Last updated on April 19th, 2023
What Does Vitamin D Do For You?
Vitamin D is important for keeping our immune systems in working order and keeping our bones strong and healthy. Low levels are associated with a whole spectrum of diseases, including cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular and autoimmune disorders. This article focuses on how normal vitamin D levels can prevent, and improve conditions of osteoporosis and osteopenia.
The medical community agrees without a doubt that if you have a vitamin D deficiency, your bones will deteriorate. The reason is that the deficiency causes the removal of calcium, and bone matrix, where calcium is stored. The deficiency leads to osteopenia and can precipitate and worsen osteoporosis.
What is a Healthy Level of Vitamin D?
The most accurate blood test for healthy levels of Vitamin D is the 25-hydroxyvitamin D blood test . Vitamin D levels below 30 ng/mL indicate a deficiency.
A study published in the March, 2010 issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that 59 percent of the population is vitamin D deficient! With today’s busy lifestyles, unhealthy eating habits and the common usage of sunblocks, vitamin D deficiency has reached epidemic proportions. (The sun is the most natural source of vitamin D).
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Most doctors now put patients with a vitamin D deficiency on a supplement, but you should know that when it comes to bone health, not all D supplements are alike.
There are Two Forms of Vitamin D – Supplemental Vitamin D3, and Pharmaceutical Vitamin D2
Vitamin D3 is natural. It’s the same substance as what is produced in human skin in response to sun exposure. A supplemental D3 vitamin is derived from either lanolin, or cod liver oil extract. These forms of vitamin D effectively treat vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D3 is available without a prescription. You can take it as part a of multi-vitamin or on its own. Multivitamins have either vitamin D2 or D3.
Vitamin D2 is derived from fungal sources. It is not naturally present in the human body, and sun exposure does not produce vitamin D2 in the body. Also, vitamin D2 is not as stable on the shelf as vitamin D3. This means it remains active for a longer period of time when exposed to different conditions such as temperature and humidity.
Which Vitamin D is Best?
According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition pharmacopoeias, (medication encyclopedias), have officially regarded the two forms of vitamin D as equivalent and interchangeable, yet this presumption is based on studies of rickets prevention in infants conducted 70 year ago!
With the emergence of the 25-hydroxyvitamin D blood test as a measure of vitamin D status, the medical profession is now receiving a much more accurate measurement of vitamin D levels. As a result, vitamin D3 has proven to be the more potent form of vitamin D.
Vitamin D2 should never be used to treat vitamin D deficiency, but Pharmaceutical companies still produce only vitamin D2, because they can manufacture it as a pharmaceutical and recommend the prescription to your doctor.
If your doctor prescribes a vitamin D supplement, make sure he prescribes vitamin D3…or you may choose sun exposure instead!
Essential for Maintaining a Healthy Immune System
It is now believed that when it comes to overall health, the benefits of sun exposure (as opposed to Vitamin D supplements), is actually better for you than supplements! Benefits include the reduction in blood pressure, suppression of autoimmune disease and the improvements in mood and the prevention of osteoporosis.
Researchers warned that taking a vitamin D pill showed zero benefit protecting you from disease, and the evidence has only grown stronger. In November, one of the largest and most rigorous trials of the vitamin ever conducted—in which 25,871 participants received high doses for five years—found no impact on cancer, heart disease, or stroke.
All information provided on this site, particularly any information relating to specific medical conditions, health care, preventive care, and healthy lifestyles, is presented for general informational purposes only. It should not be considered complete or exhaustive and does not cover all disorders or their treatment. It is not a substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or health care provider, and may not necessarily take your individual health situation into account.