, which is vitamin D3.

A recent meta-analysis by the Cochrane Databasei looked at mortality rates for people who supplemented their diets with D2 versus those who did so with D3, the form naturally produced by your body, highlighting the significant differences between the two.

The analysis of 50 randomized controlled trials, which included a total of 94,000 participants, showed:
•A six percent relative risk reduction among those who used vitamin D3, but
•A two percent relative risk increase among those who used D2

According to the Vitamin D Councilii:

"You would think a paper that took a look at tens of thousands of subjects and analyzed the efficacy of prescription vitamin D (D2) and over-the-counter vitamin D (D3) would warrant a news story or two.

To my knowledge, these papers are the first to paint such a clear picture about the efficacy between D3 and D2.

While there may be explanations for D3's superiority other than improved efficacy, for the time being, these papers send doctors a message: use D3, not D2."

The Difference Between Supplemental Vitamin D2 and D3


The notion that vitamin D2 and D3 were equivalent was based on decades-old studies of rickets prevention in infants. Today, we know a lot more about vitamin D, and the featured study offers compelling support for the recommendation to take vitamin D3 if you need to take an oral supplement—which is the same type of D vitamin created in your body when you expose your skin to sunlight.

Supplemental vitamin D comes in two forms:
1.Ergocalciferol (vitamin D2)
2.Cholecalciferol (vitamin D3)

I personally recommend getting your vitamin D from safe sun exposure (or a safe tanning bed), as there's compelling reason to believe the vitamin D created in your skin in response to sun exposure has some slight but important differences that make it even more beneficial than supplemental vitamin D3. I will address this more in just a moment, but first, let's review the differences between the two types of supplemental vitamin D. Aside from the featured findings that supplemental vitamin D3 reduced the relative mortality risk by six percent, while D2 actually INCREASED mortality risk by two percent, the two types differ in the following ways:
•According to the latest research, D3 is approximately 87 percent more potentiii in raising and maintaining vitamin D concentrations and produces 2- to 3-fold greater storage of vitamin D than does D2.
•Regardless of which form you use, your body must convert it into a more active form, and vitamin D3 is converted 500 percent faster than vitamin D2.
•Vitamin D2 also has a shorter shelf life, and its metabolites bind poorly with proteins, further hampering its effectiveness.

What about Dietary Sources? Animal-Based versus Plant-Based Vitamin D

Aside from taking an oral vitamin D supplement, you can also obtain small amounts of vitamin D from your diet. Here too, it's important to realize that not all food sources provide the same kind of vitamin D. Plant sources provide you with D2. The more beneficial D3 can only be had through animal-based sources such as:
•Fish, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines
•Egg yolk
•Raw milk

Dairy processors producing pasteurized milk have also been fortifying milk with vitamin D since 1933. Today, about 98 percent of the milk supply in the U.S. is fortified with approximately 400 International Units (IU) of vitamin D per quart. While dairies used to fortify their milk with vitamin D2, most have now switched over to D3. But, if you still drink pasteurized milk (which I don't recommend), check the label to see which form of vitamin D has been added. (If you drink raw milk, then you're getting the naturally-occurring vitamin D in the milk fat.) Keep in mind that although milk is fortified, other dairy products such as cheese and ice cream does typically not contain added vitamin D.

Vitamin D Can Make or Break Your Health, So Get the Right Kind!

There's overwhelming evidence that vitamin D is a key player in your overall health. This is understandable when you consider that it is not "just" a vitamin; it's actually a neuroregulatory steroidal hormone that influences nearly 3,000 different genes in your body. Receptors that respond to the vitamin have been found in almost every type of human cell, from your brain to your bones.

Just one example of an important gene that vitamin D up-regulates is your ability to fight infections, as well as chronic inflammation. It produces over 200 antimicrobial peptides, the most important of which is cathelicidin, a naturally occurring broad-spectrum antibiotic. This is one of the explanations for why it can be so effective against colds and influenza.

Dr Mercola.
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