A startling study a few years back revealed over three quarters of American adults could be running low in vitamin D. And the lower your levels dip the more serious real world consequences you may be facing.1,2
Low D levels could increase your risk for broken bones, dementia, diabetes, heart disease and more. So it’s easy to see why getting enough of this vital vitamin is critical.
UV-B rays from the sun trigger our skin cells to make vitamin D. Which is why we usually recommend everyone do his or her best to spend some time outside in the sun daily.
Shoot for around 10 to 20 minutes in the sunshine without sunscreen, and with as much of your skin exposed as you can. (Think tank top and shorts.) For most folks that’s enough time to naturally raise D levels in the warmer months.
But if you’re unable to spend enough time outdoors, your D levels can easily fall below healthy levels. And depending on where you live there could also be a danger of dipping too low during the winter months too.
Which means you need to find other ways to raise your D levels.
Eating your vitamins is often the best way to get them. And if you believe food manufacturers and the mainstream media, any food with D listed on the label offers the same benefits.
But if you’re not careful, this D lie could leave you deficient without you ever knowing it.
The difference between vitamin D2 and D3
It’s true you’ll find many products lining the grocery store shelves with labels saying they contain D. But the truth is the sunshine vitamin doesn’t naturally occur in many foods.
Foods such as orange juice and cereal that contain the nutrient are vitamin D fortified. Which means manufacturers dump the D in when the food is processed.
And while there’s nothing wrong with getting a D boost through fortified foods, if you’re relying on them alone to fight off D deficiency you could be making a huge mistake. Because those foods contain vitamin D2, not the vitamin D3 you’ll find in regular supplements, or certain foods such as milk.
Vitamin D2 is a plant based D, typically derived from a fungus. Scientists have debated for years about whether it’s as effective as D3. But many experts say D2 doesn’t maintain blood levels of D as effectively as animal based D3.3
And now new research may finally have put the debate to bed for good.
Vitamin D3 raises D levels FAR better than D2
Researchers from the University of Surrey, U.K. gave hundreds of women from Europe and Asia D2, D3 or a placebo during the winter when D levels tend to fall.
It turns out the D2 supplements were less than half as effective as D3 at raising D levels in the body, according to the study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.4
The D3 supplements sent blood levels of the vitamin skyrocketing by about 75 percent in the lucky folks who got them. But the volunteers who got the D2 supplements didn’t fare nearly so well. Their vitamin D levels only climbed by about a third.
In other words, vitamin D3 was the CLEAR winner.
Sunshine is still the best way to boost your D level. But be sure to eat plenty of vitamin D3 rich foods too, including…
- caviar (roe)
- cod liver oil
Vitamin D3 supplements are available as well. Your doctor can give you a simple blood test to check your own D levels. If you find they are low, he can also help you decide whether a supplement is right for you.
1. “High prevalence of vitamin D inadequacy and implications for health,” Mayo Clin Proc. 2006 Mar;81(3):353-73, Accessed: 7.25.2017
2. “Optimal vitamin D status attenuates the age-associated increase in systolic blood pressure in white Americans: results from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey,” Am J Clin Nutr January 2008, vol. 87 no. 1 136-141, Accessed: 7.25.2017
3. “Vitamin D2 is much less effective than vitamin D3 in humans,” J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004 Nov;89(11):5387-91
4. “Daily supplementation with 15 μg vitamin D2 compared with vitamin D3 to increase wintertime 25-hydroxyvitamin D status in healthy South Asian and white European women: a 12-wk randomized, placebo-controlled food-fortification trial,” Am J Clin Nutr ajcn138693; First published online July 5, 2017, Accessed: 7.25.2017
Latest posts by Alice Jacob (see all)
- Beat the pandemic blues with ONE easy action - December 4, 2020
- Can you safely see your family for Christmas after a negative coronavirus test? - December 4, 2020
- Supercharge brainpower with THIS guilty pleasure - December 3, 2020